The Most Beautiful Natural Sites in the Côte d’Azur Region

The Most Beautiful Natural Sites in the Côte d’Azur Region

Sun-drenched beaches, glamorous resorts, and an air of undeniable sophistication – the French Riviera, also known as the Côte d’Azur, is known for its gorgeous summer landscape. But beyond the glitz and glamour lies a wealth of natural beauty waiting to be explored.

Renowned for being one of the prettiest regions in Europe, the Côte d’Azur is full of natural wonders intertwined with rolling vineyards and lush olive groves. 

South of France holidays offer a chance to reconnect with nature and discover the region’s breathtaking landscapes, which offer the perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. So, ditch the sun lounger for a day and delve into the captivating landscapes of the French Riviera. 

The Gorges du Verdnon 

Nicknamed ‘Europe’s Grand Canyon’, the Gorges du Verdon is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts. This dramatic canyon, carved by the Verdon River, boasts towering limestone cliffs between 250 and 700 meters. Hike along scenic trails, marvel at cascading waterfalls like the Cascade Brùisson, or take a thrilling kayak or canoe trip down the emerald green waters. 

For a unique adrenaline-pumping experience, bungee jump from the Pont de l’Artuby. Charming villages like Castellane and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie offer a taste of provincial charm, with local cafes and artisan shops perfect for post-adventure refreshments.

Lake Annecy 

Nestled between towering mountains, Lake Annecy is a haven for water sports enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Dubbed ‘the Pearl of the French Alps’, this crystal-clear lake is perfect for swimming, sailing and windsurfing. 

Cycle along the scenic lakeside path, soaking in the breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks. Take a boat trip to the medieval town of Annecy, with its canals and colourful buildings. For a touch of history, visit the medieval Château d’Annecy, now a museum showcasing the region’s rich heritage.

The Calanques National Park

The Calanques National Park is a dramatic landscape of turquoise coves, limestone cliffs, and hidden beaches stretching along the Mediterranean coastline near Marseille. Renowned as one of the most spectacular natural parks in Europe, visitors can marvel at the stunning scenery on hiking trails and the panoramic views of the shimmering coastline when kayaking or paddle-boarding. 

For a touch of history, explore the ruins of the medieval Château d’If, famously featured in Alexandre Dumas’ novel, The Count of Monte Cristo. Remember, the Calanques can get crowded during peak season, so plan your visit accordingly or consider exploring during the off-peak seasons. 

The Alpilles 

This small mountain range is located in the South of Avignon and home to some of the most picturesque villages of Provence. Perfect for travellers looking for a truly authentic French experience, embark on a walking tour to view wine and oil refineries, the muse for Van Gogh’s Starry Night and untamed natural beauty. 

Hike or bike through rolling lavender fields, charming villages perched on hilltops, and ancient Roman ruins. Visit the charming town of Les Baux-de-Provence, the best-known chateaux in the Alpilles, or explore the ruins of the Roman city of Glanum.

Senanque Abbey

Located near the village of Gordes in the heart of Provence is Senanque Abbey, a stunning example of Cistercian architecture. The monastery was established in 1148 and is an important piece of the region’s cultural heritage. Visitors can witness the monks who live there, the gorgeous fields of vibrant lavender and the lush valley surrounding Senanque Abbey.