Skip to content

Hike the French Mercantour & Italian Marguareis Alps in 6 days


Alpine trek in the south: the Mercantour and the Maritime Alps

This 6 days trek takes hikers to explore the ridges, the peaks and the windflower meadows along the border or Italy and France.

La Brigue starting point, first summiting Monte Saccarello, then taking the Via del Sale route along the Italy-France frontier. This hike then visits small hamlets in Italian Liguria and Piemonte, before climbingn up to the high mountain plateau of Marguareis. On the final day a wonderful descent to Tende along the Roya valley from Colle dei Signori.

We will be staying in mountain rifugio huts and small guest houses in dormitories.

Pay a deposit of 15% per item

Our starting point is La Brigue, a delightful village in Upper Val Roya, the Valley of Wonders. Amongst the locals there are still brigasque speakers, the local language with oral heritage, spoken during the historic rule of the Kingdom of Savoy.



Day 0 

Arrival to La Brigue by train from Nice, Genoa or Milan is possible.

Some accommodation options are:

Hotel Auberge Sant MartinHotel Le Mirval or the rooms in the campsite in La Brigue,  Le Pra Reound 

Forested mountain valley in spring sunshine with pines in the foreground

The lush conifer forest on the western slopes of Monte Saccarello, on the path up to Via del Sale

Day 1

15km, 1550m up


The hike starts passing through forest and the stunning Notre Dame des Fontanes chapel. After this we climb in the Mediterranean pine forests up to Monte Saccarello summit 2200m.

Rifugio La Terza

Day 2

16km, 880m up, 1500m down

Ridge following the anciet salt route, Via del Sale along Italy-France border over Passo Tanarello (2042 m) – Colla Rossa (2142 m) to Monte Bertrand 2480m before taking the path that descends into the valley and the Upega hamlet in Italy.

il Rifugio del Sole

A granite border marker in mountain scenery Larch forests in a mountain valley

Day 3

10km, 900m up, 650m down

Our path climbs over a ridge into Carnino hamlet, from where we take a trail contouring along in the forest either down to Viozene for lunch, or directlu up to Mongioie hut.

Rifugio Mongioie

(If we visit Viozene, then 12km 1150m up 850 down)

Day 4

12km, 1150m up, 950m down

A trek in the high mountain if Alpi Marittimi, on Giro del Marguareis, traversing Alpine meadows, passing under impressive rock cliffs and spotting wildlife like ibex and chamois in the mountains.

Rifugio Mondovì Havis de Giorgio

Day 5

9km,700m up, 400m down

Trekking across the plateau of Marguareis, over Colle del Pas

(Or alternative, depending on the conditions, summit Monte Marguerais 2651m, which makes the day longer at, 10km, 1100m up, 750m down)

Rifugio Don Barbera

Steep limestone cliffs in conifer forest

Day 6

15km, 350m up, 1660m down

Descend a beautiful path from Colle dei Signori. to Tende along the Vallone Refrei / Roya and past Castel Tournou fortifications excavated into the mountains.

Tende has hotels, a hiker’s hostel and a campsite with simple rooms Campsite St Jacques in Tende, Mercantour

Stone houses in mountains

The stone houses of the Tende village in the Mercantour Alps

Hike ends in the town of Tende in the Mercantoir Alps of France, where the train takes you down to the Mediterranean coastal town of Ventimiglia. From there you can catch a train along the coast either to Milan in Italy or Nice and beyond in France.

What’s included

  • Accommodation for 7 nights in mountain hut dormitory rooms, from the day of the arrival to the end of the hike
  • Breakfast and dinner from the mountain hut
  • Varied lunch packs to take along every day
  • Guiding by a qualified mountain leader.The hike is planned and will be guided by Kirsti, a qualified International Mountain Leader living at the base of these mountains in Finale Ligure, Italy. Thanks to an extensive path network and so many impressive limestone peaks and passes of this region, the itinerary can be easily shortened or extended if you have a specific period in mind.

For the gpx track on a map, see our page in Outdooractive


Trek date

6 – 13 Oct 2024


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Hike the French Mercantour & Italian Marguareis Alps in 6 days”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *