Walking and active holidays in Corsica

Holiday Informa... / Know before you go  

Know before you go

We want you to get the most out of a Corsica walking holiday, to enjoy every moment on this beautiful island! We’ve put together guidelines to make sure you’ve got everything you need for your holiday as well as a lot of useful information about what to expect. Here is our A to Z.

Accommodation

The style and décor of hotel accommodation will inevitably differ across our programmes. We endeavour to give an accurate description of each hotel or guest house and the facilities available, together with as many interior and exterior photographs as possible to give you a good idea on what the accommodation is like. In each hotel, the description and photographs may not be of the specific room that will be allocated to you.

Accommodation on the GR20

On the GR20 we use a mixture of park refuges, private gites and shepherd’s cabins. The accommodations are basic and rudimentary.  Showers and WC facilities are limited and are not present at every night stop. In the park refuges you may be asked to sleep in a tent. Arrangements have to be flexible. At each night stop there is spring water, a small shop and hot served meals.  Guardians may be working alone and have extremely limited kitchen facilities. So, you need to be patient, there are often several sittings for the evening meals.  Nights can be noisy due to snoring and rustling.  Tents are small and low, due to limited flat ground and high winds.  Tents and mattresses are left in stock at the refuges. You may be asked to put up and take down your tent, most of them are pop up design.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are becoming an increasing problem along hiking routes. About 4mm (1/4 in) long, 2.5mm wide and a brown colour, they are notorious travellers, and walkers are the ideal way to spread infestation. Whilst bed bugs do not carry any known diseases, bites can be very uncomfortable and cause painful rashes in some people. Accommodations on the GR20 are increasingly being fumigated for insects regularly and we tend to use tents at refuges, but if you are prone to getting bitten and know you have a bad reaction to bites please treat your sleeping bag and backpack with Permethrin, or similar insect repellent, and bring anti histamine tablets with you.

As a result of these infestations, some accommodations no longer allow backpacks that have come off the GR20 into the hotel rooms or dormitories in order to avoid the propagation of the problem. We hope you understand the reasoning behind this and accept this small inconvenience should it occur.

If you do get bitten, you should assume that your belongings are carrying bugs and/or eggs. Once infested, bed bugs are very difficult to get rid of and on returning from the trek, you should always be aware that your luggage could harbour them. There are several ways to rid your belongings of these parasites. Set out all your belongings on the grass and spray with Permethrin or other bug repellent that is effective for bed bugs. Let your items dry in the hot sun, then wash them in a washing machine with very hot water and dry in a hot dryer.

The presence of indigenous animals or insects in the refuge accommodation is out of our control, but we closely monitor the situation and we aim to inform our clients of the means to having a more comfortable GR20.

Book Your Trip

The easiest way to make your booking and our preferred method, is online through the Corsica Aventure website. To book your trip CLICK HERE.  It is also possible to reserve your place over the telephone, note that you will also need to complete a booking form and forward this to us with your deposit of 30%). Having read the dossier, if you require further information or want to check availability, please do not hesitate to contact us by mail or by telephone.

Car hire

For more information on AVIS car hire please click here for full details.

Currency

France is in the Euro zone and other currencies are not widely accepted. Travellers cheques are not advisable as are very difficult to exchange. In some rural areas, International Credit Cards or Debit Cards may also not be readily accepted.

Climate

In Corsica, you can expect to encounter some very wide ranging temperatures.  You should be ready for everything, from very hot to very severe cold mountain weather, even in the summer months.  Corsica is known for its micro-climates, each valley can be different.  The weather is unpredictable and can change very quickly; the mountains generate some very harsh conditions.

Driving in France

To drive anywhere in France you need a full valid EU Driving Licence. Speed limits in Corsica are 90 kmph on main roads and 50 kmph (or sometimes even 20kmph in town). Any form of radar detector (including sat nav) alerts are illegal in France – if caught you are liable to at least a fine. French police often check speed limits and you will face heavy on-the-spot fines if you are found to be exceeding these.

Early & Late season

Towns and villages in Corsica may have limited facilities available at the beginning and end of season. If a destination has a year round local population you are likely to find supermarkets and grocers shops open throughout the season, but more seasonal activities including Restaurants, could be closed outside of the summer months.

Equipment

Equipment Warning – Please note, there is no opportunity on this trip to buy new equipment. Ensuring you have the right gear is essential for everyone’s safety.   It can be equally dangerous to carry too much gear that is not useful.  If you are weighed down this adds to fatigue and you will be unable to accelerate your rhythm in bad weather. Lists are as follows, please see individual factsheets for more precise details.

General Walking Holiday
Bags
  • Small day pack for a water bottle, camera, picnic and waterproof
  • Rucksack or suitcase for main luggage (15kg max pp)
For Walking
  • Good walking shoes or boots with a good grip sole
  • Walking socks
  • Warm fleece
  • Shorts and T shirts.
  • Swimwear
  • Towel
  • 2 Walking poles (optional)
  • Water bottle (one litre minimum)
  • Personal first aid kit with good blister protection
  • Container for your picnics
  • Sun and rain protection
  • Sunglasses, Sun hat and sun cream
  • Wind and waterproof jacket (Gore-tex style)
Relaxing time
  • Trainers or open sandals
  • Warm Fleece and casual wear
GR20 Trek
For Walking
  • Hiking boots or fell shoes,  with soles in good condition 
  • Socks                    
  • Shorts and T shirts
  • Swimwear
  • Good quality wind & waterproof Gortex jacket
  • Warm fleece     
  • Thermal hat and Thermal gloves
  • Waterproof trousers
  • Sun protection (hat, cream and lips, sunglasses)
  • 2 litre platypus/ camel-bag water holder.  (These containers are necessary to ensure drinking regularly. Mix in energy drinks or electrolyte if this is something you do normally)
  • Tupperware lunch box with leak proof lid
  • Fork or spoon
  • Penknife
  • Basic first aid kit with blister repair (moleskin or compeed)
  • Toilet paper / pocket tissues
  • Two walking poles
  • Headlamp
For Relaxing
  • Leggings or warm tights
  • Teva style sandals
General
  • Small quick dry travel towel
  • Plastic bags and zip-lock style bags
  • Small wash bag with toiletries & antibacterial hand wash
  • Earplugs
  • Sleeping bag -5° comfort
  • Energy bars (a few of your preferred snack bars or gels. You should be eating little and often)

 

Fires and Fire Risks

During the dry and hot summer months, in the event of high winds and certain other climatic conditions, forested areas can be closed to prevent fires. Areas at risk are closed for walkers in order to reduce the high risk to life. Access to these areas is prohibited during a stated time scale which could affect the walking itinerary. On certain routes including the GR20 & Mare e Monti, this could close consecutive stages, and prevent walking. Alternative itineraries may not be available.

Fitness

It is ESSENTIAL to get fit for this trip.  The more time you put in before you leave, the more you will get out of the walking.  You should do regular aerobic exercise right up to departure. In preparation, walking regularly with a rucksack is the best way to make sure you are fit enough for the Corsican hills and enjoy the trip to the fullest.  Get to Know and use your gear. You should be comfortable with your shoes, your backpack and two walking poles.

Financial Protection

Tour Aventure is a fully licensed Travel Agency. You can book your holiday with us in complete confidence that all monies you pay for a trip are fully protected.

Ferries & Flights

SNCM and Corsica Ferries both sail from mainland France to Corsica. Please contact us should you require information on routes. The price of our trips does not include international air travel.  MAKE SURE YOUR TRIP IS CONFIRMED BEFORE YOU PURCHASE TICKETS.

Direct Sunday morning flights from the UK to Ajaccio, Bastia and Figari from April to October are sold by Easyjet. There are alternative direct flight options, to Calvi and Figari that we can book for you. Alternatively, you can take a flight to Nice or Marseille and a connecting flight with Air Corsica who offer several flights per day between mainland France and the island.

Click here for more information on flights and ferries.

GR20

The GR20 provides different challenges, it can be very scary and physically demanding for those who do not have the appropriate scrambling experience and are not used to carrying more than just a day pack.  Make your preparation walks relevant, build in plenty of hills on rough, uneven terrain to build up your ankle strength.  It is good idea to train walking downhill, to progress at a reasonable pace and in control. The GR20 is probably the hardest walking in the world, so don't underestimate it.

Guided Group Size and Trip Status

For each of our group adventures, there is a minimum number of participants required (6 -10) to enable the trip to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run.' You can check the trip status by accessing our website, or by calling our office. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this ‘Guaranteed to run’ status, you can proceed with your flight booking and other travel arrangements.  If you are unsure about the trip status, please call our office.

Hotels

We try to describe our hotels and their surroundings as accurately as possible. Although every effort is made to ensure the information is correct, some facilities may not be available at certain times of year, or at times when maintenance work is required or events are being held. Check in time is generally accepted as mid afternoon, with check out by 10am. Half board is usually on a set menu basis and breakfasts are buffet unless otherwise stated.

Insects

If you are prone to getting bitten and know you have a bad reaction to bites please spray all your walking gear with insect repellant and bring anti histamine tablets as due to the itinerant nature of the trek, bed bugs can travel on kit from point to point.

Insurance - Adventure Travel

It is a condition of joining any of our trips that you have comprehensive adventure travel insurance. You must be insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs, air ambulance and helicopter rescue services). We also strongly recommend that you take out cancellation insurance. Please ensure that your insurer is aware of your Adventure itinerary and can agree to cover the activities being undertaken.

Internet access and Wi-Fi

Internet access and Wi-Fi is available when stated in the hotel description. Please note there may be restrictions with the availability and speed of the service transmitted by the local provider and technical issues may cause temporary withdrawal of internet facilities. We are unable to accept responsibility for any down time or consequences of using this service.

Language

Most people in this area of France speak French and know little English. In the villages you can still here Corsican being spoken. We recommend you try to learn some simple French phrases and greetings as this is always appreciated

Level of difficulty

We grade our walking to help you find your level of interest. The level of difficulty ranges from Easy, Moderate, Challenging to Tough. The trip grading and walking difficulty is described in daily detail in the Fact Sheets.

Luggage Moving and Back-pack

On many trips, your main luggage will be transported from the start to points along the trek. On certain routes,  you will not have access to it every night en-route (check the fact sheet for details).  We ask you to please limit your main luggage to 12kg to facilitate the drivers loading it in and out of the vehicle.

Meals

Breakfast is likely to be continental, with coffee, tea, bread and jam. Hotels tend to offer a buffet breakfast. Where a picnic lunch is included, this will be a salad of rice, pasta, lentils, cous-cous. Evening Meals are always hot and plentiful in Refuges, in Hotels there will be a set menu. 

  • B&B – Breakfast only
  • Half Board – Set Menu Dinner, Breakfast
  • Full Board – Set Menu Dinner, Breakfast and a Picnic lunch

Vegetarians

On the GR20 and in more rural Corsican Hotels, the food is very limited for vegetarians, it can be very repetitive and there are not special dishes prepared apart.

Food Allergies

Should you be allergic to gluten, eggs or milk products, the food on the GR20 and in certain more rural hotels will be very limited.

Trail Food

We encourage you to bring a supply of the energy bars/gels that you are accustomed to.

Picnics

Where picnics are not provided, there are grocery stores available to purchase your picnic for the following day. At certain hotels, they can be provided at a supplement. If a pre-booked picnic is important to you, please de not hesitate to ask.

National Holidays and Festivals

Shops, supermarkets and other amenities may be closed on National Holidays, or at least closed after midday. National Holidays are as follows in France.

Dates

  • 1st January New Years Day – Jour de l’An
  • 2nd April Easter Monday – Lundi de Pâques
  • 1st May Labour Day – Fête du Travail
  • 8th May Victory in Europe – Fête de la Victoire
  • 10th May Ascenscion
  • 21st May - Pentecôte
  • 14th July Bastille Day – Fête Nationale de la France
  • 15th August Assumption – Assomption
  • 1st November All Saints Day – Toussaint
  • 11th November Armistice Day – Armistice 1918
  • 25th December Christmas Day – Noël

The local population will be living their lives as normal and agriculture, hunting and other activities may take place nearby. Local festivals take place throughout the year and disturbances of this nature, together with late night noise are sometimes unavoidable.

Preparation for Walking Holidays

It is ESSENTIAL to get fit for a walking trip.  The more time you put in before you leave, the more you will get out of the walking.  You should do regular aerobic exercise right up to departure. In preparation, walking regularly with a rucksack is the best way to make sure you are fit enough for the Corsican hills and enjoy the trip to the fullest.  Get to Know and use your gear. You should be comfortable with your shoes, your backpack and two walking poles.

Passports and visas

It is your responsibility to ensure you have a valid passport and visa for France (if applicable). Children also require their own passports.

Personal health and safety

If any member of your party suffers from any pre-existing medical condition, you must check with your doctor about your ability to travel to France and check whether it is advisable to do a walking holiday. For EU citizens, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is valid for travel to France and allows you state healthcare. The EHIC is to be used in conjunction with a valid travel insurance policy should you need healthcare whilst overseas.

Self Guided walking

For our Self Guided walking, we provide walking notes, as well as maps with your route highlighted. Your dossier contains everything you need for the week’s walking and our team is always on hand to help if need be. For security reasons we do not accept single person bookings as it is a safety risk to walk in the mountains alone.

Sustainable tourism

At Corsica Aventure we source responsibly, working with local people wherever possible. We promote renovated bergeries that preserve the GR20 and we choose new accommodation for their consideration and respect for their surroundings. Being a Corsican holiday company and having a team integrated into the island’s mountain society, we recognise that we have a responsibility to the environment in which we work. We aim to help conserve natural resources and minimise tourist pollution so that the environment in which we live, work and holiday in continues to prosper. At Corsica Aventure we try to run our business in a way that minimises its environmental impact. We promote responsibility in tourism and our walkers can help by respecting the environment, protecting flora, fauna and the local landscape, valuing the Culture, respecting customs and local heritage and being sensitive to beliefs, helping to conserve valuable natural resources and saving energy and minimising their own pollution.

Telephones

As mobile phone coverage is sporadic across Corsica due to the mountainous terrain, there could be no coverage in more remote areas. We advise that you check with your operator that your phone is suitable for use overseas. If you are coming from the US or Asia, it may be advisable to purchase a local SIM card.

Travel advice

For UK nationals, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice for advice and the latest information about travelling to France.

Travel documentation

On making a booking with us, a confirmation will be sent out via email. Your full travel documentation, which includes hotel information, maps, walking notes and car hire vouchers, can be  sent by post for a supplement, walking notes, and PDF maps can be sent by file transfer direct to you overseas.

Special Requirements

It is important that when booking a holiday, clients advise us of any special requirements, therefore helping us to ensure that we offer the most suitable holiday for your needs.

Walking Times

Daily timings are effective walking times, you need to add on time for breaks and rest stops and of course it will depend on your own personal pace.

Website

We make every effort to ensure that the information and photography contained on our website is accurate. It is not always possible to display the most up to date photographs. Unfortunately errors can occur and as soon as we are aware we will advise you. The distances are provided as a guide and given in good faith.

Wildlife

Mosquitoes, wasps, ants, and other insects are common, particularly in the rural areas. Bed bugs are frequent in Refuges due to the itinerant nature of the accommodation so it is advisable to treat your bags prior to arrival. In the heart of the countryside, rodents, birds, foxes and wild pigs are also possible – we suggest that you avoid storing food in tent accommodation as it could attract wild animals.

Your Responsibility

According to our Terms & Conditions, Corsica Aventure can not be held responsible for accidents occurred during the trek due to misinterpretation of the topo guide, errors with map reading, or bad judgment.   Equally, we are not responsible if you have not respected the itinerary, reacted according to weather conditions and mountain security.