Walking and active holidays in Corsica

The Restonica Valley - Melo & Capitello

The Restonica Valley - Melo & Capitello

In many of the guide books the technical aspects of the walk up to LAC DE MELO are underestimated and it is often presented as a quick jaunt you can do in flip flops.  This is far from realistic; but don't be surpised to see people trying, along with beach bags and lap dogs !

This is a magnificent mountain walk.  The two lakes are of a completely contrasting nature, LAC DE MELO a large, apple shaped, Glacier Lake surrounded by spongy grass. LAC DE CAPITELLO is the deepest on the island at 40m deep. Sheer sheets of granite plunge into its depths and there is little vegetation.

The nature of the terrain is rough; you need proper shoes and equipment and there are chains and ladders to help your way.  You must be attentive to the weather, to timings and the gear your take with you. Do not underestimate the time you need just because the distances are short. Start as close to GROTELLE as possible.  The valley itself can be very busy in high season so you need to be patient.

Lac de Melo Walk

Distance: 6km

Effective walking time:  4h30

Altitude gain: +500m

Descent: -500m

Way-marks: YELLOW

Drinking water springs: Spring at MELO lake, just as the lake comes into sight, the spring is immediately over to the left there is a small sign.

Food supplies:  Order the night before from hotel, or buy supplies in CORTE. CHEZ TEO and some bergeries at GROTELLE.

Points of interest:  Beautiful glacial lakes

PLEASE NOTE:  This walk is practicable MAY/JUNE to SEPTEMBER only. The lakes are not accessible early and late season due to snow.


1.     Grotelle (to Anc Berg de Melo) 0h45 / 1km

You start out from the hut.  It is run by a Corsican called Théo. The trail runs up to the right of the hut, it is particularly well way-marked. Make your way steadily up to the stone shepherd’s cabin marked on your maps as ANC BERG DE MELO.

2.     Anc  Berg de Melo (to Melo Lake) 1h00 / 1km

Higher up there is a path intersection with a giant cairn.  We would recommend staying on the left bank of the river. There are two ladders that will aid your ascension (marked echelles on the map). At the lake, you may decide to simply picnic and relax on the grassy banks beneath the park refuge.

3.     Melo Lake (to Capitello Lake) 0h45 / 1km

For a longer walk, from the park refuge you can continue up to LAC DE CAPITELLU above. The walk up to the second lake is a lot steeper and involves scrambly sections where you need your hands.

4.     Capitello Lake (to Grotelle) 2h00 / 3km

You can return by the same path.

You can find this walking in our CORSICAN ISLAND MYSTERY holiday amongst others.