Hiking from the Hilltop Villages to the French Riviera

From 975 € pp

  • Duration

    8 days
  • Bookable From

    March - June; Sep. - Mid-Nov.
  • Trip Style

  • Country

  • Physical Rating



Embark on a hiking adventure from the enchanting hilltop villages in Nice's backcountry to the azure coast of the French Riviera.

This self-guided trip provides a great contrast between walking through the mountains and along sun-drenched coastal trails. There will be many swimming opportunities in the Mediterranean Sea along the way!


  • Savour French/Italian fusion in architecture, culture, & cuisine
  • Roam through idyllic villages nestled in wooded valleys, surrounded by mountains
  • Immerse yourself in the colorful markets of Breil sur Roya, Sospel, & Menton
  • Hike to Sainte Agnès, a gem of France's perched villages (& the highest coastline village!)
  • Stroll along the Mediterranean Sea's stunning shores
  • Wander the cobblestone streets of Eze & discover scenic Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
  • Relax in the fishermen's town of Villefranche sur Mer

Behind the French Riviera’s glamour, timeless villages are hidden, tucked away in lush valleys and resting atop rocky crags. The ancient paths wind through forests and follow majestic olive groves. Perched high above the sea, the panoramic views from the hilltop villages are stunning and breathtaking. The centuries-old route eventually leads you straight to the beautiful town of Menton, the last stop along the French Riveria before reaching the Italian border.

Seasonal Notes

The region enjoys a Mediterranean climate characterized by hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. We generally recommend this trip from March to mid-November.

  • March to May: Spring ushers in blossoming landscapes and colorful, picturesque settings. The mild temperatures range from 50°F to 68°F, ideal for hiking. Trails may be muddy from winter rains, so it's advisable to take waterproof hiking gear with you. You shouldn't expect big crowds on the trails or in the villages, making for a pleasant experience.
  • June to August: Summers are dry and can have very high temperatures (~86°F), especially in July and August. If you travel during these peak months, your hikes should be done early in the morning to try to beat the heat. Coastal towns offer opportunities for refreshing swims in the Mediterranean alongside crowds of tourists.
  • September to November: Autumn is another ideal season for this trip with pleasant temperatures ranging from 59°F to 77°F. You'll enjoy the welcome coastal breezes and colorful foliage. The tourist traffic begins to wane, especially in October and November.

To ensure both comfort and sustainability, we highly recommend taking this trip in the spring or autumn. By traveling during less crowded months, you can contribute to tourism dispersal. This helps lessen the environmental impact on the trail and helps spread the economic benefits of tourism beyond the peak season. Plus, you'll get to enjoy a more tranquil experience along the French Riviera!


Day 1 Sospel [France] (arrival day)

Arrival on your own by train from Nice to Sospel (not included). Please advise your arrival time so we can organize the taxi pick-up from the train station to your guesthouse.

The most striking monument in Sospel is the fortified bridge built in the 12th century and used as a toll bridge for travelers, spanning over the Bévera. On the Bévera, Sospel is grouped into two distinct old towns, one on each side of the river. The streets of the old town (both halves) are very narrow with tall buildings. The Place Saint Michel is by far the most colorful and picturesque site in Sospel!

  • Accommodation: La Chapelle Saint Gervais Guesthouse
  • Meals: Dinner

Day 2 Hike Breil sur Roya - Sospel (9 miles | 15km | +800m/-550m)

Linear walk. Approximate hiking time: 5h30

After a short transfer to Breil, you leave Breil sur Roya by foot, giving you a wonderful panorama of the valley. There are two choices in paths above the village and we’ve chosen the one less traveled, following abandoned stone terraces, now dotted with olive trees.

You reach the stunning ghost town of Piène Haute, more Italian than French, perched above the valley. Your path then takes you to Italy – to the colorful town of Olivetta – before returning to France and to the town of Sospel.

  • Accommodation: La Chapelle Saint Gervais Guesthouse
  • Meals: Dinner

Day 3 Hike Sospel - Sainte Agnès (6 miles | 10km | +/-550m)

Linear walk. Approximate hiking time: 4h

A short taxi transfer takes you to the start of your walk. After a gradual climb through a scenic beech forest, the summit appears – and perched well over 1000m above the sea, the Mediterranean appears in all its majesty, as well as the southern Alps!

You reach the perched village of Sainte Agnès, listed among the most beautiful villages in France. Resting at 800m in altitude, this is the highest coastline village in Europe!

  • Accommodation: Le Sainte Yves in St. Agnès
  • Meals: Breakfast

Day 4 Hike Sainte Agnès - Baudon Summit (9 miles | 15km | +/-600m)

Circular walk. Approximate hiking time: 4h20

Pick up your picnic before starting your hike from the perched village of Sainte Agnès. You'll have a steady climb over the Bausson pass. For 30 minutes, you take a small mountain road with a panoramic view of the sea. The summit of the Cime de Baudon offers an exceptional 360° view of the whole region and the surrounding mountain peaks! There is a very beautiful orientation table that allows you to see as far as the summit of the Sainte Beaume and the Alps.

  • Accommodation: Le Sainte Yves in St. Agnès
  • Meals: Breakfast, Picnic

Day 5 Hike Sainte Agnès - Menton (9 miles | 14km | +250m/-950m)

Linear walk. Approximate hiking time: 4h30

Once again, you leave Sainte Agnès by foot. Walking along a deep and scenic valley, you reach the lost villages of Monti and Castellar. Castellar offers quaint streets and restaurants. Your path leads you to the heart of the town of Menton. This is the prettiest town on the French Riviera with its colorful streets winding around in never-ending labyrinths and several architectural treasures.

  • Accommodation: Le Lemon Hotel (2 stars) in Menton
  • Meals: Breakfast

Day 6 Hike Villefranche sur Mer - Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat (7 miles | 12 km | flat terrain)

Linear walk. Approximate hiking time: 3-4h

After breakfast, you take the train with your luggage from Menton to Villefranche sur Mer. It’s a short, 30-minute scenic train ride (buy the local train ticket at your own expense for 4.20€ per person).

You'll leave your luggage at your hotel and start your first walk around the famous Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. This is a beautiful, 3-hour coastal walk. You can also add a detour and walk around the Eastern arm of the peninsula - this adds about one hour of walking time.

  • Accommodation: Le Provençal Hotel (3 stars) in Villefranche sur Mer
  • Meals: Breakfast

Day 7 Hike Eze Village Forth & Back (3 miles | 5km | +/-400m)

Circular walk. Approximate hiking time: 2h

After breakfast, you take a short, 5-minute train ride from Villefranche sur Mer to Eze sur Mer (buy the local train ticket at your own expense for 1.80€ pp).

Eze is a medieval village perched like an eagle's nest overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The ancient fortified village is still crowned with the ruins of its 12th-century fortified castle (torn down in 1706), sitting on a narrow, rocky peak. The castle grounds host the well-known Jardin Exotique, and, from the top (429 m), you'll have a good view of the coast.

After exploring Eze Village, you'll walk back down to Eze sur Mer and take the train back to your hotel (buy the local train ticket at your own expense for 1.80€ pp).

Accommodation: Le Provençal Hotel (3 stars) in Villefranche sur Mer
Meals: Breakfast

Day 8 Villefranche sur Mer (departure day)

After breakfast, the trip comes to an end.


Optional extension: You can catch a train to Nice for your onward travel.

Contact us if you want to customize this itinerary, travel in the off-season (mid-November through February), or have any questions about this trip.

Route Map

Route map showing where hikers will walk from France's hilltop perched villages in Provence down to Menton and then along the French Riviera.

Inclusions & Exclusions

  • 7 nights double occupancy with private facilities

  • 7 breakfasts, 1 picnic lunch, 2 dinners

  • Luggage transfers days 2 to 5

  • Train: Sospel train station to Sospel guesthouse (D1)

  • Train: Sospel guesthouse to Breil sur Roya (D2)

  • Train: Sospel to Castillon Pass (D3)

  • Self-guided walks

  • A full travel kit (welcome letter, vouchers, daily summary, luggage tags)

  • Road Book with detailed walking itineraries & integrated maps

  • GPX files (see FAQ)

  • Emergency contact number

  • Flights to and from the destination

  • All lunches except D4

  • All dinners except D1 & D2

  • Drinks

  • Transportation from Menton to Villefranche with your bags 4.20€ pp (D5)

  • Transportation from Villefranche to Eze and return 1.80€ pp (D6)

  • Entrance fees into museums

  • Insurance

  • Personal items


Prices exclude flights to/from the destination.

Prices are for double room occupancy unless indicated otherwise.

Prices vary between seasons.

  • Low Season: Mar. 1st - 31st; Oct. 1st - Nov. 15th
  • High Season: Apr. 1st - Jun. 26th; Aug. 27th - Sep. 30th
  • Deposit per person

    30% of the trip price

  • Solo Traveler

    Low Season: 1,760 € pp High Season: 1,885 € pp

  • Group of 2-3 travelers - price per person

    Low Season: 1,035 € pp High Season: 1,100 € pp

  • Group of 4-6 travelers - price per person

    Low Season: 975 € pp High Season: 1,050 € pp

  • Single Supplement

    Low Season: 450 € pp High Season: 525 € pp


Our tours offer a unique and eco-friendly way to explore a country on foot or by bike. We believe that tourism can positively impact society in several ways. Firstly, walking and cycling are pollution-free modes of transportation, allowing you to travel in an eco-responsible manner. Additionally, these activities promote physical fitness and provide a rejuvenating break from everyday routines and stress.

By traveling at a slower pace, you have the opportunity to fully enjoy the tours, meet people, and immerse yourself in local culture. We prioritize authentic experiences, introducing you to local accommodations, restaurants, artisans, and farmers. We strive to support sustainable development and responsible tourism by working with small, local, and family-run establishments.

Acknowledging that travel does generate CO2 emissions, we aim to reduce our carbon footprint and have partnered with Reforest'Action, a B Corp company. We calculate the average emissions produced by transportation on our trips and plant trees to offset these emissions. Each traveler's participation results in the planting of one tree, contributing to forest preservation and the development of carbon sinks. Additionally, your actions support the purchase of carbon credits associated with certified forest conservation projects. You can also extend your impact by purchasing and planting additional trees to reduce your carbon footprint in other areas.

Overall, our tours offer a fulfilling and sustainable travel experience, combining the exploration of beautiful landscapes, the appreciation of diverse cultures, and a commitment to environmental responsibility.

Environmental Initiatives

In order to act in a responsible way towards the environment, this trip guarantees to and from route transportation by train. Choosing train travel over other modes of transportation, such as airplanes or cars, significantly reduces carbon emissions. Throughout the adventure, we will be staying 2 nights in each place, except for the day we visit Menton. In this way we promote slow tourism, reducing transportation impact, supporting local economies, and deeply connecting with the local culture.

As hiking is a low-carbon impact activity, our trip is environmentally friendly.

Sociocultural Initiatives

We highlight the local market days, use trains whenever possible (between Menton and Villefranche / Eze), and also upon arrival and departure.

Economic Initiatives

We use very small guesthouses and a simple Auberge, they serve local food and try to make a special effort regarding recycling, zero plastic use, eco-friendly cleaning products, and energy and water savings.

Health & Safety

Be sure you have traveler's insurance.
It's recommended to be in good physical condition to do this trip.


What does the physical rating of "Average" mean?

This trip is suitable for you if you enjoy regular exercise, are keen to set off on all-day walks, and can handle walking uphill (slowly) for up to two hours at a time. Walks are generally under 5 hours, on various types of terrain -- though nothing technically difficult -- with up to 600m/2000ft of climbing per day.

What are the accommodations like?

All our accommodations are in line with our values. They reduce plastic use, prioritize eco-friendly cleaning products, and serve local homemade food and dishes.

Is this trip safe for female, solo, LGBTQ+, and BIPOC travelers?

Yes, this trip is safe for all genders and groups.

What are GPX files?

To follow the hikes on an application, guests can download a GPX-viewer app of their choice and then open the hikes and follow them digitally instead of reading the route notes. GPX files are electronic versions of the hike and are provided in addition to the paper roadbook. They are a bit like a GPS in your car, showing you the way on your mobile phone where you have to hike. Nowadays, most clients no longer read the road book or use it just a little bit, as it is more comfortable to follow the route on your phone or watch.

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