1. Length of trail 2,600 km, 1,616 miles
  2. Length in days 130 days
  3. Start of trail Bergen op Zoom (Nl)
  4. End of trail Nice (F)
  5. Traildino grading MW, Moderate walk, backpacking trail
  6. Hut tour grading T1, Walk

GR5, Réfuge la Balme, Mont Blanc

Northsea - Riviera, three months

The GR5 is one of the most popular long distance hikes in Europe. And with reasons: the trail connects the North Sea with the Mediterranean and crosses some of the best and most varied mountain ranges of the continent. If you want, you can continue the GR5 north into Great Brittain: the E2.

Along this trail, friendships were coined and hiking clubs were born... Not surprisingly, a lot of information can be found on the world wide web.

The trail starts in the Netherlands, Bergen op Zoom. Soon the path enters Flanders and its sandy grounds and typical villages. The GR5 again enters the Netherlands, the old and interesting city of Maastricht. Next is the Ardennes region of Belgium, the romantic and forested hills with its grey houses and farms. Third country is Luxembourg. The path follows the border with Germany, along the meandering river Moselle and its castles.

In France the GR5 explores the Vosges, then the Jura, sometimes crossing the border with Switzerland, and finally, after crossing the lake of Geneva by ferry, it follows the length of the Alps. Highlight here is the Mont Blanc. But also the Vanoise, Écrins, Queyras and Mercantour. The trail ends in Nice, good place for a refreshing bath and good meal before returning home.

Many hikers made a life experience of this hike, often returning year after year to tag another section on the record. Nowadays the pilgrimage to Saint James of Compostela is probably more popular, highlighting the spiritual needs people probably have.


Rate 7.5 | 2 votes | No 8. in Luxembourg
  • Henk Nouws October 1999
  • Rate 8
  • Positive Hiked several parts in Belgium, Luxembourg and France.
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Hiking map Belgium GR5 N

Hiking map Belgium GR5 S

Map of GR5 North

Map of GR5 South

Hike Reports

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Photo Albums

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  1. Cancel
  • Thomas B 2013-05-31 11:00:32
  • RUNNING the GR5
  • Hello everyone,

    My name is Thomas and i'm planning to run from Brussels to Nice.

    I'm new to traildino and was wondering if these trails were " runable".

    What do you say ?
    • Henk Nouws 2013-06-03 12:37:17
    • Well, it depends on you. The path is not hard covered most of the time. And in some places it will be too steep for running. Best is to compare the GR5 with any other hiking trail you know of that is used for running challenges. Some people manage to run everywhere in every terrain!!
  • patacon 2012-11-29 01:15:39
  • the other way around
  • I want to hike the GR5 but I want to start in feburary. So I think it is smarter to walk the trail the other way around because of the temperatures. Does anybody knows if the trail is marked in both direction?
    Thanks for answers :)
    • Henk Nouws 2012-11-30 15:37:07
    • Yes, the path is marked in both directions.
      But if you start in Nice in February, you will soon run into problems because of the snow. Even when you start in May, you should be prepared for snow in the higher parts of the Alps.
      On the other side, starting south and walking north is generally a good idea if you like to make pictures, because you will have the sun in your back.
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