Call us: +44(0)1453 844400Email us: info@mountainkingdoms.com

Worldwide Small Group and Tailor Made Adventure Travel

What’s included

  • A professional English speaking French guide
  • Economy class return air fares from the UK and UK Departure tax (Flight inclusive cost)
  • Single timed group transfer on Day 1 and Day 5 - to coincide with group flights
  • Hotel accommodation as described (see hotel section)
  • All meals included from dinner on Day 1 to lunch on Day 5 – the lunches will be packed lunches
  • Entrance fees for the Vallée des Merveilles sites
  • Vehicle to transport your luggage each day so you only walk with a light day pack
  • Private vehicle transfers from hotels to the start/end point of each walk
  • Carbon offsetting for clients taking our flight-inclusive option
  • A free high quality Mountain Kingdoms micro-fleece
  • The option to attend one of our pre-trip meets in the Cotswolds

Mercantour & the Valley of Wonders

Walking & Trekking

France | Walking & Trekking

New for 2018
Mercantour & the Valley of Wonders
Moderate / Vigorous

Moderate: Suitable for anyone who enjoys hill walking.

Vigorous: Suitable for enthusiastic hill/mountain walkers.

Find out more...

Grade: Moderate / Vigorous ? Moderate / Vigorous
Duration:  5 days from the UK  
Walks on: 4 days

Flight inclusive from £1,650,
Land only from £1,495

Book now or call 01453 844400

Walk from the mountains to the sea on this superb long weekend in the French Maritime Alps.

Highlights

  • From mountain to sea - enjoy the best sections of the Grande Traverse du Mercantour.
  • Walk through the remote Vallee des Merveilles (Valley of Wonders) and see Bronze Age petroglyphs.
  • Look out for chamoix, marmots, ibex and even wolves and golden eagles.
  • Stay in comfortable hotels rather than mountain huts.

Reviews

This was an immensely enjoyable trip, with superb walking, stunning alpine scenery, abundance of wildlife, cultural interest, and great food – all packed into five days.
Niki, Mountain Kingdoms

View All

At a glance

Grade: Moderate / Vigorous
Moderate / Vigorous

Duration:  5 days from the UK  
Walks on: 4 days

Max. Altitude: Arpette Pass, 2,511m/8,238ft, day 4

Guaranteed to run for a minimum of 4 clients

Maximum group size: 12

Land only joining city: Nice

Accommodation types: Hotels

Meal arrangements: All meals from dinner on day 1 to lunch on day 5.

Itinerary overview
DayActivity
1
Fly to Nice. Single group transfer to hotel. Evening meal at restaurant Le Plongeoir, Nice.
2
Drive to Tiney Valley and hike in the Lac de Vens.
3
Walk from Le Boreon to Madone de Fenestre.
4
Walk in the Vallée des Merveilles – the Valley of Wonders
5
Hike from the Castillon Path to the coast at Menton. Take a dip in the sea. Transfer back to Nice airport for flight home.
Leader: Local Leader, Mercantour, France
Local Leader, Mercantour, France

Your trip will be led by a professional, English speaking local guide who will be passionate about the mountains and protecting the environment.


Mercantour & the Valley of Wonders Itinerary

  1. Day 1 - Fly London To Nice - Mercantour

    Fly to Nice. On arrival there will be a single timed transfer from the airport to the hotel. Here you will meet your guide and be taken for dinner at the superb Le Plongeoir restaurant which juts out into the sea, and serves excellent seafood. Watching the sun set on the Mediterranean whilst eating seabass is the perfect way to start any holiday!

    Overnight iconOvernight: Hotel Campanile, Nice
  2. Day 2 - Drive to Tinée Valley and hike in Les Lacs de Vens - 800m ascent/800m descent, 5 hours.

    This morning your guide will meet you at the hotel for the transfer to the start of today's walk in the Tinée Valley. The drive should take around 1.5 hours and en route you pass through the quaint village of Saint-Étienne-de-Tinée which, until the 19th century, was the third local power just behind Sospel. Its economy was based on stockbreeding, giving rise to numerous livestock fairs. These events drew traders and producers from Provence, Liguria, Piemont and the Dauphine, and trade in sheets and blankets contributed to the prosperity of the valley.

    The Valley of Tinée rises from olive groves to high Alpine pastures. It is an area of gorges, peaks, Alpine grassy slopes and forests. You begin your walk from Hameau de Pra in Saint-Étienne-de-Tinée at around 1,500m, heading uphill on a good trail for three hours to Lacs de Vens. The seven lakes of Vens are magnificent glacial lakes scattered between 2,286 and 2,327 metres in height and are surrounded by lush pastureland. Their tranquil waters reflect the surrounding peaks, including the rocky Aiguilles de Tortisse, and feed a series of breath-taking waterfalls below. Look out for the 'Old King' in the rock cracks here, a flower endemic to the Mercantour area which flowers once, then dies. You enjoy your picnic lunch at a suitably scenic spot and then descend via a beautiful waterfall. At the end of the walk you will be met and driven to your hotel for the night.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Hotel Le Boréon, Lac du Boréon
  3. Day 3 - Walk from Le Boréon to Madone de Fenestre - 980m ascent/550m descent, 5 ½ hours.

    Walking from the hotel you begin your ascent into larch forest and continue climbing, passing streams and beautiful lakes, until you reach the Pas des Ladres, 2,448m. The scenery is stunning at every turn with alpine meadows, rocky peaks and chamois perched on precipitous cliffs. You continue walking for about half an hour to the Col de Fenestre at 2,474m. There is an old World War II building here which has been claimed by the chamois. It's fun to watch them nimbly skipping out from the building and onto the snowy slopes below. You begin descending to the Trecolpas Lake at 2,150m, and then continue down to the Refuge del la Madone des Fenestres. Here you may choose to stop for a drink before continuing to the road where you'll be picked up and taken to your hotel.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Hotel Le Boréon, Lac du Boréon
  4. Day 4 - Walk in Vallée des Merveilles (Valley Of Wonders) - 1,000m ascent & descent, 7 hours.

    The Vallée des Marveilles is a conservation area with an exceptional archaeological heritage: over 36,000 engravings were made on rocky slabs here back in the Bronze Age. There are two wide valleys spreading from the heart of the park: the Vallée des Merveilles, which extends over 600 hectares and the Val de Fontanalbe, which covers 400 hectares. These valleys were formed by glaciers which disappeared 10,000 years ago, leaving in their wake finely polished rocky slabs and a chain of numerous lakes. The engravings were listed as historical monuments in 1989. These valleys tell the life of our distant ancestors, and many of the signs suggest the worship of divinities. Various lakes with different colours add to the mysterious atmosphere of the site.

    You will be driven to the trailhead at Pont du Countet. It's your longest, toughest day yet, but the most rewarding in terms of superb views of mountain peaks, lakes and the ancient rock carvings. The zig-zag path leads you uphill through beautiful forest. As you progress the trail steepens and for the last hour before you reach the pass it becomes more rocky, leading to your highest point today - the Arpette Pass at 2,511 metres. You descend into the Vallée des Marveilles to see the petroglyphs (the 5,000 year old rock engravings). You then descend to the lake for lunch, and then on to the refuge for a drink before continuing for a further two hours of descent to the road at Lac des Mesches. You will be then be transferred to Sospel.

    Overnight iconOvernight: L’hôtel le Pont Vieux, Sospel
  5. Day 5 - Hike from the mountains to the sea - 500m ascent/1,250m descent, 6 hours. Transfer to the airport and fly home.

    Today you will literally be walking from the mountains to the sea. A short 15 minute drive takes you to the Castillon Path where you start the walk to the seaside town of Menton. This last stage on the trail offers you striking contrasts between calcareous cliffs and the blue waters of the Mediterranean as the Alps plunge into the sea. You glimpse a final view of the summits of the Mercantour National Park that you have journeyed through before descending to the coast. With the temperature rising, a refreshing dip in the sea will be a most welcome end to your holiday! After a quick swim and beachside shower, you will be driven to the airport for your flight home.


2018

DatesAvailabilityLand OnlyFlight Inclusive from
Wed 20 Jun - Sun 24 Jun 2018Available£1495 Book£1705 Book
Wed 5 Sep - Sun 9 Sep 2018Available£1495 Book£1650 Book

Hold your place

Not quite ready to book? Why not call us on 0044 (0)1453 844400 to hold a no obligation place while you make up your mind?

 
Optional supplements
  • Single Room Supplement
    From £175
Insurance
  • Cover starts from £55
No Surcharge Guarantee

No surcharges will be applied to your holiday after you book. Prices on this website are updated regularly. The Flight Inclusive holiday price, or Land Only holiday price, will be confirmed to you at the time you make your booking. There will be no surcharges after your booking has been confirmed.

Flight inclusive holidays

The 'flight inclusive' holiday prices shown on this website are based upon our preferred airlines and the best priced economy class fares we are able to secure at the time of publication.

We will be able to advise on fares with alternative airlines, upgrades to Business Class, and the options for flights from regional UK airports, please contact us for more details.

What’s included

  • A professional English speaking French guide
  • Economy class return air fares from the UK and UK Departure tax (Flight inclusive cost)
  • Single timed group transfer on Day 1 and Day 5 - to coincide with group flights
  • Hotel accommodation as described (see hotel section)
  • All meals included from dinner on Day 1 to lunch on Day 5 – the lunches will be packed lunches
  • Entrance fees for the Vallée des Merveilles sites
  • Vehicle to transport your luggage each day so you only walk with a light day pack
  • Private vehicle transfers from hotels to the start/end point of each walk
  • Carbon offsetting for clients taking our flight-inclusive option
  • A free high quality Mountain Kingdoms micro-fleece
  • The option to attend one of our pre-trip meets in the Cotswolds

What’s not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Tips


Review your holiday

Reviews

Read holiday reviews by Mountain Kingdoms travellers.

Overall score: (Based on reviews)


Extend your holiday

There are many ways you can extend your holiday with Mountain Kingdoms: book extra hotel nights, relax at a beautiful beach resort, take a warm-up trek, arrange a personal sightseeing tour or enjoy specialist activities such as rafting, birdwatching or a safari.

We're happy to suggest ideas, provide quotes and make all the arrangements. We can also assist with flight and hotel upgrades. Just call us on +44 (0)1453 844400 or email info@mountainkingdoms.com and we will be pleased to help.

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