Spend a week exploring Gorges du Verdon, the biggest canyon in Europe, on this family-friendly adventure. Hike, bike, and raft through the canyon, all while enjoying some of the most picturesque scenery in southern France.

Overview Map

Highlights

  • Take an aquatic hike through Clue du Haut-Jabron Canyon
  • Bike through scenic Provence from the ancient village of Montpezat
  • Go rafting and see Gorges du Verdon from a new perspective
  • Visit an authentic Provençal market in Aix en Provence

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Provence

First thing's first: pick up your rental car at the airport upon arrival - you'll either fly into Marseilles or Nice, After a stunning drive through Provence, arrive at Gorges du Verdon, the largest canyon in Europe and your playground for the next eight days. At 15 miles (25 km) long and up to 2,200 feet (700 m) deep, impressive is an understatement. Head to your hotel in the high-altitude village that serves as a gateway to the canyon, La Palud sur Verdon. Spend your evening getting acclimated and gearing up for the adventures ahead. 

Day 2: Route des Crêtes & Canyoneering

Enjoy an early breakfast and hop in the car - you'll drive to your first activity via the steep road known as Route des Crêtes. This scenic loop traces the canyon's northern rim, offering unparalleled views from the lookout points along the way. If you're lucky, you might even spot one of the area's native vultures in its natural habitat. You'll arrive at Clue du Haut-Jabron Canyon, a narrow gorge with stunning rock formations, where you'll embark on your half-day of aquatic hiking, also known as canyoneering. This an adrenaline-fueled activity where you can enjoy natural slides, swimming, and even a chance to rappel at the end - keep in mind this activity is only available for kids over 12 years old.

Day 3: Mountain Biking 'Tour de Provence'

Get ready for a day of mountain biking, one of the best ways to tour Provence in the open air. Leave the hotel bright and early and drive to Montpezat, a medieval hilltop village overlooking vineyards and an inlet of the Verdon River. Your guide will choose a scenic route based on the group’s biking experience before you set off along the trails and roads crisscrossing the picturesque Provençal landscape. During your mini 'Tour de Provence,' your knowledgeable guide will lead you through the region's forests and fields, pointing out historic sites along the way.

Day 4: Hike to Saint Maurin Natural Reserve

Today, you'll join a local guide for a spectacular hike above the canyon. The trail is gentle but offers epic views of the lush valley that sits a whopping 2,300 feet below. You'll also enjoy views of Lac de Sainte-Croix, a beautiful manmade lake that you'll have the opportunity to explore further on Day 5. Your trail takes you into an oak and pine forest before arriving at the Saint Maurin Natural Reserve, where you'll be rewarded with a picnic lunch, as well as a stunning waterfall. 

Day 5: Free Day at Lac de Sainte-Croix

With four days of adrenaline-pumping activities under your belt, you'll be ready for a free day to relax. Hang out at the swimming pool or head into the village of La Palud sur Verdon to stroll the cobblestone streets and sample some local specialties for lunch, like trout, crayfish, and lamb seasoned with herbes de Provence. You can also spend your day swimming and hiking at nearby Lac de Sainte-Croix, the sparkling turquoise lake you spotted during your hike the day before.  Its surrounded by pine forest, lavender fields, and plenty of accessible walking trails.

Day 6: Canyon Flyover & Rock Climbing

From your hotel, you'll be picked up for a day of reaching new heights, starting with an aerial flyover above the canyon. This activity starts in the early morning to avoid the midday heat, and you'll head back to the hotel for lunch. The fun continues in the afternoon with a guided rock climbing session. Two natural climbing walls are nearby, Via Cordata and Via Ferrata, and their easy routes offer novice climbers access to some awe-inspiring mountain views. Your guide will instruct you in using the proper equipment before you safely make your way up the rock face. When you're done, try rapelling, zip-lining, or another sky-high activity.

Day 7: Castellane & Rafting Through the Canyon

Make the 15 mile (25 km) drive to bustling Castellane, a charming 14th-century town situated at the entrance of the canyon. Take some time to walk around the ancient streets, shopping and eating lunch in Marcel Sauvaire square. You'll then embark on a thrilling whitewater rafting excursion through the gorge, marveling at the scale of the canyon walls while paddling with your guide and fellow rafters.  Working together, you'll take on the fast-flowing water of the Verdon River and tackle more than 8 miles (14km) of roaring rapids.

Day 8: Aix en Provence Market & Departure

After breakfast, pack your bags to head home or continue on to your next adventure. Gorges du Verdon is perfectly placed for access to many other regions in Provence or the Alps if you aren't ready to stop exploring. On your way to Marseille airport, you'll make a stop at a traditional Provençal market in Aix-en-Provence. Pick up some local honey or a bundle of dried lavender and mingle with the locals as you shop. Interested in upscale souvenirs? There is plenty of trendy shopping in the nearby town center.