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The Roya Valley

The Roya Valley, a little piece of paradise

Twenty minutes from the sea, this exceptional natural site awaits! Located in the heart of Mercantour National Park, the Roya Valley is a paradise for the eye as well as for the soul. In a matter of minutes, passing from Mediterranean olive groves to alpine forests, this is a vast playground for sports enthusiasts and thrill-seekers, with traditional hilltop villages, a remarkable diversity of flora and fauna, not to mention the Merveilles Valley and its 40,000 rock engravings. There’s no end to what this region has to offer!

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A lush natural setting with picturesque villages, the Roya Valley is an ideal place to get away from it all and unwind. A true source of serenity. It is paradise for nature-lovers! Truly authentic.

Alex

5 great reasons to visit the Roya Valley

A place to get away from it all, just a few kilometres from the coast

Immerse yourself in the culture of villages with mountain, Mediterranean and Italian influences

The Vallée des Merveilles (The Valley of Wonders), a legendary place, taking us back to prehistoric times

A “fast and slow” playground for those who love the great outdoors

The Train des Merveilles, an original way to discover the valley’s wonderful landscapes

Roya Valley Access

As you probably know, Storm Alex hit our area hard on 2nd October in 2020. Please note that access to some Roya Valley towns and villages has been seriously affected. To ensure you have a great time, whether at mid or high altitude, we strongly recommend contacting the Tende Tourist Information service prior to your visit: +33 4 83 93 98 82 or tende-tourisme@menton-riviera-merveilles.fr.
Some useful links about footpath access:

Thank you for your attention and we hope you enjoy your time with us.

The villages of the Roya Valley

Exceptional places

The Vallée des Merveilles (The Valley of Wonders)

Europe’s largest open-air museum

The Vallée des Merveilles (The Valley of Wonders) is one of the biggest cave art sites in Europe, peaking at an altitude of 2,872m. Early Man carved their signs and beliefs around Mont Bégo some 5,000 years ago, resulting in 50,000 prehistoric engravings in a natural sanctuary, deep in the heart of Mercantour National Park. Red and ochre slabs polished by glaciers stand next to lakes and rocky peaks. The Vallée des Merveilles (The Valley of Wonders) is a magical and secret place with a vast terrain waiting to be explored! Visit from spring through to autumn. To get the most out of your trip, book a tour led by one of the park’s expert guides.

A Conservation Area

in nature

The Roya Valley is a conservation area and custodian to a vast precious treasure of rare flora and fauna. You may even come across chamois, marmots, ibexes and bearded vultures, not forgetting the famous Brigasca sheep! However, it is especially the flora that is so unique and highly-prized. Discover Ligurian gentian, Allioni primrose, thousand-flowered saxifrage, and extremely rare orchids such as woodcock orchids and pink butterfly orchids, as well as mimosa and oval-leaf blueberry. Keep on the lookout for these gems of nature on your hikes, but make sure you don’t touch anything…

The Nice-Breil-Tende line

a wondrous piece of railway engineering!

Running from Nice to Tende, passing through Breil-sur-Roya, the Train des Merveilles is an architectural and technological masterpiece. The single-track route is punctuated with spectacular structures, shaped by the unusual relief of the narrow Roya and Vermenagna Valleys, with viaducts and tunnels winding their way up to higher ground. You will notice the stations and the old level-crossing houses designed in a French style typical of Nice, which, as you continue your journey, give way to neo-classical Italian architecture. This is a unique way to discover the valley!

Important to note

Following the impact of Storm Alex, the rail link between Breil and Tende is now back in operation. Getting there by car is still complicated. Opt to travel by train and benefit from free commentary from expert guides during your journey, only available on certain services!

A Culinary Heritage

with Italian Accents

There’s nothing quite like cuisine to understand a region’s history! Tarts, barbajuans, chestnuts, mushrooms, local cheeses made from sheep’s milk… The mountain, Mediterranean and Italian influences form a gourmet repertoire that tell the story of the valley. However, take note. Each village has its own speciality! The valley’s restaurateurs will be delighted to share this history with you. And, to experience these culinary traditions at their best, we recommend attending the various village festivals that take place throughout the year!

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