- At a glance
- Locality & Walks
- Accommodation & Meals
- Travel options
Your Holiday at a Glance
|Independent Walking Holidays||
|Dates for 2020||
|Price (with luggage transport - except on 3 consecutive nights)||
|Price (without luggage transport)||
|Accommodation and Meals||
|What's not included||
Alpine Adventure - Roya to Menton via GR52
This is an alternative final leg of our Alpine Adventure following the entire length of the French Alps. This walking holiday takes a longer trail via the GR52 (rater than the GR5) going via the heart of the Mercantour National Park before finishing in Menton. Discover beautiful lakes surrounded by rocky summits & the famous Vallee des Merveilles.
We have split the our trek through the French Alps into several self-guided walking holidays, although it would be possible to combine them. The traverse of the French Alps is a truly unforgettable experience as you head south passing by the majestic summits of the Mont Blanc range before passing through the Vanoise and Mercantour National Parks. Your wonderful trail passes through a variety of landscapes, wildlife habitats and historic sites including the green alpine pastures of the Savoy, rocky deserts in the Queyras, beautiful perched villages of the Roya, snowy peaks of the Mont Blanc and ibex in the Mercantour. Our holidays include luggage transfers where possible (if you wish) so that you can enjoy the amazing scenery with only a light day pack.
This alternative ending is a must-do for those wishing to explore the majestic and wild Mercantour National Park. The Mercantour is the last high mountain range of the Alps before it plunges directly into the Mediterranean. Acclaimed for being one of the wildest and most unspoilt parts of the French Alps, Mercantour has a contrasting range of landscapes. The Mercantour National Park has 7 summits of 3000m, a rich and diverse wildlife, as well as over 100 high altitude lakes. In addition, the proximity of the Mercantour region to the south coast of France, gives these alpine mountains a Mediterranean touch with a large diversity of wildlife including ibex, marmots and a large number of wild flowers. You will also have the opportunity to have a guided visit in the Vallee des Merveilles to discover the stunning pre-historic engravings.
9 days self-guided walking between accommodation. Walking per day amounts to an average of 5 - 8hrs walking, over 15-20km and 925m of ascent and descent. Maximum altitude gain: 1450m. The walk follows the GR52 for the most part. The walks take place on way-marked paths, although they are mountainous and rocky in nature with some more difficult rocky passages, which would be made more difficult in snow or ice. The 9-day walking holiday is a strenuous undertaking due to the sustained nature of the walking, especially over the first 4 days. There are also a couple of long days. You should have a reasonable level of fitness and be experienced in walking on mountainous terrain with a good head for heights.
Day 1: Arrival
Arrive in St Etienne de Tinnee. Night in hotel or gite
Day 2: Roya (1490m) - Roure (1883m)
Transfer after breakfast from St Etienne de Tinee to Roya. You'll cross alpine meadows to reach the mountain pass known as Col de Crousette (2480m). You'll then have a wonderful ridge walk with great views as you head towards Col de Moulines. Descend to reach the narrow valley of Roure and your accommodation.+1330m ; - 940 m; 7hrs
Day 3: Roure (1883m) - Saint Dalmas Valdeblore (1050m)
A gentle descent of the Roure Valley brings you to the pretty hamlet of Roure itself before moving on to discover the village of Saint Sauveur sur Tinee where you'll now be at only 450m in altitude. Climb back up hill to discover the historic perched villages of the region including Rougios, La Bolline and Rimplas. +1070m ; - 1685 m; 7hr 15
Day 4: Valdeblore (1050m) - col du Barn (2452m) - Le Boreon (1500m)
A steady climb back north to head over Col du Barn at 2452m and then enter the Mercantour National Park. Great views from the border between Italy and France. After a rough initial descent, go through several forested valleys, crossing the Salese col before descending to your gite in the village of Boreon. +1385m ; - 1145 m; 7hrs
Day 5: Le Boreon (1500 m) - Pas des Ladres (2448 m) - La Madone de Fenestre (1820 m)
The GR52 climbs through a forested valley to the pretty Lake Trecolpas. Before reaching the rugged Pas des Ladres. You can then ascend Cime de l’Agnelliere if you wish before deciding whether to go via Col de Fenstre on the Italian border before descending to the refuge at la Madonne de Fenestre.
+1000m ; - 600 m; 5hrs
Day 6: La Madone de Fenestre (1820 m) - Pas du Mont Colomb (2548 m) - Refuge de Nice (2232 m)
The GR52 climbs without much in the way of a rest to the steep and rocky slopes of Pas du Mont Colomb. The descent is equally challenging. Go past Lac de la Fous to reach Refuge de Nice. You can leave your bag at the hut and make a climb to the beautiful small lakes of Mont Clapier.
+715m ; - 410 m; 3hr 30
You could decide to continue to Refuge des Merveilles and combine days 6 and 7 (and therefore one less night). The short day is designed to allow you to have time to visit the pre-historic engravings on day 7.
Day 7: Refuge de Nice (2232 m) - Baisses du Basto (2693 m) et de Valmasque (2549 m) - Refuge des Merveilles (2130 m)
This is a short day but it takes time because the ground is steep and rocky in wonderful high mountain scenery. Care is needed on the climb to Baisse du Basto. Then climb over Col Valmasque and descend past beautiful lakes to reach the Vallee Merveilles and its wonderful pre-historic treasures. You will have the time to book on a guided tour to visit the pre-historic rock carvings. +625m ; - 725 m; 4hrs
Day 8: Refuge des Merveilles (2130 m) - Crête de Lauthion (2000 m) - Turini, Camp d’Argent (1740 m)
Climb past further pretty lakes and reservoirs towards Pas du Diable. Just before the pass it’s possible to make an ascent of Cime du Diable. From the pass and summit you'll get your first views of the Medierranean Sea. Following the main descent its an easier trail that leads to Col de Raus, Pointe des Trois Communes, close to a fort and then onto Camp d’Argent +580m ; -955 m; 5hrs
Day 9: Turini, Camp d’Argent (1470m) - Crete de Ventabren (1900m) - Sospel (350m)
A great walk on the Ventabren ridgeline with stunning views. This is followed by a long and mostly forested descent which leads towards the historic town of Sospel. The vegetation changes as you descend and starts to become Mediterranean in appearance as you leave the larch and spruce behind and maritime pine and olive trees start to make their appearance. +470m ; -1850 m; 6hrs 45
Day 10: Sospel (350m) - Col du Berceau (1100m) - Menton
Your final day is a long and often wooded walk which goes from one col to another. There is the chance to climb to the summit of Gramondo for fantatstic views of the Mediterranean. As you walk you'll brush lavender and thyme giving off a wondeful perfum. A long and steep descent leads to Menton and the Mediterranean Sea as the forests give way to white limestone and the blue Med. The mountains plunge directly into the sea. Take one last look back at the summits before taking a well-earned dip in the Med. +1090m ; -1410 m; 7hrs 15
Holiday ends after walk on day 10 or book extra night's accommodation in Menton.
Accommodation & Meals
You’ll be staying in a mixture of simple hotels, walkers gites and mountain refuges in private rooms for 2 (except 3 nights in shared dormitories). Traditional mountain food.
|Refuge de Nice||Refuge||
Traditional mountain refuge at 2230m in the heart of the Mercantour.
|Auberge Provencale, Sospel||Hotel||
Two star accommodation in the village of Sospel
Make your own way to St Etienne de Tinne at the start of the holiday. First make your way to Nice.
By Train & Bus
Eurostar and the TGV provide a relaxing journey from London via Lille or Paris or direct to Lyon. From Lyon or Paris catch a TGV train to Nice. Some services require a change in Toulon.
From Nice take bus service 740 from Nice Vauban at 9am and 4.30pm on most days to get to St Etienne de Tinee. Journey time is about 2 hours.
By Air and & Bus
Flights from French and UK airports to Nice Cote d'Azur airport. Operators from UK airports include Flybe, Easyjet & British Airways. Shuttle bus to Nice centre and train station. Then bus as above. Return from Menton to Nice by regular train services.
Please contact us for assistance in organising your travel arrangements