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Alps to the Mediterranean

Descend from the mountains to the Riviera
 
Experience a real sense of journey and contrasting scenery –  from pretty mountain villages to the Riviera –  with self-guided, hotel-to-hotel walking (and useful luggage transfers) plus an optional day trip to the Mercantour National Park.
Alps to the Mediterranean. 6 nights
Alps to the Mediterranean. 6 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A walking holiday in the Maritime Alps

The final, southernmost Alps plunge dramatically into the sea at the Italian border near Menton. In the bright, warm light of the Mediterranean, pretty villages cling to wooded hillsides. Delightful footpaths link the Italianate settlements, offering wonderful views of mountains, gorges and valleys. One of the real joys of this walk is to experience the transition from mountain to coastal landscapes; by its very nature, this is a very varied walk. Starting in the mountains in enchanting La Brigue, you discover mixed woodland, gorges, dramatic peaks and even the mysterious Vallée des Merveilles ('Valley of Marvels').
By contrast, the walk finishes on the Riviera, in cosmopolitan Menton, a popular resort since the late 19th century and inspiration to many artists, who were drawn by the clarity of the light. This whole border region is an intriguing blend of French and Italian cultures. Indeed, the Upper Roya Valley – which the first part of the holiday explores – remained part of Italy long after surrounding parts were ceded to France – the Italian government persuaded Napoleon that it should remain Italian so that the king could continue to hunt there, and this remained the case until after the Second World War. In the villages through which the walk passes, you are just as likely to hear Italian spoken as French, and the local cuisine is a wonderful mix of Provençal and Italian influences.
 
Gallery
 

Itinerary

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on the day of your choice, and are free to add extra nights.
  • The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 11 11 13 16 19 22 26 26 23 19 14 12
    mm 77 79 74 66 61 46 22 43 65 104 101 78
  • Arrival in La Brigue
    Night 1: at Hotel Mirval (the first of two nights here).
    As your first night’s accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of walking.
  • Free day in La Brigue
    We suggest two possible routes for your day here, as well as a wonderful excursion into the mysterious Mercantour National Park.

    Circular walk via Tende: 11.5km, 4hrs
    The first is a rewarding walk that rises steadily to the Boselia Pass and continues to the picturesque village of Tende before returning along woodland tracks and mountain paths via the Loubaira Pass.

    Circular walk via Notre Dame de Fontaines: 9km, 3hrs
    The second is gentler, leading along a botanical path across peaceful wooded slopes to Notre Dame des Fontaines, a beautifully sited chapel boasting some well-preserved 15th and 16th-century frescoes.

    Vallée des Merveilles excursion
    If you are travelling after June 15, however, we thoroughly recommend you join an excursion into the Vallée des Merveilles (pre-book through Inntravel but pay locally – approximately €85 per person). The itinerary may vary and is subject to weather conditions and a minimum number of participants. Your host, Monsieur Dellepiane, who often acts as a guide during the day, will take you by jeep into the wild and mysterious Mercantour National Park. The valley's dramatic rock formations are astonishing, but even more intriguing are the Bronze Age rock carvings. You will be able to see a variety of these as part of the 5-hour guided excursion and walk, after which Monsieur Dellepiane will drive you back to the hotel.
    Circular walk via Tende on the route around La Brigue
    Circular walk via Tende: 11.5km
    Circular walk via Notre Dame de Fontaines: 9km
  • Choice of walks from La Brigue to Sospel: 15.5km or 18km

    La Brigue to Saorge: 15.5km, 5.5hrs
    The first route follows paths and tracks through a series of attractive valleys to reach the village of Fontan, where you can picnic by the river before a steep ascent (either by a challenging footpath or a quiet road) to ancient Saorge, one of France's most beautiful villages. It's worth detouring down from the village onto a mule path below for a stunning view of Saorge. A late-afternoon taxi transfer will then take you to your destination for the next two nights, the Auberge Provençale in Sospel.

    Longer, high-level option: 18km, 8hrs
    The second option is longer and starts with a testing ascent into the hills behind your hotel, but then offers expansive mountain views before descending to Saorge from above – a quite spectacular approach. This option also ends with a taxi transfer to Sospel.
    The route from La Brigue to Saorge
    La Brigue to Saorge: 15.5km
    Longer, high-level option: 18km
  • Choice of walks from Sospel: 10km or 20km

    Circular walk via Piène Haute: 20km, 7hrs
    Our first suggested route rises along a botanical path through a peaceful valley to the Italian border, from where you continue through silver olive groves to hill-top Piène Haute, a picturesque hamlet in which you will hear French and Italian spoken in equal amounts. Continue over the panoramic Paula Pass into the Bassera Valley and then return to Sospel via the Perus Pass.

    Circular walk via Mont Agaisen: 10km, 3.5hrs
    The second shorter option takes you round the slopes of nearby Mont Agaisen, on which stand the impressive and mainly underground fortifications that once formed part of the Maginot Line.
    Circular walk via Piène Haute on the route around Sospel
    Circular walk via Piène Haute: 20km
    Circular walk via Mont Agaisen: 10km
  • Choice of walks from Sospel to Menton: 17.5km or 20km
    Both routes begin with a transfer to the same starting point, just under Mont Razet. You make a short climb to the ridge from where you can admire the breathtaking views – to the north is Piène Haute, to the south is Monaco and in good weather you can also look along the gorges towards La Brigue. From the viewpoint, you descend to the Razet Pass, from where the path divides, offering you a choice of routes down to pretty Menton on the Côte d’Azur.

    Low-level option via Col St Bernard: 17.5km, 6hrs
    Our first option follows a mule track through a magical valley filled with flowers and oak trees to the panoramic chapel of St Bernard (an excellent picnic spot), after which you continue down to the hanging village of Castellar and then descend through woodland.

    High-level option via Col de Berceau: 20km, 7hrs
    The second is more challenging still (and only viable in good weather), but rewards with even more scintillating views from the higher-level GR52 footpath before a steep descent to reach the yacht-filled port of Garavan just to the east of Vieux (‘Old’) Menton. From here, it’s just a leisurely 2-3km stroll along the promenade to the 4-star Hotel Prince de Galles where you spend your final two nights.

     
    Looking towards Menton
    Low-level option via Col St Bernard: 17.5km
    High-level option via Col de Berceau: 20km
  • Free day in Menton
    A charming Riviera town set against a backdrop of mountains, Menton boasts several museums and art galleries, as well as some pleasant parks and gardens. We recommend that you stroll across the border to see the exotic plants in the botanical gardens in Mortola, an hour’s walk or a short bus ride away. Alternatively, you could take a stroll around the scenic coastal path via Cap Martin to Monaco (from where you can catch the train back), or make the most of the famously sunny climate and simply laze on the beach.
    Menton
 

Accommodation

The hotels on this walk are family-run and friendly. In Menton, we include sea-view rooms but highly recommend an upgrade to a sea-view room with balcony.
 

Options to extend or shorten your stay

 

Prices for 2020

We are in the process of updating our prices for 2020. If you’d like to book now, please contact us – we’ll be happy to provide a quotation.
Get in touch >
 
Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter.
Currency converter

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  • 6 nights: 15 April - 31 July 2019 & 01 September - 31 October 2019

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    15 - 30 April £850 £260
    1 - 24 May £865 £260
    25 May - 25 July £930 £300
    1 - 30 September £930 £300
    1 - 25 October £850 £260
    3rd & 4th person discount -£80
    Single traveller supplement £80

    Includes accommodation, meals and services integral to the holiday as described, plus walking notes and maps, but no travel from the UK, nor any connecting travel from the airport unless stated below.

    Book your flights through us and we'll find the best route and times to suit you. Please contact us to find out more about our flight booking service. We can also book connecting travel - see below.

    6 nights: 15 April - 31 July 2019 & 01 September - 31 October 2019

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    15 - 30 April £1098 £260
    1 - 24 May £1115 £260
    25 May - 25 July £1185 £300
    1 - 30 September £1185 £300
    1 - 25 October £1098 £260
    3rd & 4th person discount -£100
    Single traveller supplement £100

    Includes all elements in the 'walk price', plus standard-class travel by Eurostar from London St Pancras or Ebbsfleet International to Lille or Paris, with onward travel as described below.

    Included travel from the UK: UK-Paris (Eurostar), Paris–Breil (TGV/regional rail), approx duration 11h30 plus 0h25 taxi transfer. Home,  Menton-Paris (TGV/regional rail), Paris-UK (Eurostar), approx duration 10h.
    Pay locally for taxi between Menton station and hotel (0h10).

    If you book your holiday less than 3 months in advance of your travel date, seats may no longer be available at the tariffs on which our prices are based, but we may be able to offer you seats on the sames services at a supplement.

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Auberge Provençale, Sospel
    'Confort': 15 Apr - 31 Jul 2019 £13
    'Confort': 01 Sep - 31 Oct 2019 £13
    Deluxe: 15 Apr - 31 Jul 2019 £25
    Deluxe: 01 Sep - 31 Oct 2019 £25
    Hotel Prince de Galles, Menton
    Sea view & balcony: 15 Apr - 31 Jul 2019 £15
    Sea view & balcony: 01 Sep - 31 Oct 2019 £15

    Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    Hotel Mirval, La Brigue (with dinner) Double room Single room
    15 Apr - 03 Jun 2019 £65 £85
    04 Jun - 31 Jul 2019 £83 £103
    01 Sep - 24 Sep 2019 £83 £103
    25 Sep - 31 Oct 2019 £65 £85
    Hotel Prince de Galles, Menton (B&B) Double room Single room
    15 Apr - 31 May 2019 £92 £168
    01 Jun - 31 Jul 2019 £100 £190
    01 Sep - 30 Sep 2019 £100 £190
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2019 £80 £142
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Nice

    Travelling from the UK

    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend Nice. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    Outward route Airline
    Belfast Intl. - Nice easyJet,  jet2 
    Outward route Airline
    Birmingham - Nice (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Bristol - Nice easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Durham Tees Valley - Nice (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Edinburgh - Nice easyJet 
    Edinburgh - Nice (via Paris) Air France 
    Edinburgh- Nice Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Glasgow - Nice (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Leeds Bradford - Nice Flybe,  jet2 
    Outward route Airline
    Liverpool - Nice easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    London City - Nice British Airways 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Nice British Airways,  easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Nice British Airways 
    Heathrow - Nice (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Luton - Nice easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Nice Ryanair 
    Stansted - Nice easyJet,  jet2 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Nice easyJet,  jet2 
    Manchester - Nice (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Newcastle - Nice easyJet 
    Newcastle - Nice (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Southampton - Nice Flybe 
    Southampton - Nice (via Paris) Air France 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend Nice. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    This list of flight options should be used as a guide only, and you should check each airline’s website for current routes, frequency and schedules. Not all flights operate daily, and may not run for the entire season. You should also heed the latest flight arrival time and earliest flight departure time stated in the connecting travel section, as it may not be possible to arrange connecting travel outside these times. Please do not book your flights until we have confirmed your accommodation to you. Alternatively, our expert reservations team will be happy to offer advice and to make flight bookings for you. We charge £30 per person for our flight booking service (£50 for India and Nepal). Your flights are then covered by our package-booking conditions, which give you greater protection in the event of delay or cancellation, as well as providing ATOL cover.

  • Prices below are based on 2 people travelling together. If you are travelling solo or as a party of 3 or more and our arrangements include a taxi, please contact us for prices; additional passengers often pay less.

    Connecting travel options - flying via Nice

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Nice Ville to Breil-sur-Roya (1h25), taxi Breil-sur-Roya to hotel (0h25) £35 1530
    direct taxi Nice airport to hotel (1h35) £95 flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    rail Carnolès to Nice Ville (0h35) £6 1000
    direct taxi hotel to Nice airport (1h15) £60 flexible
    airport bus hotel to Nice airport (1h15) £27 1030
What is included
  • 6 nights
  • 4 dinners
    2 picnics
    6 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • transfer on day 2 & 4
 
Reviews

If you've experienced this holiday first hand, why not write a review?

We are keen for as many customers as possible to review their holiday. To make it easier to do so, we include a specific review section on our post-holiday questionnaire, and this is what we publish here, unedited. Read our full review policy >

 

FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help. You might also find our General FAQs section helpful.
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from hotel to hotel, but also include practical information about places of interest and eateries along each route, plus cultural information about the area. If/when you are moving between hotels, you leave your luggage in reception as you leave, and it will be transferred ahead to your next accommodation, meaning that all you need to take with you are a camera, sun cream, drinks, food and waterproofs.

    For more detailed information, see our walking holidays in Europe page.
  • We can book a wide range of airlines and routes from the UK. As well as being more convenient for you to book all elements of your holiday together, it also means that we’ll accept liability for your travel arrangements, so if things go wrong, such as the airline going bust, we’ll make suitable alternative arrangements for you. For Europe and Morocco, there’s a £30 booking fee per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). For India and Nepal, the booking fee is £50 per person. More information on flights >
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted book your own flights to London (or elsewhere in the UK), we can make all onward travel arrangements (including flights) from there. Alternatively, if you are booking your own flights to an airport in continental Europe that’s appropriate for your holiday, we can book onward rail travel and/or taxis. More information about how we can tailor holidays for customers outside the UK >
  • Since our holidays are self-guided, we recommend calling us for a chat about your plans before making a booking, especially if it’s the first time you’ve booked with us.
    The price panel shows the supplement for a single room and also the single traveller charge (this covers (luggage) transfers and other costs which are usually shared between two people).
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

    You don’t have to buy our policy (if you live outside Europe you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK and EU residents), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. If you’re a UK citizen, you need a full British passport to travel to France, but not a visa (if you are travelling after 31 October 2019, see the Brexit question below for more information). If you are a citizen of another country, you’ll need to check requirements with the national embassy or your own consulate.

    Current information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found through the following NHS link: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/advice/ You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). UK citizens should also obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) by applying at a Post Office or at www.ehic.org.uk. The EHIC allows reciprocal health care but should not be seen as a substitute for travel insurance. EHICs may cease to be valid in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
  • The official language is French. The currency is the Euro. French time is GMT/UTC + 1. It uses Daylight Saving Time, so in summer is on BST + 1.
  • Even in the event of a no-deal Brexit, it’s been confirmed that flights will continue as normal and that you won’t need a visa to go on holiday (the limit on stays is 90 days). What you will need if there’s no deal is a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of your arrival (extra months added because you renewed your passport early do not count) and adequate travel insurance to cover you for accidents and illness in case reciprocal health deals are suspended. If you are driving while on holiday, you will probably need an International Driving Permit (plus a Green Card if you are taking your own car to Europe). More information >
  • The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides up-to-date, country-by-country travel advice, as well as information on security, local laws, passports and visas for UK citizens.
    If you live outside the UK, see our essential travel information page for a list of relevant websites.
Last fetch time is : 9/18/2019 3:47:18 AM