6 days
April – November

Exhilarating hiking through ‘Europe’s Grand Canyon’

Hike the famous Blanc-Martel trail – one of Europe’s most spectacular trails

Discover wild, unspoilt landscapes and picturesque Provençal villages

Listen out for the calls of the vultures that have made the gorges their home

The perfect spring and autumn walking holiday for experienced hikers

Hiking in the Verdon Gorge: self-guided walking holiday

This is a wonderful walking holiday through one of France’s must-see natural sites. In fact, the Verdon Gorge is widely regarded as the most beautiful of its kind in Europe, and is often referred to as ‘Europe’s Grand Canyon’. The gorge is situated in the limestone massifs of the Alpine foothills, an area crossed by rivers flowing down from the snowy peaks of the Alps. Over millions of years, these rivers have carved deep valleys in the limestone, the deepest of all being the Gorges du Verdon. Today, the gorge is a truly impressive sight, with its limestone cliffs towering some 700m over the turquoise waters below.

“For sheer, jaw-dropping drama, few sights in France can match the epic Gorges du Verdon” Lonely Planet.

The gorge is between 250m and 700m deep. The bottom is 8m to 90m wide, while the rims are 200m to 1500m apart. The National Regional Park of Verdon was created in 1997 and prides itself in being labelled by UNESCO as the largest geological reserve in Europe.

This hiking tour starts and finishes in the quaint medieval village of Castellane, nestled in Alpine foothils of Haute Provence. The most famous hiking section is the Blanc-Martel trail, which includes a series of steps, tunnels. and bridges, enabling you to discover the wild and unspoilt landscapes of the lower gorge. You will experience dramatic landscapes of high jagged mountains and limestone cliffs, with panoramic views over the emerald-green river winding along the floor of the canyon. You will be charmed by the authentic atmosphere of the Provençal villages of Trigance and Castellane. You will have the opportunity to taste local delicacies, such as truffles, tapenade, lavender honey, goats’ cheese and of course wine – enabling you to combine your walking with a taste of the good life in Provence!

6 DAYS / 5 NIGHTS From €799 per person sharing*

*Discounts available for groups of 4 or more. Please enquire for prices.
*A high-season surcharge will apply during July and August.
*A single supplement charge will apply for solo walkers.

ACCOMMODATION You will stay in simple but comfortable family run 2* hotels. All rooms have private facilities.

It is also possible to upgrade to 3* hotels (except at Point Sublime). Please enquire for prices.

AVAILABILITY You can start on any day of the week, subject to availability, between April 30th and November 5th.

Spring and autumn are the best times to do this trip. July & August are busy and can be very hot. Walks need to be done early in the morning during those months.

Important : From June 15th to September 15th
Access to the Verdon Gorges  can occasionally be restricted if the risk of forest fire is high (because of the mistral or extreme heat…). It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does it means that paths may be closed from  noon or even all day long.
The information is available at 6pm for the following day via the local authorites’ website 
It is the client’s responsability to check the website ahead of time to plan for the following day.

5 x nights in selected hotels with private facilities
5 x breakfasts
2 x dinners in Point Sublime (excluding drinks)
Luggage transfers between hotels
Day 3: transfer to La Maline for start of the walk
Road Book with detailed walking itineraries & highlighted maps
GPS tracks
Emergency telephone support
Flights & travel insurance
Travel to and from Castellane
All lunches & dinners not mentioned in included section
Anything else not mentioned in the Included section
Extra nights
Singe room supplement
DIFFICULTY / TERRAIN This trip is rated as challenging. A very good level of fitness is required; expect to walk 5-7 hours per day not including lunch stops and +/-950m. You should be comfortable with walking on steep mountainous terrain, sometimes in hot weather. You should also be sure-footed on mountain paths and have a good head for heights.

The walks take place on good paths for the most part, although they are sometimes steep and rocky in nature with some loose limestone. You will need good walking boots. In addition, on the sections in the gorge you will encounter steps, tunnels, metal ladders and bridges. It is NOT suitable for those suffering from vertigo.

We have chosen to grade the holiday as challenging largely due to the nature of the trail itself rather than the amount of ascent or distance each day.


Day 1: Castellane loop walk

Distance: 5 km | Ascent: 242 m | Descent: 242 m | 1 hr 45 mins approx.

Arrival by your own means in the medieval village of Castellane, surrounded by the Alpes de Haute Provence and overlooked by its impressive 184-metre-high limestone peak and hilltop chapel. Castellane is the gateway to the Verdon Gorges and is just over two hours by direct bus from Nice.

Depending on your arrival time, you have the possibility of taking a short walk up the steep winding path to the Notre Dame du Roc chapel, perched high above the town. From the top you’ll be rewarded with wonderful views over the valley. Behind the Roc, you will find the remains of an older settlement; Petra Castellane (the abandoned city).

Overnight: Castellane.


Day 2: From Castellane to Point Sublime

Distance: 18 km | Ascent: 700 m | Descent: 780 m | 5 hrs approx.

Today you follow the GR4 from Castellane, an old Roman road now a small country road high above the deep Verdon valley. The path climbs gradually to the small shepherds’ village of Chasteuil. This is the ideal place to stop for a picnic, before ascending to the high limestone moors and pastures. You then descend towards Rougon, perched on a rocky spur above the famous gorges, before finally reaching the famous Point Sublime. This is one of the best viewing points over the gorge, and is also a great place for spotting vultures.

Overnight: Point Sublime (dinner included).*

*NOTE: it may be necessary to spend the night in nearby La Palud (if the Auberge du Point Sublime is not available) and to add transfers to and from La Palud. Please note that the Auberge du Point Sublime restaurant is closed on Wednesday evenings. If you arrive at the hotel on a Wednesday, you will be served a cold plate dinner.


Day 3: Walk the famous Blanc-Martel Trail

Distance: 14 km | Ascent: 900 m | Descent: 800 m | 6 hrs approx.

Morning transfer included to take you to the start of your walk in La Maline. That is because the Blanc-Martel Trail is easiest walked in that direction, finishing back at Point Sublime.

Today you embark on a must-see hike through the cliffs of the Grand Canyon du Verdon. Le sentier Blanc-Martel is probably the most famous hiking route in the Verdon. It is named after Edouard Alfred Martel, who was the first to explore the gorge in 1905. You descend into the Gorges and follow the course of the river to the Point Sublime. Along the way you will encounter the Brèche Imbert, a series of metal staircases with a total of 252 steps that facilitate the steep descent of this difficult part of the trail (not suitable for people who are prone to vertigo). You will also go through the tunnels of Trescaire and Baou (torch or headlamp and warm jacket required), as well as walkways and stairs. It is a long and quite challenging day, but superb and unforgettable experience!

Overnight: Point Sublime (dinner included).*


  1. This hike (although very well-equipped and secure) is to be avoided by people who are afraid of heights. It is also not recommended for children under 8 years old. Expect stony, steep terrain with technical installations (metal stairs, handrails, tunnels – head lamps and sweaters required). You should plan a minimum of 3l water/person.
  2. Swimming in the Verdon is permanently prohibited because the river is dangerous on the one hand and on the other hand because of the risks of water releases from the dam upstream. For swimming without risk, there are the lakes of Sainte Croix and Castillon, with beaches and nautical bases.

Day 4: From Point Sublime to Trigance

Distance: 10 km | Ascent: 625 m | Descent: 636 m | 4 hrs approx.

Additional hike option: 1.5km climb to the summit of Mont Breis +/-230m

After breakfast, a short transfer will take you back to Point Sublime for the start of today’s hike.

Today’s hike will take you over the Verdon’s riverbed via an ancient Roman bridge. Once you pass the left bank, you head up to the hamlet of Entreverges. When you arrive at the Rancoumas lookout (981m altitude), you will find a natural ramp overlooking the Verdon. From here you will enjoy a plunging view of the Verdon river, flowing several hundred metres below (not suitable for people with vertigo – this is a natural viewing point with no safety barrier).

You follow the clifftop path to Trigance, a medieval Provençal village dominated by its beautiful 11th century castle with four towers. The village overlooks the Jabron valley at the foot of Mont Breis. If you feel like more walking you can do a 1.5 km extension to the summit of Breis, or take a gentler tour of the botanical trail that allows you to discover the flora of the Var highlands.

Overnight: Trigance.


Day 5: From Trigance to Castellane

Distance: 19 km | Ascent: 570 m | Descent: 636 m | 5½ hrs approx.

Your last hike leads you across the gorges and the Jabron valley. You will get up close to the emerald-green waters of the Verdon at the Pont de Carajuan, gateway to the wonderful gorges of the Verdon. You follow the course of the river before starting a regular and pleasant ascent to reach the Col du Pertuis de la Colle (1151m). This is an ideal place for your picnic, with a 360° view over the stunning surrounding region, before starting your descent through the forest to Castellane.

Overnight: Castellane.


Day 6: Departure from Castellane

Your trip comes to an end after breakfast this morning, unless you have booked any additional services with us.

Getting to Castellane

  The closest airport is Nice Côte d’Azur Airport.
Castellane is easily reachable by direct bus from Nice (bus LER 31). The journey takes just over 2 hrs and you can check bus timetables here.

Gorges du Verdon walking holiday
The village of Castellane, overlooked by the Notre-Dame du Roc chapel
Stone bridge near Castellane
Hiking in the Gorges du Verdon
Path to Point Sublime
The emerald-green verdon river
Descending into the gorge on the Martel Trail
Metal bridge on the Martel Trail
View from the floor of the gorge
Crystal-clear water on the floor of the Gorges du Verdon
Point Sublime
Vulture in the Verdon Gorge
Chapel among the rugged cliffs of the Verdon Gorge
The Verdon Gorge
The medieval Provençal village of Trigance
Turquoise river in the Gorges du Verdon
Enjoying the view with an apéritif

Tour Reviews

There are no reviews yet.

Leave a Review