The adventurer’s guide to the Verdon Gorge

photo by Saroj Mishtra

The Verdon Gorge, the canyon made by the River Verdon in south-east France, is considered to be one of the most beautiful in Europe. This 25 kilometer long canyon, with its 700 meter deep slopes, makes for some of the best adventure opportunities in France. The Verdon Gorge is close to the French Riviera, and still it manages to draw a sizable crowd of visitors despite the allure of the French beaches. Whether your taste in adventures runs along the lines of hiking, rock climbing, rafting or kayaking, you will definitely have a great time in this canyon. If you’re still not convinced, here’s a short guide to the Verdon Gorge.

Rafting

Like in the case of most canyons where there’s water left, rafting is one of the best ideas for adventure travelers. Verdon can be a capricious river that changes shape, size and speed depending on location, so rafters who want a bumpy ride will not be disappointed. The Middle Verdon is fit for rafters with some experience, who will love rapids such as La Degoulinante, Barre St. Jean, and Solitaire, while beginners can tackle Upper Verdon.

Rock Climbing

photo by Teo X

France has quite a few lovely mountains which offer some truly exciting rock climbing opportunities, but the rock faces and limestone crags of Verdon can’t compare to anything else. Among French rock climbers, the Gorge is one of the classic rock climbing destinations in the country, where you can find nearly 1000 climbing routes for everyone, from short sports routes to intense routes on steep walls of rock. The gorge is a great place for multi-pitch climbing two (the type of rock climbing that requires stops at belay stations called pitches).

Paragliding

There’s nothing more beautiful than seeing the Gorge from above, and there are two ways to achieve this: either climb the highest rock you can find, or embark on a paragliding adventure. If you’ve never paraglided before, you don’t have to worry – there are lots of tour operators that can arrange it for you, including equipment and instructors who will tell you exactly what to do. You can paraglide in tandem, or you can get a boost of adrenaline by doing it on your own.

Fly fishing

photo by David Fisher

As opposed to extreme sports when you are in bodily danger most of the time, fly fishing sounds like a rather tame activity. However, anyone who has fished before can testify that you can get a good surge of adrenaline from an eventful fishing expedition too. The Verdon Gorge, thanks to the fast waters of the River Verdon, is an excellent destination for fly-fishing.

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