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Hiking the North GR20 Trail in Corsica

Corsica | France
Trip Highlights

Top three reasons to go hiking in Corsica

  • Trip Highlight

    Hike the mythical GR20 and enjoy the atmosphere of this paradise island

  • Trip Highlight

    Abundant vegetation, incredible scenery, and stunning wildlife throughout

  • Trip Highlight

    Take a dip in the hot pools and explore the alpine terrain

Experience the mighty GR20 — join a guide for a fantastic hike from the North-West to the South-East of Corsica! From the Balagne region to the centre of Corsica, discover stunning gorges, alpine lakes, hot pools, and vibrant communities. Hiking one of the most difficult and spectacular long-distance treks in Europe attracts outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world looking for a worthy challenge. This 180km-long trail winds through the jagged spine of Corsica’s mountains, revealing spectacular scenery and amazing views over the dramatic coastline. This 7-day guided tour is a wonderful option for anyone wanting to learn more about the history, the geography of Corsica, and the way of life in the mountains. Let the atmosphere of mountain villages sink in and conquer the North part of this mythical long-distance hiking trail! Find out how to tackle Europe’s toughest hiking trail, Corsica’s GR20, from Anthony Laplagne, Corsica local and owner of Europe Active.

Season

June to September

Nearest city

Corsica is less than 1.5 hours away from several major cities in France by plane

Duration

7 days

Skill level

Intermediate to advanced

Itineraries

Book This Adventure

North GR20 7-Day Hiking Adventure

7 days

Accomplish a lot in a short amount of time! If you want to feel the thrill of hiking through Corsica but don’t feel ready for a 2-week hike, join your guide on this 7-day guided hike with luggage transfer. The north side of the GR20 is a great holiday both for intermediate and experienced hikers alike. Enjoy the magnificent landscapes and explore some of the most beautiful and wildest parts of Corsica, from the villages of the Balagne to the town of Calvi spectacularly set amongst brooding granite mountains. Follow the ancient track from the North-West to the South-East of the island, spend your nights in refuges or gites, discover ancient forests, valleys, and mountain peaks, and dip in the natural pools. This is one adventure you’ll remember for a lifetime!

Trip Highlights

Itinerary

Day 1: From Calenzana to Bonifatu

After meeting with your guides in Calenzana and going over the itinerary, explore the little village surrounded by olive trees and officially begin your GR20 adventure. Walk through the magical forests of Bonifatu, past magnificent viewpoints over the villages of the Balagne.

Walk: 4 hours
Altitude gain & loss: +800m, -540m

Day 2: From Bonifatu to Asco

Experience a change of scenery with the canyon of Spasmata and the little lake of Muvrella. Discover a mineral setting with an impressive volcanic mountain against the backdrop of turquoise waters of the Mediterranean. Just as you pass the Bocca di Stagnu, you’ll descend to the foot of the highest summit in Corsica located in the romantic valley of Asco.

Walk: 8 hours
Altitude gain & loss: +1300m, -598m

Day 3: From Ascu to Vallone

After a hearty breakfast, continue with your travels and cross the Great Barrier Reef passing by the Monte Cintu and through the Pointe des Éboulis. From Bocca Minuta, descend to the small valley of Straciaconne where you may have the chance to observe wildlife — especially mouflons, a type of wild sheep native to the Caspian region. Have dinner in a shepherd hut in Vallone, set up camp, and enjoy the starry skies with your group.

Walk: about 8 hours
Altitude gain & loss: +1200m, -800m

Day 4: From Vallone to Verghju

Your setting for the day is the valley of the Niolu located at the heart of the island. As you walk past the foot of the most beautiful summits in Corsica, the Paglia Orba and the strange Capu Tafunatu, use the numerous photo-ops and soak in the atmosphere. If the weather serves you, you can get a stunning viewpoint over the gulf of Porto before plunging into the small valley of the Golo. Enjoy the phenomenal views of a series of natural pools as you walk towards the forest and the Castel di Verghio. Spend the evening with your group at the gîte.

Walk: about 6 hours
Altitude gain & loss: +971m, -1017m

Day 5: From Verghju to A Sega

Your journey for the day begins between sea and sky with the crossing of Bocca San Pedru. The magic takes place once you cross the Bocca a Reta and see the jagged coastline plunging into the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean. On the opposite slope, a glacial crater conceals the lake of Ninu, a Corsican treasure nestled in a lush green setting. Bordered with pozzines (a type of bogs), the lake is also a sanctuary for wild horses, which can often be seen grazing peacefully around it. Follow a little stream until it becomes the great Tavignanu River and relax after a long day of hiking!

Walk: about 7 hours
Altitude gain & loss: +600m, -640m

Day 6: From A Sega to Corti

After a final dip in the natural pools around the refuge, continue alongside the Tavignanu River, in the shade of Lariccio pines. During the walk, there are plenty of opportunities for swimming in the river! At the end of the day, you arrive in Corti. Spend your final night in a hotel in Corti and explore the charming streets of the town.

Walk: 4 hours
Altitude gain & loss: +720m, -1400m

Day 7: Corti

After breakfast, make the most of your remaining time in Corsica and say farewell to the GR20!

Things to know

Things to know

Covid measures in Corsica

57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Corsica, please refer to the Corsican Official Tourist website.

Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

What’s included?

What you get on this adventure:

    • A professional, knowledgeable, medically-trained, wilderness guide
    • Transportation across the island
    • Accommodations during the trip:
    • 4 nights in gîtes d’étapes (dormitories for 5-6 people with shared bathrooms)
    • 1 night in a tent in Vallone
    • 1 night in a hotel in Corte
    • Luggage assistance — you will carry a day pack for a few days at a time and have access to your main bag on several evenings to restock
    • Breakfasts
    • Picnic lunches
    • Dinners

What’s not included:

    • Transportation to and from Corsica
    • Transfers not included in this itinerary (including transfers due to bad weather or physical ailments)
    • Entrance fees to sites
    • Optional activities
    • Drinks

How fit do I need to be?

GR20 is an advanced hike, meaning full day treks with steep descents and challenging switchbacks. Although it is becoming more and more popular, it remains one of the most difficult treks in Europe. To overlook this could put inexperienced walkers in danger. Do not overestimate your skills, and prepare for the trip. The GR20 is for hikers in very good physical shape who already have the experience of high mountain trekking over several days. Keep in mind, the weather in summer can be hot and you’ll also be packing a daypack filled with water and other things you’ll need throughout the day.

It is recommended to do aerobic exercises at least 3 times a week. It is good to get in some hill walks on rough, uneven terrain, to build up ankle strength. Train to walk downhill, get used to knowing where to put your feet. Aim to progress walking downhill at a reasonable pace — two walking poles will reduce the shock on your legs.

What do I need to bring?

Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:

    • Day pack large enough to carry items for a few days of hiking (around a 40L bag)
    • Duffle bag with all the remaining items and clothing (max. weight 15 kilos)
    • Trekking poles — optional (but recommended)
    • Headlamp
    • Compact sleeping bag
    • Sleeping pad
    • Water bottle or hydration bladder (2L capacity)
    • Snacks and electrolytes
    • Lightweight hiking boots or shoes
    • Sandals or flip flops for beaches, river wading, or for wearing in the evening
    • Hiking socks
    • T-shirt and shorts (depending upon the likely weather)
    • Light trekking trousers (not jeans)
    • Spare clothes for layering
    • A warm sweater, polar or fleece
    • Puffy jacket or equivalent mid-layer
    • A good quality waterproof shell — GORE-TEX recommended
    • Waterproof pants
    • Warm hat and gloves
    • Swimsuit
    • Sunhat
    • Beanie
    • Gloves
    • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
    • Camp towel
    • A small Tupperware box (for stews or salads), a plastic mug, a spork
    • A waterproof plastic pouch for documents and identity papers
    • A small first-aid kit
    • Swiss army knife
    • Sunglasses
    • Mobile phone and charger
    • Camera — optional (but recommended)

Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.

Group sizes and age requirements

Group sizes and prices:

    • The tour is not private and you will be joining other participants. All pricing is per person.
    • The minimum group size on this GR20 hiking tour is six guests and one guide, but larger groups can be accommodated.

If your hiking party is larger than six people, please contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

Min. age requirements:

    • Anyone over the age of 18 can join these day-hiking tours
    • Minors may be permitted to join private tours on a case-by-case basis.

If you plan to hike with anyone under the age of 12, please contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

Getting there and meeting location

Thanks to new low-cost airlines, Corsica is now accessible from several major cities in France in less than 1.5 hours. To be as close as possible to the departure of the GR20, we advise you to go to Calvi Sainte-Catherine Airport.

For the North GR20 Hiking Adventure, you will meet your guide in the morning of your first day in Calvi for your transfer to Calenzana. The exact location will be determined in communication with your guide. From there, you’ll head straight to your tour. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the hiking ability of the group.

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