The Best Seaside Walking Trails
The French Riviera offers some of the best nature and walking trails in the world. Below are our favorite walking trails that are easy (mostly flat) and seaside. You can bring your dog, and fit elderly people should be fine on these trails. Wear sunscreen and a hat because there’s little shade along the way.
Monaco to Cap d’Ail: Mala Beach Coastal Path
|Sights: Plage Marquet (on the edge of Monaco) – Cap d’Ail – Plage Mala|
Length: 3 km
Departure from: Plage Marquet
Parking: Plage Marquet parking lot
Duration: 15 minutes to the first restaurant; 40 minutes total
When to go: Spring & summer, when the restaurants on Cap d’Ail and Mala Beach are open.
One of the most scenic and famous walks is along the coastal path that spans Cap d’Ail from Plage Marquet (on the western edge of Monaco) to Plage Mala (on Cap d’Ail), a very nice beach in a cove, with several beach restaurants.
The path starts at the parking lot of Plage Marquet, where it will cost you about €3 to park for 2 hours. From the lot you’ll see the well-marked entrance marking the beginning of the Coastal Trail.
About 15 minutes from the start of the trail you’ll reach Cap d’Ail, where you can find a cute restaurant called Le Cabanon or stop for a swim or a picnic. If you’re lucky enough to get their attention, you may see one of the several friendly cats who roam the area.
Continuing around the coast, there are informational plaques about the flora and fauna surrounding the colorful trail. There are also 20th-century villas belonging to some celebrities among the cypress trees and exotic shrubs. Barricades are blocking the risky parts at the tip of the coastline in case the wind and waves get stronger than normal.
The coastal road continues from Cap d’Ail to Plage Mala, where you can relax on the beach and have drinks or a meal at one of the two restaurants (open in the spring and summer only, so call ahead).
Antibes: Le Sentier du Littoral
|Sights: Plage de la Garoupe – Villa Eilenroc – Cap Gros – Billionaires Bay|
Length: 4.3 kilometers
Depart from: Plage de la Garoupe, behind restaurant ‘Plage Joseph’. Note that the path is closed by a gate on very windy days.
Parking: Plage Keller in Antibes, there is plenty of parking but beware it can get very crowded on weekends.
Level: Medium. Must be fit / rocky with stairs, but you can stop before the challenging / rocky part, which is about halfway.
Duration: 1 hour
The Sentier du Littoral, Cap d’Antibes is a popular walk for both locals and visitors, a narrow coastal trail hugging the water and offering unbeatable and unimpeded sea views.
The path is partly paved, very rocky in places and riddled with steep steps and the occasional scary drop (wear decent shoes). It provides a superb lookout on the rugged coastline and is memorable for its many tiny sundecks and picnic spots, considerately crafted into the stone.
The path begins at Plage de la Garoupe, behind a restaurant called Plage Joseph, and goes all the way around the Cap d’Antibes to Billionaire’s Bay. The larger-than-life villas and parasol pine trees loom high above you at every turn, and the frenzied sound of cicadas provides an unearthly soundtrack in summer. A walk around ‘Billionaires Bay’ – naturally majestic and packed with millionaires’ mansions – is a Riviera highlight.
Cap-Ferrat: Seaside Tour
The Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat seaside walk is arguably the most beautiful seaside walk in the world. Cap Ferrat’s lush green, white rocks and Mediterranean blue sea makes this walk a very memorable one.
The beach resort of Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, once a fishing village, sits on the eastern side of the majestic forested Cap Ferrat Peninsula, and is worth visiting.
Make sure to bring a backpack with water and snacks. Wear sneakers, a baseball cap, sunglasses, and comfortable clothing. If you want to swim, bring a towel and swimsuit. The walk is great year-round, but in the winter bring a jacket.
The coastal walk can be broken into two shorter sections, or you can do the whole walk at once, which takes you around the entire cap. The first two descriptions below are the walk broken into two. The last one (tour of Cap Ferrat) is the entire walk in one go.
Cap Ferrat: Promenade Maurice Rouvier (short version)
|Sights: Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat (village) – Beaulieu-sur-Mer|
Length: 3 km (one way)
Depart from: Opposite the Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat Town Hall.
Parking: Place du Centenaire or Cros dei Pin Beach.
Level: Easy. Fully tarmacked with no steps, this promenade is accessible for wheelchair users.
Duration: 40 minutes
The Maurice Rouvier trail begins in front of the town hall and offers a panorama of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat bay, the marina, Cros deï Pin beach, and the Pointe Saint-Hospice which leads to Saint-Hospice’s Chapel.
On the hills to the right lie the picturesque villages of La Turbie and Eze, and below lies Cap d’Ail. The last headland on the horizon is in Italy. The Place David Niven was named in memory of the great actor who loved St Jean up until his death. The Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild can be reached by taking the small path to the left.
This shady path leads to the Fourmis bay, with the Greek Kerylos Villa on the right (now a museum). After the final bend lies the beach at Beaulieu-sur-Mer and Les Fourmis harbour; on the left is the 5-star Royal-Riviera hotel, a jewel in the crown of the French Riviera.
Cap Ferrat: Tour of the Pointe Saint-Hospice (medium version)
|Sights: Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat (village) – Fosses & Paloma Beaches – Pointe de Saint-Hospice – a cemetery and chapel|
Length: 3.6 km
Departure from: Paloma beach or Jardin de la Paix
Parking: Place du Centenaire or Cros deï Pin beach (Harbor Beach)
Duration: 45 minutes (1 hour including a visit to the Chapel)
This educational trail explores the coastal heritage of the Saint-Hospice headland. It has been listed for its 6 observation points.
Walk alongside the harbor, past the Voile d’Or hotel, and continue towards Paloma Beach from where you can access the seaside footpath. Go down a few steps to see the bay that comprises La Scaletta, Beaulieu, Eze Bord de Mer, and Cap d’Ail. Eze Village and La Turbie can be seen on the hillside. Continue to the Pointe Saint-Hospice and on your left, you will be able to see Monaco, Cap Martin, and Italy.
The path snakes around the coastline through rocky landscapes carved out by salt and spray, with the sea to your left. Take a right onto the Edmund Davis path that leads to the St Hospice path, at the end of which lies an 11th-century chapel, a bronze statue of the Virgin (1904) and a Belgian cemetery dating from the 1914-1918 war.
Retrace your steps to rejoin the Edmund Davis path that leads to the seaside, turn right and go past the Pointe du Colombier, cross the pine forest and rejoin Avenue Claude Vignon. Turn left onto Avenue Claude Vignon that runs alongside Les Fossettes bay followed by Les Fosses, where you will see the former communal washhouse, before arriving back at the village center via the Passage des Fosses.
The Complete Tour of Cap-Ferrat (long version)
|Sights: Chemin de la Carrière – Lighthouse- Passable Beach – Tourist Office|
Length: 5.7 km
Departure from: Chemin de la Carrière (quarry)
Parking: Place du Centenaire or Cros deï Pin beach
Level: Medium; not recommended for those with a fear of heights
Duration: 1 hour and 15 minutes
From the Place du Centenaire, go up the shopping street then turn left after the bank onto Avenue Claude Vignon. The La Carrière path begins 50 metres after the bowls pitch. Stones used in the construction of the Port of Monaco (1896-1906) were extracted from this quarry.
The path hugs the coastline, passing below the Cap-Ferrat Grand Hotel with its Olympic pool (built to the former standard of 33 metres in length), before reaching the lighthouse and Pointe Malalongue. On a clear day, there is a fabulous view across to the Nice headland and l’Estérel from the foot of the lighthouse. You are now on the western slope of the peninsula. There are a number of coves between you and Passable beach which faces Villefranche harbour with its citadel dominated by Mont Alban castle.
The walk ends with a few steps. Turn left to reach Passable beach, go up the steps to reach the Passable path which leads to Avenue Denis Séméria. Turn right, go in front of the Tourist Office and continue along Avenue Denis Séméria which leads to the village.