What to do in the Gorges du Verdon?
The Gorges du Verdon are one of the most popular destinations in France. They are almost 100 km long and offer many activities. Nature lovers, you will find many things to see and do in the Verdon Gorges. ?
When to go to the Gorges du Verdon?
? First and foremost, I really recommend avoiding the months of July and August. The Verdon Gorges are saturated at this time. It’ll have several disadvantages: difficulty to park, obligation to book accommodation and activities in advance, a lot of people on the water…
☀️ The best period for a road trip in the Gorges du Verdon is in May/June or September/October. The weather will be good and you can enjoy the scenery without too many tourists! I went in September and will go back in autumn next time to admire the contrast between the lakes and the orange tones…
? Renting a car to get to the Verdon Gorges
A car is essential to visit the Verdon and to get to the activities. I rented mine from Rent A Car and I recommend you to do the same! The welcome was great (which is rare enough among rental companies to be highlighted) and the vehicle in great condition.
? LAST MINUTE GOOD DEAL: You have -15% on your car rental on Rent A Car with the code AMOUREUX15* for any reservation with return date before October 20, 2021.
*Offer cannot be combined with other promotions, not valid in Corsica and DOM TOM.
Itinerary : Visit the Gorges du Verdon in 3 days
I propose a 3-day itinerary to discover the Verdon Gorges. You can do it starting with day 1 or day 3, at your convenience, depending on your starting point.
Day 1: what to do in the Verdon Gorges (east side)
✧ Lac de Castillon
The lake of Castillon resplendent with its emerald blue colour. Surrounded by mountains, it is a real haven of peace! It is possible to drive around the lake and swim on the beaches or on more intimate spots. To find them, just drive along the road and stop wherever possible to put your towel down.
For those who prefer supervised swimming, there are 3 beaches around the lake of Castillon:
La plage du Plan (Saint-André les Alpes)
The Cheiron bay (Castellane)
The Touron beach (Saint Julien du Verdon).
✧ Paddle on the lake of Castillon
✧ Must-do activity: rafting
After testing this activity, I can tell you that it is a must do! First of all, the landscapes are beautiful. Also, the sensations are really cool. Rafting is accessible for young and old. Swimming stops are possible and even recommended ?.
I warn you, the water is very cold (even in summer) but the provider provides wetsuits and all the necessary equipment. A little hello by the way to the guide who was very funny and super friendly!
Hiking on the heights of the lake of Castillon
What to do in the Gorges du Verdon? A hike of course! If you want to enjoy the splendid views of the lake of Castillon, I recommend the Barre de Pidanoux hike. The walk starts in the pretty village of Saint-Julien-du-Verdon and is not very difficult. Count 2h30 for about 7 km round trip.
? Where to sleep near the lake of Castillon?
I chose the charming village of Castellane for this first night in the Gorges du Verdon. There you will find a small centre with restaurants and shops.
For good value for money, book at Le Long du Verdon. The environment is very quiet and there is a swimming pool.
Day 2 of the Gorges du Verdon itinerary
✧ Activity to do: ULM
To enjoy the wonders of nature from the sky, there is nothing better than a tour in a microlight. This experience is sure to be unforgettable!
✧ Road trip in the Gorges du Verdon: the Belvedere route
You can choose to follow the Gorges by the right bank or by the left bank. I personally chose the right bank to stop at the various belvederes built along the road which offer spectacular views.
However, the left bank is also worth a visit! Do it if you’re not afraid of the miles.
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✧ Sunset at the Belvédère de Sainte-Croix
The Lac de Sainte-Croix is an artificial lake dating from 1973, created following the construction of the dam. It is the third largest lake in France. The colour of the water makes it particularly pleasant to contemplate ?.
We will discover it during day 3 but, in the meantime, I suggest you reach this viewpoint, located 15 minutes by car from the famous village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. Admire the sunset from up there, it’s magical!
✧ Evening and night in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
I loved Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, I think it is the most beautiful village around! Although very touristy in high season, I highly recommend spending the end of the day there.
To stay in the heart of the village, I chose La Maison de Jules. Very clean, good value for money and great location!
? Stroll through the village lanes and climb up to the church, perched on the mountain. The way is indicated by signs. Don’t forget to try the honey beer at Saveurs & Nature.
Day 3 of the trip in the Verdon Gorges
✧ Canyoning in the Canyon de la Ferné
Go on an adventure in the waters of the Ferné Canyon! This activity will take you to unusual and wild places. You will of course be supervised by a team of professionals to have fun while being safe. ?
✧ Heading for the Lac de Sainte-Croix
The Lake of Sainte-Croix is an obligatory passage to make in the Gorges du Verdon. It is very beautiful from the road, but it must also be visited on the water.
You will find many service providers around the lake who offer rentals. I recommend the nautical base Verdon Loisirs which offers electric boats, pedal boats, canoes, paddles… Be careful, it seems to me that credit cards are not accepted, so bring cash! If there are several of you, the 4h electric boat ride can really be worth it to discover the surroundings without getting tired, to swim and to have a picnic. ?
? Just like on the lake of Castillon, there are beaches all around the lake of Sainte-Croix where you can settle!
✧ Les Basses Gorges du Verdon
Less frequented than the main gorges, I suggest you take the Garde Canal trail, one of the most beautiful hikes in the area. It takes about 3h30 to walk from Quinson. You will walk along the water and see splendid landscapes. ?
✧ The Lake of Esparron
Another magnificent site of the Verdon gorges surrounded by cliffs, the Esparron lake is also an artificial lake. To discover the lake, you can either take the canal guard trail that runs alongside it, or do a water activity… or both for the determined!
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✧ Bonus: the lavender fields
You should know that the famous Valensole plateau is very close to the Verdon regional nature park! So you won’t have any trouble finding lavender fields. In particular, between Moustiers-Sainte-Marie and the lake of Esparron, there are plenty along the road. A wonder for the eyes, provided you are there during the flowering period, between the end of June and the beginning of August. ?
I hope to have helped you to organize your road trip and to be well informed about what to do in the Verdon gorges! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask me in comments. Kisses and see you soon.