The area around Nice is ideal for adventure activities, it’s an adrenaline junkie’s dream. It is close to mountains, gorges, fast-flowing rivers and rock faces all screaming out to be climbed, jumped off, slithered down, scrambled over and enjoyed to the full – if you like that kind of thing! Here are 3 of the best adventure activities near Nice in the Alpes-Maritimes, France.
Best Adventure Activity near Nice #1 – Climbing
The first adventure activity near Nice I propose is climbing. Just outside the pretty village of La Colle sur Loup, there’s a small but popular and reasonably challenging natural rock face set up for climbing called la Bagarée.
This climbing area is beautifully located on the Loup river, at the end of one of my favourite walks. The area was redone a few years ago so the anchors and bolts are in good condition. It has 90 routes from beginners to advanced.
Climbing friends assure me it’s a fun place to climb and my brother makes a beeline for there each time he visits. I’m not a climber but he is and he takes my boys and his twins regularly. It’s a great place for families with young kids to try out this adventure activity as there’s the river to splash in while not climbing.
There are plenty more mountaineering and climbing sites in the Alpes-Maritimes, all within an hour, at the most, from Nice. One of the most well-known is on the spectacular rocky outcrop, the Baou de St Jeannet (photo below). More information can be found here.
Adventure Activity #2 – Canyoning
Another crazy adventure activity to be found in the rivers nearby is canyoning (canyoneering in US English). Here’s the definition, maybe you’ll see why I think it’s crazy! “The sport of jumping into a fast-flowing mountain stream and allowing oneself to be carried downstream at high speed”.
This is another thing I haven’t actually done myself but my boys love it. The first time they went in a group of friends with children aged 10-15. It took double the time expected owing to the fear factor amongst some of the group but the instructor was supportive and didn’t charge extra.
Since then they have done it many times and relish the sensations of this adventure activity. You are provided with wetsuits, helmets, ropes etc and accompanied by a guide. These photos are all taken in the Gorges du Loup, one of the best places for canyoning near Nice.
Having said I think it’s crazy, I do wish I had the guts to do it as I secretly think it looks amazing. More information can be found here.
Adventure Activity #3 – Via Ferrata
The third adventure activity that friends and family have tried locally is Via Ferrata and guess what? I haven’t! If you haven’t come across this before it’s rock climbing permanently rigged with rungs and cables making it safer and more accessible for non-climbers.
Typically you’ll find things like rope and cable bridges across ravines, and ladders bolted to the cliff face. It’s spectacular just to look at the circuits, my favourite one being at la Colmiane where a rope bridge crosses between two crags (pictured below).
I can’t imagine actually doing it though my younger son adores it! There are 8 Via Ferratas in the Alpes-Maritimes (including one underground). They are located at Puget-Théniers, Auron, la Colmiane, Lantosque, Tende, la Brigue, Peille and la Moulière, all of which are possible to get to and do in a day trip from Nice.
A free booklet is produced by the Conseil Général available online here (in French). Climbing a Via Ferrata is tough, takes a good deal of stamina and is certainly not for anyone afraid of heights but apparently it’s totally awesome if you like that kind of thing! (And it is suitable for children from about 8, depending on the child of course).
All these crazy sports are not only close to Nice, but actually even closer to Lou Messugo gite, so if you are staying with us they make very easy day trips.
Do you enjoy adventure activities like these? Would you like to try any of them? Leave me a comment, I do love getting them!
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This post was originally published in August 2014, updated in 2022