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At a Glance

Your Holiday at a Glance


Independent walking holiday
  • Auvergne - Volcanoes, Lakes and Historic Villages

Dates for 2022
  • Mid May - end of September
  • From £730 (single supplement £220)
  • From €820 (single supplement €250)
  • Loyalty scheme reduction applies for returning customers (see terms and conditions)
  • moderate to challenging walking holiday grade
  • Varied and interesting walking through spectacular volcanic landscapes
  • A region of perfectly preserved volcanic domes easily accessible on foot
  • Dramatic waterfalls, beautiful lakes and strange rock formations
  • Historic villages with important romanesque churches built from the volcanic stone
  • Great views and abundant wildlife
  • Welcoming guest house in historic buildings
  • Choice of walks to suit varied tastes and at different levels
Accommodation and Meals
  • 7 nights accommodation in small guest houses and auberges, double and twin rooms with own bathrooms. All breakfasts included, 6 packed lunches and 7 evening meals
What's included
  1. 7 nights' accommodation
  2. Full Board. (with the exception of lunches on day of arrival and departure and one evening meal)
  3. Detailed walking notes and maps, including information about the region and the sites on route
What's not included
  1. Travel to guest house (see travel shop for transport operators)
  2. Car hire (if you do not travel with your own vehicle)
  3. Lunches on the day of arrival and departure
  4. Drinks with evening meals
  5. Any excursions or entrance fees
  6. Travel insurance

Return to list of independent walking holidays, also see our self guided walking holiday: Tour of Sancy

See travel diary from the Auvergne

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Auvergne & Walks

This independent walking holiday explores the Northern Auvergne in central France which is home to some of the finest landscapes in France. They make for interesting and varied walking with lush green valleys sheltering beneath windswept upland ridges and peaks, affording breathtaking views in all directions. The Auverge is also the region with the highest number of Romanesque churches and monuments in France. For the most part built on celtic sacred sites, these works of art tell a tale of labour, faith and passion of the middle ages. Whether it be important churches, smaller but no less charming chapels or historic villages such as Orcival and Besse, they are set within sumptuous naturel scenery protected within a regional natural park. This self-guided French walking holiday will explore many of the features that make up this beautiful landscape including volcanic and glacial lakes, volcanic domes, rocky cliffs, secluded valleys and dramatic waterfalls. In the north, the Chaine des Puys are a range of 80 geologically recent volcanic domes and cones which stretch as far as the eye can see. These varied landscapes are also a haven for wildlife, including birds of prey, deer, marmots and a host of wild flowers.

Find out more about the Auvergne and its average weather conditions

Walking profile

The walks on this independent walking holiday in Auvergne are graded moderate to challenging and explore the full range of landscapes found in the northern Auvergne. There is the option of making some walks longer or shorter as required. Longer days out on the hills can be interspresed with shorter easier days exploring the lakes and villages of the region. The walking holiday notes include more walks than you have days in the holiday, so that you can choose your walks based on the weather, your interests or the level of difficulty. Ascents are generally no more than a couple of hundred metres at a time. Average length is about 15km. All the walks are on good paths, although they are sometimes on hilly/mountainous terrain. The upland terrain, is occasionally rocky and requires a degree of surefootedness as well as a good head for heights.

map location of Auvergne in France

Possible walking days

A stroll amid the volcanoes

This circular walk ascends the Puy Pariou in the Puy de Dome area; a remarkable landscape found in the northern Auvergne which is unique in Europe. With some volcanoes as young as 7000 years old, this region of perfectly preserved volcanic cones lets you walk back in time to an era when lava and hot ash filled the skies. After climbing onto the Puy Pariou you'll complete a gentle traverse underneath a series of volcanoes. 12km, +330m

Puy de Dome

The Puy de Dome, the highest and most impressive of all the volcanoes at 1465m, is also the site of a 1st century Roman Temple. A short but steep walk takes you to the summit for remarkable views in all directions across a sea of volcanoes. An alternative way to reach the top is via the new railway which opened in 2012.

Ascent of Puy de la Vache and Puy de Lassolas

These volcanoes are distinctive features, although they are not always visible from the surrounding roads. They are two volcanoes made of red rock with little vegetation cover, giving the impression that they’ve only recently erupted. They are both collapsed on one side and there ascents make for an interesting short excursion and provide great views of the Puy de Dome. The walk can be extended to explore the chaotic lava flows in the area. 13km, +395m

Around Orcival

This walk visits the pretty historic village of Orcival nestled in a secluded valley and its 12th century basilica. This walk also passes chateaux, chapels, historic villages. After climbing away from the historic village of Rochefort Montagne the trail takes you along a delightful ridge to the edge of a beautiful glaciated valley with great views of the surrounding peaks, before descending to Orcival via a pilgrims path with the Stations of the Cross. Your return goes via the Chateau des Cordes and the hamlet of St Martin de Tours. 18km, +480m

Descent from the Puy de Sancy

You’ll take the cable car from Mont Dore to the top of the Puy de Sancy, a spectacular summit with amazing views, which is not only the highest point in the Auvergne, but in the whole of the Massif Central, reaching 1885m (6184ft). After taking in the views you have the choice of two walks leading back down the valley. The longer option follows the glacial u-shaped valley revealing a multitude of views of rocky faces, dramatic waterfalls and views over the surrounding hills and valleys. 13, +500m

La Banne d'Ordanche

Near the town of Mont Dore, this moderate walk starts by the Col de Guéry where there are great views of two volcanic rock towers which stand like sentinels either side of a beautiful glaciated valley. After walking past Lac Guéry you'll ascend by a gentle path to the Banne d'Ordanche, offering great views of the Puy de Sancy. 14km, +465m

Montagne de Capucin

From just above the village of Mont Dore, this short walk climbs to reach the edge of the u-shaped valley of the Dordogne where you can ascend the summit of la Capucin for great views of the Puy de Sancy and the other summits in this mountain range. You can extend the walk to take in a higher summit nearby.

Lac Pavin and Besse

This walking trail in Auvergne starts in the historic village of Besse en Chandesse with its town walls and pretty cottages built from volcanic rock which you can explore at the end of the walk. Your route follows a pretty glaciated valley to lac pavin, a remarkable circular volcanic lake, the youngest volcanic formation in France. A lovely walk around its rim is followed by a traverse across varied countryside, with volcanic peaks, forest, wetlands and green pasture back to the village. 14.5km, +290m

Lake Chambon, Murol & St Nectaire

Choice of walks with a chance to visit the medieval chateau at Murol, the village of St Nectaire, known for its famous cheese and home of a remarkable 12th century church and the beautiful lake Chambon. 

waterfall in auvergne France

Orcival with basilica on selg guided walking

lac guery in France on walking holiday in Auvergne

puy de dome volcano in Auvergne

valley in Auvergne on independent walking holiday in France

lac pavin on French independent walking holiday

photo of Besse in Auvergne historic village

Puy de Sancy self guided walking holiday in Auvergne, France

Once you have booked on this independent walking holiday in France, further information about the walking, the region and what to bring, will be sent to you. We do have a web page dedicated to what clothes and equipment you should bring. In addition, our travel shop has direct access to all the top walking and travel retailers. Please contact us if you need any further information.



Accommodation & Meals

On this self-guided walking holiday in the Auvergne, you will be staying in two or three small guest houses which are also auberges. They are in traditional Auvergne properties offering authentic and comfortable accommodation. They are located across the northern Auvergne to reduce the amount of driving to each of the walks.

A hearty and healthy continental breakfast provides the perfect opportunity to discover the local specialities such as home-made jams and local cheeses. At midday you will eat packed lunches prepared by our hosts. All evening meals will be taken at your guest houses. Delicious local specialities will be served every evening.

Name Type Details Rating  
Ferme de Fontaneix Auberge Renovated historic farm situated in a great location at the foot of Mont Sancy near the Lac Pavin. Wonderful cuisine.   Ferme de Fontaneix Sancy Auvergne puy de dome France guided walking holiday
Auberge Fondain Auberge Renovated large country house in rural location with elegant rooms and large grounds    
Travel Options

Travel Options

This page provides some useful information about how to get to your independent walking holiday in the Auvergne region of France from the UK. Please contact us if you would like help in organising your travel arrangements or would like more information about arriving from other countries. Please visit our travel store for links to transport providers.

Self Drive

Channel ferry crossings from Dover are provided by a number of operators including P&O Ferries & DFDS seaways. Crossings are also provided by train with Eurotunnel.

Once in France, the journey from Calais to the Auvergne area takes about 7-8 hours (excluding long breaks). Tolls amount to about 35 euros each way. This option would allow you to access the walks without having to hire a car.


The nearest airport is Clermont Ferrand which only has limited services which change each year. Consult the airport website for more details. There maybe connecting flights via Amsterdam.Other airports served by low-cost carriers are Limoges and Rodez in the west, and Lyon Saint Exupery in the east. A number of airlines fly from the UK to these airports, including Easyjet, BMI and British Airways.

All the main car hire firms are available at these airports.


Eurostar and the TGV provide a relaxing journey from London to Lyon Part Dieu direct or changing at Lille. From here its a two and a half hour train journey to Clermont Ferrand. Alternatively you can take Eurostar to Paris. After changing stations at Paris, its about a 4 hour journey to Clermont Ferrand. The nearest car hire firm to the train station (less than 2 minutes) in Clermont is AVIS Please be aware that many car hire firms close for 2 or 3 hours at lunch time.

Please use Rail Europe's train finder on our travel shop page to organise your train journey.




Auvergne region Puy de Dome France
Auvergne region Puy de Dome France
Grande Cascade Puy de Sancy Auvergne guided walking France

Valley near Puy de Sancy Auvergne guided walking France

View towards Puy de Dome Auvergne guided walking France
Besse et st Anastaise Auvergne region Sancy France guided walking holiday