Vizzavona: the mid-point of the GR20

Discover Corsica

Vizzavona: more than just a stopover on the GR20 There are all sorts of ways to see Vizzavona. For those doing the whole of the GR20, it's about halfway along the route and an ideal place to pause and reflect on how far you've come. For those covering only the northern half of the route, this is the finishing point. Other hikers choose to cover the southern half of the route, from Conca to Vizzavona, or to reach the village halfway along and continue on to Calenzana.

At the heart of the GR20: the spirit of Vizzavona

Gateway to the GR20 and rest area

Thanks to its location on bus and railway lines, the village offers a convenient gateway to the GR20. Hikers can start their walk north or south from here. Vizzavona is a hub of activity, with some people passing through quickly and others taking a longer break. It's an ideal place to rest, replenish supplies, enjoy a hearty meal or heal wounds while thinking about the next stage of the journey. As a result, it often attracts a large number of hikers covering the GR20.

History of Vizzavona: aristocrats, hotels and railways

It's worth remembering that Vizzavona owes its origins to the English aristocrats of the early 19th century, who came in such numbers that the Grand Hôtel de la Forêt (now in ruins) had to be built to accommodate them in style. 
The idea of a railway dates back to 1870, but was not put into practice until 1878. Building the railway was a colossal project, requiring 43 major tunnels, 76 bridges and viaducts, as well as carefully designed slopes, embankments and cuttings. Not only did natural obstacles have to be overcome, but also objections from landowners. The Bastia to Corte line was opened in 1888. The Ponte Leccia to Calvi link was opened in 1893. The line was extended from Corte to Vizzavona in 1894, and finally from Vizzavona to Ajaccio via a 4 km tunnel in 1898. It was at this station that one of Corsica's most notorious bandits, Antoine Bellacoscia, finally surrendered to the gendarmerie.

Between waterfalls and history: the treasures of Vizzavona

The Cascade des Anglais.

If you're planning to take a break in Vizzavona, you're likely to get a little bored after a few hours. If you fancy a short walk, there are several signposted options. The Sentier des Cascades forms an easy loop through the forest between Vizzavona and the Cascade des Anglais. Part of this loop is also followed by the GR20. The cascades were named after the English aristocrats who made them popular, looking for more adventurous routes away from the Côte d'Azur.

The Abri Southwell

In the other direction, the Archaeological Trail leads to an interesting cave formed beneath huge boulders. With a little imagination, and by reading the notes on an information panel, you can imagine that Neolithic hunter-gatherers lived in the heart of Corsica 7,000 years ago. They lived here in summer, foraging for game in the forests, then moving down to the coast for the winter months. The site was excavated by an Englishman by the name of Charles Forsyth Major, who named it Abri Southwell in honour of a friend who accompanied him on his excursions to Corsica.

Corte, the island's historic capital

Hikers who want to get away from the GR20 for a while and soak up a good slice of Corsican culture should take the train to Corte for the day. This ancient citadel town was once the capital of Corsica and remains a place of grandeur and power at the very heart of the island. Corte offers a full range of services and is a bastion of Corsican language and culture.

Practical information about Vizzavona: Hotels, Restaurants and Access

Where to stay: from campsites to charming hotels

Although Vizzavona offers a limited range of accommodation, there are plenty of options to suit all budgets. 

A campsite is available close to the railway line, on the right. For more information, please contact the Restaurant du Chef de Gare. Shower facilities are located in the station building.

Directly opposite the station, Le Refuge (tel. 04 95 47 22 20) runs a gîte with 32 beds.

Higher up, near the station, Hôtel Restaurant Le Vizzavona (tel. 04 95 47 21 12) offers 12 hotel rooms and 5 rooms in a separate chalet, with a full catering service.

Just above Vizzavona, on the main road towards Corte, the  Casa Alta Chambres d'Hôte (tel. 04 95 47 21 09) has 5 rooms.

Further along the main road towards Ajaccio, the  l'Hôtel Monte d'Oro  (tel. 04 95 47 21 06) offers a splendid setting with 45 rooms as well as a 28-bed gîte d'étape and refuge options. The hotel also offers a shuttle service for hikers travelling between Vizzavona and the hotel.

Top places to eat and drink

In Vizzavona, dining options include the Hôtel le Vizzavona, the Restaurant du Chef de Gare located near the station, and the Bar Restaurant de la Gare, opposite the station, Le Castellu further up the road. Outside the village, in La Foce, the Hôtel Monte d'Oro and the A Muntagnera restaurant are also available.

These establishments all offer a full range of Corsican menus, providing the widest choice of food and drink from Calenzana.

For those who prefer to stock up on their own, the small grocery shop in the station building offers a varied range of provisions.

When setting off from Vizzavona, it is generally not necessary to carry a large quantity of food, as there are numerous refreshment points offering basic foodstuffs both north and south along the GR20.


To get to or from Vizzavona by public transport, there's only one option: the train that links Vizzavona to Ajaccio, Bastia and Calvi.
Timetables are available at Vizzavona station (tel. 04 95 47 21 02) or online at the Chemins de fer de la Corse / Camini di ferru di a Corsica website.