The GR 5, commonly known as the ‘Europe Trail,’ covers 2,600 kilometres (1,600 mi) from Nice in the south of France to Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The route leads through majestic mountain ranges such as the Alps, the Jura, the Vosges, and the Ardennes, giving you an eclectic panorama of the entire continent.
In this Collection, I invite you to follow 280 kilometres (174 mi) of the GR 5 from Nyon, on the shores of Lake Geneva, to Montbéliard in the far north-east of the Jura massif. Your journey begins in Switzerland on the shores of the largest lake in the Alps and then heads through the foothills of the Jura, through numerous valleys blanketed with fir forests and pastures. You’ll often see the majestic Alps on the horizon.
You’ll soon cross the border into the French part of the Jura where the scenery and language is similar. As far as the Doubs, you switch from plateaux to hills. Unlike in the Alps, the paths are wider and less difficult and the lush green landscapes and pleasant gradients invite you to take it easy.
In the Doubs, you skirt the Swiss border and discover a colourful region. Massifs covered with pine trees and the river's gentle curves remind you of wild, unexplored lands. The few huts that line the trail are peaceful places to rest, and no doubt, you’ll want to stop at all of them.
Finally, as you head towards Montbéliard, you’ll enter a new landscape – eastern France. You’ll walk through more populated areas with wonderful architecture. The rural areas oscillate between sparse forests, fields of crops and livestock.
To get your hike off to a good start, head to Nyon railway station. Trains from Geneva run daily. On your return journey at Montbéliard there are daily trains to Besançon and Paris.
This section of the GR 5 offers a wide range of accommodation; the larger towns have plenty of gites and inns, but choice is limited in the villages. However, depending on the season, you won't be alone on the trail and you'll meet other keen hikers. Don't forget to book your accommodation in advance.
On stages 6, 8, and 11, I suggest spending the night in a refuge, so you’ll need a sleeping bag. Make sure you keep the space clean in respect of nature and the locals. If you wish, you can also stay at refuges on the other stages.
In the Jura massif, I recommend the GR 5 from spring to mid-autumn. It's not unusual for light snow cover to remain into the spring. Don't forget to pack appropriate clothing for both cold and rain. The region enjoys a continental climate that can be very hot in summer, so make sure you stay hydrated.
Enjoy your trip!
Find the first part of the GR 5 between Nice and Saint-Étienne-de-Tinée: komoot.com/collection/1995325
Find the second part of the GR 5 between Saint-Étienne-de-Tinée
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Last updated: June 6, 2023
Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.
Switzerland, its incredible and romantic Lake Geneva, its mountain and forest frescoes: here you are launched into a new Collection. This section that follows the iconic GR 5 takes you on a beautiful crossing of the Jura and the Doubs, from Nyon in Switzerland to Montbéliard in France.
Far from being…
For this second stage, I suggest you continue the GR 5 and leave Switzerland for France. From La Cure, head towards the bucolic village of Les Rousses whose cafés invite you to idleness. Before that, take the temperature of the La Chaille reach waterfall and its noisy and tumultuous waters. Its idyllic…
Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.
During this new stage on the GR 5 which winds through the Jura massif, I suggest you go deeper into the most mysterious corners of the beautiful Mont Noir forest. At the exit of Chapelle-des-Bois, you begin a slight drop on the ramifications that run through this large and majestic forest. Preserved…
At the start of this fourth stage, I invite you to visit the Church of the Assumption erected in the heart of the village of Mouthe. The building, destroyed and rebuilt several times over the ages, has a very singular Comtois bell tower surmounted by an imperial dome.
On leaving the village, you step…
At the start of this fifth stage, I suggest that you go to a supermarket to fill your backpack with food. Until the end of the seventh stage in Villers-le-Lac, shops and services are scarce.
You leave the village of Hôpitaux-Neufs in the direction of Fourgs, halfway through this portion of the GR 5. The…
At the start of this sixth stage, I suggest you follow the GR 5 with a first ascent to the gates of Fort Malher. During this climb, do not hesitate to turn around to take advantage of the pretty points of view that are available to you. In the cool rays of the rising sun, the Château de Joux takes on…
At the start of this seventh stage, I suggest a first beautiful ascent to the summit of Mont Châteleu. This medium mountain of 1,301 meters above sea level is one of the last you will come across in the Jura massif, since the end of this stage marks the end of the crossing of the massif.
At the start of this eighth stage, I advise you to start with a trip to the grocery store to make sure your backpack is full of food. Along the Doubs gorges, nature takes precedence over urbanization and shops are almost non-existent. You will only find civilization in Goumois, your destination for the…
At the start of this ninth stage, you continue your route along the pleasant flow of the Doubs. In the gorges, nature abounds. The fauna and flora are preserved and some animals such as deer or wild boar, not very shy, do not hesitate to show the tip of their nose.
The adventurous route, punctuated by…
Departing from Goumois, you start this new stage on the banks of the Doubs. In the morning light, as long as a mist escapes from the surface, you can take advantage of this charmingly colored river during your first steps. Rest assured, you will not leave it permanently since you will find it at the…
At the end of the day, I suggest another night in a bivouac, far from all shops. Thus, at the start of this eleventh stage, do not hesitate to take advantage of the Saint-Hippolyte supermarket to fill your backpack with food.
You then start your stride on the beautiful paths of the GR 5. After a first…
At the start of this twelfth and final stage, I suggest a first stop in the heart of the Hollard forest to discover the incredible geology of the Sarrazin bridge. According to legend, this bridge cultivates the legend of a Saracen horseman who succumbed to the fall of the latter. Feel free to explore…
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