| Time: 4.5 hours for 16 km round-trip |
When to go: All year round. Avoid rainy weather of course.
Highlights: The hike around is long enough to need a good level of fitness, but not strenuous. There is an early bail-out point at the Plage des Salins; you can always turn around at any time and retrace your steps to town.
Discover the truly wild side of Saint-Tropez: walk around its peninsula. Surpringly, few people do, yet it yields bays and creeks otherwise only accessible by boat. Beyond the Pointe de la Rabiou, the path leads you through rugged coastline and across beaches of fine white sand.
The Sentier du Littoral coastline pathway is marked with a line of yellow paint and plenty of signs either reading Pietons (pedestrians) or Sentier du Littoral - no need for a map here. Note that for the first half of the walk, the path either shoulders or passes right through private properties. Don't tresspass beyond the marked path.
Begin your hike by the pier of Saint-Tropez, under the Tour du Portalet at the end of the Quai Mistral. A map welcomes you with distances to the road ahead: Baie des Canebiers: 2.7 km, La Moutte: 7.4 km, Les Salins: 8.5 km, Plage de Tahiti: 12 km.
Pass through the Port des Pecheurs then up away from the coast to the path leading towards the walled Citadelle. Head back down to the coast just after the cemetery. Another Sentier Littoral panel greets you. You pass the Plage des Graniers, head through bamboo pathes on hard-packed sand and up towards parasol pines. The large bay ahead is the Bay des Canebiers. You begin to hear the sound of the wind whistling like chimes through the strouds of the anchored sailboats.
Walk on the beach by the Bay des Canebiers' private nautical club, on the Plage des Tamaris then up to the road that climbs and meanders between homes. Pass under the stone door to the Cap Saint-Pierre.
As you head down towards the Cap Rabiou, you notice the stone-walled villa that mirrors the old fortress walls of St Tropez.
At the Calanque de la Rabiou, the rocks above the sea look like milk chocolate spun and folded in fudge. The protected plage de la Moutte soon exhibits its white sand. At the Cap des Salins, the granite tombstone of Emile Ollivier (1825-1913), minister under Napoleon III and author of the 17 tomes of l'Empire Liberal, he loved the region and lived for a while in the chateau La Motte, overlooks the ocean with the inscriptions: "Magna quies in magna spe."
Beyond it stretches the white powdered sand and popular Plage des Salins.
You could head back to St Tropez from the Plage des Salins by taking the road next to the Lei Salins restaurant. During the summertime, the SODETAV buses operate back and forth between St Tropez and various St Tropez Peninsula beaches, including Plage des Salins and Plage de Tahiti.
However, the upcoming Pointe du Capon offers views of a wild wind-swept coastline and the Cap du Pinet a hike over pine needles by the cliff. The Plage de Tahiti is wild too, though in a different way. The long stretch of white sand ahead is the famous plage de Tahiti. Kick off your shoes (or everything, clothing is optional here) and cool your feet in its waters. After an energizing sip at one of the beach's bars and restaurants (Tropezina Beach, Millesjm Beach, Manureva), head back to St Tropez on the Belle Isnarde road that goes through the neighborhoods of Pinet, la Gardine, la Messadiere, la Belle Isnarde and reaches the center of St Tropez.
For more hikes on the Sentier du Littoral, take a look at the St Raphael du Cap du Dramont piece, or the Cap du Dramont hike.
If you have any questions, comments or additions related to this hike, help yourself to the comment entries below (click on Comments link below). We'd love to hear about your hike or your questions. We often hike around St Tropez, Les Maures, l'Esterel and around small and forgotten villages of the Var and love to share what we find. Bonne sortie!
The local french hiking group of Les Randonneur Tropéziens walks this région and is open to new members: 04 94 97 14 84