Pleasure is in the Nature of Le Var Hiking - Rambling - on foot, horseback, or Mountain Bike
More than half the surface area of the "Department" is covered in forest (and in this respect Le Var ranks only second in the country); the weather is ideal the whole year round, and there is 1.600 km of both small and large hiking paths, of which 500 are open to horse and mountain-bike riders, "garrigue" and wood lovers will be in seventh heaven. Then add on to that 250 km of "Customs Officials' paths" which wind along the whole length of the "Littoral"... Few regions have so many favourable conditions; along with so many different forms of hiking on offer such as can be found in Le Verdon, and in the hills of La Sainte Baume, Esterel and Maures.
More than 1,000 routes on over twenty sites have been opened and equipped for enthusiasts of all levels, Le Var again unveils even more of its remarkable richness, both in its climate and its geography: Le Verdon, center Var, and the maritime front are in fact practicable the whole year round, 7 topographic guides have been produced to enable everyone to follow their own trail according to the possibilities available. Lastly there is the option of professional guides for those who wish to make their first trip in complete safety.
Var's shaped by both fresh and salt water; there are two rivers navigable all year round (the river Argens and the river Verdon), as well as 430 km of littoral, and the lakes at Sainte Croix and Saint Cassien. These offer enthusiast a chance to choose a "run" to suit their abilities.
Argens (120 km of river): easy routes (class 1 and 11) - Verdon: sporting routes (class 1 to 111).
Gorges du Verdon: sporting routes (class IV and V)
Lakes at Saint Croix and Saint Cassien: family routes.
The waters in Le Var are as rich on the surface as they are underwater (protected coastal zones; the sub-marine path at Port Cros. With its "Rosary" of islands (the isles of Embiez and Bendor to the west, the golden isles, and the Giens Peninsula) there are ample opportunities for diving. "Theme" training courses are available to help you enjoy the experience to the full. With coral at 10 m below the surface, pure clear water, and the company of fish, diving in Le Var is a truly difference kind of experience.
Sea and Sail
Thanks to the mistral, which often reaches between force 3 and force 8, the Var coast is the natural haven for sailing sports and windsurfing. There are a great many sailing clubs along the whole length of the littoral, where you can learn or practice, moveable keel craft, catamaran or fixed-keel craft. The ports, the quiet creeks, and the islands give wind-sports enthusiasts every reason to indulge themselves to the maximum. For windsurfers in particular, it's a paradise - some of our beaches have been recognized as among the best in the world. The top European, Australian and Hawaiian specialists come here to train, and to compete against each other: at l'Almanarre" (Hyeres) and at "Brutal Beach", (Six fours). Pre-Olympic week at Hyeres, world "Fun-Board" championships...all types of windsurfing are possible along the whole length of the littoral, from beginners up to wave-jumping, and lastly, the wind-swept lakes at Saint Cassien and Sainte Croix give you the opportunity to wind-surf in the calm and green surroundings of the in-land countryside.
Just as exciting are the various types of motor-sports, and they have found an equally suitable environment in Le Var: you can take part in the 4 x 4 on reserved routes. The "circuit de luc" and the famous "Castellet" regularly host competitions for formula 3000 proto-types, and motorcycles.
Free-Fall Parachute Jumping and Hang-Gliding
Le Var is perfectly suited to these two activities: fine weather, reliable winds, excellent visibility (it's not unusual to be able to see Corsica). Ten sites and two professional schools are open to those who love wind versus hang-gliding. The French hang-gliding championships couldn't have been wrong - they were held here in 1991. The aerodromes at Vinon du Verdon and Fayence/Tourrettes offer the same climatic advantages, which are indispensable for successful, long and noiseless flights: the best in the world cover more than 1,500 km gliding along the length of the littoral, in full sight of the Pre-Alps and the Italian border!