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The Best Hikes in the Alps

Wide open spaces, preserved nature, and an exceptional biotope. Words can’t begin to describe the awesome natural surroundings of the Alps! Put on your walking shoes, grab your backpack, and roam the most beautiful hiking trails to discover these breathtaking Alpine landscapes.

Marvel in the Vallée des Merveilles

At the heart of the Parc National du Mercantour, head to the Vallée des Merveilles, a starting point for must-do hikes. Meet up with friends at the Refuge des Merveilles, where an incredible trek begins ​​: the arid, mineral atmosphere of the location gives it a timeless, almost sacred feel. On the way, check out Mont Bégo – it looks like it’s melting into its landscape that was shaped by glaciers. And try to decipher the ubiquitous prehistoric rock carvings.

Are you with your family? Go to the Site de Fontanalbe, at which thousands of engravings are gathered together in a wooded atmosphere. After a two-hour walk from Casterino, you will arrive at the Lac Vert. Its discovery trail will lead you to its famous rock engravings. To fully enjoy the exceptional atmosphere of the Vallée des Merveilles, spend a night in a refuge. In summer, opt for a tour led by guides approved by the Parc National du Mercantour.

Explore the UNESCO Geoparc de Haute-Provence

The Alps of Haute-Provence hides a real natural treasure: the first Geopark recognised by UNESCO! More into culture? Geology? Nature? Art? You can find the trail that suits you in the Géoparc de Haute-Provence. Head off on an adventure where you’ll be enchanted by the forests and mountain paths, all perfectly suited for a picnic or a photo session. For a journey through lands loaded with history, follow the Route du Temps (Walk Through Time) or walk through the Vallée du Bès. In front of the splendid frescoes of cliffs and larch forests, amazement is guaranteed.

For an unusual experience in the great outdoors, take the Route de l’Art Contemporain (Contemporary Art Route). Admire the Refuges d’Art Andy Goldsworthy, a unique cultural site in Europe that extends for almost 150 km; his works pop up over the course of your eight-to-ten-day walk.

 

Try Out the Madone de Fenestre Hike

Want an Alpine walk that will take your breath away? Venture out on this fairly easy trail that is ideal for families: a loop around the most beautiful landscapes of La Madone. Head to the Col de la Fenestre, where the Romans and the Dukes of Savoy once travelled. You will find a very mineral setting – the snowy peaks of the Val d’Aoste can be seen in the distance. If you are observant and quiet enough, chamois and mountain goats may do you the honour of showing you the tips of their noses. Think about taking your binoculars!

Hike with Donkeys in the Alps

Try out this original hike all summer: in Guillaumes, Itinérance offers you the chance to have your luggage carried by donkeys. Choose your travelling companion then roam independently on the roads of the Parc National Mercantour in search of the most beautiful Alpine landscapes. Then, to recover, there is nothing like a good night’s sleep in one of the yurts of the Eco-Gîte de Villeplane. Back on the trails, cross larch forests and lovely Alpine prairies, a favoured place for marmots. The hike ends at the edge of the magnificent Lac d’Allos, the largest natural lake in Europe. Let your donkey nibble the good, high-altitude grass, while you enjoy the beauty of the setting and recharge your batteries in a preserved environment.

Walk on the Biggest Ice Sheet in France

Fascinated by the world of extreme cold and glaciers? Head to the Parc national des Écrins, the Glaciers de la Meije in particular, for an unforgettable expedition. Wrapped up nice and warm, follow the guides of La Grave into this magnificent environment of snow and ice. One of the best hikes of the Alps, you will walk on the biggest ice sheet in France and get close to the crevasses in complete safety thanks to the advice of your guide. To complete your experience, sleep at the Refuge Chancel, where you can contemplate the snowy landscapes of La Meije with a mug of hot chocolate in your hand.