Overview of Various Hikes & Walks from Villefranche
There are a great many wonderful walks and hikes you can take in our area, all right from your apartment’s doorstep. You can do all of them with a good sneaker or even a comfortable sandal. Some are more strenuous than others and would be more enjoyable with a sturdy sneaker (trainer) but most of the walks you can do with a comfortable sandal or walking shoe. In each of our apartments, we provide you with a hiking guide describing some of our favorite walks and hikes with written with instructions for doing the walk. To give you a little flavor of some, here are brief descriptions of several, but by no means all. All of these walks start in Villefranche.
- To St. Jean Cap Ferrat or St. Jean plus little Cap or St. Jean plus little and big Cap. This is a wonderful walk, stunning, mostly flat and mostly along the water’s edge. You walk to the beach of Villefranche and follow the little beach road to the end where you see a stairwell. Go up that, down the lane, across the little isthmus to the beginning of the beach of Beaulieu and turn right and follow the path to St. Jean and then beyond around the little and big Cap. Once you start down the water’s edge path to St. Jean, you can take different paths to make the walks as long as you want. You can make it a 1-hour walk round trip from Villefranche, or a 1.5-hour round trip walk, or even a 2- to 3-hour round trip walk. In our walking / hiking guide in our apartments, there is a map that shows and describes in details these various walking options. Each one of the walks can include a stop in the village of St. Jean for a coffee or drink and in the summer at one of two private beach restaurants for a meal or something to drink.
- To Nice along the water’s edge. This is a stunning walk along the sea with one brief section along the road. From your doorstep you walk to the Darse part of Villefranche and follow the water’s edge path until you are forced up onto the road and then you go back down to pick up the rest of the path. You end up in the Port of Nice where there are many wonderful restaurants to enjoy. If you don’t want to walk back, you can hop on the bus. This has some steps and is a bit more challenging than the Cap Ferrat walk but only takes about 1.5 hours to do the whole walk.
- To Fort Alban and back. Fort Alban is the lovely fort at the top of the Cap of Nice, the headland that separates Nice from Villefranche. To get there, it is almost entirely up. If you are “sportif” as the French say, you can take mostly public stairwells and get a good stairmaster workout. If you want a mix, you can do a bit of stairs and walking of side streets, or you can do mostly all side streets. Regardless, it is up! But then coming back is all down. Our favorite way down is mostly through a trail in the forest and it is just gorgeous. You can do this roundtrip in just under an hour at a brisk walk. It is a great workout and beautiful. For the really sporty ones, take this walk then a swim and you have had a fabulous workout for the day.
- To Eze village and back. This is a beautiful walk but also a mostly up and then mostly down walk. Take the bus to Eze Bord de Mer and then look for the sign post Nietzsche trail. Follow that up and you arrive in Eze Village. We highly recommend then walking all through the village and going up to the cactus garden which is well worth it (small fee to enter) and having lunch somewhere in the village. Although Eze gets a lot of tourists, it is stunning and the views from the cactus garden are spectacular. There is also a nice restaurant right outside called the Nid d’Aigle. It is simple but charming. There are other restaurants in the village and two are quite fancy: Chateau d’Eze and the Chevre d’Or. If you can have lunch at the Chevre d’Or, it is quite a magnificent setting and lovely. Check out their champagne by the glass in the most beautiful Lalique coups, beautiful and not that crazy pricewise given the setting and magnificant glasses and delicious champagne. This hike / walk takes about 1 hour. It is basically all up to get there. You’ll gain 900 vertifical feet. But then it is all down coming back, although you can also take the bus to the Col of Villefranche or to the beach of Beaulieu.
- Eze Village to Fort Revere. You can continue from Eze village to the beautiful regional park of Fort Revere where you will walk along the ridge line. This is truly spectacular and often you can see Corsica from here. You will be at over 2,000 vertical feet. From Eze village, you take a train across from the main village and it mostly goes just up. You return the same way. Once up there, there is a wonderful walk along the ridge line which takes maybe 1 hour round trip and is definitely worth it.
- To Roquebrune village. You take the train from Villefranche to Roquebrune station. From there, in the little parking lot of the station, you see the trail that leads up to the village. The village of Roquebrune is such a beautiful medieval village overlooking the sea and there is a fort / castle at the top of the village that is definitely worth going in and exploring. You can also see the amazing amphitheater perched on the rocks with sweeping, dramatic views of the entire coastline. If you are here in the summer and fortunate enough to get tickets in advance, you can attend a concert in this intimate, outdoors amphitheater. You can continue from Roquebrune to the village of Gorbio and then back but that is a longer hike and will take the better part of the day. Gorbio is also a beautiful medieval village and a nice place for lunch as well.
With this list, we have only mentioned a few trips that are literally right in your backyard. There are many more all around the region, some within walking distance and others just a short train or bus ride away. If you like to walk, this is one of the most beautiful places in the world to walk as the scenery is spectacular, often with views of the sea, the light is incredible (which is why so many artists came here) and there is always a village or two along the way for a wonderful lunch, and public transport to get you to and from.