There are a multitude of ways to visit the largest Canyon in Europe:
by hiking, by car, by bike or through sports activities.
→ We've selected our Top 5 ways to visit the Verdon Gorges as of September 2022!
⭐ N°1 : The iconic viewpoints of the Verdon Gorges
We are not on Route 66 but on the departmental road 952 which joins Castellane from our village: winding bends against boulders, forest passages, landscapes worthy of the greatest adventure films... No, you are not dreaming, you are in France. Welcome to the Verdon Gorges!
After about twenty kilometres from Moustiers, you will arrive at La Palud-sur-Verdon. Cross it and turn right 1 kilometre after the village exit to take the famous "Route des Crêtes" - D23. A panoramic road of 23 kilometres with 15 car parks and 15 viewpoints to take a deep breath of fresh air (!) in the middle of the Griffon vultures and other birds of prey that nest in the limestone cliffs.
Then head for Point Sublime. Park in the car park and walk 5-10 minutes to the Belvedere. The sound of the river, although not as strong in 2022, will ring in your ears.
Continuing towards Castellane, you will come across the Pont de Soleils bridge to cross the Verdon and pass to the other bank.
Do you know its name? It's called the Rive Gauche or... La Corniche Sublime!
On the way to the Artuby bridge, one of the highest bridges in Europe, before reaching the grandiose Balcon de la Mescla.
Mescla? Simply a Provençal word for "mixture". Because from this viewpoint you can observe the meeting of two rivers: the Artuby and the Verdon.
Before arriving in the village of Aiguines, you must stop at the viewpoint of the Col d'Illoire. Sensitive souls should not go there! This belvedere is a wooden overhang which will give you the impression of floating above the void... An experience made in Verdon!
► It takes 3 to 4 hours to drive around the Verdon Gorges...
But on holiday, time doesn't count! ☺
⭐ N°2 : The Verdon Gorges by foot
For hiking enthusiasts, the Verdon Gorges offer a magnificent playground.
Here are 3 hiking ideas that will offer diverse and varied views of the Verdon. ↓
1- "Blanc-Martel" trail : the timeless one
The famous Blanc Martel trail...
By following the itinerary of the most famous hike of the Verdon Gorges, you will be as close as possible to the river to admire it! Departure from the Chalet de la Maline to reach the Point Sublime on 13 kilometres of path (between 800 and 900 metres of positive difference in altitude).
For your comfort, plan the day and time of your hike with a booking shuttle system.
Go to the site and choose "round trip". The meeting point is in La Palud-sur-Verdon. The shuttle will pick you up and take you to the Chalet de la Maline: the starting point of the hike.
After a 5 to 6 hours walk, the shuttle will be waiting for you at the Point Sublime to take you back to your car.
2- The "Bastidon Trail"
A half-height path whose starting point is located a few kilometres from our village*. From Moustiers-Sainte-Marie take the road towards Castellane and park your car at the Mayreste viewpoint car park: located in a bend in the road (only a dozen kilometres from our village). You will walk through part of the Grand Canyon on a balcony path.
Here the cliffs are less imposing and the Verdon rarely appears but, nevertheless, the route is magnificent on this steep path.
Return path : more or less 5 hours
* To walk the entire Bastidon Trail → (a little more than 15 km with 900 m of altitude), the start is from La Palud village
3- "Plein Voir" & Issioule crests by "le col de l’Âne"
(to overlook Sainte Croix lake !)
A hike that requires a good physical condition. The view, once you reach the crest, is breathtaking! From this high point, the mouth of the Verdon Gorges, the Sainte-Croix lake and the Valensole plateau will all be at your feet. A hike of about 8 kilometres but which requires between 4 to 5 hours of walking (the technicality of certain parts of the route and the positive difference in altitude, more than 600 m over just over 3 kilometres, make it quite "demanding").
⭐ N°3 : Cycling through Europe's largest canyon!
What could be better than cycling through the heart of Europe's largest canyon?
If you are a beginner, drive to the village of La Palud-sur-Verdon and park your car. Get on your bike and take the departmental road 23. It's up to you to make the most of the 15 belvederes and 15 different viewpoints offered by the "Route des Crêtes"!
We advise you to enjoy it early in the morning, when the first rays of sunshine warm the cliffs of the Escalès, or at sunset, with the dance of the vultures above your heads.
For the more athletic among you, the tour of the Verdon Gorges takes more than 5 hours of cycling: 91 kilometres and more than 2000 metres of positive difference in altitude. A demanding loop intended for trained cyclists, but whose exceptional landscapes largely compensate for the difficulty! This route is not recommended in summer (due to the heat and the high number of tourists on the roads).
⭐ N°4 : Discover the beautiful villages of the Verdon!
The Verdon Gorges are not only breathtaking scenery. They are also picturesque villages which all have a special link with the canyon. Visiting these villages also means understanding the history of our area.
Aiguines and its magnificent view of the Sainte-Croix lake
• Because of its location, this village in the Var region, nestled at an altitude of about 800 m, overlooks Sainte-Croix lake royally and offers an extraordinary view! The Illoire pass, located less than 3 km away, consists of a wooden overhang refurbished in 2018, and really gives the impression of having your feet in the air above the gorges! Ideal viewpoint to start following the route of the famous and rather wild Corniche Sublime... (see point N°1)
• For the "Musée des Tourneurs sur Bois", a must-see place in our area, retracing the history of the "boules de pétanques cloutées"...
Castellane : gateway to the Verdon Gorges
• For the rich architectural heritage of this medieval village located not far from the beginning of the Grand Canyon du Verdon and crossed by the Route Napoléon... → Notre-Dame du Roc chapel, Roc bridge, Sacred Heart church or the three listed monuments that are the Saint-Victor church, the Pentagonal Tower and the Clock Tower. Castellane has certainly not obtained the label "Villages and towns of character" for nothing!
➕ More Info : Office de Tourisme Intercommunal Verdon Tourisme and it Information bureau at Castellane
Trigance ant it "edge of the world" feeling
• For the very calm and serene atmosphere offered by the Artuby area. In the wide open spaces of the Artuby Pre-Alps, an "edge of the world" atmosphere guaranteed, away from the summer hustle and bustle of the Verdon Gorges...
Trigance, a village of about 200 inhabitants located "at the crossroads of the right and left banks of the famous Verdon Gorges", perched at an altitude of nearly 800 m, on the side of the rocky bar on which the feudal castle and its crenellated towers rest, charms the great majority of its visitors.
➕ More Info : Office de Tourisme Intercommunal Lacs et Gorges du Verdon and its Relais Info Tourisme at Trigance
Rougon and it marvellous point of view
• Because of its geographical position, this small village (120 inhabitants) perched at an altitude of over 900 m, offers one of the most impressive viewpoints in the Verdon Gorges area! From its rocky outcrop, Rougon offers a breathtaking view of the first part of the Grand Canyon du Verdon with (from top to bottom) the Point Sublime and the Samson Couloir.
➕ More Info : Office de Tourisme Intercommunal Verdon Tourisme
⭐ N°5 : Thrills in Europe's largest canyon!
We are all aware of the drought that our area is facing... But there is still water in the Verdon Gorges to explore the it. Thanks to professionals, aqua-trekking and canyoning are still possible!
• The Aqua-trekking is a fun activity which consists in going down the river by all possible means. You will jump, float and swim in the Verdon to the delight of children and parents alike!
• Canyoning is an activity which, in addition to jumping and swimming, also offers abseiling and/or zip-lining.
► For both these activities, no experience is required... Only a good mood! ☺
"You'd have to have walked this canyon 100 times to say that you know it, it's the most beautiful in the world...
And I haven't changed my mind, even after my visit to the Grand Canyon of Colorado"
Crédits photos :
→ ©AD04-Teddy Verneuil, ©Lacs-gorges-verdon.fr, ©VCC04-Thibaut Vergoz, ©AD04-Philippe Murtas