Looking to spend a day at the Gorges Du Verdon, AKA the Verdon Gorge? There are endless things to do in the Gorges du Verdon making it a perfect day trip from Nice.
This is one of the few places in the world that brought actual tears to my eyes with its beauty. The dramatic limestone cliffs lining the vibrant turquoise water is a sight that will be engraved in your memory forever.
If you have more time and feel comfortable driving a car, I REALLY encourage you to stay the night and spend a few days in this area. Out of all the cities I visited on my 10 day vacation to France, the Verdon Gorge was my all-time favorite spot! Yes, even more than champagne tasting in Champagne, France!
In this detailed and wordy guide (would you expect anything less from me!?), I will dive into all the specifics on renting a boat in the Gorges du Verdon, how to get to the Lac du Saint Croix, all of the fun Gorges du Verdon activities, where to find the famous lookout point, where to stay near the Verdon Gorge, and how to get to the Gorges du Verdon from Nice!
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Gorges du Verdon Location
First off, where the heck is this beautiful location?
The Gorges du Verdon is located in the Provence region of southern France. The best way to access this area is by car, but there are also tour companies that can take you here on a day trip from Nice (more on that later).
The starting point of the Gorge is located at the Lac du Saint Croix and winds over 15 miles (25 kilometers) inland. The actual Gorge is natural, but the Lake that is connected to it is man-made.
However you decide to get to the Verdon Gorge, you will likely start at the bridge on Lac du Saint Croix, Pont du Galetas.
Getting to the Gorges du Verdon
There are two main ways to get to the Verdon Gorge: Driving yourself or taking a tour from a nearby city like Nice, Cannes, or Marseille.
Guided Tours of the Gorges du Verdon
Let’s use the most popular origin, Nice, as an example. There are many day trips that take you from Nice to the Gorges du Verdon and back to Nice. This is the least stressful way to see it, but there are a lot of downsides.
First, most tours only allow you to see the gorge for an hour or two at the most. You would not be able to do any of the fun activities at the Verdon Gorge, and only drive all that way just to look at it (which, I think is still worth it in my opinion).
These can also scale to be expensive and are VERY long days (minimum of a 9 hour tour).
The upside to this option is you don’t have to worry about renting a car, finding a place to stay, and you get to learn a lot of history about the region you wouldn’t learn on your own!
To browse tour options, I always use Viator because it is reputable world-wide and has reviews from past travelers. You can browse tour options here.
Driving to the Gorges du Verdon
This is the best way to see the Gorges du Verdon for SO many reasons. If you drive, you get to spend as much time doing the actives like renting a canoe or kayak, canyoning, swimming, etc! You also get the option to drive around the loop that has several viewpoints from the top of the gorge.
If your itinerary warrants it, I would highly recommend staying the night (or two) in the area so you really get to soak in all the beauty without any time constraints!
If you choose to stay the night, you can dedicate an entire day to renting boats and exploring the Gorges du Verdon. You can easily spend hours kayaking through the Verdon Gorge, cliff jumping, swimming in the Lac du Saint Croix, picnicking along the beach, and driving the scenic loop!
TIP: If you decide to rent a boat, don’t forget to pack a Bluetooth speaker! I was playing music while boating down the most beautiful canyon in the world. This was not only a good investment for the day at the Gorge, but the vacation in general! Playing fun music while getting ready helps fight jet lag, trust me on this one.
Where to stay near the Gorges du Verdon
If you drive to the Gorges du Verdon, you will need to rent a car and find a nearby hotel to stay in (unless you want to drive back the same day). The closest and oh-so adorable town is Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, located only a 10 minute drive from the Pont du Galates.
On my 10 day trip to France where I got to see Paris, Marseille, Valensole, Nice & Monaco, this town was BY FAR my favorite. It seriously made my entire trip! This quiet village is nestled in the green countryside of France, with the smell of fresh flowers and birds chirping at all hours of the day. You will feel like you are walking through a Disney movie set!
The village is very small and any hotel located in or near the village center is going to be a great location. I chose to stay at the Hotel Le Columbier and highly recommend it. It had a pool and hot tub with a view, hotel bar, large deck where they served an amazing breakfast every morning, and perfect location.
Gorges du Verdon Activities
You could easily spend a few days exploring all the Verdon Gorge has to offer. From relaxing on the beach to cliff jumping into the gorge, there is guaranteed to be something perfect for you!
There are many huts along the Lac du Saint Croix with free parking located at all of them. This is where you will rent any of the paddle boats, kayaks or canoes.
Pont du Galates Lookout
What you typically see in most pictures is the lookout from the Pont du Galates. This is the bridge that separates the Gorge from the Lac du Saint Croix. You can drive right up to this spot and there are small parking areas on both sides of the bridge.
This lookout will give you an outstanding view of the gorge, almost as if a drone took it!
You can rent peddle boats for fairly inexpensive at many of the shops around the lake. They run around 20 Euros / hour and fit up to 5 people. I used the company that was located closest to the bridge, Nautical Base Etoile. There are rumors that these boats sell out since you can not reserve in advance, but if you get there around 9 am-10 am, you should be fine getting one.
This is what I chose to do with my friend and we had plenty of room to move around on the boat, have a picnic and explore the gorge. We ended up renting the boat for 4 hours and honestly could have gone longer!
TIP: Bring a bottle of wine (don’t forget cups and a wine opener), picnic lunch and a Bluetooth speaker to make a day out of it!
Kayak Gorges du Verdon
If you are on your own and want something smaller, or if you want to get more of a workout, kayaking the Gorges du Verdon is a great option.
Single kayaks cost around 10 Euros / hour and doubles run around 20 Euros / hour. You can also rent these from Nautical Base Etoile.
Kayaking the Verdon Gorge is a better option if you plan to stop a lot along the gorge. They are very easy to pull over and tie to the side if you want to stop to cliff jump or take a break. With the peddle boats, they forbid you to park the boat anywhere along the Gorge.
Canyoning Gorges du Verdon
This is a full day activity and for an adventurous traveler! There are many tours that will take you into the gorge by propelling down the side of the canyon.
There are options ranging from 2 hours to 6 hours and cost between 40 and 90 Euros. If you like adventurous activities, they also offer aqua hikes, rock climbing, and zip lining! To learn more, O’limpide and Canyoning Verdon have great tour options!
Verdon Gorge Hiking
There are so many beautiful hikes around the Verdon Gorge that you could spend weeks doing them all! I found this guide by Ultimate France extremely useful when researching hiking!
Hanging out by the beach at Lac du Saint Croix
If you don’t want to rent boats/kayaks, or just have limited time, you can spend your day hanging out at the beach around Lac du Saint Croix. The lake is so big that you can easily find a little corner to have all to yourself.
I would recommend packing a picnic lunch and watching all the boats pass by!
There are a few spots to cliff jump along the gorge, the most popular one is located just after the Pont du Galates bridge. You will likely see a line of people jumping, but of course jump at your own risk!
Cliff jumping can be very dangerous and should be done with caution! If you look at the picture below, you can see people cliff jumping in the bottom-right corner!
What to pack for the Gorges du Verdon
Packing for summer in France can be overwhelming, especially when you throw in a destination that is not touched on very much in the travel world! The Gorges du Verdon is still very hidden from tourism, so finding guides on what to pack can be almost impossible. Here is my list of necessary things to pack for your trip to the Verdon Gorge!
I’ve mentioned this way too many times in this guide, but I think I really need to emphasize how important bringing a Bluetooth speaker is! Not only to the gorge, but on any vacation in general!
Car doesn’t have an aux cord? Bluetooth Speaker.
Tired from jet lag and need the extra boost to get up in the morning? Bluetooth Speaker.
Need some music to enhance your experience boating down the Gorges du Verdon? BLUETOOTH SPEAKER!
Gopro has the ideal wide angle lens to capture the entire gorge and is waterproof! You get professional level camera and video without having to worry about ruining your camera equipment.
The newest Gopro (which is what I have) is completely waterproof and you can see the pictures/videos on the screen directly after you’ve taken them! The best feature, in my opinion, is how you can link the Gopro to an app on your phone and use it to take pictures!
If you are traveling with a friend, you can take continuous pictures by pressing the camera button from the app without having to get up and set the Gopro timer!
Gopro 3-Way Grip
This is my photography holy grail! I seriously geek out on how functional this thing is! It is a selfie-stick, tripod and grip stick all in one! I used the tripod function to get great pictures of my friend and I, and used the Gopro app to take continuous pictures without having to get up and set the timer.
I really really recommend this investment!
Water shoes if planning on cliff jumping
I know these are super dorky, but if you plan on cliff jumping I would definitely recommend getting some! These are extremely cheap and can be found on Amazon too. These ones are inexpensive, lightweight, come in multiple colors, and not horribly ugly.
If you get sun burnt easily (like me), I would recommend packing a hat! When cruising through the gorge, the sun is beating directly on top of you. And you’ll be having so much fun you won’t realize how burnt you’re getting!
My friend did not wear a hat and she got painfully sun burnt on her scalp and couldn’t brush through her hair the remainder of the trip!
I wear this hat literally all the time, you can even verify how much I wear it on my Instagram! The best part of this is the string unties (but is still connected to the hat) and you can tie it to your short loop or bag so you don’t have to hold it!
Sunblock can be so bulky! I always bring actual sunblock in my suitcase to apply before going out, but to just re-apply and touching up I bring sunblock packets! They can easily fit in your pocket or purse without taking up too much room.
They are about the size of a ketchup packet and are super inexpensive for an entire pack!
Even though you will be on your private boat most of the day, you will want to be covered up getting to and from the car. Unless you like parading around in your bathing suit.. then do you girl!
If you want to see the Pont du Galates lookout, you will need to do a short “hike” to it from the parking lot by the boat rental shop. It’s about a 10 minute walk through the trees so you may want to be covered up for that.
Even though you are on a boat majority of the day, you will need to walk around a little bit. Packing a cheap pair of sandals that you don’t care if they get wet is essential!
When I travel to a summer destination, I always bring a pair of black and brown sandals (literally the same pair just different colors), so I have something that matches with everything.
I get 90% of my sunglasses from Quay because they are high quality without the high price tag! My all-time favorite sunnies that I wear almost every day are the High Key sunglasses in black.
That’s a wrap! This is literally everything I know and could find on the Gorges du Verdon so I could make your travel planning as easy as possible. If I forgot anything at all, comment your questions below and hopefully I can answer them for you!
The Verdon Gorge was truly the most breathtaking place I have ever been to. Jumping off the boat into the vibrant turquoise waters is something that I will never forget and marks my favorite day of my 10 day France Vacation.
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