One of the most beautiful canyons in Europe
Located in French Provence, the Verdon Gorge is a true paradise for nature lovers. The impressive gorge evokes memories of the Grand Canyon and at the same time the turquoise water is reminiscent of the Caribbean. With a length of 21 kilometers and a depth of up to 700 meters, the Verdon Gorge, or Gorges du Verdon in French, is one of the largest canyons in Europe.
Rough rocks meet a beautiful lake in Provence
The gorge that is popular today was created over centuries by the Alpine river Verdon, which rises in the French Maritime Alps at an altitude of over 2500 meters. Thanks to his strength, the impressive Verdon Gorge was created, which is also known colloquially as the Grand Canyon du Verdon. The wild Verdon River is now tamed by five dams. With the Lac de Sainte-Croix, one of the most beautiful lakes in Provence was created. Located at the end of the Verdon Gorge, the lake, located between hills and lavender fields, near Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, almost looks like a Hollywood backdrop.
While the lake itself invites you to take boat trips, the course of the river through the gorge is also suitable for a trip in a white water kayak, for white water swimming or rafting. Climbers are enthusiastic about the steeply sloping rocks.
Hiking in the Verdon National Park
The landscape around the Verdon Gorge is very attractive and the Verdon National Park was created in 1997. One of the most popular hiking trails in the canyon is the “Sentier Martel”. Since this is not a fully developed hiking trail, experience and fitness are required here. But the area offers a variety of hiking trails of various difficulty levels, so that even inexperienced hikers can hike in the unique backdrop of the gorge. A popular starting point for tours through the gorge is the village of Castellane at the entrance. The 700-inhabitant village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, which is a good four kilometers above the lake, is also well worth seeing. The dreamy village is the final destination for a hike through the canyon,
The southwest of France is characterized by numerous sights. Anyone traveling in the Corbières region should definitely see the Cathar castles. Here visitors can expect a real journey into the past. The medieval castles are located around the city of Carcassonne, which is known far beyond the national borders of France, on some high mountain peaks in the foothills of the Pyrenees. They are divided into real and fake Cathar castles. The real Cathar castles were built at the beginning of the 13th century. These include the four Lastours castles, which are located at a height of more than 400 meters above a river. The so-called “false Cathar castles”, such as the Queribus castle, were only built a few years later on behalf of the French kings. A total of eleven of these castles still exist in the area today, which attract thousands of visitors from all over Europe, especially in the summer months. Carcassone is a popular starting point for a round trip to the castles. In addition to the so-called “Five Sons” Aguilar, Peyrepertuse, Puilaurens, Quéribus and Termes. There is also an international airport in Carcassone. Many hiking trails with different degrees of difficulty have emerged along the Cathar castles in the past centuries. One of the most beautiful hiking trails in the region is the 225 km long Katharerweg, which leads from Foix to Port la Nouvelle. There is also an international airport in Carcassone. Many hiking trails with different degrees of difficulty have emerged along the Cathar castles in the past centuries. One of the most beautiful hiking trails in the region is the 225 km long Katharerweg, which leads from Foix to Port la Nouvelle. There is also an international airport in Carcassone. Many hiking trails with different degrees of difficulty have emerged along the Cathar castles in the past centuries. One of the most beautiful hiking trails in the region is the 225 km long Katharerweg, which leads from Foix to Port la Nouvelle.
Calanques National Park
Nature reserve at the gates of the metropolis
Anyone traveling in Provence in the Marseille region in the south of France will find breathtaking natural landscapes away from the big city. A detour to the Calanques National Park, which opened in spring 2012, is particularly worthwhile. It is the youngest of a total of ten national parks in the country and unique in Europe.
What makes the National Park so special?
It is the only national park on the continent that extends over urban areas, underwater and on land at the same time. The fjord-like bays in the Mediterranean in particular are one of the main attractions for tourists in southern France. The 20 kilometer long Massif des Calanques with its impressive rocky cliffs is located between Marseille and the small port town of Cassis. The Calanques National Park comprises a total of 141,300 hectares of sea and 87,600 hectares of land.
Unique flora and fauna
In the past decades a unique ecosystem with numerous rare animal and plant species has emerged in the entire area. Among other things, the largest European lizard species, the pearl lizard, lives here. You can also watch dolphins or turtles in their natural habitat off the coast.
Divers can also enjoy colorful coral reefs here. The Calanques are also a real paradise for hikers and climbers. Due to the sensitive flora and fauna, the national park is only accessible to tourists from the beginning of July to mid-September.