The GR 5 serves as an icon for the GR network, which covers the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Spain and Portugal. The trail connects the North Sea to the Mediterranean Sea and is over 2,000 km long.
Hiking the GR 5 through Flanders is not technically difficult: flat paths and country roads make up most of the trail. The GR 5 does provide a lot of variety in scenery, however: forests and heathland in the Kempen (Antwerp), the great abbeys of Westmalle, Tongerlo, Averbode and Herkenrode, ponds and marshes in the Demerbroeken and the Wijers, and forests in the Hoge Kempen (Limburg). The Flemish section ends in the Maas valley, just past Maastricht, where you find yourself atthe foot of the Ardennes by the historic fortress of Eben-Emael.
GR 5 is part of the European hiking trail E2 (Scotland - Nice).
Beyond Eben-Emael, the Hautes Fagnes and the Ardennes follow. After Luxembourg's Moselle Valley, GR 5 dives into France. Successively, the white-red ribbon winds through Lorraine, the Vosges, the Jura, Savoy, the Hautes-Alpes, the Alpes de Haute-Provence and the Alpes-Maritimes to Nice.
Hiking the entire route
If you want to hike the GR 5 all the way from Hook of Holland to Nice, you will need several hiking guides.
Below are the official guides from ourselves and our Dutch and French colleagues:
From Hoek van Holland to Bergen op Zoom: Nederlands Kustpad. Part 1 Zeeland-South Holland
From Bergen op Zoom to Eben Emael: GR 5 North Sea-Mediterranean, part Flanders
From Kanne to Schengen (Attention, the trail has changed drastically in Lorraine. You can download the gps track here): Mer du Nord - Méditerranée. Wallonia et grand-duché de Luxembourg -
From Schirmeck to Belfort: Traversée du Massif des Vosges
From Belfort to Nyon (Lake Geneva): La Grande Traversée du Jura
From Lake Geneva to Landry: La Grande Traversée des Alpes. Du Léman à la Vanoise
From Landry to Mondane: La Vanoisse. Parc national de La Vanoise -
From Modane to Larche: La Traversée des Alpes. De la Maurienne à l'Ubaye
From Larche to Nice: La Grande Traversée des Alpes. Le Mercantour. Vallée des Merveilles