Verdon Gorge & GR4: Europe's Grand Canyon
Verdon Gorge & GR4: Europe's Grand Canyon
Verdon Gorge & GR4: Europe's Grand Canyon
Verdon Gorge & GR4: Europe's Grand Canyon
Verdon Gorge & GR4: Europe's Grand Canyon
Verdon Gorge & GR4: Europe's Grand Canyon

Verdon Gorge: Europe's Grand Canyon


Long distance hiking holiday in France

Hike the Grand Canyon of Europe! If you love dramatic landscapes and the power of nature, then this is one for you. Experience the stunning limestone gorge carved by the Verdon river, one of the most beautiful in Europe and a magnet for walkers, climbers, bird watchers, geologists and canoeists from around the world. We walk from the foothills of Haute Provence through the Verdon National Park, and some of the most dramatic scenery in France as we make our way along the GR4. We spend 4 days completing a point-to-point journey, then enjoy two beautiful day hikes, including the spectacular lower gorges of the Verdon river. 

Highlights

  • Discover the spectacular 'Grand Canyon' of Europe
  • Follow in the footsteps of Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Spend two nights in the famous village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
  • Wander beside lavender fields, olive groves and truffle farms
  • Eat crepes whilst watching griffon vultures in flight
  • Explore the pre-history of the lower gorges
  • Stay in a mix of characterful family run accommodation
  • Three hotels with outside pools

The 25km (15.6 miles) of the Verdon Gorge makes it the largest canyon in Europe and second in the world slicing through the limestone plateau midway between Avignon and Nice. Carved by the turquoise water of the Verdon River, the gorge is between 250m (829ft) to 700m (2296ft) deep. The bottom is 8m (26ft) to 90m (295ft) wide, while the rims are 200m (656ft) to 1500m 4920ft) apart! The National Regional Park of Verdon was created in 1997 to protect an environment that has evolved over two million years and also prides itself in being labelled by UNESCO as the largest geological reserve in Europe. 


Home again, time to reflect ……but I’m ready for the next! Provence was beautiful and the itinerary varied, the hotels comfortable, breakfasts delicious and the group fun to be with. Our ‘Ultra fit’ Mountain Man from Chamonix is a wonderful guide, great company and considerate. A big ‘thank you’ to Seb and Tracks and Trails for the highlight of the week…….The Verdon Gorge on a gorgeous day! I’m itching to be back in the Alps and hope to book a future winter/summer trip.

This trip had everything I needed for a perfect holiday. Our guide, Seb, is very knowledgeable and told us intriguing tales about the trails. The accommodations and food were fantastic, that includes our lunch stops along the route. The trails were along magnificent scenes I almost had a hard time processing them in 3D!

It’s hard to pick a winner when it comes to the accommodation. Lindsay our guide was absolutely excellent, knowledgeable, helpful and friendly and a pleasure to spend seven days with. Memorable moment? That’s a tough one, maybe picnic lunch overlooking Lac Sainte-Croix.

Itinerary

  • airport
  • accommodation
  • meet in
  • train
  • bus
  • route
  • route
  • This evening you will meet your guide in the small village of Saint-André-les-Alpes. Saint André sits at the head of the turquoise Lac de Castillon. This quiet, Provençal village was built on the site of a 12th century medieval castle built by the Templar Knights and can be easily linked by road with other Provencal regions on what's known as the Route La Lavande.

  • From our hotel in Saint-André-les-Alpes we take the famous long distance walking route the GR4 which follows the old route used by the Romans to reach Lyon. We ascend steadily through mixed woodland to reach high meadows and a ridge on the western side of the lake which offers excellent views of the Lac de Castillon, the neighbouring valley and back towards the peaks of Haute Provence. The trail meanders over a high a limestone plateau where in springtime the primroses can be found in abundance. On the way we pass the pine trees where local people can be found collecting the sap to make 'pine sweets'. After passing old farm buildings used by the French Resistance fighters in World War 2, we then descend and join the famous Voie Imperiale, a trail used by Napoleon returning from Elba, in March 1815. Our destination today is the village of Castellane a beautiful example of the architecture of the area. If time allows a walk up to the 'Notre Dame de Roc' is well worth it as from here we gain commanding views of Castellane and the Verdon River.

    Ascent: 790m (2591ft) Descent: 850m 2788ft) Distance: 20km (12.5 miles) Duration: 7h00

  • We leave Castellane at a Romand bridge and continue along the GR4 trail which to begin with follows the Verdon River. We then climb gradually on easy wide trails to gain our first views of the Verdon valley. With the river running beneath us, towering cliffs, and jagged rocky spires line our path. We pass sleepy hamlets and houses typical of the region, with red tiles and terracotta walls. We plan to stop for our picnic lunch at the lovely old school, now a gite, at Chasteuil which is run by Pascal. The family hand make lovely cosmetics and lotions made from natural ingredients and if he is open there is always the temptation to buy a few samples! We then make a second steady climb, again on good tralis, to reach a high wide open plateau where we are rewarded by our first views of the Verdon Gorges itself. As our trail descends we arrive at the medieval village and castle of Rougon. Perched on a rocky outcrop Rougon has a small chapel at it's centre, connected by narrow cobbled streets and is home to various artists and the best creperie we know (and that is saying a lot!). From here we enjoy great views of the 'Grand Canyon' of the Verdon and if we are lucky we will see the magnificent griffon and black vultures. The association of "Vultures in Haute Provence" reintroduced the birds in the 1990's and watching them in flight with their 2.5m (8ft) wing span is a highlight of the trip. A further 30 minutes brings us down to the head of the gorge to the perfectly situated Auberge du Point Sublime, our hotel for the night. If we are unable to stay at the auberge our alternative accommodation will be at the creperie 'gite' in Rougon village called Le Mur d'Abeilles, which means the 'bee wall'.

    Ascent: 780m (2558ft) Descent: 750m (2460ft) Distance: 20km (12.5 miles) Duration: 7h00

  • Today we enter the famous 'French Grand Canyon'. From our auberge, we have a short walk to the trail which leads us down to the Couloir Samson and the Verdon river 300m (984ft) below. Here, the trail is more challenging under foot as we descend toward the river along the steep walls of the gorge joining what is known as the 'Martel Trail'. What follows is a stunning world of limestone, towering cliffs and jade green waters. This trail was laid out in 1928 by the Touring Club of France and takes the name of the French speleologist, Édouard-Alfred Martel (1859-1938), who undertook the first complete descent into the canyon in August 1905. After a day of exploring we have a steep climb out of the Gorge, but the good news is that we exit the gorge at a bar, which seems to go down rather well! Tonight we stay in the lovely Provencal village of La Palud.

    Ascent: 700 m (2296ft) Descent: 700m (2296ft) Distance: 16km (10 miles) Duration: 7h00

  • The trail today leads up and through a large pine forest to the Col de Plein Voir which has the name suggests is an  exceptional viewpoint above the turquoise lake of Saint Croix. It is very pleasant walking today as we make our way on a single track trail through larch and pine forests along the Crete de l'Ourbes, a limestone craggy top, to reach 1213m (3978ft). The trail offers views to both sides, and is one of our favourite days. A final, steeper and rocky descent brings us to the valley floor and the picturesque village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, where we spend the night. Moustiers, steeped in the history of the Knights Templar, is a gem of a village. It is totally Provençal in its nature with many lovely art workshops and galleries to visit. The village is known throughout the world for its ceramics, and the Faience tradition. Examples can be found in the workshops and galleries but also at the Faïence museum. Definitely plenty of retail therapy today, if you want it! Tonight and tomorrow night we stay in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie giving you ample time to enjoy this lovely village.

    Ascent: 750m (2460ft) Descent: 900m 2656ft) Distance: 18.5km (11.5 miles) Duration: 7h00

  • Today we have a hike which takes us along the shores of the blue green waters of the Lac de Sainte Croix. We begin with a short transfer to just south of the lakeside village of Les Salles-sur-Verdon. As we start our walk we can look down on the lake and the small island of Costebelle. Our aim is to walk round the distinctive promontory which juts into the lake giving a fine circular walk which we will end in the very lovely mountain village of Aiguines.  As we work our way to the north of the promontory we will have a short section of about 20 minutes where we will scramble and use our hands as well as out feet. The flooding of the Salles valley by the Verdon river to create the lake was first suggested in 1908, but was not implemented until 1968, and finished in 1973. The original plan was to engulf the ancient villages of Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon, and Bauduen, but thankfully they were spared. Bauduen reflects the true character of a village in the Verdon, and we will have the opportunity for refreshments in one of the cafes, and maybe time for a swim in the clear waters. We will finish our circuit by climbing up to Aiguines famous for its tradition of wood-turning which was established in the 19th century. We aim to arrive in Aiguines in sufficient time for a visit to the shops and museum. We return for a second night in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie.

    Ascent: 650 metres (2132ft) Descent: 305 metres (1001ft) Distance: 15km (9.4 miles) Duration: 6h00

  • This morning we travel to the old village of Quinson, just 35 minutes from Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. We have another stunning circular hike today as we explore the Basses Gorges du Verdon, the lower gorges of the Verdon river. The lower gorges have a fascinating history as humans in prehistoric times settled here in a number of caves and there is a museum in Quinson which details these communities. It does in fact claim to be the largest prehistoric museum in Europe. We will also hike along the old Verdon Canal path which was constructed in 1865 and used until the 20th century to direct the flow of water to Aix-en-Provence. Along the way we wander through the oak trees which supplied the raw material for the local charcoal industry. This walk is pure pleasure as we continue along the Lower Verdon Gorge with its turquoise water, dreamy pools, and peaceful coves before heading upwards to a high point above the gorge at the ancient chapel of St Maxime. At the end of the day we will take a private transfer from the village of Quinson to our overnight accommodation in the ancient and very lovely village of Gréoux-les-Bains. The village has many shops and cafes and is a wonderful place to end our traverse of the Verdon Gorge. 

    Ascent: 300m (984ft) Descent: 420m (1377ft) Distance: 12km (7.5 miles) Duration: 5h00

  • Today is departure day. Details about how to get to and from this trip are given in the Trip Information section, under "Arrival & Departure".

It is always our aim to complete the proposed itinerary outlined above, however, it may be necessary for our guides/instructors to adjust the daily itinerary based on the weather conditions, group safety and enjoyment.

Accommodation

You can be assured we spend a lot of time and effort researching the best accommodation available for the standard of your trip. Where possible we use family run establishments with a reputation for hospitality and food. Your booking is based on two people sharing a bedroom. On some trips a single room may be available on request for a supplementary fee. However, single rooms can be limited in number so do contact us as soon as possible to discuss this. 

Accommodation will be in small villages along the route. All accommodation is en suite and is in clean and characterful Provençal auberges and hotels. It is based on two people sharing a room. A single supplement may be available upon early booking. 

Hotel Lac et Foret, St André les Alpes

Hotel

This stately old building sits on the edge of town and looks out down the valley. The name Lac et Foret, 'Lake and Forest' says it all really in terms of the views. The hotel has twenty comfortable rooms with en suite facilities  and we always receive a warm welcome here. 

Le Nouvel Hôtel du Commerce, Castellane

Hotel

The 3* Nouvel Hôtel du Commerce is a 14 century coaching inn located in the heart of historic centre of Castellane, the gateway to the Verdon Gorge. Having retained many of it's traditional features it offers 31 quiet rooms, many of which have balconies with mountain views, all are equipped with a safe, TV, free internet, ensuite bathrooms, courtesy tray and all guests have access to the outside swimming pool. We eat out tonight a typical Provencal restaurant.

Auberge du Pointe Sublime

Auberge

We love staying at Pointe Sublime, as the name suggests the Auberge is located at a magnificent viewpoint over the Verdon Gorge. For three generations the same family has welcomed travellers and hikers. They described the Auberge as a typical Provencal family hotel, with comfortable en suite bedrooms, and a shady terrace to enjoy a drink. If we are unable to stay at the auberge our alternative accommodation will be at the creperie 'gite' in Rougon village called Le Mur d'Abeilles where the evening can be spent watching the majestic vultures swooping overhead.

The restaurant has the accolade Pays Gourmand and also the label "Maître Restaurateur". This means excellent home made food based on local produce chosen from local producers known to the family. They love to say they offer authentic cuisine with the scents of Provence.

Hotel Le Provence, La Palud

Hotel

This is a characterful family run hotel in the tiny village of La Palud. The hotel is in the centre and with easy access to the small range of artisan gift shops and bars. The bedrooms have en suite facilities and many have balconies. There is a terrace by the hotel where you can enjoy a drink in the sun, or the shade!

La Bonne Auberge, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

La Bonne Auberge is ideally situated at the entrance to one of France's most beautiful villages, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. It has comfortable rooms with ensuite facilities, a shaded terrace where you can enjoy the local offerings from the restaurant, and a great outdoor pool. We will spend two nights here and as the hotel is only a few minutes walk to all the shops, cafes, and historic centre there will be plenty of time for exploring.

Hotel des Alpes, Greoux les Bains

Hotel

A former coach house, this lovely hotel is close to the Gréoux-les-Bains thermal spas and offers very comfortable bedrooms, a heated outdoor pool, and has an excellent restaurant with a terrace. The hotel has a rose garden, and outdoor seating so that you can enjoy relaxing at the end of your hike. The hotel also has a spa and can arrange massages to ease any tired muscles! Dinner is really excellent with food prepared from local produce. 


  • Any holiday taken during the Covid-19 pandemic may be subject to change and with little or no notice of that change. As the past months have proven no-one can predict the situation from one week to the next, however, we will do our very best to gauge the best response to any new developments. New restrictions or guidelines might affect where we eat out, which accommodation we can stay in, and potentially transport arrangements if the numbers in vehicles are restricted. 

    Itineraries may not be exactly as advertised due to new regulations or restrictions, for example, we may not be able to stop and have lunch at a mountain farm as stated in the itinerary, because the farm has had to react to new rules with regard to serving food and drinks. We imagine that there will be many scenarios which might lead to a change or adaptation in the itinerary.

    When booking a trip during the pandemic we ask that you keep an open mind and be willing to adapt and be flexible.

  • Arrival

    There is a spectacular steam-train ride through gorgeous Provencal countryside, from Nice, France, to the start of your trip at St André Les Alpes. The Train des Pignes is one of the very few private railways in France, and with trains running several times a day it is an easy way to get to the start. It is also excellent value for money being approximately 20 Euros per person for a single journey of about 2h50. Saint André Les Alpes is approx 2h00 by car from Nice. Please note that due to a landslide the section between Saint André Les Alpes and Digne-les-Bains is currently replaced by a bus.

    We can provide contact details for a private transfer which you may wish to share with other members of the trip. Many guests prefer to arrive a day early and explore the ancient seaside boulevards of Nice and the old town. 

    Departure

    At the end of the walk in Greoux-les-Bains there are several methods for onward travel. First you must travel to either Manosque (20 minutes away) or Aix en Provence (45 minutes away) where connections are possible across France including to the nearby Luberon region. The bus stop in Greoux is about 100m from the hotel and all buses arrive and leave Aix from the main bus station.

    Marseille is the closest airport, but there are also options to return to Nice. We recommend using the online public transport scanner to search for your method of transport www.rome2rio.com

    Marseilles and Marseille Airport by bus goes via Manosque and takes 1 hour 40 minutes. Follow this link for bus times to Marseille Airport.

    Flix Bus runs a service from Aix en Provence to Nice and Nice Airport taking 2 hours 30 hours, depending on the timings. Tickets can be bought in advance for the intercity buses but not the regional buses. We recommend buying regional bus tickets on the bus itself to avoid queues.

    Other onwards travel details from Greoux can be found here on the local website. Please contact us if more detailed travel information is required or help is required with translation.

  • When booking a trip we ask you to acquire insurance to cover you for the following:

    Mountain Rescue Insurance

    It is a condition of booking that you are insured against medical expenses, injury, illness, death, mountain rescue, cost of repatriation and personal accident risks. Please ensure that your insurance covers you to the maximum altitude given on your trip itinerary. The maximum altitude for any trip can be checked on the 'At A Glance' box on each trip page. Most of our trips have a maximum altitude of 3,000 metres. If you are unsure or are joining a bespoke trip, then please ask us for specific details.

    Trip Cancellation/Curtailment Insurance

    You should also have insurance to cover trip cancellation and curtailment. Please note that your deposit and balance payments are non-refundable, unless it is Tracks and Trails who cancel the trip due to a failure to reach the required minimum numbers. In this case we will offer you a refund or the option of transferring to another trip if one is available. We also advise that you should have insurance which covers baggage loss/equipment damage as Tracks and Trails will not be held responsible for loss/damage to baggage/equipment.

    COVID-19 Insurance

    As well as medical cover, we recommend that you have appropriate travel insurance so that if you fall ill and test positive for COVID-19 prior to (or during) your trip, you will be financially covered for cancelling your trip. You should also consider booking a policy that covers you if you have to cancel or curtail your holiday because you have to self-isolate. If you choose to cancel, cancellation charges will be payable, but if the reason for your cancellation is covered under the terms of your insurance policy, you may be able to reclaim these charges. Please read the clauses below detailing trip cancellation and curtailment.

    Travel Insurance covering COVID-19 is now available from a number of suppliers, Campbell Irvine, Trailfinders and Staysure. Please check their websites for the latest information on what is and isn't covered. It is likely that more companies will offer COVID related cover in the future.

    All of the above insurances are detailed in our Terms and Conditions

    If you are joining a trip in the UK helicopter/mountain rescue insurance is not required as this is a free service.

    For further details, please read the Insurance section on our website.

  • In mountainous terrain the weather can vary considerably and you should always be prepared for any eventuality. 

    Temperatures in Haute Provence, France, range from daily highs of 17°-21°C (63°-71°F) in April, and May, to daily lows of 5-9°C (41°-48°F) . In September and August the daily temperature ranges from an average 24-29°C (76°-84°F), down to 11-15°C (53°-59°F). 

    It is often sunny with good clear days and can be very warm where hydration will become important, but it can rain and the temperatures can drop dramatically. It is not unusual for thunder storms to occur at the end of the afternoon and waterproof clothing should be carried at all times. 

  • When packing for a trip in the mountains it is important to have appropriate equipment and clothing. This kit list features items we believe are necessary for the weather you might encounter and accommodation you will be staying in. 

    Equipment 

    • Walking boots - waterproof and comfortable. We have no objection to ‘low cut walking shoes’ provided you are used to walking in them on rough terrain 
    • Walking Poles – optional, but highly recommended
    • Rucksack – 20-25 litres, ideally with a chest & waist strap 
    • Rucksack liner/cover - to keep contents dry 
    • Water container - bottle or hydration system 
    • Gaiters - useful, but not essential 

    Clothing

    • Waterproof Jacket - essential
    • Waterproof Trousers - essential. We reserve the right to ask you to purchase waterproof trousers if we deem them necessary, or to ask you to miss a day of the trip if you are not properly equipped for the weather
    • Trousers - comfortable walking trousers that allow free movement
    • Shorts/skort
    • Sun hat 
    • Warm hat 
    • Gloves 
    • Base layer - such as t-shirt/thermal tops 
    • Fleece jacket/top 
    • Socks - technical walking socks
    • Duvet jacket/warm second layer
    • Thermal leggings - optional, and only needed if a cold day

    Comfort

    • Sunscreen - this is essential and a total ‘bloc’ is useful
    • Lip salve 
    • Sunglasses – essential as the sun can be extremely strong in the mountains
    • Toilet/tissues - plus a few biodegradable bags to dispose of rubbish
    • Anti-bacterial hand wash
    • Swimwear for the pool/hot tub and sandals

    Personal First Aid

    • Personal medication 
    • Blister plasters 
    • Painkillers/Anti-inflammatories
    • Glucose tablets/Energy gel
    • 2 x Re-hydration sachets - eg Dioralyte
    • Throat lozenges
    • Antiseptic cream/spray
    • Insect repellant - Tuscany does have a few ‘bugs’ 

    Documentation

    • Mountain Rescue Insurance - compulsory
    • Travel Insurance 
    • Passport
    • Credit card
    • Cash - Euros

    Additional Items

    • Slippers for use at accommodation
    • Clothing for use at accommodation
    • Camera/ Book/Music
    • Toiletries - soap/shower gel
    • Ear plugs - if room sharing
    • Small thermos for hot drinks
    • Head torch - plus spare batteries, useful if room sharing
    • Umbrella - useful for shade on hot days 
    • 1x Medium size kit bag/holdall/suitcase
    • Padlock - for your luggage being transferred

    Your luggage will be moved each day by a taxi driver. Please restrict yourself to one bag of approximately 15kg (33lbs) per person. Not all hotels have 'lifts' and you should be able to carry your luggage upstairs. There may be a charge imposed but the taxi company if you have more than 1 bag, and we would please ask you to cover this. 

    **Supplementary snacks if you follow a gluten free or coeliac diet**

    Leaders are all first aid trained and carry their own first aid kit 

  • On many of our trips there will be an element of 'group kit' which will be shared amongst our guests. As mountain people you will be used to team work and working together to the mutual benefit and safety of the group.

    The 'group kit' will be minimal and usually just a case of sharing a few lightweight 'survival shelters'. For example on a week-long trip you may carry a small shelter for just one day before passing it on to the next person. 

    If you are booking a trip in winter there will be a few additional safety items. These will be distributed in such a way that no one is over burdened. 

    Other group items necessary for safety and comfort will be carried by your guide/instructor.

  • For each of our trips a minimum number of guests is required before we can confirm that your trip will go-ahead. The minimum and maximum number of guests on your trip is displayed in the 'At a Glance' box on the righthand side of the trip page. 

    We strongly advise you do not book travel until we have confirmed your trip is 'guaranteed' to run. If you book travel before we have confirmed it is 'guaranteed' we cannot be held responsible for any financial loss if the trip does not go ahead.

  • When booking a holiday as a solo traveller a twin bedded room comprising of two single beds, is booked as standard. This will be with someone of the same gender unless you request to pay extra for your own room. Single rooms are often limited in supply so if you would like to pay a supplement for a single room we urge you to get in touch as soon as possible. This trip has a single supplement of £350.

  • We go to great lengths to work with first class guides who are passionate about their work. They are all fully qualified, insured, and hold the correct documentation.

    Please note your guide has complete discretion to make a daily decision on whether or not to take the advertised route based on the weather and the ability of the members of the group. They have our authority to make any route changes they believe are necessary in the interests of safety and enjoyment. 

    Your hiking guide will be a fully qualified and experienced International Mountain Leader. International Mountain Leaders are not only qualified to ensure the safe management of the group, but are also a source of knowledge about the local flora and fauna, and traditions of the area which you are visiting. You can learn more about our guides and instructors on the About Us page. 

  • Suitable for those of you who consider yourself ‘hill-walkers’, these trips involve longer days at an altitude of up to 2800m (9184ft) on good paths and tracks. A good level of fitness is required as these treks can involve considerable amounts of ascent and descent and the occasional difficult day on rougher paths. There may be an occasional day with ascents/descents of up to 1350m (4428ft). We would expect you to have previous experience of walking on consecutive days in the mountains, and have experience of hiking in bad weather. Expect to walk 5-7 hours per day. 

    NB: We have graded this trip 'Difficult' because the days are lengthy, but we would say this is at the lower end of the scale and nearer 'Moderate' in terms of terrain and fitness required. We would not consider it essential that you had previous mountain walking experience if your mental attitude and level of fitness is good!

  • On this point-to-point trip you will have luggage support which means your bags are transferred each day to the next accommodation and you only need to carry a small/medium sized 'rucksack' for items you might need during the course of the day. Please refer to the kit list for this trip for guidance on the size of rucksack required.

    As your luggage will be moved along the route by taxi we ask that you keep the weight to a maximum of 15kgs (33lbs), and ONE bag per person. Many of the taxi companies who move your bags impose a 15kg (33lbs) limit and restrict the number of bags simply because they have to unload and reload the vehicle many times each day. If you take more than one bag you may be asked to pay a supplement. Also with regard to weight be aware that you may have to carry your luggage to your bedroom, which may involve climbing several flights of stairs as not all hotels have elevators. Luggage on wheels is generally a good idea.

  • We do not include lunches in your trip fee for various reasons. We have found our guests have particular tastes and requirements for 'trail' or 'hill' food and it is better you choose and buy what you require. Buying supplies and trying local specialities is a great way to inter-act with the local people and to practise your language skills. 

    Lunches on our trips are 'picnic' style lunches, in other words you take a packed lunch with sufficient snacks, food and fluid to sustain you throughout your day of activity. If there is the possibility of lunch being taken at a restaurant/farm/cafe beside the trail, your guide/instructor will advise you of this. 

    Each evening you can choose to order a picnic or a sandwich from the hotel, or your guide/instructor will advise you of other options such as a local shop or market and whether you need to purchase items in the evening or if the shop/market is open early enough the next morning not to delay your start. In all cases we would always ask you to settle any 'bill' for lunch or drinks in the evening before you depart, and not on the morning of your last day when there may be a queue.

  • On your itinerary you will find an indication of the amount of ascent and descent you can expect each day. This offers a guideline to how much effort might be expended each day and allows you to decide, based on previous experience, if your fitness and stamina are correct for the trip. 

    We make every attempt to ensure these statistics are as accurate as possible, but ask you to note that the most modern of technology used to record these details can show considerable variations in terms of ascent, descent, and in particular distance. In other words no two people using GPS devices on the same route will have exactly the same details recorded at the end of the day. 

    The statistics given should be used as a 'general' indication of the effort required. 

  • Your leader will carry the correct maps and you are not expected to navigate, but if you would like to have maps of the itinerary you could consider those listed below:

    IGN 3541 OT: Annot 1:25,000

    IGN 3542 OT: Castellane 1:25,000

    IGN 3442 OT: Verdon 1:25,000

    IGN 3343 OT: Gréoux-les-Bains 1:25,000

  • It is useful to arrive at your destination with some cash in the local currency, however, on most occasions it is relatively easy to visit a 'cash machine' after arrival and withdraw money on a credit or debit card. Some of our locations are an exception to this in particular Norway, where the accommodation will often have no facilities for withdrawing cash, but they will take a credit card. 

    On many of our trips we will visit remote cafes/farms where it is wonderful to enjoy a drink and a cake, at places such as these they will only accept payment in the local currency in cash.

  • Food

    On our trips we encourage you to experience local tastes and dishes that reflect the culture of the country and for this reason many of our accommodation options will be family run with a reputation for the traditional food of the region. 

    If you have a 'special' diet because of an allergy or intolerance to a certain food type which will make you ill the accommodation will cater for this as best they can, eg gluten free, nut free, lactose free.

    If you are vegetarian then this is not a problem as the hotels/refuges are used to being asked for vegetarian meals. Our accommodation will try to cater for those with vegan diets but in remote refuges in the mountains this is more difficult. If you would like to discuss the suitability of a trip for a vegan diet please contact us. Gluten-free diets will be possible with regard to the evening meals, but we would advise that you bring along some gluten-free snacks for your breakfasts and lunches.

    If you have a 'special' diet which is NOT because of an allergy or intolerance, and is not 'veggie' then we apologise, but we cannot cater for this. The accommodation on the popular routes will be catering for many people each evening, in some cases up to 70/80 meals per night, 7 days a week, and realistically they cannot produce many different meal options unless the food will result in illness.

    Water

    The countries we visit all have tap water which is drinkable. If for any reason a particular hotel is having a problem with a remote mountain water supply they will normally post a sign over the tap indicating that you must not drink the water. At all times you are welcome to ask your guide/instructor if the water can be drunk. We would ask, for environmental reasons, that you avoid using single-use plastic bottles, and bring a water bottle that can be used repeatedly. 

  • A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required for visits to countries outside the EU, such as Norway. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice.  

  • We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

    http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/

    Note that if your trip involves staying in a mountain refuge/rifugio/hut that electric sockets may be in short supply and for that night you may not be able to charge any items. Although the accommodation will have electricity this will often be supplied by solar panels or a generator and limited to use by the staff. For this reason we advise that carrying a small slimline and lightweight 'battery pack' can be very useful for recharging phones which many of you will also use as your camera. 

  • Before booking consider whether you expect to be in the appropriate physical condition on the date of your  departure to allow you to fully participate in and enjoy your holiday. If you have any doubts because of an illness or injury it would be advisable to check with your doctor.

    For UK residents travelling to an EU country you should obtain and bring with you a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This entitles you to state provided medical treatment in certain European countries, but is not a substitute for medical travel insurance. Also note that if/when the UK leaves the European Union that the EHIC card may no longer be valid. Please check this before departing. We advise that you always carry your insurance documents with details of the Emergency Medical telephone number for your insurance provider, and your policy number. 

  • We feel strongly about protecting the environment and do not encourage the use of single-use plastic items. We would ask that you arrive with a ‘water bottle’ or ‘hydration system’ that can be used repeatedly. We would point out that we operate a ‘zero tolerance’ for rubbish, and would ask you to remove all your rubbish items from the mountain even those you consider to be bio-degradable. In particular we ask that you remove any toilet tissue.

    You can read our full policy here.

  • Working across international boundaries, and with various currencies means that the price of our trips can change overnight. We have, however, undertaken to guarantee that once you have paid your deposit the price of your trip is fixed. In this respect we urge you to book early to ensure that you receive the price advertised on our website. The website price may increase due to currency fluctuations, but we guarantee that the price advertised on the date of your booking will be maintained in your individual case. 

  • Due to the specialised nature of our holidays, we co-sell a number of trips with 'partner' companies. These are carefully selected to ensure they reflect our ethos and standards in terms of the service we offer our guests. By encouraging other companies to sell our trips it means that your chosen holiday may reach its 'minimum' number earlier, allowing us to guarantee the trip and to give you the go-ahead to book your travel arrangements.

    There may be occasions when our partners have helped book your accommodation and organise the logistics for your trip. On these occasions your hotel may have recorded your room reservation in the name of one of our partners. 

    We guarantee that companies with whom we work will offer the same package as Tracks and Trails Ltd. The price will be the same, though occasionally they may be operating in a different currency. Your itinerary and the items that are included, or not included in your trip fee, will also be the same. 

    We believe in team work, and enjoy working with other small high quality companies. If you have any questions about this policy please contact us and we will be happy to discuss it with you. 


Prices may vary depending on date.

2021

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Spaces available Book
Spaces available Book
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What's Included

  • Seven nights half-board accommodation in 2 or 3 star hotels, based on two people sharing
  • The guiding services of a qualified International Mountain Leader
  • Daily transfer of your luggage to the next accommodation
  • Taxi transfers which are part of your itinerary
  • Tracks and Trails memento - a gift to take home

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Drinks and other beverages
  • Transfer to the meeting/departure points
  • Mountain rescue insurance – this is compulsory for all clients
  • Lunches; we find our guests prefer enjoying the experience of buying local produce

Home again, time to reflect ……but I’m ready for the next! Provence was beautiful and the itinerary varied, the hotels comfortable, breakfasts delicious and the group fun to be with. Our ‘Ultra fit’ Mountain Man from Chamonix is a wonderful guide, great company and considerate. A big ‘thank you’ to Seb and Tracks and Trails for the highlight of the week…….The Verdon Gorge on a gorgeous day! I’m itching to be back in the Alps and hope to book a future winter/summer trip.

This trip had everything I needed for a perfect holiday. Our guide, Seb, is very knowledgeable and told us intriguing tales about the trails. The accommodations and food were fantastic, that includes our lunch stops along the route. The trails were along magnificent scenes I almost had a hard time processing them in 3D!

It’s hard to pick a winner when it comes to the accommodation. Lindsay our guide was absolutely excellent, knowledgeable, helpful and friendly and a pleasure to spend seven days with. Memorable moment? That’s a tough one, maybe picnic lunch overlooking Lac Sainte-Croix.

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Grade: Intermediate

READ GRADE DESCRIPTION

At a Glance

From Price £1395
Holiday Type Walking
Duration 8 Days
Group Size 4-10
Minimum Age 18
Maximum Altitude 1213m (3978ft)
Countries Visited France
Meet In Saint André Les Alpes, France
View all Walking Holidays

Grand Canyon of Europe

Why book with T&T?

  • Highly professional guides
  • Personal service guaranteed 
  • Attention to detail throughout
  • Explore off the beaten track
  • Single rooms on request
  • No surcharge guaranteed
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