Day 1 - Ajaccio to Bavella
This holiday starts on a Sunday in Ajaccio, the first grouped transfer will take you directly up to Bavella, where you check into your first accommodation. The region is known as the Alta Rocca and Bavella is one of the most famous peaks of the island, known for its high mountain pass and mystical summits. The journey takes approximately 2h30. Time to settle into the gite before the evening meal.
Day 2 - Bavella to Asinau
From the high mountain pass, the Col de Bavella you take the trail that is called the Alpine variant. It leads steeply uphill before passing at the base of several granite pinnacles, such as the Acellu, the Ariettu or the Vacca. It really is a superb ridge walk. The trail is rough under foot and equipped over a few metres with a chain that helps stability across the granite rocks. You plunge down into the valley before following an easy trail through the woods. After a river crossing you pull up hill, up to Asinau, bergerie, or refuge.
7km, 5h00, +750m, -550m.
Day 3 - Asinau to Coscione plateau
You head up to the magnificent ridge line of Monte Alcudina, who’s summit reaches a proud 2134m altitude. There are fantastic views and on a clear day you can pick out your route and see where you are heading. You leave the high ground and head down towards the famous Cuscione plateau. This is the largest plateau on the island and spreads some 50 square kilometers. This large wild space is a mix of forests and open spongy green land full of runnels of water, a great grazing land in the summer months. Your night stop is a shepherd’s cabin situated on the edge of the plateau.
8km, 3h30, +560m, -560m.
Day 4 - Coscione plateau to Usciolu
Today you pick up the trail on the plateau and cross the wide open green pasture with it’s streams and little water holes. You make your way uphill through an age old forest of dwarf oak trees up to the Col de l’Agnone. From here, you start possibly one of the best ridge walks, it is very exposed, the trail is ambitious and it is hard to imagine that there is a way through. The granite has been wonderfully sculpted by the elements and the decor is awesome. The trail topples back and forth over the ridge, to one side then the other. Usciolu refuge occupies a sheltered position a little lower down, it is a hive of mountain activity.
13km, 5h00, +820m, -600m.
Day 5 - Usciolu to Col de Verde
This walk has some really special scenery with great views. From the refuge you continue along the ridge that separates the valley of Taravo and the Fiumorbu. The trail plunges down towards the Col de Laparo. You will pass the GR refuge, Prati (1820m) it is worth stopping to enjoy the airy rooftop views of the island and enjoy the lush, spongy fresh ground. It is sometimes possible to see the islands of Elba and Monte Cristo. The descent winds rapidly down in and out of the forest to your destination at the Col de Verde. (1289m)
15km, 7h30, +850m, -1250m.
Day 6 - Col de Verde to Capanelle
The trail undulates gently today and mainly contours through a forest of pine trees. These majestic tall straight lariccio pines with a silvery smooth bark are very much a symbol of the island. Today's walk is essentially traversing the flanks of the dominating mountain, the Monte Renosu. A steeper section leads us to the small shepherds’ hamlet of Traghjette. There is just one shepherd that lives here now following the age-old lifestyle of the transhumance and producing cheese. A last short walk before you arrive at a ridge where you can see your night stop and the cabins of Capanelle which is a low key ski station in the winter.
12km, 4h00, +580m, -350m.
Day 7 - Capanelle to Vizzavona
This is the last stage of the GR20 southern section, the walk makes for a leisurely day. You leave Capanelle (1568m) taking a path that is more or less on the same level and along easy terrain. You pass through some idyllic spots, past remote traditional stone cabins and a luxuriant vegetation. You continue to Bocca Palmente 1640m, from where on a clear day the views are exceptional, the looming massifs of the Monte d’Oro and the Rotondu tower above. You drop down into a thick forest of pine and beech trees for a relaxing descent, the trail loops back and forth lacing down to Vizzavona (920m) the midway point of the GR20.
16km, 5h00, +190m, -860m.
Day 8 - Vizzavona to L'Onda
Today is the first stage of the northern section of the GR20. The start of the walk will depend on where your first night’s accommodation has been booked. You embark on a slow steady ascent to the Brêche de Muratellu (2100m). The path leads alongside the Cascade des Anglais up to Muratellu, affording stunning views of the Monte Rotondu, before descending to l'Onda refuge.
10km, 6h00, +1220m, -710m.
Day 9 - L'Onda to Petra Piana
The high level route follows the ridge, via the summit of Pinzi Corbini (2021m), to Petra Piana refuge (1840m). This is a short but challenging ridge walk, steep and exposed. In bad weather there is an alternative lower valley option. Tonight you camp in the vicinity of Petra Piana refuge. (1840m / 6037ft).
7km, 4h30, +680m, -260m.
Day 10 - Petra Piana to Camputile plateau
From Petra Piana a short uphill section takes you to the high ridge above the refuge. The trail is rocky, almost lunar in ambiance. You pass a mountain col and continue on the high route. The views are spectacular, with Corte, the island’s historic capital in the distance and a series of wonderful glacier lakes to discover. From the small Brèche above Lake Capitello, we plunge downhill to Manganu refuge situated on the edge of the Camputile plateau. The shepherd’s cabin Vaccaghja, is 20 mins further on across the plateau.
10.5km, 7h00, +700m, -940m.
Day 11 - Camputile plateau to Col de Vergio
The GR20 is well-marked, leading gently uphill, a relaxing walk through beech woods, and across the green spongy turf to the Lac de Nino. A morning stop to have a snack and relax on the banks of the lake. At 1743m this glacier lake is in a lovely, sheltered bucolic spot, surrounded by spongy peat, with runnels of water and wells, ideal grazing ground for ponies and other animals in the summer. The air is fresh, tinged with the scent of alder and the fragrance of the high mountains. From the lake a classic walk leads along a high ridge with magnificent views and the occasional blue glint of the beckoning sea. You drop down at the Col St Pierre, to join a flat horse shoe shaped trail to Castel di Vergio, the island’s small ski station.
14.5 km, 6h00, +570m, -750m.
Day 12 - Col de Vergio to Melarie Valley
Following the GR20 you walk to Radule, a huddle of stone cabins well camouflaged against the mountain rock. The GR20 trail follows the Golu torrent up the valley towards its source. Mid way up the valley, your route crosses the torrent, a good place to take a break on the smooth sun-baked rocks, a paddle and a swim for the brave. The trail shortly leaves the floor of the valley and heads up to the ridge line. From here there are clear views of the villages dotted on the west coast and the indented outline of the island in the sea. The refuge Ciuttolu di I Mori (2000m), the highest refuge in Corsica, is situated between two daunting mountains the Tafanatu and Paglia Orba. You can enjoy a high, alpine environment; these massifs are home to the wild mountain mouflon (a wild sheep). From the refuge you head for the Col de Foggiale. From the pass the GR20 falls away steeply downhill, a stunning descent through a chaos of harsh granite rock and giant, grand, old pine trees. Once down to an altitude of 1400m, you cross the Viru torrent, and the approach to Vallone cabin begins.
13km, 5h30, +950m, -970m.
Day 13 - Melarie Valley to Haut Asco
Today is a tough, high altitude mountain walk. You make your way uphill progressively to the foothills of the Monte Cinto, the highest summit on the island. The climb is steep, rocky and slow. After a couple of hours, you arrive at Bocca Crucetta, a ridge leads to the daunting ‘Pointe des Eboulis’ at 2607m this is the highest point on the GR20, the view is absolutely spectacular. From here, the path literally plunges down to the small lake the other side. The trail continues downhill, the scree, the rocks and austere décor gives way to a river and woods as you approach the old ski station of Haut-Asco.
7km, 8h00, +1200m, -1200m.
Day 14 - Haut Asco to Calvi
From Haut Ascu, a superb ascent takes you to Bocca Di Stagnu (2010m) at the foot of the Muvrella (2150m). From Lake Muvrella the view over Calvi bay is incredible. After Carozza refuge, you continue the descent to Bonifatu.
12km, 7h00, +650 m, -1530 m.
This itinerary is an example of the itinerary we aim to adhere to, correct at time of publication. Should situations arise that are beyond our control, such as severe weather conditions, or other factors that could put your safety at risk, it may be possible for the itinerary to be modified.