Walking and active holidays in Corsica

Real GR20 (Guided Lightened Backpack)

Guided Walking 15 days / 14 nights

Level 1 2 3 4

Point to Point - 13 days walking
Camping, Simple Refuges and Shepherds Cabins, 4 Hotels
Starting from 2735 €
  • ENGLISH speaking guided group trekking
  • World class hiking and scrambling
  • The Complete GR20 long distance trek
  • GR20 - Calenzana, Vizzavona, Conca

The complete GR20 Haute Route in Corsica, the finest and hardest mountain walking routes, this is a classic adventure trekking holiday. Rising from the Mediterranean sea, with granite peaks soaring to over 2600m, Corsica is known as 'the Scented Isle'. Famous for its dramatic coastline and perched mountain villages, the rugged island of Corsica reveals its most spectacular scenery only to those who explore on foot. Over the course of 14 days we will cover a total of 180km of mountainous terrain, with approx 12,000m altitude ascent and descent, as we trek the entire GR20 route, from Calenzana to Conca.

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Day 1 - Bastia to Calvi

Arrival Day, time to meet your fellow walkers. Rendezvous at Bastia Airport, we begin with a 2hr timed transfer by minibus to Calvi timed to meet the morning Easyjet flights. We have some free time to enjoy this beautiful Mediterranean harbour town. You can saunter through the harbour or relax at the sandy crescent shaped bay, to be fresh and rested ready for tomorrow’s walk. Evening meal in a local restaurant.

Day 2 - Calvi to Orto di u Piobbio

Transfer to Calenzana, the start of the GR20 and trek to Ortu di u Piobbio. We make a very early start today with a transfer to the village of Calenzana, heading out as soon as there is enough light. There are several nights on the trip, where we do not have access to our kitbags and this is the first of them. Today, group members will have to carry a minimum of personal belongings, including a sleeping bag. From the signpost that marks the start of the trail we take a sandy path that heads up hill passing through chestnut trees up into the Mediterranean maquis shrublands. The trail loops up to a high airy col, from where the views of the coastline and Calvi are stunning. There is a lot of ascent today. We continue through the pine woods to our first refuge, Ortu di u Pobbio. Tonight we will camp beside the refuge. No access to main luggage tonight.

12km, 7h00, +1500m, -230m.

Day 3 - Orto di u Piobbiu to Carrozu

Trek uphill into the Cirque de Bonifatu and onto Carrozu refuge. Today’s terrain is challenging, we trek uphill and make the rocky ascent into the cirque of Bonifatu. We stay at the top of the cirque, contouring around to the other side, enjoying spectacular views as we go. When we finish the traverse, we can enjoy a good downhill section to the national park refuge of Carrozzu. Surrounding the refuge are high pinnacles of granite forming tall spires. One of them is home to a rare family of Lammergeyer vultures. From the terrace of Carrozzu we can enjoy watching the sun setting into the sea at the end of the day. Overnight camping beside the refuge. No access to main luggage.

10km, 8hrs, +850, -1160m.

Day 4 - Carrozu to Haut Asco

Ascend to the ridge above Lac de Muvrella and on down to the ski station at Asco. Today is a strenuous day. We cross the river on an exciting suspension bridge and then ascend the steep valley gorge on a rocky path, with fixed chains to a small lake, the Lac de Muvrella and then we continue up to the ridge above. From here, we have views of the western coastline, as well as the peaks that mark the entrance to the Cirque de Solitude. We enjoy this high traverse to a second col where the rocky descent starts to Haut Asco. We stay at the Hotel Le Chalet in this super ski station hotel, which has been wonderfully refurbished. The hot showers and comfortable beds are well appreciated after the previous 2 nights camping! There is a bar and restaurant at the hotel. Tonight we have access to our main luggage.

8km, 6hrs, +1000, -830m.

Day 5 - Haut Asco to Melarie valley

Today’s walk is unquestionably the most exciting, hardest and highest of the entire GR20. We pull up to the Pointe des Eboulis at 2600m altitude this is the highest part of the whole trail. The uphill is very demanding but the descent is just as challenging. We continue down below the refuge de Tighiettu to our overnight stop at the Bergerie de Vallone. We  camp nearby and dine in the cabin restaurant. There are some beautiful natural swimming pools near to the campsite. No access to main luggage.

9.6km, 10+hrs, +1300, -1300m.

Day 6 - Melarie valley to Col de Vergio

Trek via Ciottolu di Mori (2000m) to Castel di Vergio. From Vallone we have a steady leisurely start to the day as the path contours round through the pine woods. The gradient soon changes as the path pulls very steeply up to the col above. It will take us a good two hours of steady climbing to get to the refuge, Ciottolu di Mori. Situated at 2000m it is the highest refuge on the trek. After a break to fill up with water and enjoy views from the terrace, we continue along a fantastic ridge that heads south before dropping into the Golu valley. We carry on down the valley all the way to our stop for the night at Castel di Vergio, one of the island’s small ski stations. Castel di Vergio hotel has been refurbished in the last few years and is a very comfortable hotel, with a little shop that stocks a multitude of useful items and food snacks! Access to main baggage.

15km, 6hrs, +910, -950m.

Day 7 - Col de Vergio to Camputile plateau

Trek through the beech woods to Lac de Nino and Manganu refuge. We start the day with easy walking on a horseshoe-shaped trail. After a level start the path climbs uphill through the woods to the Col St Pierre (1452m) where there is a small statue. We walk through beech woods then enjoy an airy ridge walk to the famous pozzine (grassy meadows) area that surround the Lac de Nino where we can enjoy the lush green turf of the lakeshore. At 1743m, this glacial lake is in a lovely, sheltered location, surrounded by a spongy peat, making it an ideal summer grazing ground for horses and cattle. From the lake, the path heads to the shepherd’s cabin of Vaccaja (1621m), a fantastic spot, which is a working goat farm, producing some of Corsica’s famous goat’s cheese. The GR20 continues on for another 20mins across a spongy plateau called the Camputile to arrive at Manganu refuge where we will camp beside the refuge. No access to main luggage.

17km, 7hrs, +640, -450m.

Day 8 - Camputile plateau to L'Onda

Climb to the Breche de Capitellu and cross the Col de la Haute Route. We set off for another magnificent mountain day. A steep rocky ascent leads from the refuge up to the high breche of Capitellu (2225m). We have splendid views from here of the lakes below and the imposing summits surrounding us. The glacial lake of Capitellu (1930m) is the deepest on the island (40m) with sheer sheets of granite plunging into its depths. Further below is the large apple shaped lake of Melo surrounded by spongy grass. We make a rocky traverse around and above the lakes and continue on to the Col de la Haute Route passing above yet another lake, the Rinoso. Reaching Petra Piana (1840), a small refuge that nestles on the lower flanks of the Monte Renoso, we can stop off for a break and re-fill water bottles before continuing down the Manganello valley passing by some magnificent rock pools on the way to Tolla bridge (942m) . We cross the torrent and walk a last couple of kilometres up through the forest to L’Onda shepherd’s cabin. (1385m), where we will set up camp for the night. L’Onda is a privately owned working goat and sheep farm, with a small shop. Hot showers are usually available for an additional charge. No access to main baggage.

17km, 10hrs, +1070, -900m.

Day 9- L'Onda to Vizzavona

Trek the ridge to the Muratello Pass and descend into the Angone Valley. Today will be a shorter day, allowing us some valuable rest time in the afternoon. From the L’Onda bergerie, we pull up onto the ridge, where there are some truly fantastic panoramic views, we follow the ridge to the Muratello pass where we cross over and access the neighboring valley. The Monte d’Oro massif dominates, as we make our way down its flanks into the l’Agnone glacier valley below. We continue on to Vizzavona, where there is a vast forest and small railway station that marks the midway point of the GR20. Small dormitory rooms tonight with a cosy dining room in the Monte d’Oro Gite. Access to main luggage.

10km, 6hrs, +850, -1470m.

Day 10 - Vizzavona to Col de Verde

Another early start for a big day of 28km of beautiful trails. The trail today is long but relatively straightforward. We walk up to the Bocca Palmente, a pass which offers great views on a clear day to the flat coastal plains and sea lagoons. We drop down the other side and start a long easy section past shepherd’s cabins and on to pass near to Capanelle (1640m), which is a small ski station in winter. We are essentially traversing the flanks of the dominating mountain massif, Monte Renoso. We traverse open slopes with wonderful views, cross numerous chutes and runnels of water before our last approach in and out of the forest, to our overnight stop at the Col de Verde (1289m). Col de Verde is a private gite and restaurant in a forest setting. We overnight in either the gite dormitory or in one of the smaller cabins. Access to main luggage.

28km, 10hrs, +1000, -100m.

Day 11 - Col de Verde to Usciolu

From Col de Verde a forest trail ascends steeply up through the woods and onto the high ridge above. We continue along the ridge in a southerly direction to reach the Refuge de Prati. We skirt around the Punta Del la Cappella and two further summits along the ridge before crossing the Col de Rapari. At the second col, Bocca di Laparo (1538m) there is a welcome drinking water srping nearby. The GR20 continues following a ridge passing close to the summit of Monte Formicula to reach the Refuge d'Uscioulu (1750m) which we will camp beside. No access to main baggage.

16km, 10h, +1571, -1130m.

Day 12 - Usciolu to Coscione plateau

Walk to Bocca de l'Angone and across the highest plateau on the GR20. We start by ascending through the maquis (shrubland) and chestnut trees through the village outskirts to hit a forest track. We eventually gain the ridge above and pick up the GR20 again. From here follow this superb ridge and progress slowly down through a dwarf beech tree woods to a flat picnic area and spring stop. Once at the Bocca de l’Agnone, there are several trails that lead to the different accommodations dotted around this unique plateau. It is the highest and biggest plateau on the island, the vegetation and lovely clear waters make it a haven of wild beauty. We have selected a friendly private gite for our overnight stop, at Crocce. We either stay in the gite. Access to main luggage.

15km, 8hrs, +1150, -400m.

Day 13 - Coscione plateau to Bavella

Trek over the col di Chiralba and the Bavella needles. From our gite, we head in a south easterly direction to the col Bocca di Chiralba (1743m). We then ascend to the ridge above to meet it at 2029m. Here we are in the shadows of the Monte Incudine summit. We follow the trail downhill via the refuge of Asinau to the river in the base of the valley. An easy section through the woods brings us to the alpine path that leads up and over the famous granite pinnacles of Bavella. We need to have plenty of stamina for today’s walk as the tricky sections are towards the end of the day. There is a short chain to assist one particularly steep rock slab. Overnight gite at Col de Bavella. Access to main luggage tonight.

16km, 9hrs, +1100, -1460m.

Day 14 - Bavella to Conca

Trek to Conca at the end of the GR20 and transfer to Bastia. The granite spires and pine tree forests make for a memorable last days walk. By mid morning we will arrive at the last of the refuges, Paliri. As we come down out of the mountains there is a real sense of achievement. On arriving in the village of Conca we have a well-earned drink before transferring to Bastia (approx 3hrs). Night in a comfortable hotel with a celebratory final meal in a restaurant just south of Bastia.

20km, 8hrs, +750, -1700m.

Day 15 - Trip ends Bastia

Your holiday ends after breakfast. Airport transfers are available at a supplement, it is possible to share taxis.

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.

Departure on request 21/06, 12/07, 26/07, 16/08, 30/08, 06/09.

Please select your departure date in the calender below to see the price and click on the button to the right to make a reservation.

Prices: €2735pp

  From   To Price / pers

Price includes

An experienced English speaking International Mountain leader, accommodation on full board (nights 1 to 14), single timed group transfer from Bastia Airport to Calvi on Day 1, all transfers and luggage transfers detailed in the itinerary.

Price does not include

Reservation fee of €5pp, travel insurance, drinks, picnic day 1, unexpected transfers, travel to Corsica

Starts

In Bastia airport for a single timed transfer at 10h to meet the Easyjet LGW & MAN morning flights.

Ends

After breakfast in your hotel in near Bastia Airport. Transfers to the airport available at a supplement.

Access

Bastia airport or port, Calvi airport or port (* return to Bastia)

Accommodation
  • Simple Gites & Park Refuges, in dormitories or camping at refuges (showers and WC facilities are limited).
  • Simple Continental breakfast (tea, coffee, milk, longlife bread, butter, jam).
  • Evening meals (based on local specialties - a starter, soup or smoked meats, main course or pasta or rice with a sauce, cheese, a fruit or a sweet pudding.).
  • Picnics (please bring a tupperware for rice, pasta, lentils, couscous salad)

Should you have any food allergies, special requests or dietary requirements, please advise at time of booking. Food is limited for vegetarians, and special diets cannot be accommodated due to the remoteness of the trek.

Number of participants

Reservations for minimum of 1 participants. NB. Groups up to 12 persons only.

Level

Tough The walks are long between 6-9 hours a day, maybe more. You can expect steep uphill and downhill sections with maybe up to 1000m altitude gain some days. The temperatures will range and weather conditions can be severe. You are fit and have good trekking experience. See our level ratings.

PLEASE NOTE THIS WALK IS VERY TESTING, YOU NEED TO BE SURE FOOTED AND HAVE APPROPRIATE SCRAMBLING EXPERIENCE. YOU NEED TO KNOW HOW TO PLACE YOUR FEET ON ROCKY GROUND.

Guiding

English speaking International Mountain Leader.

Luggage transfers

A vehicle will transport your luggage, which you will have access to around every two days. You have to carry your sleeping bag and personal belongings for the nights in refuges, not accessible by road.

Our customers' reviews

Annie, UK
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If you want to really challenge yourself - do this trip... The North part (the bit you do first) is tough...the Southern part is easier - but I guess its all relative.. Big rock faces, fairly exposed elements, LOTS of big scrambling (with big rucksacks), some days are 11+ hours, the average being probably 7 hrs...Accomm is what you'd expect: refuges or camp sites...(always choose camping when you get a choice). Good food, plenty of of it - but if you're someone who needs their 5/day - then take it with you. Fab views every day/all day..exhausting, exhilarating and the Pietra beer goes down well each night... We got to the end and wanted to turn round and do it all again...

Ken, UK
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The route is very varied (woodland, grassy plains, rocky ridges sometimes all in the same day) and that made it special. I like scrambling so really enjoyed the rocky/scrambly parts. We were able to take the Alpine variants (I think) on all occasions that there was a choice - it was great staying high in the mountains. The people - one usually meets a good crowd on these treks but this group was a particularly good team & great company. Denis set the tone and was a really good leader.

Catherine, UK
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The trek was very challenging, but enjoyable. It was well run and the leader had a lot of local knowledge and was extremely informative - she made the trip very special.

Brian, UK
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I particularly enjoyed the variety of terrain the trek covered. Also, the pace taken allowed us plenty of "free time" to relax and enjoy a drink at the end of each day. The trip was harder than expected, but within my capabilities. I had not expected such a consistency of rugged terrain to ascend and descend. The toilet facilities were very primitive, far more so than in the Alps.

Paul, UK
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The physical challenge involved in walking the GR20 was the main reason for booking the holiday. Whilst it certainly delevered in that respect, the bonus was walking in such a beautiful mountinous region where the views were fantastic. Different to Nepal but in its own way just as satisfying. I would certainly recommend the GR20 to anyone who takes their hiking seriously. The holiday provided memories that will last a lifetime. Our guide was excellent. Her local knowledge with regard to the route, fresh water sources flora & wild life was 1st class. She was always on hand to deal with any problem that occurred en-route. She set a walking pace that was smooth & steady.

Richard, UK
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I've wanted to complete the GR20 for several years - the trek lived-up to all my expectations; good trek leader, some really great trekking companions, a beautiful country and some of the best cheese I've ever come across. I enjoyed the fact that I was pushed nearly every day, I didn't sign-up for a walk-in-the-park. Plus I've made some really good friends.