Top 3 Coastal Walks Along the French Riviera

Our favorite scenic walks on the Riviera

By Kelly Cronin

Taking a stroll is always better with a view. Luckily, views are something the Riviera is not lacking. The best way to take advantage of the incredible coastline here is to take a scenic walk along the sea. This is a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle that comes with traveling and being a tourist. Strap on your sneakers or good walking shoes and strut down one of these paths! Here are our top 3 coastal walks along the French Riviera:

1) From Villefranche-sur-Mer to Nice

Duration: 1-2 hours

Just next to Nice (towards Monaco) lies a little fishing village called Villefranche-sur-Mer. Voted one of the most beautiful bays in the world, the crystal blue waters here also come with an adorable old town and seaside village. After you’ve seen most of the time, skip the train and walk back to Nice. The walk goes just along the water, with incredible views of the Mediterranean.

Villefranche sur mer france french riviera flowers sea
Beautiful wildflowers in Villefranche // Image by Kelly Cronin
Villefranche sur mer france french riviera coastal walk
Gorgeous coastline views along the trail // Image by Kelly Cronin

This walk starts off very tranquil with a paved walkway in Villefranche. As you continue, the path takes you off the main streets and onto a rocky seaside path (we’re talking literally right next to the water) filled with wildflowers and winding walkways. The whole trek is serene, where you feel completely removed from the world and can focus completely on the sea. After climbing up, you will walk along the road to enter Nice as you loop around Mont Boron and end by the port. My advice is to bring water! There is a part with a LOT of stairs towards the end that left me very sweaty and winded, although felt great to reach the top. I went on an evening with my friend and found that to be the perfect time when the sun was not too hot and the trail was very quiet. At the end, you can rest your legs at one of the rocky nooks on the side of the road on the sea, or keep going and watch the sunset on the beach in Nice.

2) Sentier du Littoral

Duration: varies

Getting closer to Monaco, the beautiful town of Cap-d’Ail has another incredible coastline with a public trail. Just near the train station, the walk is much more traversed than the Villefranche walk, but it is also much easier and has a few more options. You can enjoy a few little swimming spots on the way. The clear blue water at the first beach will surely take your breath away!

If you go towards the left, you’ll come across some waterfront restaurants. Stop in for a bite to eat or a bottle of wine while you take in the view – who says a coastal walk means you have to walk the whole time? After your refreshments, you can pass along the other direction where you can see a variety of beautiful villas before climbing up through a lovely garden. The whole walk is pretty short, and it is a very easy, relaxing stroll in a stunning setting. I would recommend exploring here for a few hours or setting up a little picnic and lounging on the rocks or beach and swimming all day. Heaven!

3) Walk around Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat

Duration: 2-3 hours

Known for having some of the most expensive real estate in the world, the peninsula Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is a stunning, quiet gem on the Riviera. Cap-Ferrat is tucked in between Villefranche-sur-Mer and Beaulieu-sur-Mer. The views along the coast include the bay at Villefranche, and overlook Beaulieu area on the other side, too. I would recommend spending a big part of your day doing this walk so you can stop and take in everything.

View of the peninsula of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
Quiet, beautiful path around the Cap

The walk goes by a few beaches, including the famous Paloma (a private beach club with tons of celebrity spottings) and other little hidden getaways. If you want to avoid the crowds, take the Promenade des Fossettes, a windy route that gives stunning views of the Mediterranean. After passing the Grand Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, you’ll eventually get to the end of the trail where you can rest up at cool off at the Plage de Passable. Enjoy spending the day in what feels like a tropical paradise, without having to travel far from Nice or Monaco. You’ll be pinching yourself the whole walk!

Want more options for exploring the French Riviera? Check out THE DRIVER

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