Verdon Gorge Trek

Verdon Gorge Trek

  • Trek 'Europe's Grand Canyon'

  • Explore this UNESCO-listed National Park

  • Discover lavender fields and Provençal villages

  • Enjoy two nights in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

  • Explore the Basses Gorges du Verdon (the region's stunning lower gorges)

Why Choose Cloud 9 Adventure

  • Outstanding fully-qualified guides

  • A night in the beautiful medieval village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

  • Enjoy fabulous Provençal food and wine

  • Full luggage delivery

Verdon Gorge Trek: Dates and Prices

AT A GLANCE

 

7 nights

6 days' trekking

Luggage delivery

Group size 4-10

 

Price: £1395

 

Join: Saint André les Alpes

End: Gréoux-Les-Bains

 

Nearest airports: Nice & Marseille

ACCOMMODATION

7 nights in hotels

 

 

DIFFICULTY GRADING

5

Moderate

Verdon Gorge Trek: Overview

The Verdon Gorge is Europe's most beautiful river canyon, set in its own national park. It is roughly 25km long, 8m to 90m wide at its base, and up to 1500m wide at the rims. In 1997 the national park became a UNESCO world heritage site, and the largest geological reserve in Europe. Our Verdon Gorge Trek takes us on a variety of stunning walks, exploring the gorge and its surrounding villages. One of the highlights of the trip is a section running between the medieval towns of Castellane and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, where the river has cut a dramatic ravine into the limestone rock that reaches down to a depth of 700 metres in places.

 

On this fabulous trek we also explore the very best of Provence, with its picturesque villages, sparkling rivers, dramatic rock formations, hidden tunnels, breathtaking views, and some of the best food and wine in the world. Highlights include a night in the famous medieval village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie and the ancient Roman town of Gréoux-les-Bains. 

What to expect

The days are moderately-paced, as we take time to stop and take in the views, but each day will typically be around 7-8 hours of hiking, so you will definitely need a good level of fitness. We have luggage access throughout the week, so we will only need to carry day packs. During the trek we will stay in authentic hotels, in small villages. All the hotels are a minimum 2*, and our group will share ensuite twin rooms.  

Verdon Gorge Trek: Itinerary

 

Day 1 - Arrival in Saint André les Alpes

The group will meet at our hotel in Saint André Les Alpes, which is a quiet Provençal village resting on a 12th century medieval castle built by the Templar Knights. The guide will give an informal briefing about the days to come, and will answer any questions you may have about the week ahead.

 

Accommodation: Hotel, dinner included

Luggage access

Day 2 - Trek from Saint André les Alpes to Castellane

Our first day’s walk begins with a steady ascent through beautiful woodland, and on to the high meadows. From here we enjoy fabulous views of Lac de Castillon, as well as the peaks of Haute Provence behind us. We climb up and over the limestone plateau, which is our highest point of the trip at 1412 metres. We then descend and join the Voie Impériale; the same trail used by Napoleon on his return from Elba in 1815. Around an hour later we will reach the village of Castellane. If we have made good time we can choose to head up to the 'Notre Dame de Roc', where we will find wonderful views of Castellane and the Verdon River. 

 

Accommodation: Hotel, dinner included

Luggage access

Walking: approx 6 hours

Distance: 24km

Altitude gain / loss: +750m / -950m

 

Day 3 - Trek from Castellane to Point Sublime

As we leave Castellane we join the famous GR4, which follows the route used by the Romans to reach Lyon. There is a short climb up to a balcony trail, from where we can see our route laid out ahead of us. We continue along the Verdon valley, surrounded by rocky outcrops and peaceful hamlets. We stop for lunch at the beautiful Chasteuil, where we can also buy soaps, balms and oils, all made with locally-grown lavender. We then have a further ascent to a plateau at 1228 metres, then on to the village of Rougon, where we can take a break and sample the local crêpes and ice cream. If we're lucky we might even be able to spot a Griffon Vulture soaring overhead. From here we have a short descent to the village of Point Sublime, and our base for the night.

Accommodation : Hotel, dinner included

Luggage access

Walking: approx 6-7 hours

Distance: 23km

Altitude gain / loss: +700m / -650m

 

Day 4 - Trek from Point Sublime to La Palud

Today we enter the gorge itself; otherwise known as the 'Grand Canyon of Europe'. Our trail today is a little more challenging. At the Couloir Samson we drop down towards the river, along the steep walls of the gorge, and join what is known as the 'Martel Trail'. Our trail leads us along the gorge, past stunning limestone walls and dramatic cliffs. Highlights today include a 650 metre tunnel through the rock, and an impressive stairway. A final ascent takes us out of the gorge. A little further on, and if we have made good time, we can stop at the Chalet de la Maline bar, and enjoy its breathtaking panoramic view. We then take a short transfer to our hotel in the lovely Provençal village of La Palud.

Accommodation: Hotel, dinner included

Luggage access

Walking: approx 7 hours

Distance: 16km

Altitude gain / loss: +550m / -600m

Day 5 - Trek from La Palud to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

We start the day with an ascent through the pine tree forest of Col de Plein Voir, and up to a viewpoint with spectacular views over the turquoise lake of Sainte-Croix. We continue past huge limestone crags and rock towers, on to the Crêtes de l'Ourbès, reaching a height of 1213 metres. A fairly steep descent takes us down to the pretty village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. Moustiers is a real gem, and steeped in the history of the Knights Templar. It has an authentic Provençal character with lovely cafes, art workshops and galleries. This is the first of our two nights here.

Accommodation: Hotel, dinner included

Luggage access

Walking: approx 6-7 hours

Distance: 19km

Altitude gain / loss: +750m / -1000m

Day 6 - Circular trek around Lac de Sainte Croix

We begin today with a beautiful circular hike along the shores of blue-green Lac de Sainte Croix (after a short transfer to begin our walk near Les Salles-sur-Verdon). We’ll have lovely views over the lake and the small island of Costebelle and we’ll skirt round a promontory which juts out into the lake to end in Aiguines - a village with shops and a museum and a place renowned for its wood turning. For around 20 minutes today we’ll need to use our hands and feet as there is a short scrambling section. This area has a fascinating history. In 1908, a plan was mooted to flood the Salles valley with the Verdon river, engulfing the ancient villages of Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon and Bauduen. Luckily, these two villages were themselves spared when the eventual flooding took place between 1968 and 1973. We’ll head back to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie for our second evening.

 

Accommodation: Hotel, dinner included

Luggage access

Walking: approx 6 hours

Distance: 15km

Altitude gain / loss: +650m / -305m

 

Day 7 - Trek from Moustiers-Sainte-Marie to Gréoux-les-Bains 

Today's our last day of trekking. After a 35-minute transfer we’ll arrive in the old village of Quinson to begin our exploration of the Basses Gorges du Verdon, the lower gorges of the Verdon river. In prehistoric times, humans settled in the caves here and the town’s museum (which claims to be Europe’s largest prehistoric museum) details their history. We’ll also trek some of the route of the Verdon Canal path, made in 1865 and used until recently to channel water to Aix-en-Provence. The oak trees en route are used in the region’s charcoal industry. Back in the valley, expect dreamy pools with aquamarine water and peaceful little coves before we head up to the day’s high point, the ancient chapel of St Maxime. Come evening we’ll transfer from Quinson to the picturesque village of Gréoux-les-Bains. Brimming with shops, cafes and life, this is the perfect place to end our memorable traverse of the Verdon Gorge.

 

Accommodation: Hotel, dinner included

Luggage access

Walking: approx 5 hours

Distance: 12km

Altitude gain / loss: +300m / -420m

Day 8 - Departure day

Our trip finishes after breakfast.

Included

  • 7 nights' accommodation on twin-share basis

  • All dinners and breakfasts

  • All transport mentioned in the itinerary

  • Fully qualified & experienced International Mountain Leader

  • Luggage access on all 7 nights

Not Included

  • Flights and transfers

  • Travel insurance including Mountain Rescue Insurance (compulsory)

  • Lunches

  • Personal drinks & snacks

  • Tips

Verdon Gorge Trek: Book Online

The Park, Waresley, Sandy, Beds SG19 3BS

+44 208 144 8102     

info@cloud9adventure.com

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