Happy Half-Term Hikes on Monaco’s doorstep
Gorbio via Val de Gorbio
by Judy Churchill
Outdoor Pursuits Editor
If you are itching to get out and do a longer local hike and want to discover some secret local trails then this is the hike for you. This is another of my ‘go-to’ hikes. I’ve done shorter and longer variations of this trail more times than I care to remember. It’s also fantastic dog walking territory! After you’ve done the whole circuit once, you can do shorter variations as you will be able to invent you own start and finish points. The trail is very adaptable.
For those who have never visited the pretty village of Gorbio, this is a golden opportunity coupled with a walk around the old village of Roquebrune if you still have some energy left at the end!
This is a Happy Hiker Red trail, covering a distance of 14 km and a positive gain of 610m. It will take you around 5 hours to complete and can be done all year round.
Start from the station of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin and take the coastal pathway on the left.
At an intersection, carry on straight ahead ignoring the Escalier Massolin on your left. Carry on along over the concrete footbridge that runs below the railway line. Come down the other side and a little further along the path, leave the coastal path and take the steps on the left up the Dragonnière pathway. This comes out onto avenue Virginie Heriot which you take on your right up to the Parc du Cap-Martin. Cross over the park and come out onto avenue Paul Doumer.
Just after the town hall (on the left) take avenue General Leclerc (right). This comes out onto the RN 7 (avenue de Verdun). Go left for about 25 m in front of the Police Station, then right up some steps which comes out on a bend of l’avenue de Cypress. From there take the sentier de Pélissier, then right up the path of the same name which comes out onto the chemin de Menton by the Chapelle Saint Roch. From the chapel take the path northwards until it comes out onto avenue de la Concorde in the quartier de Pinella. Go Left (Northeast)and at the La Pué junction (157m) and go left again following signs to the Roquebrune tennis club.
Once at the club carry on right up the road which then becomes a track and a wide forest path. After about 40 minutes you will finally reach the end of this path (you will see the motorway on your right). Go Northwest down the road and under the motorway bridge down into a small valley. Keep going straight and as the road rises you will see the signpost on your left for Gorbio village. Go up this old roman pathway until you reach the village of Gorgio.
From the village go south west (up the street with the old stone ‘laverie’ laundry house) following the red and white GR way markers all the way up to the Col de la Coupière. Cross over the road and take the little path on the left towards the ridge or pick up the pathway further down the road on the left. You will be going up the Rappalin Ridge in the direction of Roquebrune Village. When you get to the summit go down south and then cross over the RD 50 when you will see a variant of the GR 51. Via avenue des Gênets, go down to the Roquebrune car park and take la rue Lascaris which lead to la place Ingram. From there go down the steps of la rue du Château to the church from where you will go down to Saint Pancrae via the Escalier du Chanoine. Cross over the RD 2564 and go down more steps which come out onto the RN 98. Go right for about 100m and then on your left take a last set of steps which crosses over la place Marius Otto before arriving at cap Martin station.
When walking, I advise taking hiking poles, as they will help you on both the ascents and descents. They also guarantee you get a full body work out. You’ll need a cap and sunglasses to keep the sun off your face (the sun is a lot stronger in the hills and mountains so don’t forget the sunscreen). Remember to take more water than you think you’ll need (at least a litre and a half per person) and enough protein bars for during and after the hike. I always have a high fibre, high protein breakfast before I set off which means that I don’t need to carry a large picnic with me as good quality protein bars are sufficient (always take a couple of extra ones). Purpose-made hiking boots/shoes, a roll-up rain jacket, first aid kit and a rucksack are a must and you will need lighter wear for the Spring/Summer season and heavier/warmer for Autumn and Winter. I have a Bogner zip-up, long-sleeved, lightweight golfing jacket from One Eagle Monaco that not only enables full range of movement but is also great for cooler Spring/Autumn walks as it keeps you at the perfect body temperature. In the winter months you will need extra layers of clothing, gloves, a warm hat and thicker socks. In the summer months when doing high mountain trails, do check the temperature at your destination before setting off as you may need some extra layers. Last but not least, you will need the “Nice-Menton” TOP 25 n° 3742 OT map (can be purchased online or in some newsagents and sports shops) to mark out your trail before you set off.
If you have Strava you can record your walk on this app and it will give you lots of fascinating statistics at the end as well as totalling up the number of km/altitude you do in any given year. You can also use the health app on your iphone to record steps, km and levels climbed. I also have an altitude app which is very useful.
When you’re done, I strongly recommend a foot massage using Young Living Essential Foot Oil (a combo of Rosemary, Peppermint and Lavender) – your feet will thank you later!
Enjoy your hike and don’t forget your camera
- If for any reason the coastal path is closed, you can skip the first part of the trail and park near the Cap Martin park and adapt the hike accordingly.