Massif de l’Esterel – An Active Holiday Guide
The most stunning natural feature of the entire Côte d’Azur is the Massif de l’Esterel, a coastal mountain range of red-ochre rock which forms the backdrop to some of the classic images of the South of France. In the Massif de l’Esterel you can have a serious mountain experience just a stone’s throw from the beach.
The Massif de l’Esterel is located on France’s Mediterranean coast between Saint Raphaël and Mandelieu-la-Napoule. There’s plenty of choice if you want to camp along the coast. Le Dramont, Agay, Anthéor, Le Trayas and Mandelieu-la-Napoule all have good campsites. Miramar and Mandelieu-la-Napoule have the greatest choice of hotels, but you’ll find other options in Théoule-sur-Mer and Anthéor.
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Cycle the Corniche de l’Esterel
The N98 coastal road running along the base of the Massif is called the Corniche de l’Esterel. A cycle (or drive) along it’s famous bends is not to be missed – the contrast of striking red rock and azure-blue sea means the views are spectacular. Along the road, there are plenty of places to stop and go for a swim. Some of the best include, Agay with its pretty sheltered bay and good beach, Le Trayas, Théoule-sur-Mer and Mandelieu-la-Napoule with its harbour and 14th century castle.
Nice Côte d'Azur (56 min)
Activities in the Massif de l'Esterel
The Massif de l’Esterel has lots of good walking trails. Many of the more popular walks are signposted, such as those up to the Pic de l’Ours (496 metres) and the Pic du Cap Roux (452 metres). For some of the longer walks however, you’ll need to come equipped with a good map.
There’s some great cycling through the Esterel too. The road cycle from Mandelieu-la-Napoule is popular, and you can make it a 50 km loop by heading inland at Fréjus and taking the D6007 (Avenue de Fréjus) back to Mandelieu.
The Massif de l’Esterel also has hundreds of kilometres of mountain bike trails to explore, one of the most popular is a ride through the hills behind Théoule-sur-Mer. The view from the top is spectacular.
Théoule-sur-Mer mountain bike trail.
Please leave a comment below if you need specific advice for your trip to the Esterel, or if you have any recommendations to help us improve this guide. Happy holidays!