At FunAir, we work closely with superyacht crew when designing and supplying our range of superyacht toys and custom yacht inflatables. So, we know that although we all love our ocean playground, we do sometimes crave that firm feel of dry earth under our feet. We understand that time on dry land can be minimal during a busy charter season, and that can prove a challenge for crew who like to stay fit and healthy.
One of the best ways to stay fit and enjoy time ashore has to be hiking. With this in mind, we have put together a list of our favourite hiking spots across the French Riviera, all easily accessible via bus or train from all the major ports. These trails will help utilise that precious time on terra firma by getting the heart pumping and the muscles burning whilst providing some of the best views the region has to offer. Make the most of your days offboard by enjoying some one-on-one time with mother earth and seeing some of the most beautiful sites of the French Riviera.
The South of France is jam-packed with beautiful coastal trails, connecting villages, towns, and cities all along the water. Whether you are a seasoned hiker or more of a casual stroller, there is a good variety of distances and difficulties to suit anybody. Flip your everyday outlook of looking longingly at the shore and appreciate the view of the ocean from the comfort of dry land.
Cap d’ Antibes
This mostly flat hike is around 5km and is a great hike any time of year. Start in Antibes at Garoupe beach and follow the coastal path away from town. The trail winds along the coast around Cap Gros, past Château de la Garoupe and Château de la Croë. The limestone trail ends at the beautiful turquoise beach by Villa Eilen Roc. From there, you can go back the way you came or take the much shorter route via Avenue Beaumont and the main road RD 2559. Or, if you wish to extend the walk, head towards Juan Les Pins, where you can refuel and catch the bus or train back to Antibes.
Located between Beaulieu-sur-Mer and Villefranche-sur-Mer, this 5.9km hike takes around 2 hours, is suitable for all levels, and is good to do all year round. The trail starts in Saint-Jean and ends in the same spot where you started. The path sits between the limestone cliffs and the lush green forest, overlooking the blue Mediterranean Sea, and passes numerous millionaires villas.
Nice – Villefranche
Another gorgeous hike starts at the port of Nice and takes you all the way to Villefranche. This one is an out and back, with the option to walk or take a short bus or train journey back to your starting destination. The hike is a great way to start a Villefranche day trip. One way is 6km and is easily doable all year round. From Nice port, head towards Coco Beach. Boulevard Franck Pilatte will merge into Avenue Jean Lorrain, and just past Coco Beach, you will find a staircase down to the coastal path. Enjoy the panoramic views of Nice behind you and the rocky cliffs and deep blue sea alongside.
If you are searching for incredible views and really want to give your body a workout, then these climbing hikes are the perfect option. Reward yourself with a well-deserved lunch or a cheeky cocktail at the top.
Monaco – La Turbie
This hike is a fraction of the famous Via Alpina trail system, which starts in Monaco and ends in Trieste, Italy, taking in eight countries and covering 1565 miles, making maybe just a little too far for a single day off. The Monaco to La Turbie section covers just 5km of this distance but is mainly a steep uphill hike and so it can prove challenging to those without much hiking experience.
Start in Monaco and pick up the red marker trail from the Place du Palais. You will pass the Jardin Exotique before hiking further up the mountainous path. Along the way, you will see breathtaking views of the principality and surrounding ocean. Once at the top, relax in the picturesque village of La Turbie and visit the Roman Trophy of Augustus.
This trail takes its name from the late philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who lived here in the late 1800S. The hike starts right by the Eze bord-de-Mer train station and leads up to the quaint medieval village of Eze. For experienced hikers, it shouldn’t take more than one hour, but it can feel rather strenuous, thanks to the steep incline. Once at the top, hikers are rewarded with stunning sea views and plenty of delicious restaurants.
A Little Further Afield
If you have access to a car and are ok with a short drive, there are tons of amazing hikes in the local area. If you are lucky enough to have more than one day off, why not make it a little vacation and stay overnight?
Mercantour National Park
Mercantour National Park is just less than an hour’s drive from Nice. There’s over 600km of paths to explore with stunning views of alpine lakes, mountain villages, local flora, and deep valleys. There is something for everyone with hikes ranging from just a few hours long to 16-day expeditions. The best time to visit is between June and September, as there can be deep snow high in the mountains during the rest of the year.
At just over a two-hour drive from Antibes lies the Gorges du Verdon. As the deepest gorge in France, Verdon is one of the South of France’s most breathtaking sights. There is a range of hikes available to suit all abilities. The easiest being the Fisherman’s Trail, an 8km loop that takes in beautiful picnic spots, waterfalls, and caves. The trail takes you down to the bed of the Verdon, offering the chance to take a dip in the pristine waters.
We would love to hear all about your hiking missions in the South of France. Let us know how you get on with these hikes by commenting below or tagging us on socials.
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