Home » Regions » Guided hiking & walking tours in the Luberon, around Gordes & other hilltop villages

Half-day and Full Day hiking tours in the Luberon region
beautiful landscapes and charming Provence hilltop villages

 

 From Gordes to Roussillon : the heart of Provence
Half-day or Full Day

 

Gordes and Roussillon, along with Bonnieux, Ménerbes and Saignon, are five of the most beautiful Luberon hilltop villages. You enjoy life there by walking down their narrow, cobblestone streets or savoring a terrace lunch. Midway between the towns of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and Apt, these medieval settlements have contributed to the reputation of Provence all over the world. On this gentle walk, your local guide leads you during a half-day trip from Gordes to Roussillon through countryside landscapes. These ones are made of rolling hills, vineyards, olive or truffle tree groves and pine woods. Walking along the foot of the Monts de Vaucluse, you keep in sight, on your right, the range of the Luberon mountains on the horizon.


Walking time
: 3.5 hours (or 4.5 hours if  the Ochre Trail in Roussillon is included)
Rating : easy 
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 8am – 11:30am only, not allowed on fire risk days)

 

 

 

Nestled in the heart of Provence, the Luberon Regional Nature Park is a living and preserved countryside area that stretches over 75 km E-W on both sides of the Luberon mountains and over 2 départements : Vaucluse and Alpes de Haute Provence. It includes 77 municipalities and has a total population of about 180,000 inhabitants.

This rural territory is characterized by a mosaic of landscapes and of habitats, reflecting its geological history, climate and human activities.  The region is home to an exceptional biodiversity.

 

Gorges de Veroncle, an odd canyon near Gordes 
Half-day

 

Not far from the picturesque village of Gordes, your local hiking guide leads you in the lowest section of a 5-mile canyon. The Veroncle river cut into the south-western bottom of the Monts de Vaucluse, this limestone massif located between the Luberon mountains and Mont Ventoux. What makes this short hike so unique is that the cultural heritage is even more valuable than the one nature has left : you see during your walk the remains of three watermills that were built between the 16th and 19th c.. These old buildings are of a high quality in an area that is not easily accessible : dams, cutstone penstocks, retaining walls, large reservoirs and long canals carved out of the rock, and numerous millstones. A wild and beautiful spot.


Walking time
 : 3 hours 
Rating : challenging (some rocky passages, a few ladders)
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 8am – 11am only, not allowed on fire risk days)

 

 

 


A guided hike in the ochre sands of Colorado Provencal
Half-day

 

Among the former ochre quarries still visible to the north of the Luberon region, one of the most prodigious spot is called Colorado Provencal. It displays fascinating landscapes, sculptured over the ages both by nature and man, in a broad palette : colors vary from saffron yellow to blood red and include white sands as well. In addition to the breathtaking views you get from the pathway, the last remains of the ochre industry can be shown to you by your local guide. And this one provides you with interesting facts about this economic activity.  It was during the 19th and early 20th centuries that it flourished in the Luberon.

 

Walking time : 3 hours 
Rating : leisurely
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 8am – 11am only, not allowed on fire risk days)

 

 

 

The Oppedette gorge
Half-day

 

The tiny village of Oppedette, a former Celtic-Ligurian oppidum, is situated to the north-east of the Grand Luberon, between Forcalquier and Apt. It sits above spectacular gorges carved out by the Calavon torrent, a small canyon that is among the most beautiful ones in Provence & Côte d’Azur. During this short trip, your local guide will first lead you to several beautiful viewpoints over the gorge before taking you down into it, allowing a real exploration.
Another loop route, about twice longer follows the edges of the cliffs on the western rim to the southern end of the canyon, where a country road bridge spans the stream.

  

Walking time : 2 hours (3 hours for the longer route)
Rating : challenging (steep descent and ascent)
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 8am – 11am only, not allowed on fire risk days)
Cancelled on rainy days.


If you are afraid of heights, you had better choose another hike.

Not recommended for children under 10.

 

 

 

 Among the giant stone mushrooms of Les Mourres
Half-day

 

The Mourres rocks  can be found to the north-east of the Luberon, next to the charming town of Forcalquier. It is a fascinating site, where can be seen several hundreds of strangely shaped rocks : some look like giant mushrooms, others like big weird muzzles. As you climb up to the highest part of the trail, you enjoy a beautiful view of the Alps on the horizon. And before the end of the circular walk, you have the pleasure to see a few Cabanons Pointus. These picturesque traditional dry stone huts are typical of the Pays de Forcalquier. You will certainly hear stories about them from your local guide.

 

Walking time : 4.5 hours 
Rating : moderate
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 8am – 11am only, on a shortened itinerary)

 

 

 

Buoux and the valley of the Aiguebrun
Full Day

 

Hiking in the Aiguebrun valley is very special. Because the contrast between the cool and humid valley, on the one hand, and the desolate plateau above, on the other hand, is startling. The first one is carpeted with lush vegetation and temperate climate plants as the other is covered with lavender fields and scrubby woods.

On a rocky spur high above the Aiguebrun valley lie the impressive ruins of a medieval fortified village : Fort de Buoux is only accessible by foot. Located in the heart of the Luberon mountains, this incredible site is a beautiful and peaceful place today. 50,000 years ago, when he chose to settle down up there, the Neanderthal man might have experienced the same feeling. Numerous vestiges of a 13th c. castle remain: defensive walls, watchtowers, dwellings, cisterns, grain stores and a church. And your local guide may lead you down a hidden staircase, which is an alternative way down from the fort : but it is not for the faint hearted !


Walking time
: 5 hours
Rating : challenging (steep and rugged sections)
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 8am – 11am only, on the short itinerary)
Not allowed on fire risk days.

 

 

 

 Luberon hilltop villages : from Lacoste to Bonnieux
Half-day or Full Day

 

For centuries, they have been standing face to face, each one on its hill, at the foot of the Luberon mountains. Lacoste is dominated by the imposing ruins of a castle which belonged to the Marquis de Sade. From the village, you walk across olive groves and truffle plantations, vineyards and lavender fields, enjoying the local color that set the charming ambiance of Peter Mayle‘s novels.  On your way to Bonnieux through the countryside, you have a multitude of viewpoints over its very picturesque terraces. Once there, you get a panorama that extends from Lacoste to Roussillon and Gordes, three of the loveliest perched villages. In the background, you can see Mont Ventoux

 

Walking time (including both villages visits) : 3.5 hours (short) /  5.5 hours (long) 
Rating : from leisurely  to moderate
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 8am – 11am only, on the short itinerary).
Not allowed on fire risk days. 

 

 

 

The dry stone heritage of Gordes and Sénanque
Full Day 

 

During this nature walk, you can see one of France’s most beautiful little towns, Gordes, located east of Avignon. And your local guide shows you the amazing rural architecture of Gordes surroundings : dozens of huts and other ancient farm buildings, such as cisterns, vats, ovens, and sheep shelters, all built in dry stone. Another major attraction is the 12th c. Cistercian Sénanque Abbey, Hidden in the narrow Sénancole valley at the foot of the Monts de Vaucluse, it has harmonious ensemble of buidings considered as one of the purest examples of the Cistercian architecture.

 

Walking time : 4 hours 
Rating : moderate (stony ground)
Season calendar : 1/1 – 6/15  &  9/15 – 12/31

Visits of Village des Bories outside Gordes and Sénanque Abbey not included

 

 

 

Walking up to the summit of the Luberon mountains
Full Day

 

This itinerary starts in Castellet, a tiny village on the Luberon mountains northern slopes. Your local guide takes you within two hours up to the top. If the trail across the downy oak forest is steep, the result is worth the effort: you get, from the Mourre-Nègre (3,690 ft), a 360 view that allows you to gaze at all Western Provence’s peaks. Northwards, you can see, in particular, the white ridge of Mont Ventoux ; and, southwards, besides Mont Sainte-Victoire, if not invisible in the heat haze, you can spot the Mediterranean Sea.

 

Walking time : 4 hours
Rating : challenging (steep slopes)
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 7:30am – 1pm only, not allowed on fire risk days)

 

 

 

Gorges de Régalon and the Vaudois history
Full Day

 

This hike offers you the opportunity of learning from your local guide about the history of Provence : the Vaudois (or Waldensian) ‘heresy’ in the Luberon during the 16th century. Beginning in Mérindol, a village by the Durance river, it takes you up to the stony plateaus at the bottom of the Petit Luberon mountain. The final part is a descent into a narrow and spectacular canyon very special for its luxuriant vegetation: Gorges de Régalon has walls rising 250 feet above the path. Note these outstanding features on your way: a breathtaking passage you walk through that is only 30 inches wide and a remarkable cave. 

 

Walking time : 5 hours
Rating : moderate (stony ground)
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 8am – 11am  &  6pm – 9pm only, on a shortened itinerary). Not allowed on fire risk days.

 

 

 

A walk from the terraced village of Bonnieux
to Roussillon, on its ochre hill
Full Day

 

At the foot of the Luberon mountains, Bonnieux, one of the largest villages, rises in tiers on a hillside. From the top, you enjoy panoramic views, seeing as far as Mont Ventoux and the southern Alps. Closer, you can catch sight of the three famous perched villages of LacosteRoussillon and Gordes. After walking down through the narrow streets of the village, you roam the countryside made up of vineyards, orchards and woods. You marvel at this mosaic of a landscape for an hour and a half and then reach Pont Julien. This is a 2,000-year old Roman bridge that spans over the Calavon river. Before the quaint village of Roussillon comes out, the trail on which your guide takes you snakes its way accross wooded hills. To top it off, a dramatic walk on a pathway starting in the heart of the village awaits you : it allows you to discover the wonderful red colored cliffs of the former ochre quarries.

 

Walking time (including the visit of both villages and the Ochre Trail in Roussillon) : 6.5 hours
Rating : challenging
Season calendar : 1/1 – 6/15  &  9/15 – 12/31

Visit of ochre museum (Okhra) outside Roussillon not included.

 

 

 

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