Think you can’t climb a mountain in a day? Think again. Whether you’re a complete novice, an experienced walker or someone who thinks exercise is a dirty word, we’ve picked eight peaks for you to tackle; all within striking distance of Eurocamp parcs.
Head into Hell’s Gorge for heavenly views
The Dordogne is famous for its majestic landscapes and this well-marked hiking trail will help you take in some of the best. Starting from the Ferme de Tayac B&B, you’ll follow the clearly defined path leading up – and then back down – Hell’s Gorge. The nine-kilometre loop usually takes two to three hours and there are plenty of opportunities for picnics along the way, including beside a tranquil meadow and lake. Once you reach the summit you’ll be rewarded with sweeping panoramic vistas of Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil and the Vezere Valley below.
Nearest parc: Le Port de Limeuil
Soak up the sights at France’s highest waterfalls
You’re never short of things to do and see in the Pyrenees, but even in this stunning region a trip to Cirque de Gavarnie (main pic above) stands out as something special. This array of cascading waterfalls, descending across the Spanish/French border, is about as dramatic as it gets – offering amazing views of the surrounding valley. Better still, the hike to the top is a relatively easy one making it suitable if you’re travelling with younger children. Setting off from the pretty village of Gavarnie in the Pyrenees National Park, you should reach the top in two hours but there are donkeys and horses available for hire if you don’t fancy walking all the way. A waterfall-side restaurant at the top is perfect for a post-walk drink – or to recharge before you head back down.
Nearest parc: Airotel Pyrenees Campsite
Hit new heights on Corsica’s ‘Path of Peaks’
Beginning at the Bois des Anglais in Ajaccio town centre and meandering along sandy, coastal paths to reach La Terre Sacree, the Chemin Des Cretes walk (path of peaks) is a satisfying all-day affair. A six to eight-hour round trip, despite being relatively long this 10.6km hike isn’t that strenuous, weaving upwards gradually. As well as spectacular sea views, impressive native plant life and butterflies you’ll find a popular restaurant, Le Weekend, waiting for you at the summit. There’s even a bus service to take you back down. Perfect!
Nearest parc: Sole di Sari
Venture into a volcano…an extinct one, of course
Auvergne’s unusual undulating landscape has been shaped by a ring of extinct and accessible volcanoes (puys in French), making it an amazing place to walk, explore and photograph. A hike to Puy de Pariou, now covered in lush green vegetation, provides a gentle introduction. Getting to the grassy crater is easy, with sturdy wooden steps marking out the 15-minute climb. From there you can take a break or push on another 45 minutes to see the highest point, Puy de Dome, standing proud at 1,465m high. The on-site cafe is a perfect spot to sit back with a drink and watch birds and hang-gliders catching the breeze.
Nearest parc: Les Ranchisses
Survey an island paradise from Elba’s Monte Capanne
On a clear day you can see across the Piombino Channel to Tuscany from the top of Monte Capanne, 1,000m above sea level on the island of Elba. Whatever the weather, a trek to this Italian summit is rewarded with 360 degree panoramas. The walk itself takes 90 minutes and is fairly steep, so maybe it’s not suitable for little legs. If that’s the case take the cable car (a 20-minute journey) up from the town of Poggio before strolling down the rocky pathway, keeping an eye out for basking lizards and partridges on the way.
Nearest parc: Valle Gaia Campsite
Breathe in fresh Alpine air in Annecy
The Alpine town of Annecy is known for its idyllic lake and spectacular waterfalls and hill-walking offers a great way to view them all from above. The walk from Talloires – a small village close to the lake itself – up to the Cascade d’Angon waterfall offers a good mix of easy and more challenging walking and takes 40 minutes each way. Paths are clearly marked but can become slippy in places so do take care and supervise younger walkers.
Nearest parc: La Ravoire
Reach higher realms at Montserrat’s mountain monastery
Pilgrims have been scaling this venerated peak, now with its lofty monastery, at least since Roman times. And it’s as powerful an experience today, with a range of routes to explore. One of the most enjoyable is Degotalls – the Artists’ Walk. This paved, gently sloping trail is peppered with sculptures of artists and thinkers, and offers dazzling views of the valley below. Starting at the monastery itself the trip covers 6.5km and can usually be completed in about an hour. A small mini-market at the monastery stocks water and fresh food – ideal for an impromptu picnic.
Nearest parc: Vilanova Park
Le Grand Tour on le two feet at Mont Ventoux
Cyclists and Le Tour de France fans are already familiar with Mont Ventoux’s steep, winding roads and now walkers are discovering it too. You’ll need a good level of fitness to reach the 1,912m summit, but you’ll be rewarded with amazing Alpine vistas. There are three ways to ascend but leaving from Sault is easiest, leading you through fragrant lavender fields and past the areas of natural beauty that have made this a UNESCO biosphere reserve. At 26km this isn’t a route for the faint-hearted but if you’re looking for your next hiking challenge, Mont Ventoux will make you feel like true Kings of the Mountains.
Nearest parc: Les Rives du Luberon