9am to noon:
Early in the morning, with your bags on your backs and with plenty of drinking water, you’re off for a few kilometres of hiking up the Puy de Vichatel. Though its name might not mean much to you, this little-known volcano in the Chaîne des Puys has plenty of surprises in store. You’ll like its cool woodland but what you’ll really love is the variety of amazing views all the way along your route (the Puy de la Vache and the Puy de Lassolas, the mountains of Le Sancy, Lac d’Aydat etc.).
Our tip is that you go down to the bottom of the crater (86 metres deep!) for a picnic. Just think: thousands of years ago, just beneath your feet there was a maar (a volcanic crater filled with water) which was the site of a huge volcanic explosion. And here you are at the very heart of where this deluge of fire occurred!
And after this long haul around the volcanoes, head eastwards and take a canoe down the River Allier, to be carried along by one of the last-remaining wild rivers in Europe. A journey of discovery with lapping water and interspersed with little rapids. In the calmer sections you’ll be able to look out for wildlife too, and you may be lucky enough to see even otters!
Long haul around the volcanoes…