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Guide to Walking Holidays in France

With the magnificent Mont Blanc peaks, the captivating streets of Chamonix, the unspoiled allure of Corsica, the sun-kissed vistas of Provence, and the charming alleys of Nice, France presents a diverse selection of walking holiday destinations to cater to every type of traveller. Whether you're in pursuit of alpine challenges or coastal strolls, a walking holiday in France offers an unforgettable adventure.

With a walking trail system that is over 110,000 miles long, deciding what parts of this country to explore can potentially be an overwhelming decision. This article is here to serve as a complete guide to all things related to walking in France, helping you navigate this rich and diverse terrain.

Highlights of a Walking Holiday in France?

France is a country traversed by an extensive network of Grands Randonnées, or long-distance hiking trails, providing a wealth of choices for walking and hiking enthusiasts that can last a lifetime. Each year, thousands of keen walkers make their way to France to escape to the magnificent trails that France has to offer. With ample opportunities to enjoy the French gastronomic delights, explore the multitude of charming villages the countryside has to offer and amazing opportunities to climb some of the highest peaks in Europe, there are so many things to look forward to when embarking on a walking holiday in France, and the following are just a few of them.

Scenic Diversity


One promise we can make is that there won’t be a trip to France where you get bored of the scenery. Every region, village, mountain and footpath boasts an almost unexplainable scenic diversity so no two places are the same. In Corsica, pristine beaches meet rugged mountains, creating a breathtaking juxtaposition of landscapes. The majestic Mont Blanc, Western Europe's highest peak, towers over the Chamonix Valley, inviting adventurers to explore its alpine grandeur. The lush vineyards and charming villages of Provence exude an undeniable charm, while the French Catalonia region showcases its Mediterranean character along the coast. The range of possibilities for a walking holiday in France are endless.

Pristine Trails


France is filled with an extensive network of well-maintained hiking trails, including the famous GR long-distance paths. These trails cater to a wide range of interests and skill levels, ensuring that everyone, from novice walkers to seasoned trekkers, can find a path that suits their preferences. The trails in France connect not only with the country's beautiful landscapes but also with its rich history and culture. Walkers can explore ancient paths once travelled by pilgrims, trade routes, and local shepherds. Many trails pass through charming villages and towns, offering the opportunity to experience authentic French life, savour regional cuisine, and interact with locals along the way.

Charming Villages


Walking holidays in France often lead hikers to charming villages that seem frozen in time. These picturesque hamlets boast cobblestone streets, quaint cottages filled with colourful flowers, and lively town squares where locals gather. Exploring these villages offers a glimpse into traditional French life, with boulangeries wafting the scent of freshly baked bread and cosy cafés serving aromatic coffee.

Where to go Walking in France

The Alps

We couldn't do a guide to walking holidays in France and not mention the Alps. Embarking on a walking holiday in the French Alps is a captivating adventure for numerous reasons. The pristine, snow-capped peaks, picturesque meadows, and glistening mountain lakes create a stunning backdrop for your hiking adventure. The well-maintained network of trails, from gentle walks to challenging ascents, offers a diverse range of experiences for hikers of all levels. Immerse yourself in the charm of alpine villages, savour delicious regional cuisine, and enjoy the warm hospitality of the locals.

French Catalonia


French Catalonia, located in the southern part of France along the border with Spain, offers a compelling destination for a walking holiday. Its appeal lies in the combination of Mediterranean charm and rugged landscapes. Hiking in French Catalonia allows you to explore the enchanting coastline of the Mediterranean Sea, dotted with picturesque coves and beaches, while also venturing into the foothills of the Pyrenees, offering challenging mountain trails. This region boasts a unique blend of Catalan and French culture, resulting in a distinctive culinary scene and vibrant traditions.



Walking in Provence allows you to meander through picturesque villages with their charming architecture and enjoy the renowned Provençal cuisine and wines. The trails often pass by historical sites, ancient Roman ruins, and medieval towns, offering a unique journey through time. The region boasts a Mediterranean climate, providing ideal conditions for outdoor exploration. From the fragrant lavender fields of the Luberon to the iconic vineyards of Côtes du Rhône, the landscapes are diverse and stunning.



Nice, nestled on the picturesque French Riviera, is a captivating destination for a walking holiday in France. With its Mediterranean climate, stunning coastal trails, and a rich history dating back to the Roman era, Nice provides a perfect blend of natural beauty and cultural richness. Walk along the Promenade des Anglais, explore the charming Old Town (Vieux Nice), and indulge in the vibrant Provençal food scene after a day of hiking.


Verdon Gorge

Often referred to as "Europe's Grand Canyon," Verdon Gorge offers a landscape of towering limestone cliffs, emerald-green waters, and breathtaking vistas. Hiking along its trails provides an unforgettable experience, allowing you to delve into the dramatic canyons and explore its unique rock formations.



Corsica’s rugged mountains, pristine beaches, and untouched wilderness offer an unmatched opportunity to explore nature at its best. Corsica's diverse landscapes, from the dramatic GR20 trail to the serene coastal paths, cater to all levels of hikers. Beyond the trails, you'll discover a unique Corsican culture, with its own language and traditions, adding a rich cultural layer to your outdoor adventure.


What is the Accommodation like on a Walking Holiday in France?

On a walking holiday in France you will experience a variety of different accommodations. From comfortable hotels in the French Riveria to basic shared Alpine huts. France's renowned hospitality is a consistent theme throughout, ensuring that wherever you stay, you can anticipate exceptional cuisine, fine beverages, a comfortable night's sleep and breathtaking views.



Camping during walking holidays in France offers a unique way to connect with nature and enjoy the country's stunning landscapes. Numerous designated campsites are scattered throughout the country, providing facilities like showers, restrooms, and often, access to cooking areas. Tents are included during visits to campsites so no need to bring one with you.

Mountain Huts


Staying in mountain huts provides the opportunity to get off the beaten path and stay away from the crowds. These rustic lodgings, perched in pristine high-altitude locations, provide a sense of isolation and tranquillity. While the accommodation may be basic, the warm hospitality of the hut keepers and the camaraderie with fellow hikers create a unique and communal atmosphere. Waking up to panoramic mountain views and sharing tales of the trail over a hearty meal makes mountain huts an integral part of an Alpine adventure.



Staying in hostels and gites during walking holidays in France offers a unique and immersive experience. These charming, often family-run accommodations provide a glimpse into local life and culture. This form of accommodation usually involves dorm sharing and always provides good facilities.



Staying in a chalet on a walking holiday in France offers a simple yet authentic experience. These wooden lodges exude a warm, alpine charm, often featuring comfortable living spaces, fireplaces, and stunning views.

How Difficult are Walking Holidays in France?


Our walking holidays in France cater to a wide range of fitness levels and preferences, offering diverse levels of difficulty. For those seeking a leisurely pace, gentle coastal strolls along the picturesque French Riviera provide a serene and relaxing experience. For example, our self-guided walk from Menton to Nice allows you to surround yourself with the glamour and beauty of the south of France at your own pace.

If you're in search of a challenging adventure, we have an array of holidays tailored to your needs. Consider our "Walk to Freedom across the Pyrenees," which offers an invigorating journey along a historic trail. It provides an ample challenge, allowing you to immerse yourself in the breathtaking scenery without it being overly strenuous.

For those looking for a really tough adventure, look no further than the Alps. Embarking on a challenging level walking holiday in the Alps, such as scaling Mont Blanc and traversing the iconic Haute Route, is an adventure for those seeking the ultimate in alpine exploration. These journeys offer an unparalleled opportunity to push your physical and mental limits while indulging in the sheer magnificence of the high-altitude landscapes.

TdMB vs GR20

France is home to two of the toughest and most scenic treks in Europe, the Tour du Mont Blank and the GR20. For anybody looking for a challenge they are perfect. But which one is best for you?

Tour du Mont Blanc


Trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) is a breathtaking adventure that encircles the iconic Mont Blanc massif, spanning France, Italy, and Switzerland. This approximately 170km route takes avid hikers through diverse landscapes, including lush alpine meadows, dense forests, and rugged mountain terrain. The journey offers awe-inspiring views of snow-capped peaks, glaciers, and charming alpine villages.



The GR20 has earned the title of Europe toughest trek. It spans the rugged mountains of Corsica, France, covering approximately 180km. Renowned as one of Europe's most challenging long-distance hiking trails. The route traverses diverse landscapes, from pine forests and floral meadows to rocky ridges and snow-capped peaks. Trekkers navigate demanding ascents and descents, including the notorious Cirque de la Solitude.

Alternatives to Walking in France

If you've already explored the charms of France and are now seeking another European gem to discover, or if you're simply eager to uncover the diverse wonders Europe has to offer beyond France, we offer a variety of walking holidays tailored to your preferences. Embark on a trip to Italy, where you can walk the trails of the Amalfi coast, explore the shores of Lake Como and wind your way around Tuscany. Similarly, Spain boasts a multitude of walking options whether it's completing the Camino de Santiago, venturing to the Canary Islands or Journeying through the coast of Catalonia. If you're seeking an off-the-beaten-path destination, Slovenia might be your perfect choice. Its captivating combination of stunning lakes and breathtaking Alpine landscapes makes it an undiscovered gem that should not be overlooked when deciding on your next travel destination. Anyhow, do not worry if France is not for you, the rest of Europe is teeming with destinations waiting to be explored on foot.


Italy's diverse landscapes and rich cultural tapestry make it an ideal destination for walking holidays, as an alternative to France. From the enchanting Amalfi Coast to the picturesque trails of the Dolomites, walkers can explore historic villages, vineyards, and olive groves. Discover the timeless beauty of Tuscany's rolling hills or the dramatic paths of the Cinque Terre. With a blend of scenic routes and gastronomic delights, walking holidays in Italy promise a perfect fusion of natural wonders and cultural immersion for those who prefer to explore on foot.



Embark on a walking holiday in the Balkans and uncover a treasure trove of diverse landscapes and rich histories. Traverse the rugged beauty of Montenegro's Durmitor National Park or explore the ancient trails of Bulgaria's Rila Monastery. Croatia's Plitvice Lakes National Park offers waterfall-strewn paths, while the Albanian Alps provide a wild and unspoiled backdrop. With a tapestry of cultures, stunning vistas, and charming villages, a walking holiday in the Balkans promises an immersive and off-the-beaten-path experience.



This iconic pilgrimage route, stretching across Spain, offers diverse landscapes and cultural experiences. Whether starting from the French Pyrenees or meandering through Galician forests, each step along the Camino is a pilgrimage of self-discovery. Pilgrims forge lasting connections, share stories in quaint villages, and find solace in the rhythm of their footsteps. The Camino de Santiago is an enduring path that promises not just physical exploration but a profound spiritual and cultural experience.

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