HelloMonaco continues its unique series on Monaco’s Marvellous Walks, taking you on a tour of some of the most wonderful walking trails that can be found in the heart of the Principality and the surrounding area. As before, we will delve into the particularities of the route, giving tips on how to get there and what to see!
This time we will explore the panoramic trail that takes you from the centre of Cap d’Ail to the hills above, all the way to the spectacular viewpoint of the Tête de Chien. This is probably one of the most scenic walks you can do in the area; as you make your way up to the summit, your surrounding include the majestic looking ocean, mountains and luxurious villas at every level. Definitely one of those walks you’ll want to free up some storage to take pictures!
Most Riviera residents have visited the Tête de Chien viewpoint a few times before to admire the beautiful 360 views of the entirety of the Principality and surrounding areas. However, maybe you weren’t aware that you could hike all the way up to the rock and enjoy the journey up there as well as the reward of an enchanting panorama. The walk is known as the Chemin Romain and takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes to walk up and down, but leave yourself 3 hours as you’ll be stopping to marvel at the view a fair few times! The route is about 6.5 km in total and perhaps it is not the most family friendly walk – there are quite a few steps to take, the trail is always at an incline and the footpath is tricky at times. Not for the youngest of hikers but definitely a great outdoor workout!
The walk starts in Cap d’Ail; just park your car somewhere in the centre of the town or take a quick ride on the n.100 bus to reach the beginning of the trail. The start of the path is not that clear as there are many routes you can choose for the first segment of the walk, each with varying incline and steps so choose according to your desired intensity. You might have to refer to Google maps at times to make sure you’re staying on the right track – the route is clearly displayed on any GPS app. Or pop into the towns Office de Tourism that is located in the very centre of the town: it will have plenty of tips to ensure you make the most out of the hike. One of the staircase-filled streets you can take to guide you to the next segment is L’Escalier Costa Plana that runs all the way up to the main road of the Moyenne Corniche, cutting through the residential roads on a quiet asphalted terrain. Most of the side streets that branch off Cap d’Ail’s main road are named after Mediterranean trees such as Chemin des Mimosas and Chemin des Amandiers, so pick one and complete the steepest part of the walk!
Once you reach the busy road of the Moyenne Corniche (RD6007), you need to cross at the traffic lights to get to the street that seems to lead to a residential area, Chemin des Cyclamens. There you will find the first signpost for the Tête de Chien route on your left, follow this road past the sea-view homes till you reach another main road that you must cut across to continue the walk. As mentioned before, the road is not that clearly marked so don’t be afraid to ask a friendly passer-by or consult your maps. Also look out for Chemin Romain signposts and the spray-painted yellow arrows located here and there that keep you moving in the right direction.
As you walk on, you leave the asphalted roads and find yourself walking on a magnificent trail submerged by nature; cacti, tangled flowers and wild herbs like lavender surround your walkway and perfume your hike. The grand white limestone cliffs, that look perfect for experienced rock-climber, tower over the windy uphill walk as you get closer and closer to the Tête de Chien summit that you never lose sight of. As expected, the footpath cuts through the wilderness so it is rather rough and overgrown in places but that simply adds to the charm; just make sure to wear some proper shoes for the unstable stony path and tread carefully on the way back down. Also, the hike is very exposed in summertime so make sure you grab a bottle of water and sunscreen for the walk – the ocean will look so tempting you’ll want to dive straight into it!
Once you reach the rocky summit feel free to sit back and take in the glorious coastal views that stretch as far as the eye can see. The entirety of Monaco is on show as well as Cap d’Ail, Cap Ferrat, Menton and on an exceptionally clear day you may even see Antibes and Italy in the distance. Those who have visited the viewpoint know that it is one of the best panoramic views around; the views are really quite impressive – you have to see it to believe it!
Don’t forget to reward yourself with a fresh drink and a baked good from one of the bakeries in town on the way back – you deserve it!