The 4 most beautiful walks in Étretat

rando-etretat

There’s no secret to the best walks in Etretat: it’s all about the famous cliffs! From the summit or at the foot of these impressive limestone walls, walking is the best way to fully appreciate the beauty of this unique setting.

Nestling at the bottom of a valley typical of the Pays de Caux region, Etretat is wedged between the cliffs of the « Amont » and the « Aval »: in both directions, paths lead to the top of these cliffs and criss-cross the entire coast, offering breathtaking panoramas, vertiginous in places! Étretat’s most beautiful hikes, although not very difficult overall, are not for those who suffer from vertigo, so be warned…

The cliffs easily rise 100 m above the sea, so even when tempted to take a closer look at the void, always keep your distance from the edge. If you take the routes along the shore at the foot of the cliffs, always bear in mind the tide times, as it’s easy to find yourself trapped on a rock or pebble beach when the sea rises: 6 hours of waiting before setting off again makes you think!

1. The cliffs of Etretat

Les falaises d’Etretat

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Duration: about 1 hour
  • Distance: 4.8 km
  • Difference in altitude: 256 m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • See the route

An absolute must, this path winds its way up the downstream cliffs, Etretat’s most spectacular and iconic. From the beach, this popular itinerary is not at all difficult to follow, and climbs straight up to the Porte d’Aval for a first breathtaking view of the Aiguille rising out of the water.

The trail continues on to La Manneporte, then on to Pointe de la Courtine, with its panoramic views of the cliffs and the English Channel: a picture postcard of Etretat before your eyes. You can then descend to Antifer beach before turning back along the same route.

It’s an easy trail, accessible to all, but be careful of the cliff edges… Spectacular in all weathers, whether it’s grey and rainy or fine and sunny, this is always the most beautiful hike in Etretat!

An interesting alternative is to pass along the bottom of the cliffs on the way to or from Etretat: be careful with tide times, and choose your time slot carefully to avoid getting stuck along the way. From Etretat beach, head into the Trou à l’Homme, then continue from point to point along the beaches, until you reach Antifer beach, from where you can climb back up and catch up with the previous itinerary to return to Etretat.

2. From Etretat to Bénouville

De Etretat à Bénouville

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Duration: about 1h30
  • Distance: 5 km
  • Height difference: 136 m
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • See the route

After the Aval cliffs, we move on to the Amont cliffs, another of Etretat’s beautiful hikes. The starting point is identical, from the beach, but in the opposite direction to the previous hike. The path climbs above the Etretat valley towards the Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde, which protects it: a beautiful view of the village and the Porte d’Aval in the distance, a real picture in your mind!

High cliffs as far as the eye can see form the backdrop to this hike, with the sea on one side and fields on the other. Stop off at the small village of Bénouville, with a detour to Château de Bénouville (15th century) for the curious, then retrace your steps along the same route. A superb walk to be enjoyed at the end of the day, with the light fading over Etretat and its cliffs on the way back.

3. Upstream and downstream cliffs

rando-etretat

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Duration: about 5 hours
  • Distance: 14.5 km
  • Height difference: 390 m
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • See the route

So far, Etretat’s most beautiful hikes have been spectacular, but easy and relatively short. This time, we’re offering you a beautiful walking itinerary that combines the beauty of the Upstream cliffs with that of the Downstream cliffs, for a large loop of over 14 km in total. Something to stretch your legs!

To be done in either direction, depending on the time of day or your preference: take the GR21 towards Notre-Dame de la Garde, and keep to the main path as far as Bénouville. Then stop off at the hamlet, before returning to Etretat, this time across a field.

From the bottom of the valley, you skirt the golf course of Etretat, on the countryside side: for once, the sea is no longer in sight! But not for long, as the trail soon returns to the Pointe de la Courtine, and picks up the GR21 over the cliffs to Etretat. Add the breaks and viewpoints, and you’ve got a day’s hike with over 300 m of ascent in total.

4. From Fécamp to Etretat on the GR21

De Fécamp à Etretat par le GR21

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Duration: approx. 6 hours
  • Distance: 16.6 km
  • Difference in altitude: 432 m
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • See the route

Most of Etretat’s hikes follow the GR21, a long coastal footpath linking Le Tréport to Le Havre. Here, we offer a linear section of the GR21 from Fécamp to Etretat. The hike is fairly long in terms of walking time, but presents no major difficulties. For the most part, you follow the coastline, across fields or overhanging cliffs.

Take time at the start to admire those of Fécamp, a Normandy fishing port still in its prime. The trail passes through the charming port of Vaucottes for two pleasant stops, before passing Bénouville and the Chapelle Notre-Dame de la Garde: a fine sample of the Côte d’Albâtre!

Although the hike is flat, the total height difference accumulates as you descend to the bottom of the various valleys, then climb back up to the top of the cliffs: plan a long day’s walk.