Montrichard, Loire

Headwater - Rivers and Chateaux of the Loire Self-Guided Walk

7 days
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Way to Travel:
Walking & Trekking
Group size:
Min age:

Discover the Loire region and it's fabulous chateaux.

The Loire is famous for its chateaux with over 300 in total to discover. This easy paced, gentle walking holiday balances peaceful, off-the-beaten-track discoveries, with the splendour and opulence of some of the finest Renaissance chateaux in France. There's no tough climbing; the highest point is at just 150m but you're still rewarded with beautifully unspoilt landscapes and enchanting views at every turn.


  • Walk off-the-beaten-track on relaxing flat routes beside the rivers Loire and Cher
  • Visit France's finest chateaux: Amboise, Chenonceau and Chaumont-sur-Loire
  • Stay in quality hotels offering masses of local character, great regional cuisine and outstanding wines

Key information

  • 6 nights in 3 and 4-star accommodation
  • 3 days walking; averaging 4 hours per day
  • Low altitude and well-marked paths 
  • Self-guided holiday 
  • Countries visited: France

What's included

  • All breakfasts and 4 dinners
  • All accommodation (see accommodation section)
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Route notes and maps provided

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas & vaccinations
  • Single accommodation (available on request - compulsory supplement)
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Days of Walking & Trekking

Gentle walking along the Loire and Cher rivers.

Day by day breakdown
Day 215.0km/9.0miles
Day 419.0km/12.0miles
Day 621.0km/13.0miles

Responsible Travel

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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… 


  • Day 1

    Arrive at Chaumont-sur-Loire

    Arrive at your riverside hotel in Chaumont-sur-Loire where there's a lovely pool if you fancy a dip.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Chaumont-sur-Loire to Chenonceaux

    Today a 20-minute transfer takes you to Bourre, before walking alongside the River Cher. En route you have the opportunity to visit the Caves des Roches, an underground town previously sculpted in a limestone quarry, and La Magnanerie de Bourre, a troglodyte site and silk-worm farm in a lovely hillside setting. The route continues alongside the Cher to Montrichard, a bustling market town which has kept its French traditions, a perfect place to have lunch. The final section of the route takes you along the GR41 through Chissay-en-Touraine to Chenonceaux with its iconic chateau. 

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 3

    At Chenonceaux

    Explore the superb Chateau de Chenonceau with its famous arches spanning across the river. It's the most romantic and beautiful of all the Renaissance chateaux and is associated with some famous names - rivals Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de'Medici (respectively mistress and widow of Henry II) and Mary, Queen of Scots who stayed here as the child bride of Francis II. After you visit you can taste the chateau's wines, hire a rowing boat (July-August), or take a pleasant riverside walk. Why not take the train to explore the lively city of Tours before coming back to relax with a swim in the hotel pool?
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 4

    Chenonceaux to Amboise

    You begin today with a train journey from Chenonceaux to Veretz-Montlouis. The route then takes you along the quiet back roads of the GR3, running parallel with the Loire. Leaving Montlouis you walk through the open fields and vineyards of the Loire region, with the opportunity to stop for wine tastings and perhaps take advantage of our wine-carrying service. The final stretch takes you beside the Loire River into the fascinating town of Amboise, providing you with numerous options for your rest day.

    Two options: 16km/10mi/3hr or 19km/12mi/4hr
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    At Amboise

    Amboise is filled with interest. It's well known for its Son et Lumiere display based at the massive chateau, which was turned by Charles VIII into a luxurious palace in the late C15. The town has bustling narrow streets, some excellent restaurants and attractive buildings. Leonardo da Vinci spent the last four years of his life at Clos Luce, now a museum with displays of models constructed from his original plans. there's a striking fountain (made in 1968 by Max Ernst) and fascinating stained glass, paintings and sculptures in the C12 church of St-Denis.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Amboise to Chaumont-sur-Loire

    Today's walk leads you out of Amboise heading south east along the GR3 trail towards the charming village of Souvigny-de-Touraine. The paths then flow through the fields and wineries of the Loire region (your last opportunity for a tasting or to purchase a few bottles). The final stretch follows part of the Camino de Santiago trail back to Chaumont-sur-Loire beside the river, with its impressive C15 chateau.

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 7

    Leave Chaumont-sur-Loire

    If you have pre-booked a transfer we take you to Tours St Pierre des Corps station in time for the train to Paris.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info




There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 4 dinners

The Loire prides itself on its delicious local cuisine and wine and we've included evening meals everywhere except in Amboise - given the fantastic variety of restaurants on your doorstep, we thought you'd appreciate us leaving the choice to you


The Loire valley is blessed with fantastic weather for walking. The spring and autumn seasons experience mild climates with temperatures averaging 16-20 degrees Celcius. The summers are generally warmer with temperatures reaching the high 20s. There is always the chance of rain so it is best to be prepared for this with a waterproof layer, it is also good to have a warmer layer for the early mornings and evenings.

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/Moderate)

You follow a circular route from Chaumont-sur-Loire along peaceful riverside tracks, passing quiet hamlets, before continuing alongside the River Cher through Montrichard, Chenonceaux and Montlouis. On your return you'll enjoy wonderful walks through open fields and sprawling vineyards - with opportunities for wine-tasting - and on to Leonardo da Vinci's bustling town of Amboise, before returning to Chaumont-sur-Loire. Along the way you'll take in some of France's most impressive chateaux: Chenonceau mesmerises with its iconic arches over the River Cher (be sure to taste the chateau's wine and enjoy a scenic riverside walk); the majestic Chateau d'Amboise is a former royal residence and also houses the tomb of Leonardo da Vinci; while Chateau de Chaumont is set in beautifully tended gardens which host the annual Festival des Jardins.

This trip is on the easier end of leisurely/moderate as there are only 3 days walking. 

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. We have suggested that 8yrs is the minimum age for this trip, but as it is self-guided and you will be leading your own family we will ultimately leave this decision up to you. There may be others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. You are provided with route notes for each day, which begin with an overview of the walk and advice on lunch, followed by detailed instructions. The route notes contain a 24 hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the local representative is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.



All accommodation is 3 and 4-star. The places you'll stay in have been hand-picked for their superb locations, atmospheric charm, excellent cuisine and warm, friendly owners.

All prices are based on 2 persons sharing, so if there is an odd number of people travelling in your party or you are travelling alone, there will be a compulsory supplement for a single room for the tour duration. For a solo traveller there is an additional charge to cover transfer costs.


Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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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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Call us on 020 8772 3936