We’ve got three FABULOUS new self-guided walking trips in the French Riviera and Madeira, which are a must if you love panoramic mountain and coastal views and interesting culture.
Forget the famous coastal strip of the French Riviera in the south of France - did you know that exploring the mountains and picturesque villages inland reveal really spectacular rewards? And, being in France, enjoy fuelling up on mouth-watering local delicacies and wines along the way.
Our new one or two-week walking trips on the volcanic Portuguese island of Madeira offer dramatic coastal, mountain and forest vistas too and a great variety of hiking options.
On this eight-day, moderate-grade walk following a network of village trails between Grasse and Menton you’ll be mesmerized by dramatic, varied scenery, starting with the ancient buildings and fragrance from the perfume industry in Grasse. There are the summits and passes of the Mercantour to admire, medieval ‘perched’ villages to explore and superb views over the azure Mediterranean. The warm, temperate climate nurtures cheerful mimosas, box trees, yews and groves of orange, lemon and olive.
The steep gorges are impressive and you’ll enjoy sparkling waterfalls en-route. Discover 13th-century castles and beautiful cathedrals. Add to this views of the regions of Cannes, Nice, Antibes and Monaco down on the Riviera below and you’ll understand why Queen Victoria described the landscape as ‘a paradise of nature’. You’ll finally arrive in Menton with its old town and beaches: tradition says that you must have a swim in the refreshing water!
Enjoy the emerald East of Madeira
Starting in Funchal, you’ll head to the Sao Lourenço Peninsula. The rock face displays age old volcanic action, eroded by the fury of the Atlantic Ocean. This area is dry and desert-like and offers a contrast to the rest of the island, which is lush and verdant.
Take the northern coastal path and hike along the traditional Madeiran irrigation channels, known as ‘levadas’, surrounded by mimosas. Walk through lush gardens to the charming village of Porto da Cruz on the coast, where you can take a dip in the basaltic swimming pool.
For a complete contrast, head to the mountainous Pico de Gato for panoramic views and then go down to the pass of Encumeada, overlooked by the Paul da Serra plateau and gigantic wind turbines. Arrive in the Boca de Corrida, with its magnificent views over the Curral das Freiras valley and the central massif.
Our two-week walking trip builds on the above itinerary and also includes the Levada of Nova, the heights of Prazeres, Porto Moniz on the northern coast, and Rabacal, ‘the country of waterfalls’ - where you can hike three levadas in the heart of the emerald mountains.