Located on the Franco-Italian border, on the edge of the warm Mediterranean sea, Menton is a delight for any visitor. It is easy to see how it earned its nickname 'The Pearl of France,' combining a city of gardens, seaport, beach resort and a paradise for hikers all rolled into one! With the Alpine chain dropping into the sea at the level of French/Italian border, it is also an ideal location for an Headwater guided walking holiday. Many of the trails start directly from the town and gain altitude in a short distance, offering some of the finest views of the French Riviera.
This trip is graded activity level 2 (Leisurely/Moderate).
Although the pace of the walks is leisurely and there is plenty of time to rest and enjoy the views, we place this itinerary at the tougher end of the leisurely/moderate scale due to several of the walks heading to or descending from hilltop villages. You should expect some ascent and descent and read the daily itinerary carefully. The terrain and type of path/track will vary from manmade paved tracks (which are occasionally rocky) to tarmac. All walks take between 4 and 6 hours including lunch stops and require a moderate level of fitness. Public transport can be subject to delays and seasonal timetables, so some waiting at bus stops should be expected.
All walks are optional and there is plenty to do in and around Menton should you wish to take extra days out of the walking itinerary. On some days walks may be shortened if you wish to take public transport (again this is dependent on the time of year), however please be aware this may be at your own expense and the leader will continue with the group (they will happily advise and ensure you know which bus or train you need to take).
Our start point is a comfortable 3-star hotel in Menton. Situated just a short stroll from the train station, beach and shops, it is ideally located for a week of centre-based walking. In the evening our guide will hold a welcome meeting to discuss the week ahead, give advice on the local area and answer any questions.
Today we discover the region. Starting from the hotel we stop at the local market where we discover local food ingredients, then we take the train or the public bus to Carnoles. From there we will start our walk around the beautiful Cap Martin Peninsula where we stop for picnic lunch. After lunch we will visit Carnoles Garden, originally surrounding the summer residence of the princes of Monaco. It is one of the notable gardens of France, known for its citrus trees.
We begin our day by taking the train for a 20 minute journey to Eze plage, and carry on by bus to Eze, a medieval village established in the 14th century, offering magnificent views over the coast. From there we will have the option to walk to Mont Bastide castle ruins to admire amazing views before we visit the Exotic Garden which is built 429 meters above sea level on the site of an ancient fortress. It is overlooking the Provencal hill village providing home for cacti, succulents, xerophytes and various Mediterranean species. After some free time in town we will walk down the Nietzsche path to join Eze plage.
Today we take a train or bus to Carnoles followed by a walk to Roquebrune where we enjoy stunning views. Then we walk down to Monaco where we will take the ferry shuttle to cross Monaco harbour. We will discover Monaco’s old town with tiny streets and beautiful buildings as well as the Casino are before we take the train back to Menton.
On your free day you could choose to explore Menton old town. During the 19th century, the British and Russian aristocracy met here in fabulous palaces and villas. The architecture is stunning with the unique baroque style of the Saint-Michel and Conception squares as well as the Saint-Michel Basilica façade. Alternatively you could visit one or more of the 8 gardens of Menton or head further afield to Nice by train or bus and visit its renowned market as well as the 'Promenade des Anglais'. Monaco also has much to offer, particularly its exotic garden which is hanging over the 'Rocher' giving a beautiful view over the city and the sea.
This morning we take the train to Villefranche from where we will walk to the Gavinette point to admire the spectacular view of Villefranche bay. We will continue our walk to Cap Ferrat where we will be charmed by the beauty of Villa de Rotschild.
In the morning there will be an option to take the public bus to the Serre de la Madone garden for a visit (payable locally). In the morning we will take the public bus to the Serre de la Madone garden for a visit. Created by Sir Lawrence Johnston he turned terraces of vines and olives into a garden bright with drifts of agapanthus and strelitzia. After our visit, a private bus will collect and take us to the village of Sainte Agnès. High above Menton town, this village is registered as 'one of the most beautiful French villages'. It hides picturesque streets and artist studios. Perched at 800m of altitude, it offers a breath-taking view over the blue Mediterranean Sea. We then take the bus or walk back to the hotel.
After a relaxed breakfast we say our goodbyes.
Our aim is to provide holidays that are unbeatable for choice and flexibility. We've listed our most popular travel options below, however you aren't limited to these - we can tailor-make virtually any holiday to suit.
Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus an overall rating and comments about their holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted to our website, so that people can make an informed decision based on past experiences before heading off on holiday. We don’t edit the reviews, the only thing we do is proofread them and alter any typos, where necessary, to ensure they are easy to read for everyone. All reviews will be published (except in certain extreme circumstances), and a member of the Headwater team will respond to any constructive criticisms/comments under the reviews, at their discretion. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
Overall, an excellent holiday with a varied walking itinerary, comfortable well located hotel and great weather. The local walking guide, Sandrine, was also excellent.
Excellent variety of mountain and countryside walking combined with experiencing local towns and villages. This holiday rates at the top end of the '2 boot' category with some tough ascents and at least one descent which verges on treacherous (down to Eze). However, our guide Jessica Viale, was an exceptional leader - her local knowledge was encyclopaedic and her mountain and countryside experience made each day's walk a pleasure. She found us wonderful restaurants each evening and was a charming and entertaining dinner companion. She really made the holiday a wonderful experience.
Daily hikes from a base is a great way to go. Very scenic area plus resort amenities nearby if wanted.
You can be confident that our pricing includes all the standard requirements of your holiday and many additional extras. Always ensure that you are comparing like for like when booking your holiday.
This 7 night guided walking holiday includes:
All transport and listed activities
Tour leader throughout
Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
How to book:
This holiday is operated by our sister company, Exodus
7 nights comfortable hotel with en suite facilities
5 days centre-based walking
Low altitude throughout
Altitude maximum 751m, average 350m