Highlights of Provence

8 days
from
£1,229
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Traveller ratings
4.7 / 5 from 19 reviews >
Trip code: 
TEA
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Centre-based Trips
Min age:
16
Group size:
5–15

A walking holiday showing the very best of Provence

A stunning part of Provence and relatively untouched by tourism, Greoux les Bains offers the perfect base for a walking holiday. We stay in the comfortable Hotel des Alpes in the heart of the town, allowing us to enjoy the variety of restaurants, cafes and shops on our doorstep. During the week we explore the region with a mixture of walks directly from the hotel or following a short private bus transfer. With the bustling market town of Forcalquier, the dramatic Verdon Gorge and depending on the season, fields of lavender or poppies just a short drive away, there is much to be explored.

Highlights

  • The beautiful Verdon Gorge
  • Local markets and villages
  • Relaxed daywalks

Key information

  • 5 days centre-based walking
  • Well marked trails and paths
  • Altitude maximum 1300m, average 700m

What's included

  • All breakfasts
  • All accommodation 
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations

5

Pace:

Approximately 4-6 hours walking per day

Terrain:

Low altitude; good paths, some rocky sections

Day by day breakdown
Day 213.0km/8.0miles
Day 311.0km/6.0miles
Day 48.0km/4.0miles
Day 611.0km/6.0miles
Day 713.0km/8.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Essential Info

Visas

France

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

France

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts included in the trip. Each day we will stop at a bakery or store for you to buy your lunch. There is a great variety of restaurants to choose from in Greoux les Bains for evening meals and your leader will be able to provide recommendations.

Weather

Weather in Aix-en-Provence is good throughout the year thanks to its mild Mediterranean climate. The region welcomes hot, dry summers (June to September) averaging around 30 °C, whilst winters (December to February) are cool around 12 to 15 °C but rarely cold, with lows rarely below 10 °C. Spring (March to May) and autumn (October to November) are cool and balmy and perfect for trekking.

Is this trip for you?

This trip is graded Leisurely/Moderate - Level 2.  Although the pace of the walks is leisurely and there is plenty of time to rest and enjoy the views, we place this itinerary at the tougher end of the leisurely/moderate scale due to several of the walks heading to or decending from hilltop villages. You should expect some ascent and descent and we recommend reading the daily itinerary carefully. The terrain and type of path track will vary from manmade paved tracks to tarmac. All walks take between 4 and 6 hours including lunch stops and require a moderate level of fitness. If you wish to take an extra day out of the programme you can choose to relax by the hotel pool or explore the shops and cafes of Greoux les Bains. 

All walks are optional so should you choose to have an extra day relaxing by the pool or exploring the area independently this will not be a problem.

You may find our Fitness Training Guide a useful reference:
http://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/pdf/Exodus_WT_Fitness_Training_Guide.pdf

All ascents, descents and distances listed below have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders. Please note that different GPS measuring devices can give differing results dependent on the barometric pressures at the time. Measurements stated throughout these trips notes are given to
help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter.

Accommodation

Hotel des Alpes - 3 Star

The Hotel des Alpes is a family-run hotel is ideally located in the pretty Provencal village of Greoux-les-Bains. All rooms have en suite facilities, air conditioning, Wi-Fi connectivity and hairdryer. The hotel has an outdoor heated swimming pool with an adjacent restaurant serving delicious local specialties.

Single supplement from GBP260 (double room for single use) available on request.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed July 2017
    Becky M

    Awesome Adventure!

    This was a great holiday! I've been on 5 other Exodus holidays and this trip ranks at the top. I had so much fun! Great hikes, great food and great fellow hikers made this trip unforgettable!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Do to the hot weather, Yves decided that we would like the planned day 7 hike on day 1. Oh boy....it was the day of lavender. Beautiful! It took my breath away with how gorgeous the fields were. I felt on top of the world as I have always wanted to be in this beautiful scenery!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Yves was awesome! He took care of us. He gave us great tips for hiking, encouraged hydration, and he is very knowledgeable on the region. He gave us a great packet on our first day with wonderful information such as maps, an itinerary and information on restaurants in Greoux Le Bains (our home base). He also graciously booked restaurants for us for our dinner meals. All the restaurants were delicious! Remember that dinner is not included on this trip, but also you are not required to eat at the restaurants as well.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Great holiday! You should go! You will love the villages Folcalquier, Moustier and of course Greoux Le Bains. They are gorgeous! But of course you will love the Verdon Gorges as well! The hikes are very nice! I enjoyed all of them. For me, the hikes were not too difficult, but there are a few scrambling bits. Yves will help you! The distance hiked is pretty accurate on the trip notes.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I am very glad I booked this trip. I had a lot of fun. My group was spectacular. I am honored to have met every person that was on this hike with me. : )
  • Reviewed June 2017
    Gillian Combes

    Highlights of Provence

    A lovely selection of walks and we had great weather. The hotel was welcoming and the breakfasts were very good, although some of the rooms were a little cramped. Greoux les Bains was an excellent place to stay, with lots of good quality restaurants in the town to choose from at night.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The two best walks - along the Verdon gorge and around Moustier Sainte Marie.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jean Bernard was very knowledgeable about the local area and shared this with us. It would have been good to hear at the start of each day a bit more about the walk, the terrain and possible stops along the way or extensions to the walk.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't be put off by the walk distances which sound relatively short in the brochure - although the ascents were not particularly steep, the terrain underfoot was generally quite rocky/stony and in the lovely heat of Provence the walks took longer than you might expect.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would have loved a second week, perhaps tackling some slightly longer or more challenging walks.
  • Reviewed July 2016
    Philippa Cruickshank

    Highlights of Provence

    Liked our hotel with lovely outdoor swimming pool in the good centre of Greoux les Bains. The walks were leisurely as indicated in the tour description but as it was hot this was no bad thing. However, I was disappointed that the walk on the last day appeared to have been shortened as we didnt reach the village of Valensole as stated in the tour description and we rushed back to the hotel for lunch rather than stopping for a picnic, when I really enjoyed the picnics with the local breads and cheeses etc. The walks were varied and I enjoyed the gorge and the walk by Moustiers St Marie best. Yves was knowledgeable on many topics which was great and I was especially interested in the plants. It was nice to have a free day to visit Aix en Provence and time to visit the thermal baths if one chose. Eating out in large groups was often problematic as the service was usually very slow. It would be good to be given a list of local restaurants with a rough idea of cost as some were quite expensive. But it was a good holiday with a nice group.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I enjoyed the variety of the holiday with the mix of walks and a lazy swim in the pool. Although I normally go on more challenging walks, I chose this holiday knowing it was classed as a leisurely holiday.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As above. Yves looked after us well.
  • Reviewed July 2016
    John Sands

    Walking in Provence

    We had a lovely holiday. The area around Greoux was superb and the village it self likewise. We found the hotel very comfortable and friendly, and wonderfully situated for the walks. We would have enjoyed walks that were a bit more challenging and longer. The walks were too slowed down to last over a day when we were usually have completed these distances in a half day.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The walk above Moustieres St Marie was spectacular. The village was extraordinarily pretty and the scenery was fantastic. We also loved Greoux les Bains as a base to return at the end of a days trip. The green gorge was beautiful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Yves was personable and definitely a good talker. Kathy in particular found this exhausting and we did not find him a good listener or willing to engage with the group or find out about our experience and expectations. On occasions we found him patronising; we always welcome advice and guidance but sometimes the level of instruction failed to recognise that we are adults capable of making decisions in our lives. We found the pace of the walks frustrating at times. On the last evening Yves advised us that the intention of the walks was to go at a strolling pace. For most of the group, who were on the whole seasoned walkers this wasn't what we had wanted and too slow (to the extent on occasions that we were tripping over each other's heels. It became clear to us that he saw himself as a walking guide rather than a trip leader. The information he gave about options was very limited; there were many cultural events happening in the village and it was by chance that we found out about these. On such a short trip it is difficult to get to know what is available quickly and we would have wanted a trip leader who could give an indication of the wide variety of possible options.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you like scenery, strolling and stopping frequently to look at flowers then this is the trip for you.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We didn't catch the group flight and subsequently were due to arrive just before the group. Our flight was delayed which meant both our flight and the group's landed at the same time. The joining instructions had indicated we were to meet the group and trip leader at the arrival hall, but failed to indicate that this was at terminal 2. As a result we were quite concerned when there was no one to greet us and it was only after 40 mins (when he was able to see to the others in the group) that the trip leader was able to make his way to meet us in terminal one.
  • Reviewed June 2016
    David Vaughan

    Highlights of Provence

    Our first exodus holiday and we would definitely book holidays in the future.The holiday was excellent with good walks,an excellent leader,a very good hotel and food.The hotel location allowed us to walk to other restaurants in the area in the evening which were all goodWe were lucky with good weather and an abundance of wild flowers for the timing of our visit

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    .

    What did you think of your group leader?

    An excellent leader
  • Reviewed May 2016
    Felicity Jenkins

    Highlights of Provence

    Excellent walking holiday,beautiful scenery and flowers.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking in the Verdun Gorge alongside the river

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Yves was first rate.Conscious of safety ,aware of differing abilities and experience in the group.Very knowledgeable about the history,geography,flora and fauna of the area.He gave invaluable advice about all aspects of the holiday and he was fun.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take walking poles.It is hot walking and if there is an opportunity for an early start in hot weather take it.Aix was very busy and hot,local public transport is good so spending a day somewhere quieter would be an option.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Very nice hotel,friendly staff ,spotlessly clean.Good food everywhere.
  • Reviewed December 2015
    Kylie Graham

    A jewel of a holiday

    I booked on the last scheduled "Highlights of Provence" tour for 2015 at the last minute from Australia (where sadly, Exodus doesn't get much exposure). The tour proved to be an absolute joy, a real jewel of a holiday. The "centre-based" accommodation concept is clever, as you can relax for the duration and not have to pack and unpack every day. Gréoux-les-Bains is a good base - it is a charming village, well maintained and with a good range of eateries and little shops. The Hotel les Alpes in Gréoux-les-Bains was a lovely base - my room was spacious, comfortable and spotlessly clean. The hotel staff were friendly and the breakfast buffet was generous with a variety of choices. The two dinners we ate in the hotel restaurant (included in the tour price) were stylish and delicious.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many - so many that I took over 1,000 photos - but it would have to be walking along the spectacular Verdon Gorge near Quinson, with its plunging cliffs, turquoise water and azure sky.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I have nothing but the highest praise for our tour leader, Yves Novel, whose good humour, encyclopaedic knowledge and confident and assured leadership made the trip a pure joy. Although we were lucky enough to have glorious, sunny weather every day, storms were never far away, and Yves wisely paid close attention to "le météo" and adjusted the programme on a couple of days to ensure we got the best out of our day and weren't ever at risk of storms whilst up in the mountains. At all times he consulted the group and guided and cautioned us about how best to climb in the stony terrain with great patience.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The walks weren't hard nor particularly long for fit travellers used to walking tours, but the rocky terrain did pose some challenges to knees, which can be overcome by bringing a walking pole (or two) with you.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was a privilege and a pleasure to spend 8 days in the company of such like-minded travellers (there were 8 of us on the tour plus tour-leader Yves). Haute Provence is a glorious part of the world, and I thoroughly enjoyed the tour. You've certainly whetted my appetite to go on more Exodus Tours!
  • Reviewed October 2015
    Sheila Bull

    Hit the spot for group walking pleasure.

    As a solo traveller and walker it always makes a wonderful change to quit the usual track of UK holidaying and go abroad to join a group. Walking on ones own is all very well but I do get that extra motivation by being in a crowd with a good leader. There is opportunity to socialise or be on ones own; however the walks were so good on this holiday that any omission would be detrimental to the pleasure of the entire holiday. Going to Greoux les Bains with Exodus was particularly pleasurable and worthwhile - for walking, culture and company. This is the first time I've been with Exodus and it will not be the last.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking alongside the blue water of the Verdon Gorge. High cliffs, matching blue sky, flora and fauna, plus lunch at a high perch next to an old chapel made this a perfect experience.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Yves was excellent, charmingly Gallic. He took great care of the group and was concerned for safety and cohesion. I do believe all in the group really felt he was a very good leader. On encountering a flooded tunnel in the Verdon Gorge he checked out the obstacle and encouraged the group to get through to the other side - there were no problems and it added to the interest of the walk. I would give this man 10 out of 10 - especially for his detailed knowledge of the walks and their features.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    My recommendation is: do not hesitate to book - the walks were moderate in difficulty as advertised. Staff in the hotel were polite, helpful and looked after guests in a professional manner. If you want to feel the safety of being with a professional guide then this is the holiday for you. Do you enjoy French food? Then you'll be in your element! Breakfasts were very good and eating out in different restaurants and cafes was a pleasure.
  • Reviewed October 2015
    John Penson

    Walking in Provence October 2015

    I would highly recommend this holiday to anyone who likes walking with a wide variation of different types of terrain and views. All packed into a week. The hotel Des Alpes was conveniently located at the end of main street, so very convenient to walk into town for shopping, ice creams and we ate out in a different restaurant each evening.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Our guide, Yves was extremely competent and knew the area, the flora and fauna and al lot of local history and customs. Our group would have followed him anywhere.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Yves was an inspirational group leader. He was great fun to be with and hos knowledge appeared limitless. If you are thinking of taking ths tour in 2016 then check that Yves is your group leader and you will not be disappointed.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Exodus provided excellent advice of what to pack. Just follow that advice. A good pair of walking shoes are essential for comfort on the rocky trails and walking pole(s) were a great help on the steep downward slopes.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Off course the added incredient to any group holiday is the group itself. We/I was fortunate that we all gelled on the first day. As a result all eight of us ate together in the evenings. We were a good mix of sexes. age and nationalities.
  • Reviewed September 2015
    julie ross

    Highlights of Provence Sept 2015

    Hotel des Alpes was very welcoming, clean, modern and with excellent facilities. Breakfast buffet was excellent, a huge choice. The two group meals taken at the hotel restaurant were very enjoyable and the staff very friendly (these were a set meal but the staff were able to cater for those who had different requirements). The pool and terrace area were set out very comfortably. The staff were helpful and friendly. The group walks were varied and offered beautiful views of the surrounding countryside and mountains. We were given enough time to explore small villages we passed through on our walks and use local facilities for lunch (market day at Forcalquier).

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The trip gave a general feeling of escaping - we hardly saw anyone else on the paths used giving a senses of isolation and relaxation. Picnic spots on the walk were idealic.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide was wonderful. Isabelle made the area come alive with her enthusiasm and local knowledge. I could not have asked more of her, she was always available, helping in any way she could. Most walking days she brought along local ‘delicacies’ for the group to try.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Most evening meals were taken in restaurants in the town at travellers own expense. Restaurants were prebooked for the group. My husband and I chose not to join these group meals but used other restaurants in Greoux which were plentiful, good value and well worth exploring. On the free day we chose to do another local walk. The route was excellently marked. Our guide kindly loaned us her map to use. (The tourist office in town also had walks and additional information which were very useful). The town of Greoux, at the time of our stay, had a Jazz festival and we enjoyed going along to a couple of these free events in the local square.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Local taxi transport was used to transport us to start and collect at the end of the walk to return us to the hotel. All arrived on time and were very professional and friendly. Even taking slight detours to show extra points of interest on our journey. Although the walks were Leisurely/Moderate and well within my reach as I wanted a relaxed walking holiday; some days proved long and very slow due to some very slow walkers who were also inappropriately equipped for walking in the hills. This also meant that we arrived back at the hotel quite late, often with only time to shower before dinner.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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