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: 20 minutes from the border of Monaco to the first restaurant; 40 minutes total from Monaco to Mala Beach.
When to go: Late spring or 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 (next to Monaco) you’ll reach the cap of Cap d’Ail, where you can find a small beach and a chic restaurant with great sea-views called Le Cabanon . If you’re lucky enough to get their attention, you may see one of the several friendly cats who roam the cap.
A bit farther down the coastal path there is a picnic area . It’s a great place to bring your own wine and snacks and hang out by the water. A few steps further is another great seaside restaurant called La Pinede .
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: 5 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 breathtaking sea views and many places to swim.
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 past 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 flowering foliage, white rocks, Mediterranean blue sea, and impressive villas 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. Often called the peninsula of billionaires because of the imposing properties that are installed there, you can walk around Cap Ferrat thanks to the coastal footpath from the bay of Villefranche to the village of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.
Make sure to bring a backpack with plenty of 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 light 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 the Cap) is the entire walk in one go.
Beaulieu-sur-Mer Village to Cap Ferrat Village
Sights: Beaulieu-sur-Mer (village) -Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat (village)
Length: 2.7 km (one way)
Depart from: Beaulieu-sur-Mer’s Plage des Fourmis
Parking: Parking Mairie
Level: Easy. Fully tarmacked with no steps, this promenade is accessible for wheelchair users.
Duration: 30 minutes
This shady path starts in the Fourmis bay, with the Greek Kerylos Villa on the right (now a museum) of the beach at Beaulieu-sur-Mer and Les Fourmis harbor; on the left is the 5-star Royal-Riviera hotel.
The Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild can be visited by taking the small path to the left. If you look back at the view behind you as you take this path you’ll see incredible views of the French Riviera. On the hills to the right you’ll see the picturesque village of Eze, and below lies Cap d’Ail. The last headland on the horizon is in Italy.
The Maurice Rouvier trail ends in front of the town hall and offers a panorama of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat bay, the marina, Cros deï Pin beach (the beach in the village, next to the parking lot), and the Pointe Saint-Hospice which leads to Saint-Hospice Chapel .
Cap Ferrat: Tour of the Pointe Saint-Hospice
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 wash-house, before arriving back at the village center via the Passage des Fosses.
Cap-Ferrat: Tour of the Cap
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 meters 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 their Club Dauphin (one of the best pools and hotels on the French Riviera). If you want to pay a fee, and they’re not over-subscribed, you can take a break to sit by the Olympic-sized pool and sip cocktails alongside celebrities and billionaires.
If you keep going down the path you’ll reach the lighthouse and Pointe Malalongue. This lighthouse dates back to the Sardinian regime of 1827, destroyed in 1944 but rebuilt in 1951. 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 harbor with its citadel dominated by Mont Alban castle .
The walk ends with a few steps. Turn left to reach Passable beach, where you can have a bite to eat and a cocktail, or go up the steps to reach the Passable path which leads to Avenue Denis Séméria . To get back to town, turn right, go in front of the Tourist Office and continue along Avenue Denis Séméria which leads to the village.
Cap Ferrat: The Complete Tour
To explore the entire Cap Ferrat walk, you can do the three walks in the order presented above, starting in Beaulieu-sur-Mer and heading to Cap Ferrat village (with a stopovers at Villa Kerylos and Villa Rothschild), then continuing to the chapel on Pointe de Sainte-Hospice and then around the entire Cap.
From Passable Beach you can walk to Villa Rothschild (which has live music on summer evenings) or back to Cap Ferrat village. From the village you can either catch a cab or walk back to the train at Beaulieu-sur-Mer. If you walk directly without stops it’ll take you about 3 hours to end up back in Beaulieu, but you could easily stretch it out to a full day if you stop at the beaches and in the villages, and tour the villa museums along the way.