Corsica GR20 Trek
Corsica GR20 Trek
Corsica GR20 Trek
Corsica GR20 Trek
Corsica GR20 Trek
Corsica GR20 Trek

Corsica GR20 Trek


Trip Overview

Trek the classic GR20 Haute Route in Corsica, one of Europe’s most challenging long-distance walks. Known locally as 'Fra li Monti', which means 'across the mountains', it is a magnificent traverse of the Corsican island from north to south, encompassing an impressive range of landscapes. We hike precipitous rocky trails and airy ridges in the north that give way to mellow meadows, lakes and forests further south. This unique trekking holiday offers the perfect combination of Mediterranean sunshine, inspiring scenery and challenging walking. The GR20 is a trek of a lifetime not to be missed.

Highlights

  • Complete the challenge of Europe's toughest trek
  • Twelve days of stunning hiking and light 'scrambling'
  • Good quality hotels and private gites instead of huts
  • Luggage support each day, except for two
  • Finish by the famous cliff-top town of Bonifacio by the sea 

Rising abruptly from the Mediterranean sea, with granite peaks soaring to over 2500m (8200ft), Corsica is known as 'the Scented Isle'. Famous for its dramatic coastline and pretty mountain villages, the rugged island of Corsica reveals its most spectacular scenery only to those who are prepared to explore on foot. Over the course of a truly spectacular two weeks we will cover a total of 180km (112 miles), with approx 12,000m (39,360ft) of ascent and descent. 

Comfort Level

We have created our itinerary with three main intentions; to climb several additional summits, to go off-the-beaten track, and at the same time to ensure the trip is as luxurious as possible. We avoid staying in the overcrowded and "rustic" mountain huts, instead our accommodation will be hotels and privately-run gites. Each day your luggage will be transferred to your next overnight except on two occasions when our accommodation is inaccessible to vehicles. 

 


I am really pleased I saw the real Corsica with its enormous mountains, beautiful streams and forests, and colourful local characters. The accommodation was much better than I had anticipated…apart from some thunder storms the weather was kind to us - not the unrelenting sun I was expecting. Emma was a great leader, knowledgeable and always positive. Our group was fantastic - fun and always supportive.

Itinerary

  • airport
  • house
  • Your GR20 adventure begins at Bastia airport, and is organised around flights arriving before 1000hrs. Easy Jet flights from Gatwick arrive at 0925hrs, and from Manchester at 1000hrs. Clearly you can arrive on any flight provided you arrive before 1030hrs. 

    Please note these times are approximate and that airlines can change their schedules at any time. Contact us if you are planning to catch a later flight. From the airport it is a 2h00 minibus transfer to the seaside town of Calvi. You can also join the trip in Calvi if you prefer to make your own arrangements to get here.

    For those who have opted to arrive a day early and spend the night in Bastia, the meeting point is at Bastia airport. We will confirm the time when we know which flights everyone will be taking, but we usually aim to meet at 0930hrs.

    If your flight is significantly delayed you may need to take a private transfer. This is the sort of thing that your travel insurance should cover, so it is worth ensuring that your policy allows for this, as travel in Corsica is expensive. It is approximately £300 for a private transfer from Bastia to Calvi. Anyone who arrives at the airport on an earlier flight and who does not wish to wait for the later flight is welcome to take a private transfer, just let us know at the time of booking and we can arrange this. 

    In the afternoon you will have time to explore the lovely town of Calvi, said to be the birthplace of explorer Christopher Columbus. It was during the period of Genoese domination of the island that Christopher Columbus was reputedly born in the town, a claim that is supported today by a monument built into the walls of the citadel.

    The town was briefly occupied by English naval forces in 1794, a battle in which the famous English Admiral Nelson lost his eye. Today, the town is a base for a regiment of the French Foreign Legion, who are often seen running in full kit up the steep mountain trails around Calvi. 

    Your guide will also brief you today on the trip ahead, and answer any questions you might have about the itinerary and terrain. 

    Please note that dinner is not included on the first evening, however, your guide will book a restaurant as Calvi can be quite busy. If you would prefer not to eat with the group simply let your guide know.  

    Accommodation: Hotel

     
  • Today you begin a journey that will take you from north to south of this beautiful island. Over the course of a truly spectacular two weeks we will cover a total of 180km (112 miles), with approx 12,000m (39,360ft) of ascent and descent. It is not for the faint hearted but the rewards are immense. 

    This morning we leave Calvi behind and take a short taxi journey to the village of Calenzana, the official starting point of the GR20. We ease into things today, giving us time to enjoy fantastic views of the coast and the surrounding villages. We also have the opportunity to 'cool off' with a swim in rock pools before tackling the final climb to Bonifatu where we will spend the night in a gîte

    Ascent: 800m (2624ft) Descent: 540m (1771ft) Distance: 11km (6.8 miles) Duration: 5h00

    Accommodation: Gîte - private rooms available

  • It's an early start this morning for what is a long, and challenging hike, but the spectacular landscape more than makes up for the effort. We climb up into the forested, shaded cirque de Bonifatu, until we reach the Carrozzu refuge where we will take a break before tackling the famous Spasimata footbridge. This 30m (98ft) long bridge hanging above a beautiful waterfall is probably the most photographed location on the GR20! We then climb up the Spasimata rock slabs using fixed cables and chains, to arrive at the Muvrella valley. Muvrella is Corsican for mouflon, a type of wild sheep, and with luck we may see some. The mouflon is believed to be the ancestor of all modern sheep breeds. After the Lac de Muvrella, we have a steep climb up to the Bocca di a Muvrella, a pass sitting at 2000m (6560ft), followed by a difficult, but short, section to our second pass, the Bocca di Stagnu at 2010m (6592ft). The views from here are fantastic as we can see the western coastline, along with the mountains that guard the entrance to the Cirque de la Solitude. Next up is a very steep descent with some scrambling down to the old ski station of Haut Asco at 1422m (4664ft) and our hotel. 

    Ascent: 1480m (4854ft) Descent: 600m (1968ft) Distance: 12km (7.5 miles) Duration: 8h30-9h00

    Accommodation: Hotel

  • In June 2015 due to a large landslide today's route no longer takes the trail to the Cirque de la Solitude. It has been closed by the park authorities, and is unlikely to reopen.

    The good news is that there is a new route through the mountains and it does cover terrain that is equally as spectacular. However, the route makes what used to be a long, tough day into a longer, tougher day, as we head towards Monte Cinto, the highest peak in Corsica which sits at 2706m (8878ft). The first known ascent of Monte Cinto was on 6 June 1882, by a party led by Édouard Rochat who reached the summit via the mountain's southern slopes. On 26 May 1883 a party led by the English mountaineer, Francis Fox Tuckett, including François Devouassoud, a Chamonix born mountain guide, and the landscape painter Compton, also ascended the mountain by the pass that now bears Tuckett's name. Tucker was one the main figures of the so-called Golden Age of Alpinism making ascents of 269 European peaks, and crossing 687 passes! 

    Eventually, after passing Monte Cinto we reach the remote Lac de Cinto, then continue up to a high pass, the Bocca Crucetta at 2450m (8036ft). From here we have a long descent to the Tighjettu refuge and down to the Bergeries de Vallon where we will camp the night. You do not need to carry camping gear, but do need a sleeping bag, otherwise we organise it all for you. The Bergeries de Vallon is an old shepherd's hut situated in a really lovely setting, with rock pools nearby for bathing. 

    We will ask anyone who struggled with the terrain yesterday to sit out this day, and as it is not possible to drive to Vallone, you will have to miss two days of hiking and take transport to Castel de Verghio where you will rejoin the group. 

    Ascent: 1600m (5248ft) Descent: 1600m (5248ft) Distance: 13km (8 miles) Duration: 8h00-9h00

    Accommodation: Camping - tent and sleeping mat provided  

    NB: Tonight you will not have access to your luggage due to the remote location of our overnight. 

  • This morning you will no doubt welcome what is an easier start to our day. We begin by walking through the laricio pine forest. The laricio, also known as the black pine, produces an oil which has been used traditionally to cure acne, common colds, and viral infections. It can also be used for treating cracked hands and feet in winter, and for sealing wooden roofs! After contemplation of this useful tree we begin a rocky scrambling section to reach the Bocca di Foggiale, not far from the Ciotulu I Mori refuge at the foot of the Paglia Orba peak. We are rewarded with great views from here, both behind us to the Calacuccia lake, and ahead of us to the Golo valley. From here we wind our way down to the river Golo, a perfect place to refresh in the rock pools. You will have noticed a theme developing here. Hike, swim, hike swim! However, we still have a quite a distance to go, so it's along the river for a while, before traversing the forest to reach Castel de Verghio, an old ski station. There's a choice of gîte or hotel accommodation, and a small shop here.

    Ascent: 970m (3181ft) Descent: 1020m (3345ft) Distance: 15km (9.5 miles) Duration: 6h00-6h30

    Accommodation: Hotel 

  • We are up early and ready to face another challenging day with some stunning scenery to entice us onwards. The landscape begins to change today from rugged and rocky, to a terrain altogether more mellow, as we climb up to the Col St Pierre at 1452m (4762ft), and make our way to the spectacular Lac de Nino at 1743m (5717ft). Surrounded by pozzines, which are little ponds surrounded by grassy meadows, it is an ideal grazing area for horses, cattle and wild pigs. After the Lac de Nino, we will take a short break at the working goat farm of Vaccaja, before diverting from the GR20 to the Refuge de Sega. The refuge is in a lovely location away from the crowds, with stunning rock pools nearby.  At the present time there is no guardian at this refuge and therefore we will take food with us for our meals. These will be light-weight freeze dried meals and carried amongst the group members. It may be that a new guardian is appointed for summer 2019, but this is still to be confirmed. If this is the case we will have dinner provided by the refuge.

    Ascent: 965m (3165ft) Descent: 1200m (3936ft) Distance: 23km (14.3 miles) Duration: 8h00-8h30

    Accommodation: Mountain Refuge - either dormitory or in tents in the grounds

    NB: Tonight you will not have access to your luggage due to the remote location of our overnight. 

  • A shorter day today so we are able to be more leisurely and take our time as we descend from the mountains via the beautiful Tavignano gorge, which has some great swimming pools. The source of the river Tavignano is in the heart of the island, just south of Monte Cinto the highest peak in Corsica. The river flows generally east through Corte and on to the sea. After passing through the gorge we will arrive at the historic town of Corte. The town is famous for being the capital of the Corsican independent state during a period of resistance in the 1700's. The leader of the movement was Filippo Pasquale di Paoli a patriot who led the Corsicans, first against the Genoese, and later against French rule of the island. Corsica officially became a French province in 1770. With all of this history in mind we aim to arrive in Corte with some time to explore the town. We have not included dinner on this night to give you the chance to 'do your own thing' and eat out in a local restaurant.

    Ascent: 720m (2361ft) Descent: 1400m (4592ft) Distance: 13km (8.1 miles) Duration: 5h00-5h30

    Accommodation: Hotel

  • This morning we leave Corti and have a transfer to the start of our hiking at Vizzanova. This will either by a private taxi or by train, and will take between 0h45 to 1h00. By now we have reached the southern section of the GR20, and the terrain has changed to a slightly gentler landscape. We will have less rocky scrambling, and more opportunities to take in the views.  On arrival at Vizzanova we rejoin the route of the GR20 beginning with a climb up to the Bocca Palmente which sits at 1640m (5379ft) passing through shady beech and pine forests. At the top, we are greeted with fantastic views to the coast and behind us we have the imposing bulk of Monte d'Oro which rises above Vizzanova. From the pass we make our way past the Alzeta shepherds' huts to the U Cardu ridge, and a spectacular view is unveiled, including tomorrow's objective, Monte Renoso which sitting at 2352m (7714ft) is one of the highest mountains in the southern part of Corsica. The island is famous for its granite backbone of mountains, about forty of which are higher than 2000m (6560ft). All are located on the s-shaped backbone of the island which winds from north to south. At the end of our day we arrive at Capanelle and our gîte. 

    Ascent: 1155m (3788ft) Descent: 715m (2345ft) Distance: 16km (10 miles) Duration: 6h00-6h30

    Accommodation: Gîte - beds in dormitory

  • This morning we leave Capanelle to begin our climb of Monte Renoso an excellent goal for the day. With the summit sitting at 2352m (7714ft) it is the highest mountain in southern Corsica. It's a great peak that is surprisingly seldom visited by most people on the GR20. The view from the summit is our favourite view of the trip as you can see both coasts, plus a great view back to where you have been on Monte Cinto and to Incudine and Bavella our next destinations. Monte Renoso is a scenic climb and not too difficult, mainly walking rather than scrambling. While the highest and most impressive mountains can be found in the northern parts the lower 2000ers in the south are placed further apart from each other and offer the better views. Once we have enjoyed the summit we have a steep descent down to the spectacular pozzine, (pools) in the valley of I Pozzi. Next, we make our way over to the plateau de Gialgone to rejoin the GR20, where we have a further few hours to hike to the Col de Verde. For those who want a more relaxed day, and who do not feel the urge to climb Monte Renoso, you can opt to stay on the true GR20 route today which is considerably easier: this is also the route that we take in bad weather.

    Ascent: 815m (2673ft) Descent: 950 (3116ft) Distance: 14km (8.7 miles) Duration: 8h00

    If we take the lower route: Ascent: 600m (1968ft) Descent: 110m (360ft) Duration: 5h00

    Accommodation: Gîte - beds in dormitory

  • We start our day with a steep climb up to a high ridge, taking us to the refuge de Prati. The views from the ridge are stunning and yet again we can often see both coasts. On an especially clear day we can see across the Ligurain sea as far as the island of Elba.

    Elba is the largest remaining stretch of land from the ancient tract that once connected the Italian peninsula to Corsica. It was also to Elba that Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled after his forced abdication in 1814. He may have been in exile but he was allowed to keep a personal guard of six hundred soldiers! He was nominally sovereign of Elba, although the nearby sea was patrolled by the French and British navies. During the 300 days that Napoleon stayed on the island, he carried out a series of economic and social reforms to improve the quality of life, but not sufficient to keep him there! He escaped to France on 26 February 1815.

    Once we leave the refuge de Prati and the ridge we have a section of scrambling, with some exposed sections, until the Col de Laparo. Here we divert from the GR20 in order to avoid staying in overcrowded and uncomfortable mountain huts, and we stop at a privately-run gîte in the traditional Corsican village of Cozzano.

    Ascent: 750m (2460ft) Descent: 1300m (4264ft) Distance: 20km (12.4 miles) Duration: 8h00

    Accommodation: Gîte - beds in dormitory

  • Today we start out by climbing through marquis, a type of shrub that grows densely on the mountains in Corsica,  and chestnut trees to rejoin the GR20, where we reach the Arête a Mondi. We follow this ridge line which takes us to the Punta d'Usciolu at 1815m (5953ft), and then to the Punta di a Scaddatta at 1834m (6015ft) and finally to the Bocca di L'Agnonu. The route weaves through exciting notches along the ridge, and consists of around two hours of sometimes exposed, but relatively straightforward scrambling with wonderful views. We take a moment to catch our breath and take in the scenery before we start our descent, passing the ancient sheepfolds of Bassetta, and continuing along to our gîte at Il Croce. It's quite a long day, but if we keep going to Il Croce instead of staying at Bassetta it makes the following day a little easier. In the case of bad weather we will travel on a lower route today via the village of Zicavo. Tonight we will either be in a gîte or we will camp. As stated previously tents will be provided you do not have to carry them, but you do need your sleeping bag. You will, however, have access to your luggage. 

    Ascent: 1000m (3280ft) Descent: 550m (1804ft) Distance: 15km (9.3 miles) Duration: 8h00 

    Accommodation: Gîte - beds in dormitory

  • Today is a long, but spectacular day. We start off with a climb to the Col d'Incudine, from where we have wonderful views back towards Monte Cinto, the highest peak in Corsica. We can also see the island of Sardinia in front of us, which lies immediately south of Corsica. It that isn't enough to keep the photographers happy we also have views to Aiguilles de Bavella where we will soon be heading. From the Col d'Incudine it's a very steep descent across rocky slabs to the refuge d'Asinau. The refuge takes its name from the seven Towers of Asinau which feature on the ridge we are heading for. Leaving the refuge we have a short easy section through the woods, before we make a diversion to tackle the Alpine variant of the GR20, through the heart of the Aiguilles de Bavella, a truly fantastic journey assisted by the occasional chain. This is quite possibly our favourite day of the trek. The Aiguilles de Bavella are rocky spikes or red granite that dominate the hill of the same name, the word 'aiguilles' means 'needles'. A good indication of the type of terrain we are tackling. Alas it's unsuitable in very bad weather, in which case we would take a transfer and do a shorter walk around Bavella.

    Ascent: 1300m (4264ft) Descent: 1400m (4592ft) Distance: 20km (12.4 miles) Duration; 9h00-10h00 

    Accommodation: Gîte - beds in dormitory, or private rooms

  • The final day is a lovely way to end the stunning GR20. Our hike offers wonderful views across the granite peaks of Corsica, before we enter our final pine forest. We will soon reach the refuge de Paliri, and the scenery will remain rugged all the way to the little village of Conca, the official end point of the Corsica GR20. At Conca we can continue our theme of hiking and swimming with a dip in the sea, and its the ideal spot to contemplate what you have just achieved. Over the course of a truly spectacular two weeks you will have covered a total of 180km (112 miles), with approx 12,000m (39,360ft) of ascent and descent. That's no small achievement, and it is why this has to be one of the most challenging, but also rewarding long distance hikes in the world. We finish our day with a short transfer to Bonifacio, surely one of the most spectacular towns in Corsica. Tonight dinner is not included to allow you to venture out on the town and enjoy the sights and sounds of this beautiful resort,

    Ascent: 700m (2296ft) Descent: 1670m (5477ft) Distance: 19km (12 miles) Duration: 7h00

    Accommodation: Hotel

  • Today you have a free day to explore our favourite town in Corsica. Take a boat trip, explore the historic alleyways and cobbled streets, or go for a cliff-top walk. There is plenty do to in Bonifacio, and if you feel that you have had enough exercise then you can browse the boutiques, or sit by the sea and enjoy a well-earned rest. 

    Bonifacio's Old Town, with a labyrinth of narrow streets and historic buildings, was built by the Genoese and is a fascinating place to wander around. Founded in 828 AD by Count Bonifacio of Tuscany, it's natural harbour makes the perfect port. Indeed, Bonifacio has a very busy marina filled with impressive yachts and lined with chic bars, restaurants and hotels. It is great entertainment simply to wander the marina and enjoy watching the yachts come and go. 

    Accommodation: Hotel

  • An early start this morning for our transfer back to Bastia airport. The transfer takes approximately 3 hours. Our arrival time at Bastia airport is aimed to tie in with flights to the UK. The Easy Jet flight from Bastia to Gatwick departing at 10h05, along with the Manchester departure. Clearly, if you are planning to continue your holiday in other European countries we will do what we can to advise you with regard to onward travel. 

It is always our aim to complete the proposed itinerary outlined above, however, it may be necessary for our guides/instructors to adjust the daily itinerary based on the weather conditions, group safety and enjoyment.

Accommodation

On all our trips we aim to accommodate our guests in well-situated, clean, characterful, family run accommodation. Our suggested accommodation, listed below, is subject to availability at the time of booking. We have given details of our favoured venues and those we intend to use. If unavailable we will book alternative accommodation of a similar standard.

Our trip fees are based on two people sharing a room. If you are travelling on your own your booking will be based on a twin bedroom sharing with someone of the same gender. 

The accommodation on the GR20 has somewhat of a reputation! But we can confidently say we offer the most comfortable GR20 on the market! For this trip we have chosen hotels and privately-run gîtes which make our trip extremely comfortable in comparison with other companies - but please do not expect luxury! The accommodation is basic, simple and clean and includes: 6 nights in hotels, 6 nights in gîtes, 1 night in a traditional mountain refuge & 1 night camping. Your luggage will be transported to each accommodation except on 2 nights (Day 4 & 6) when you will be staying in more remote locations. On these nights you will be required to carry a few more items in your day pack until you are reunited with your bags again the following day. A single room may be available for solo travellers in Calvi, Corte and Bonifacio, but will incur a supplement and is dependent on early booking as the number of single rooms is limited.

We have listed our preferred accommodation below, but please note that for this trip we have not provided details of ALL the accommodation we will use. This is because the best accommodation is in short supply and we prefer not to 'give away' our best kept secrets.

Hotel Le Magnolia, Calvi

Hotel

We begin our trip with a very comfortable hotel in the heart of the gorgeous town of Calvi. The Hotel Le Magnolia has lovely spacious rooms with en suite facilities and air conditioning. The hotel is situated between the church and the market square, 50 metres (164ft) from the port and just a 5-minute walk from the beach. It has a  patio and garden, and the building is reminiscent of the last century, the 'belle époque'. 

Hotel Le Chalet, Haut Asco

Hotel

Tonight our destination is the Hotel Le Chalet which is situated at the foot of Monte Cinto, the highest mountain in Corsica. It was built in 1964 and has 28 bedrooms with en suite facilities. It has a terrace which is a great place to enjoy the views and watch the sunset. 

 

Bergeries de Vallone

Camping

This evening we are truly under the stars as we camp beside the ancient shepherd's hut at the Bergeries de Vallon. You do not need to carry any camping gear as we will organise tents and sleeping mats. You do, however, need to carry your sleeping bag. Tonight you will not have access to your luggage due to the remote location of our overnight. The Bergeries de Vallon is an old shepherd's hut situated in a really lovely setting, with rock pools nearby for bathing.  

 

Hotel Castel Vergio, Castel de Verghio,

Hotel

We finish today at the old ski station at Castel de Verghio, where we have our hotel of the same name. Well, nearly the same name, but as often in Corsica there are several variations on spelling!  The hotel is high in the mountains and right on the GR20, as well as several other hiking routes. It was fully renovated in 2010 and now has 29 bedrooms with balconies, and en suite facilities.  

 

Refuge de Sega

Refuge

We are in the forests in the mountains for our overnight at the Refuge de Sega. A 'refuge' is a simply mountain hut providing basic accommodation. But when in the mountains we are grateful for what we can get! The refuge is in a lovely location away from the crowds, with stunning rock pools nearby for freshening up before dinner. The accommodation will be either in dormitories, or in tents in the grounds of the refuge.

 

Hotel du Nord, Corte

Hotel

In Corte we stay in the Hotel du Nord which dates back to 1861. It has now been renovated to offer guests comfort without losing any of its charm. The rooms are equipped with an LCD TV with Satellite connection, a telephone, a hairdryer, a fan, and free Wi-Fi connection. The hotel is situated in the mountains, but in the centre of Corte. It does a great breakfast buffet!

 

Gîte U Fugone, Capanelle

Gîte

The Gîte U Fugone is full of character. It was built beside the GR20 more than 30 years ago and has been welcoming hikers ever since. It is run by the Maurizi family; Régine, her son Roger-Philippe, and her daughter Laure. It is situated in an ideal spot in a lovely setting. Accommodation here will be dormitory style. 

Relais San Petru di Verde, Col de Verde

Gîte

The Relais San Petru de Verde is in the heart of Corsica, near Col Verde at the top of the Taravo Valley. The Relais is set in a natural and wild environment surrounded by a mature forest of Laricio pine trees, beech and firs. There are hot showers and a camping area. We will most likely be in dormitories or in the small chalets scattered around the grounds of the Relais.

Bergerie de Croci, Il Croce

Camping

Tonight at the Bergerie de Croci we will either be in a dormitories or we will camp. As stated previously tents will be provided, you do not have to carry them, but you do need your sleeping bag. You will, however, have access to your luggage. The facilities are simple and accommodation basic. A case of feeling like we are way out in the wilds!

Hotel Santa Teresa, Bonifacio

Hotel

We have two nights in the beautiful and historic town of Bonifacio. It oozes tradition and Corsican culture, and is perfect for relaxing and reflecting on your epic journey along the GR20. We stay at the Hotel Santa Teresa which is an old building built at the end of the 19th century. This 3* hotel has 42 bedrooms all with en suite facilities. The terrace, where you can take your breakfast, faces the sea. 


  • Please note that you must have the appropriate insurance for your chosen activity. As we will be travelling in the mountains, you must be covered for helicopter rescue, repatriation and medical costs. We also advise you to take out Trip Cancellation/Curtailment Insurance in the event of you being unable to join the trip for whatever reason. NB: The insurance referred to below should only be purchased AFTER we have confirmed that your trip is guaranteed to run. 

    For ease of reference the clause relating to Insurance as set out in our Terms and Conditions is given below:

    Insurance: It is a condition of booking that you are insured against medical expenses, injury, illness, death, cost of repatriation, and personal accident risks. This must include cover for the activities to be undertaken during the trip. For tours taking place outside the United Kingdom you must ensure that your insurance covers rescue from the mountains, including helicopter rescue. It is the right of the leader to make a decision to call for helicopter rescue if such assistance is needed. Costs incurred by you, the client, due to an evacuation, rescue or other emergency event shall be your responsibility. Any subsequent costs incurred for expenses not limited to but including such costs as hotels, food, transport etc shall be borne by you, the client. You are responsible for ensuring insurance cover is adequate for the particular needs of your chosen activity. You must be fully aware of the implications involved in arranging your own travel insurance and understand the limitations and exclusions of the policy. By agreeing to our Terms and Conditions you are authorising Tracks and Trails Ltd or the person employed to lead the trip for Tracks and Trails Ltd to instigate rescue and/or helicopter evacuation procedures without previously obtaining the permission of the company issuing your insurance policy. We reserve the right to cancel your booking at any time if we are not satisfied you have the necessary insurance policy covering your activity. Please ensure that your insurance covers you to the maximum altitude given on your trip itinerary. If you are unsure or are joining a bespoke trip then please contact us for specific details. Most of our trips have a maximum altitude of 3,000 metres, except the Tour de Monte Rosa which reaches 3316m. You must bring all insurance documentation with you at the time of the activity. We also recommend your insurance covers you for trip cancellation and baggage loss/damage. Tracks and Trails Ltd are unable to accept responsibility for the loss or damage to any client equipment or luggage.

    For further details, please read the Insurance section on our website.

  • Walking Boots:

    We cannot stress enough that the GR20 is rugged underfoot, and if your walking boots are showing signs of wear, the GR20 will almost certainly finish them off. Please make sure that your boots are in good condition before arriving as there are no gear shops on the hike, apart from a small shop in Corte in the middle of the trip, so buying new kit will be difficult. If you have any new equipment such as rucksack or walking boots, it is a good idea to have used them a few times in advance in order to avoid blisters/sore spots.

    Walking Poles:

    Walking poles will really help your knees, and if you haven’t used them before, it would be a good idea to practice beforehand so that they are not a hindrance. 

    Hydration:

    With regard to hydration we keep up a steady pace for much of the day and it can be difficult to take in enough water if you have to remove your pack to access your water bottles, and for this reason we recommend a hydration system. However, having witnessed various disasters over the years with hydration systems, for example, your entire supply of water disappearing due to a leak, we recommend using both a hydration system  AND water bottles to avoid this situation. There are not always places to fill up water during the day, so on some days we have to carry all of our water for that day, which can be 4 litres or more.

    A comprehensive kit list will be sent to you upon booking. 

  • We spend 6 nights in good hotels with en-suite facilities (twin or double rooms, very occasionally a triple), 6 nights in privately-run gîtes in mixed dormitory accommodation (with showers & toilets), 1 night in a spectacularly-located mountain refuge with 6-8 people per room (with showers & toilets), and 1 night at a shepherds hut where we camp, and there are simple toilet facilities including 1 shower. When we have to camp we will provide the camping equipment, and you only need to bring a sleeping bag as detailed on our kit list. 

    Please be aware that accommodation in Corsica is generally quite basic. We have chosen the accommodation with comfort in mind – the official refuges on the GR20 can vary from quite bad to very bad, and as a result we have adjusted the route to stay in private gîtes wherever we can and therefore avoid the official park refuges, but you should not expect the same standard of accommodation as you might be used to on our other European trips. We have also chosen hotel accommodation wherever possible, as they offer a nice break from the dormitory accommodation. We’ve looked at every option we can to make the accommodation as good as possible, and we are confident that we are offering the best quality GR20 trip on the market.

    In our experience, the gîtes & refuges all have hot showers – in many years of doing trips we have had to have 1 or 2 cold showers so this should not come as a surprise for the occasional night. For the 2 places that are the most likely culprits not to have hot water (Vallone & Sega), they are next to fantastic rock pools, so most people prefer to swim in the pools at the end of the day.

    On the 6 nights that we spend in hotels, you will be in a twin/double room (sometimes a triple), and if you booked as an individual then we will pair you up with someone else of the same gender. Please let us know if you would like to pay a single supplement for those nights – it isn’t always possible but we will do our best to accommodate you. A single supplement is usually around £300 per person for the 6 hotel nights.

    The refuges along the GR20 are, unfortunately, renowned for bed bugs, and this is one of the main reasons we avoid the huts. We do not stay in any establishment where they have been reported (unlike other operators): we are either in hotels or private gîtes, so we are not so likely to encounter them. However, we recommend that at the end of the trip you wash all of your clothes at a high temperature to eradicate any bugs that might have 'hitched a ride'. 

    Meals

    The breakfasts on this trip are continental style and usually consist of a hot drink along with bread and jam. Some people find they prefer to supplement their breakfasts with other snacks. The picnic lunches are usually fantastic, and plentiful, varying from sandwiches to local meats and cheeses to pasta or lentil salad and a piece of fruit. The dinners are usually excellent – hearty, but basic 3-course meals, perfect for hard days in the mountains. Please note that you need to bring a tupperware salad box for your lunches, and a spoon/fork. 

    Vegetarians – a love of omelettes will help see you through this trip: Corsican mountain gîtes have not fully grasped the concept of vegetarian food, and you will almost always be served an omelette, with varying accompaniments. Sometimes they will try to give you fish, so please remember to tell us whether that is okay for you or not. We do try to ask for different dishes such as pasta and tomato sauce when the omelettes are wearing a bit thin, but this is occasionally met with reluctance. It would be a good idea to bring along some nuts and extra snacks. This trip is not suitable for vegans or those with other more specific dietary requirements. Gluten-free would be possible for the evening meals, but you would need to bring along some gluten-free snacks for your breakfasts and lunches.

     

     

  • Your guide on this trip, as with all our trips, will be a fully qualified International Mountain Leader. Your guide will make a daily decision on the suggested route based on the weather and the ability of the members of the group. The guide has complete discretion to make any route changes necessary in the interests of safety and enjoyment.  This is particularly relevant on the GR20 due to the wild and rocky nature of the terrain. We would like to make it clear that your guide on the GR20 also has complete discretion to ask you to leave the trip if your fitness and ability adversely impacts on safety. 

  • The GR20 in Corsica is a very tough trek with long walking days in succession.  We think it deserves its reputation as the hardest trek in Europe. You must be fit and accustomed to walking in the mountains.  There is a lot of rocky scrambling where you will use your hands and your feet, and on occasions you need to use fixed equipment such as ladders and chains. With this in mind, it is not a suitable trip for those who suffer from vertigo, nor is it a trip for those who are not sure-footed and confident, as there is more technical terrain than you might think for what is essentially a walking path. 

    The GR20 is quite a remote trek, and it isn’t very easy to “sit-out” for a day if you are feeling tired. As the days are long, we cannot afford to go too slowly (as you may be used to doing on other easier treks).  On the GR20 we have an average of 8h00 of walking each day, and some days are 9h00 to 10h00. We are not going to walk fast, but we need to maintain a pace which we would describe as 'steady' without too many stops. Some of the ascents are long, and the descents steep, and these can be problematic for those with weak knees.

    Accommodation on the GR20 has a somewhat unfortunate reputation. We have chosen hotels and privately-run gîtes which make our trip extremely comfortable in comparison with other companies, but please do not expect luxury! The accommodation is basic, simple and clean. We don’t want to put you off, but we do want to make sure that you will enjoy your holiday, and it is important to be sure you can cope with this trip before you book – so if in doubt, please ask!

  • This trip will run once a minimum of 4 people have booked. We will take a maximum of 10 clients on this trip.

  • The GR20 in Corsica is a very tough trek with long walking days in succession.  We think it deserves its reputation as the hardest trek in Europe. You must be fit and accustomed to walking in the mountains.  There is a lot of rocky scrambling where you will use your hands and your feet, and on occasions you need to use fixed equipment such as ladders and chains. With this in mind, it is not a suitable trip for those who suffer from vertigo, nor is it a trip for those who are not sure-footed and confident, as there is more technical terrain than you might think for what is essentially a walking path. 

    The GR20 is quite a remote trek, and it isn’t very easy to “sit-out” for a day if you are feeling tired. As the days are long, we cannot afford to go too slowly (as you may be used to doing on other easier treks).  On the GR20 we have an average of 8h00 of walking each day, and some days are 9h00 to 10h00. We are not going to walk fast, but we need to maintain a pace which we would describe as 'steady' without too many stops. Some of the ascents are long, and the descents steep, and these can be problematic for those with weak knees.

    We have graded the trip challenging:

    "Our toughest trips are those we deem to be ‘challenging’. By this we mean challenging physically and mentally. You need a high level of fitness, considerable previous experience of multi day walking trips, and a good attitude. You should enjoy walking for full days and be prepared to cope with regular ascents/descents of between 1300-1800m (4264-5904ft), and crossing passes at up to 3500m (11,480ft). You need to be able to deal with bad weather and to be able to look after your self in terms of being too cold, too hot, too wet, too tired. You do not need to be an athlete or a super hero, but you do need to know what it is like to walk all day to get to where you are going. You should be able to cope with rough and loose terrain, and deal with exposed sections of paths, and occasional sections of cabling or ladders to assist on steep ground. Expect to walk for up to 9 hours a day."

  • GR20 – Corsica by Paddy Dillon (A Cicerone Guide)

    Corsica Trekking GR20 by David Abram (Trailblazer Guide)

    Rough Guide or Lonely Planet Guide to Corsica

    Your leader will carry the correct maps and you are not expected to navigate, but if you would like to have some maps of the route then the 1:60,000 Didier Richard maps cover the whole route on two maps – Haute Corse and Corse du Sud.

    If you prefer to have the route in more detail, you need six of the 1:25,000 IGN maps:

    4149 OT Calvi

    4250 OT Corte and Monte Cinto

    4251 OT Monte d’Oro and Monte Rotondo

    4252 OT Monte Renoso

    4253 OT Petreto-Bicchiasano and Zicavo

    4253 ET Aiguilles de Bavella and Solenzara

    If you would like to order any of these maps in advance then please let us know and we can add them to your order – we can either post them to you, or give them to you at the start of the trip. The price is approximately £15 each for the IGN maps, and £14 each for the Didier Richard 1:60,000 maps, plus postage if applicable.

  • The weather during the summer months is normally clear and warm. The snow should have melted by around late June, and July is the hottest month with the least amount of rainfall, with June, August and September also being relatively dry. The temperature can range from around 5°C (41F) to around 30°C (86F), but note that in July 2013 and 2015 it did reach 36°C (96.8F).

    It is generally hot and dry, but due to the mountainous nature of the terrain it is not uncommon to have sudden thunder storms, harsh wind, heavy rain, hail and sometimes even snow, so it is important to be prepared for every eventuality.

  • You will need money for lunch in Calvi, and dinners in Calvi, Corte and Porto Vecchio. For dinner we find that between 25-30 Euros per dinner is sufficient, while 10-15 Euros per day for drinks and snacks should be enough.  For your two week trip you should have between 300-400 Euros in cash. Bottled water, wine, beer and soft drinks are available at almost all of the refuges, and you might find that the hot weather makes you consume more cans of soft drink than would be normal for you. There are cashpoints at Bastia airport, at Calvi, Corte and Bonifacio. Credit cards are not accepted in the refuges, and there will be no money-changing facilities throughout the trip so please do not bring cash in another currency, nor travellers cheques, as you will not be able to use them. Please note that arriving on a Sunday, the banks will be closed.

  • In Corsica the European style plugs are used, the sockets being round with 2 pins (230V). In the dormitory accommodation there are often several people trying to charge devices per available plug socket, so if you are going to be doing a lot of battery charging then it could be a good idea to bring a multiple plug adaptor. If you are only going to be charging a phone/camera from time to time then it is not necessary to bring this.

  • The reason we believe that we offer an exceptional version of the Corsica GR20 is due to the fact we have done pain staking research to find the best accommodation for a trip where the accommodation has an unfortunate reputation. 

    When comparing prices with other companies offering the GR 20 please bear in mind that this trip has a much higher standard of accommodation than our competitors. Also, as with all our trips, we only use fully-qualified International Mountain Leaders who have expert guiding skills. 

    We have done many trips in Corsica and have tried and tested a huge number of routes, itineraries, accommodation and restaurants, and so we know that we’re offering the best trip that we can at a reasonable price. We also go to some little-visited places along the way, including an ascent to the highest peak in southern Corsica. 

    We are only without luggage for two nights while many other companies and their groups are without luggage access for 5-6 nights. In addition, rather than having a rest day in the middle of the trip where there is not much to do, we’ve added the opportunity to see a bit more of Corsica and spend two nights in the famous town of Bonifacio – a fantastic way to end the trip.

    Tracks and Trails is a small company more interested in the enjoyment of our clients than making huge profits, and as a result we tend to have small groups, experienced leaders and happy clients.

  • We feel strongly about protecting the environment and do not encourage the use of single-use plastic items. We would ask that you arrive with a ‘water bottle’ or ‘hydration system’ that can be used repeatedly. We would point out that we operate a ‘zero tolerance’ for rubbish, and would ask you to remove all your rubbish items from the mountain even those you consider to be bio-degradable. You can read our full policy here.

  • Due to the specialised nature of many of our holidays, we co-sell a number of our trips with 'partner' companies. Our partners are carefully selected to ensure they reflect our own ethos and standards in terms of the service we offer to our guests. By encouraging our partners to sell our trips it means that your chosen holiday may reach its 'minimum' number earlier, allowing us to guarantee the trip and to give you the go-ahead to book your travel arrangements.

    There may be occasions when our partners have helped to book your accommodation and organise the logistics for your trip. On these occasions your hotel may have recorded your room reservation in the name of our partners. 

    We guarantee that any partners with whom we work will offer the same package as Tracks and Trails. The price will be the same, though occasionally our partners may be operating in a different currency. Your itinerary and the items that are included, or not included in your trip fee will also be the same. 

    We believe in team work, and enjoy working with other small high quality companies. If you have any questions about this policy please contact us and we will be happy to discuss it with you. 

     


Prices may vary depending on date.

2019

Sun 07 Jul - Sun 21 Jul
Code: LCG1 19
Price: £2995 Book
Sun 21 Jul - Sun 04 Aug
Code: LCG2 19
Price: £2995 Book
Sun 01 Sep - Sun 15 Sep
Code: LCG3 19
Price: £2995 Book

What's Included

  • The services of a fully qualified International Mountain Leader
  • Fourteen nights accommodation
  • Evening meals, except Calvi - Day 1, Corte - Day 7, and Bonifacio Days 13 & 14
  • All transport including airport transfers
  • Luggage transfers on all but 2 nights
  • All packed lunches
  • Tracks and Trails memento - a gift to take home!

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Evening meals in Calvi, Corte and Bonifacio
  • Lunch in Caliv (arrival day), and Bonifacio (rest day)
  • Transport, accommodation, expenses; if you cannot do the hikes
  • Personal drinks and snacks

 

 

I am really pleased I saw the real Corsica with its enormous mountains, beautiful streams and forests, and colourful local characters. The accommodation was much better than I had anticipated…apart from some thunder storms the weather was kind to us - not the unrelenting sun I was expecting. Emma was a great leader, knowledgeable and always positive. Our group was fantastic - fun and always supportive.

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Grade: Challenging

READ GRADE DESCRIPTION

At a Glance

From Price £2995
Holiday Type Walking
Duration 15 Days
Group Size 10
Minimum Age 17
Maximum Altitude 2352m (7714ft)
Countries Visited France
Meet In Bastia Airport, Corsica
View all Walking Holidays

Hiking the GR20: Seen from the air!

Bonifacio: A truly Corsican town.