Coastal Hikes on Monaco’s doorstep Villefranche-sur-Mer Circuit du Mont Alban

Coastal Hikes on Monaco’s doorstep


Circuit du Mont Alban

This is a fun happy Hiker green hike that can be done all year round. It is easy but still offers a great glute workout with the steps in the first half and rewarding, spectacular, coastal views from Mont Alban. This is a historical site so if you read up about the fortress, then that’s your dose of culture taken care of for the month! 

This hike starts close to Monaco in the beautiful village of Villefranche. If you go by car there is free parking in the Citadelle car park when the hike begins. Alternatively, you can go by train as Villefranche has a railway station. There are also many good restaurants to discover in Villefranche so you could combine this trail with lunch either before or after the hike.

The walk will take you about 2 hours to complete for 4.5 km and 220 m of positive gain (that’s the glute workout part).

Starting from the Citadelle car park, go up into the old town via the rue de l’Eglise, then the rue de la Victoire (traffic lights). Take the little tarmac road on the left – Chemin du Mont Alban which goes past the Notre-Dame de France church before becoming a footpath.

Carry on upon the steps towards the Mont Alban fortress (222m) ignoring any secondary pathways. 

For the return, take the road that goes straight down from the fortress, and keep going down until you meet the fitness circuit (Parcours de santé).

Take the path of the left which winds through a pine grove until you get to the view-point over the harbor of Villefranche. Next, take the steep steps down to the Basse Corniche.

Cross over the main road and return to Villefranche via the pavement opposite. After 100m you take the steps called 24e BCA which go down to the harbor and Citadelle.

When walking, I advise taking hiking sticks, as they will help you with both the ascents and the way down. 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 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 a 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. Last but not least, you will need the IGN TOP 25 map n° 3742 0T map (Nice-Menton) to mark out your trail before you set off. 

If you are a French speaker you can also find the  but you will still need your IGN map as these on-line guides are only approximate. There are also hike specific apps such as Visorando, which have both free and purchasable versions and can be very useful guides and even have GPS options. 

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 totaling up the number of km/altitude you do in any given year.

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


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