Hiking the South GR20 Trail in Corsica

Corsica | France
Trip Highlights

Top three reasons to go hiking in Corsica

  • Trip Highlight

    Explore alpine terrain on a paradise Mediterranean island

  • Trip Highlight

    The GR20 is the most challenging and epic European trails

  • Trip Highlight

    Inspiring scenery and stunning wildlife throughout the hike

This 180km-long trail winds through the jagged spine of Corsica’s mountains, revealing spectacular scenery and amazing views over the dramatic coastline. GR-20 is considered to be one of the most difficult and spectacular long-distance treks in Europe, attracting hikers from all over the world looking for a worthy challenge. Join your guide on a part-hike through the South part of Corsica and discover stunning vistas, ancient forests, granite peaks, and beautiful coastal trails. This is a wonderful option for anyone that wants to experience the thrill of the hike and learn more about the island. Your guides will make sure you have fun and enjoy the trip while providing you with a degree of safety! Hike from Vizzavona to the picturesque Bavella and conquer 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

8 days

Skill level

Advanced

Itineraries

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South GR20 8-Day Hiking Adventure

8 days

From the Renoso Mountain to the Needles of Bavella, follow red and white trail markings and complete this “Grande Randonnée”! Embark on a 8-day guided hike as your guide leads you through all the stunning routes of Corsica. Walk through the ancient beech forests, alpine fields, and tiny villages. Take in the views overlooking the sea and dreamlike rocky landscape sculpted by the wind. This challenging hike includes luggage transfers and a selection of the best accommodation available along the trail, giving you the experience of a lifetime in Corsica!

Trip Highlights

Itinerary

Day 1: Vizzavona

After arriving at Vizzavona, re-energize with dinner and spend a night in a gîte or refuge (depending on availability) as you prepare for the adventure!

Day 2: From Vizzavona to Capanelle

Today’s walk begins in a beech grove in the Vizzavona forest. The pass of Palmente offers a stunning viewpoint over the lakes of Diana and Urbino. The next trail segment takes you to the eastern slope and the shepherd’s hut of Alzeta. Continue to walk along an ancient mule-track to reach the gîte of Capanelle where you will have dinner with your group.
Walk: about 5 hours
Altitude gain and loss: +1155m, -715m

Day 3: From Capanelle to Bocca di Verde

From Capanelle, make your way to the picturesque sheepfolds of Traghjete before trekking towards the Plateau of Ghialgone. Cross the footbridge of I Spiazzi and the forest of Marmano to reach the Col de Verde, where you’ll enjoy dinner and spend the night.
Walk: 5 hours
Altitude gain and loss: +600m, -900m

Day 4: From Bocca di Verde to Cozzano

Hopefully you’ve had a good night’s sleep and are ready for today’s challenge! Climb up to the Bocca del Orro and walk through the plateau of Prato and its alpine fields. As you follow the crest line, the valley provides spectacular views of the Taravo and the Tyrrhenian Sea on the eastern slope. Finish off today’s hike with a walk through the forest of St. Antoine to reach the village of Cozzano. Connect with your fellow hikers over a delicious dinner and spend the night at the gîte.
Walk: about 8 hours
Altitude gain and loss: +750m, -1300m

Day 5: From Cozzano to Basseta

After an early breakfast, depart the gîte and climb the Bocca di l’Usciolu. Walk along the mountain ridge with its dreamlike rocky landscape sculpted by the wind. The path descends through an alder-tree forest aged over a hundred years so enjoy the fresh forest air and lush vegetation. Soon you should reach the picturesque plateau of the Cuscione and the shepherd’s hut of Basseta. Replenish with a tasty dinner and spend the night at the gîte.
Walk: about 6,5 hours
Altitude gain and loss: +910m, -505m

Day 6: From Basseta to Bavella

Wake up surrounded by beautiful views and continue your venture along the plateau of the Cuscione that offers a gentler terrain and green pastures and pozzines (a type of peat bogs). Spend some time simply enjoying the views of the horses grazing in the unique and exceptional setting. Climb Mount Incudine (2000m/6561ft) and from the Asinao Valley, follow the path that descends to the spectacular granite peaks— the famous Needles of Bavella. Enjoy the last night on the trail with your group and get some rest.
Walk: about 9 hours
Altitude gain and loss: +982m, -1100m

Day 7: From Bavella to Conca

Start your day off with an easy walk through the forest in the southern massive of Bavella to the Paliri refuge. Then, it’s time for the descent, made even more enjoyable by the scent of the maquis. Arriving in Conca, take an epic pic next to the sign marking the end of the GR20!
Walking (via the GR20): 7 hours
Height gain and loss: +450m, -1400m

Day 8: End of your adventure

A filling breakfast marks the end of your adventure. From Conca, you can take a shuttle to Porto Vecchio, and a bus to Bastia or Ajaccio.

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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
    • Gîte accommodations during the trip
    • 7 dinners, 7 breakfasts, and 6 picnic lunches
    • 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

What’s not included:

    • Transportation to and from Corsica
    • Transfers not included in this itinerary (including transfers due to bad weather or physical ailments)
    • 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 max guest-to-guide ratio for this tour is 12:1. It takes a minimum group of six participants for the tour to operate.
    • This tour is booked for a minimum of two people. Solo travelers should inquire about private tours.
    • The price decreases as the group grows, so it’s the perfect opportunity to hike with friends and family!

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.

Deposits and cancellation policy

If the reservation takes place more than 90 days before departure, a 30% deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. The remaining amount is paid 3 months (90 days) prior to departure. For reservations less than 90 days before the departure, 100% of the total amount is paid upon booking. Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies. 

    • If Client cancels the Booking anytime prior to thirty (30) calendar days in advance of the trip contemplated by the booking, Client is entitled to a full refund minus a 100 € ($110 USD) per person set-up fee cost
    • For cancellations twenty-nine (29) to sixteen (16) calendar days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of fifty percent (50%) of the full price of the trip. 
    • For cancellations fifteen (15) to two (2) calendar days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of ten percent (10%) of the full price of the trip. 
    • After that deadline, Client is not entitled to any refund. Any reimbursable expenses arising out of the Booking incurred by Guide prior to the date of cancellation (including but not limited to plane tickets, car rental payments, and lodging or transportation fees) are non-refundable as soon as they are incurred by the Guide.

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 location for the GR20, we advise you to go to Figari International Airport or Ajaccio Napoleon Bonaparte Airport.

For the South GR20 Hiking Adventure, you will meet your guide in Vizzavona. 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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