Walking and active holidays in Corsica

GR20 Integral Guided Lightened backpack

Guided 15 days / 14 nights

Level 1 2 3 4

Point to Point - 13 days walking
Starting from 2500 €
  • ENGLISH / INTERNATIONAL guided trek
  • The best hiking and scrambling in Europe
  • The Complete GR20 long distance trek
  • GR20 - Conca, Vizzavona, Calenzana

NEW for 2023 - Walk the complete GR20 in Corsica with a guide, the finest and most probably the hardest mountain hiking route in Europe, this is a classic trek rising from the Mediterranean sea, with granite peaks soaring to over 2600m. Corsica is known as 'the Mountain in the sea'. Over the course of 14 days we will cover a total of 180km of mountainous terrain, with approx 12,000m altitude ascent and descent, this is the entire GR20 route, from Conca in the South to Calenzana in the north. For the Southern half of the trek you have access to your bags everynight, for the Northern half, you will need to carry overnight gear. You need to be fit and ready to walk this most challenging hike.

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Day 1 – Bastia to Conca

This holiday starts on a Saturday in Bastia, the first grouped transfer will take you directly up to Conca, where you check into your first accommodation. Conca is the first stop at the start of the GR20, the journey takes approximately 1h30. Time to settle into the gite before the evening meal with the group, night in the gite at Conca.

Day 2 – Conca to Bavella

This first day is really hard and a good introduction to the pace and the challenge ahead. The trail leads uphill from the village of Conca, we take your overnight gear on to the next night stop so you don’t have to carry it. The GR20 follows the traces of an ancient transhumance route through the rocky landscape of pines and granite blocks. The route continues to the Paliri refuge at just over 1000m altitude, then crosses the Finosa col before arriving at the hamlet of Bavella below the mighty Bavella needles, night in dorms in a simple gite at the Col de Bavella. Access to bags.

18 km, 7h30, +1500m, -530m.

Day 2 - Bavella to Coscione Plateau

Today is a challenging day from the high mountain pass, the Col de Bavella, before dawn you take the trail that is called the Alpine variant. It leads steeply uphill before passing at the base of several granite pinnacles. You plunge down into the valley before following an easy trail through the woods towards Asinao refuge before heading steeply up to the magnificent ridge line of Monte Alcudina, with the summit at 2134m altitude. You leave the high ground and head down towards the famous Cuscione plateau. This is the largest plateau on the island. Your night stop is a shepherd’s cabin situated on the edge of the plateau. Access to bags.

14km, 8h30, +1350m, -1025m.

Day 4 - Coscione plateau to Cozzano

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. At the end of the day we drop down to the village of Cozzano, a hive of activity in the heart of the mountains. Access to bags.

18km, 8h00, +575m, -1380m.

Day 5 - Cozzano 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). Access to bags.

19km, 7h30,  +1400m, -850m.

Day 6 - Col de Verde to Vizzavona

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. 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. Access to bags.

27km, 7h30, +1575m, -1450m.

Day 7 - Vizzavona to Petra Piana

Today is  the first two stages of the northern section of the GR20. You embark either on a 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, 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 section, steep and exposed.  In bad weather there is an alternative lower valley option that will be taken direct to Petra Piana. Tonight you camp in the vicinity of Petra Piana refuge. (1840m / 6037ft). No access to bags.

16/20km, 9h00, +1240/1800m, -1120/510m.

Day 8 - 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.  No access to bags.

8.5km, 5h00, +610m, -860m.

Day 9 - Camputile plateau to Col de Vergio

The GR20 is well-marked, leading gently uphill, a relaxing easy 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. 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.  Access to bags.

16km, 6h00, +510m, -710m.

Day 10 - Col de Vergio to Melarie Valley

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. From the refuge the GR20 falls away steeply downhill, to Vallone. No access to bags.

14.5km, 6h30, +810m, -780m.

Day 11 - 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. Access to bags.

9km, 7h00, +1260m, -1230m.

Day 12 - Haut Asco to Carrozzu

From the ski station at 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. From here you drop down to the refuge at Carrozzu. You arrive at Carrozu, a refuge surrounded by box trees, with great sunsets! Camp at Refuge. No access to bags.

7km, 5h30, +650m, -850m.

Day 13 - Carrozzu to Ortu di Pobbiu

The first part of this walk is outstanding, the ambiance is high and airy as you enter into a semi-circle of high mountains, the Cirque de Bonifatu.  The trail works its way around the edge of this large cirque and the panoramic view of all the highest peaks is inspiring.   The day breaks into two clear sections, the second half crosses an easier basin area that is dotted with woodland before arriving at the beautifully situated refuge at Orto di Pobbiu. No access to bags.

7km, 7h00, + 950m, -750m.

Day 14 – Ortu di Pobbiu to Calenzana

From Ortu di Pobbiu the day is varied all the way to the end of the trek at the village of Calenzana. You are nearly there. This is the last day in the Bonifatu massif, the scenery is breath-taking from granite mountains, to thick dense forests, and low-level maquis scrub, and the views over the coastline and the Balagne are superb before arriving at the bustling village of Calenzana which is a hive of activity with walkers. After a short transfer night in a hotel in Calvi. Access to bags.

11km, 6h00, +50m, -1360m.

Day 15 – Calvi

Trek ends after breakfast, private transfers or train and taxi available to Bastia or private transfer to Calvi airports

This itinerary is correct at time of publication. Should situations arise that are beyond our control, such as severe weather conditions, or other such factors that could put yours or others safety at risk, your itinerary may be modified.

Dates being set in days, thank you for contacting us

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 Conca 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 19h to meet the LHR BIA flights.

Ends

After breakfast in your hotel in Calvi. Transfers to the airport available at a supplement.

Access

Bastia airport or port. Figari airport possible with a private transfer.

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 1 or more participants NB. For private groups please contact us for a quote.

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 every night in the south, and only every 2 to 3 nights in the north. You have to carry your sleeping bag and personal belongings for the nights in refuges, not accessible by road.