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

Corsica GR20 Trek South


Challenging hiking in Corsica

Trek the southern section of the world famous GR20 Haute Route in Corsica, one of Europe’s most challenging and beautiful long-distance walks. Known locally as 'Fra li Monti', which means 'across the mountains', it is a magnificent journey along the southern part of this challenging route.  Here the precipitous rocky trails of the north give way to a landscape that is more mellow in nature, but still spectacular. This fabulous trekking holiday offers the perfect combination of Mediterranean sunshine, inspiring scenery and challenging walking. Or combine the north and the south and hike the entire route. The GR20 is a trek of a lifetime that should be on every hikers 'bucket list'!

Highlights

  • Experience the extraordinary beauty of Corsica
  • Take on the challenge of Europe's toughest trek
  • Join the elite group of GR20 long distance hikers
  • Witness a truly spectacular island mountain landscape
  • Six days of stunning hiking and light 'scrambling'
  • Good quality hotels, private gîtes, and high mountain refuges
  • Luggage support on every day of the trek
  • 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 week we will cover 108km (68 miles) and climb 6212m (2037ft).

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

  • Today you will meet your transfer at Bastia airport for the journey to Corte. Please refer to the 'Arrival & Departure' details under 'Trip Information'.

  • This morning we leave Corte and have a transfer to the start of our hiking at the tiny hamlet of Vizzavona. This will either be 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 Vizzavona, popular with tourists since the Victorian era, we rejoin the route of the GR20 with a climb through beautiful beech and pine forests to the Bocca Palmente which sits at 1640m (5379ft). 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 Vizzavona. 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 which has an excellent terrace for an evening aperitif! 

    Ascent: 1079m (3539ft) Descent: 352m (1154ft) Distance: 15.1km (9.5 miles) Duration: 6h00-6h30

    Accommodation: Gîte - beds in dormitory

  • This morning we leave Capanelle to begin our climb of Monte Renoso, which is 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 seldom visited by most people on the GR20. The view from the summit fabulous as you can see both coasts, plus you have a great view back to where you have been on Monte Cinto and to Monte 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 shepherds huts in the lovely valley of I Pozzi. We then 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. If you decide to do this you will be self-guided as your guide will lead the team ascending Monte Renoso.

    Ascent: 953m (3125ft) Descent: 1270 (4165ft) Distance: 15.7km (9.8 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 by climbing through 'macquis', a type of shrub that grows densely on the mountains in Corsica, and is often scented by aromatic plants. This gives way to chestnut trees as we rejoin the GR20, at the striking ridge of the Arête a Mondi. As we arrived at the ridge we have a view down on the 'tented' community that surrounds the Refuge Usciola. 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 through wonderful beech woodland, and eventually the pasture lands leading to our gîte at Il Croce. It's quite a long day, but if we keep going to Il Croce instead of staying at the Refuge 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. Tents will be provided you do not have to carry one, but you do need your sleeping bag. Despite the remote location will have access to your luggage. 

    Ascent: 1430m (4690ft) Descent: 742m (2433ft) Distance: 18km (11.25 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 the 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 down 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 through the rocks and boulders and assisted by one section of chains. This is quite possibly our favourite day of the trek. The Aiguilles de Bavella are rocky spikes of 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 is 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. 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. Dinner tonight is not included and you are free to explore the town. 

    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: 3 nights in hotels, and 4 nights in gîtes. Your luggage will be transported to each accommodation. A single room may be available for solo travellers in 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 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. 


  • Arrival

    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 times are approximate and 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 1h00 minibus transfer to Corte. You can also join the trip in Corte 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. 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. 

    Arriving early

    You may prefer to arrive in Bastia a day before the trip starts. The airport is 17km (10.6 miles) from the town centre, so decide whether you want to stay near the airport (and therefore near the beach), or in a town centre hotel. If you are staying near the airport at Bastia, then we recommend Hotel Poretta, Hotel La Lagune, Hotel Le Lido or Chez Walter. Or for a treat, then the lovely Hotel Pineto in Biguglia, which is next to the sea and just 9km (5.6 miles) from Poretta airport.

    If you’re going to stay in the town centre, then the Hotel Best Western is reasonably priced and is not too far from the bus stop, or if you’d like to be nearer the old town then Hotel Les Gouverneurs is an excellent 4* hotel, and the Hotel Central Bastia an excellent 3* hotel.

    Buses run (infrequently) from the airport to Bastia centre and cost around 9€. Taxis cost around 50-60€. 

    Departure

    An early start is required on your departure day 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 departing from 1000hrs onwards.

    We would also recommend looking at flights from Figari airport at the end of the trip. It is considerably nearer to Bonifacio being only 20 minutes away rather than a 3h transfer. The only reason we do not offer it for our group departure is because there are fewer flights from Figari. A taxi from Bonifacio to Figari costs around 40€ - 55€. We can help co-ordinate taxi shares for those who would like to take this option. 

  • You must have the appropriate insurance for your chosen activity including emergency helicopter rescue, repatriation and medical costs. We also advise you take out Trip Cancellation/Curtailment Insurance in the event of you being unable to join the trip. 

    If you are joining a trip in the UK helicopter/mountain rescue insurance is not required as this is a free service.

    The insurance referred to should only be purchased AFTER we have confirmed your trip is guaranteed to run. 

    The insurance clause set out in our Terms and Conditions is 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 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.

    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.

  • When packing for a trip in the mountains it is important to have appropriate equipment and clothing. This kit list features items we believe are necessary for the weather you will encounter and accommodation you will be staying in. 

    At least once each summer we experience unseasonal conditions that really do make every item on the kit list essential. If you do not have the correct kit, our guide may ask you to leave the trip until you have purchased the necessary items. Every year we experience unseasonal snow at least once. It can also rain very heavily and temperatures can go from being around 35° Celsius (96° F) one week, to below ) 0° (32° F) the next. So, if it rains, you will need waterproof jackets AND trousers, and will be glad of several pairs of gloves. If it snows, you will need decent hiking boots (NOT hiking trainers), walking poles, warm clothes and warm hat and gloves. It is also possible to experience a heatwave. If this happens, you will likely require numerous sachets of rehydration salts and will need to carry 3-4L of water. A sun hat will be absolutely essential.

    Equipment

    • Summer walking boots - these should be waterproof and comfortable. The terrain is very rough and your boots should not be in good condition, as there is nowhere to buy new kit on the route. We have no objection to you using ‘low cut walking shoes’ on a few of the days, but on other days traditional walking boots are what we advise 
    • Walking Poles – highly recommended. There are very long and steep descents on the GR20
    • Rucksack – 35-45 litres. Any bigger and it will be too heavy. Please check before you arrive that you can fit everything you need for an overnight stay, including your sleeping bag. We suggest it has a chest and waist strap and you try using it loaded before your trip
    • Rucksack liner and cover - either a plastic bag or a roll-top 'Exped' bag, these are useful as they come in different sizes. It rarely rains, but when it does it can be torrential!
    • Water container – able to carry at least 4 litres of water. We advise a hydration tube system such as Platypus, plus 1 litre Nalgene bottle. It is difficult to drink enough if you have to remove your rucksack to access a bottle. For some days 2 litres will be sufficient, but other days there are no opportunities to fill up
    • Plastic box – eg Tupperware box. This is for your lunch as some refuges provide a pasta or lentil salad. Approximately 0.6-0.8 litres will be enough. Label it with your name, and if you are vegetarian please make this obvious on the box
    • Fork/spoon/spork - for eating your picnic lunches
    • Mobile phone – there is phone reception for a large part of the trip. It is a good idea to have a phone in case of emergency or if you need to leave the group for any reason

    Clothing

    • Waterproof jacket - this MUST be waterproof. We can encounter heavy rain showers in the mountains and you must be able to stay dry and warm
    • Waterproof over trousers - we reserve the right to ask you to purchase waterproof trousers if we deem them necessary, or to ask you to miss a day of the trip if you are not properly equipped for the weather. You should be able to take them on and off without removing your boots
    • Trousers - walking trousers which allow free movement. You may find it is too hot for trousers, but they offer protection on the days when we walk through the 'macquis' (thorny scrub)
    • Shorts/skort
    • Sun hat
    • Warm hat
    • Gloves – we recommend 2 pairs (a thin pair and a thicker warmer pair)
    • Base layer e.g. t-shirt, thermal tops – wicking shirts are better than cotton as they dry faster
    • Fleece jacket/top
    • Socks - technical walking socks (2/3 pairs)
    • Underwear
    • Duvet jacket / or second warm top
    • Thermal leggings - optional, and only needed if a cold day
    • Lightweight footwear for hotel use

    Dormitory nights in Refuges/Gîte 

    • Sleeping bag - a lightweight sleeping bag, which for some parts of the journey, you will need to carry on consecutive days. It can be chilly at night, but a 3-season sleeping bag with a comfort rating of around 3 to 5° Celsius (37-41°F) will be enough. A lightweight one should be around 1kg (2.2lbs) or less
    • Sleeping bag liner – good for warm nights when a sleeping bag is too hot
    • Pillow - a lightweight/compact pillow or inflatable pillow. In some of the refuges pillows are not supplied
    • Ear plugs - optional, but strongly advised
    • Head torch - lightweight
    • Book/Music device – optional
    • Spare clothes to change in to
    • Wash bag – small lightweight mini-bottles/packets. Most airport departure lounges now have a good stock of miniature shampoo, toothpaste, soap etc
    • Travel towel – towels are provided in the hotels, but not the refuges/gîtes
    • Toilet paper - bring a roll of toilet paper as many refuges do not provide it

    Comfort

    • Sunscreen
    • Lip salve
    • Sunglasses – essential. The sun can be extremely strong in the mountains
    • Small bottle of Antibacterial hand wash
    • Toiletries – soap/shower gel as not all the accommodation will supply these
    • Swimwear – Corsica is famous for natural rock pools, so we will swim in these when we can
    • Flip-flops/sandals/crocs – perfect for evenings to give your feet a break from your boots. As light as possible so that you can carry them with you for the nights when we do not have access to luggage

    Personal First Aid

    • Personal medication
    • Antiseptic cream/spray
    • Pain killers/anti-inflammatory
    • Glucose tablets/Energy gel
    • 2 x Re-hydration sachets – eg 'Dioralyte'
    • Throat lozenges
    • Blister plasters - eg 'Compeed'
    • Selection of normal plasters/Band-Aid
    • Diarrhoea treatment - eg 'Immodium'
    • Antihistamine tablets
    • Insect repellent – there are a few mosquitoes at lower elevations

    Documentation

    • Passport and a paper copy
    • Mountain Rescue Insurance
    • Credit Card
    • Cash – 300 to 400 Euros
    • Waterproof bag for documents 

    Optional items

    • Penknife – to cut up lunch meat/cheese
    • 'Thermarest' – mattresses are provided on the 1 night we camp so it is not worth buying a 'Thermarest' for the trip. However, if you have a light one and wish to use it then bring it with you
    • Water purifying tablets – water at refuges is sourced from springs. If you wish to purify your water that is a personal choice
    • 'Buff' – good for extra warmth if the weather changes, or sun protection for your neck on a hot day
    • Pillow case – can be useful for the mountain hut nights
    • Camera – spare memory cards
    • Multi plug adaptor – for charging various items
    • Travel kettle/tea bags- most hotels do not provide tea and coffee making facilities

    Additional Information

     

    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.

    Luggage

    1x Medium sized kit bag/holdall or suitcase. Please keep the weight to 15kg (33lbs) or below. We would ask you to be aware that your luggage is being transported by taxi and that the taxi companies will only accept one bag per guest. If you have extra luggage we may have to pay extra and if this is the case we would ask you to refund Tracks and Trails for this cost. Please ensure you are able to carry your luggage upstairs if necessary, as some of the hotels do not have lifts. Please carry enough dry bags/plastic bags to protect the contents of your luggage bag, which on occasion may be left outside your hotel. When it does rain it can be torrential and you may find that the contents are wet.

    Diet

    We are well fed on this trip – dinners and lunches are plentiful – but the breakfasts in the more basic accommodation are standard French Refuge issue, ie dry bread and jam. You may want to bring extra items such as dried fruit, energy bars etc. Supplementary snack bars/chocolate/trail mixes are also recommended especially for those with vegetarian, gluten free or celiac diets. Please read the section under 'Trip Information' which refers to 'Food and Water' as it is not easy for remote locations to cater for gluten free or vegan diets. 

    Leaders are all first aid trained and carry their own first aid kit

  • On many of our trips there will be an element of 'group kit' which will be shared amongst our guests. As mountain people you will be used to team work and working together to the mutual benefit and safety of the group.

    The 'group kit' will be minimal and usually just a case of sharing a few lightweight 'survival shelters'. For example on a week-long trip you may carry a small shelter for just one day before passing it on to the next person. 

    If you are booking a trip in winter there will be a few additional safety items. These will be distributed in such a way that no one is over burdened. 

    Other group items necessary for safety and comfort will be carried by your guide/instructor.

  • 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 some rocky scrambling where you will use your hands and your feet, and on one occasion you will use a chain to assist you in ascending a rocky section. 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.

    Please note that if you do not have sufficient fitness to deal with the hike then your guide has our authority to ask you to sit out a day/days, or even leave the trip. If you are taking a day out we would point out that any onward travel/transport will be at your own expense. 

    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. Essentially, we want to be sure you will enjoy your holiday, and it is important that you understand the requirements for this trip -  so if in doubt, please ask.

  • For each of our trips there is a minimum number of guests required to book before we can 'guarantee' your trip will run. It depends on the particular trip in question, but it is normally 4. The maximum number of guests on your trip is displayed in the 'At a Glance' box on the righthand side of the trip page. 

    We strongly advise you do not book travel until we have confirmed your trip is 'guaranteed' to run. If you book travel before we have confirmed it is 'guaranteed' we cannot be held responsible for any financial loss if the trip does not go ahead.

  • We go to great lengths to work with first class guides and instructors who are passionate about their work. They are all fully qualified, insured, and hold the correct documentation.

    Please note your guide/instructor has complete discretion to make a daily decision on whether or not to take the advertised route based on the weather and the ability of the members of the group. They have our authority to make any route changes they believe are necessary in the interests of safety and enjoyment. 

    For our walking, family, and snowshoeing trips your guide will be a fully qualified and experienced International Mountain Leader. For our running trips your guide will be an International Mountain Leader, and an experienced mountain 'trail runner'.

    If you have booked on a cross country ski trip you will be with a fully qualified professional BASI Nordic Ski Instructor or equivalent. BASI is the British Association of Snowsport Instructors.

    We would like to make it clear that due to the wild and rocky nature of the terrain on the GR20 that your guide also has complete discretion to ask you to leave the trip if your fitness and ability adversely impacts on safety. 

  • The southern section of the GR20 is easier than the northern section with its precipitous rocky ridges and rocky scrambles. In the south there is less exposure and the days are easier, but the southern section is still a tough trek and very challenging. It is an excellent opportunity to experience Corsica and if you find the trip within your 'comfort zone' you could perhaps tackle the northern section the following year?

    You must be fit and accustomed to walking in the mountains.  There are some rocky sections where you will use your hands and your feet, and one occasion when you will use a chain as security while ascending a rocky section. 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."

  • On this point-to-point trip you will have luggage support each night, which means your bags are transferred each day to the next accommodation and you only need to carry a small/medium sized 'rucksack' for items you might need during the course of the day. Please refer to the kit list for this trip for guidance on the size of rucksack required. 

    As your luggage will be moved along the route by taxi we ask that you keep the weight to a maximum of 15kgs (33lbs), and ONE bag per person. Many of the taxi companies who move your bags impose a 15kg (33lbs) limit and restrict the number of bags simply because they have to unload and reload the vehicle many times each day. If you take more than one bag you may be asked to pay a supplement. Also with regard to weight be aware that you may have to carry your luggage to your bedroom, which may involve climbing several flights of stairs as not all hotels have elevators. Luggage on wheels is generally a good idea.

  • On our GR20 walking trip lunches are included in your trip fee except for your arrival day and in Bonifacio on your rest day. Your kit list will ask you to bring a plastic 'Tupperware' lunch box and cutlery as you will often be given a pasta or lentil salad as well as other items for lunch. Approximately 0.6-0.8 litres will be adequate. Label it with your name, and if you are vegetarian please make this obvious on the box.

  • On your itinerary you will find an indication of the amount of ascent and descent you can expect each day. This offers a guideline to how much effort might be expended each day and allows you to decide, based on previous experience, if your fitness and stamina are correct for the trip. 

    We make every attempt to ensure these statistics are as accurate as possible, but ask you to note that the most modern of technology used to record these details can show considerable variations in terms of ascent, descent, and in particular distance. In other words no two people using GPS devices on the same route will have exactly the same details recorded at the end of the day. 

    The statistics given should be used as a 'general' indication of the effort required. 

  • 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 three of the 1:25,000 IGN maps:

    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.

  • On the island of Corsica 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 temperatures in the summer can range from  5°Celsius  (41°F) to around 30°Celsius (86°F), but note that in July 2013 and 2015 it did reach 36°C (96.8°F).

    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 any eventuality.

    At least once per summer we experience unseasonal conditions that really do make every item on the kit list essential. If you do not have the correct kit, our guide may ask you to leave the trip until you have purchased the necessary items. Every year we experience unseasonal snow at least once. It can also rain heavily and temperatures can be erratic, in the mid 30°Celsius (96°F) one week, to below 0°Celsius (32°F) the next. So, if it rains, you will need waterproof jackets AND trousers, and several pairs of gloves. If it snows, you will need decent hiking boots (NOT hiking trainers), walking poles, warm clothes and warm hat and gloves. It's also essential that you can put your waterproof trousers on without removing your boots.

    It is possible to experience several weeks of heatwave at a time. If this happens, you will likely get through numerous sachets of rehydration salts and will need to be carrying 3-4L of water, and a sun hat will be essential.

  • It is useful to arrive at your destination with some cash in the local currency, however, on most occasions it is relatively easy to visit a 'cash machine' after arrival and withdraw money on a credit or debit card. Some of our locations are an exception to this in particular Norway, where the accommodation will often have no facilities for withdrawing cash, but they will take a credit card. 

    On many of our trips we will visit remote cafes/farms where it is wonderful to enjoy a drink and a cake, at places such as these they will only accept payment in the local currency in cash.

    You will need money for dinners in 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 one week trip you should have between 150-200 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 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.

  • On our trips we encourage you to experience local tastes and dishes that reflect the culture of the country and for this reason many of our accommodation options will be family run with a reputation for the traditional food of the region. 

    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 tasty, and plentiful, varying from sandwiches to local meats and cheeses to pasta or lentil salad and a piece of fruit. The dinners are hearty, but basic 3-course meals, perfect for hard days in the mountains.

    If you are vegetarian then this is not a problem as the hotels/refuges are used to being asked for vegetarian meals. However, a love of omelettes will be necessary! Corsican mountain refuges/gites have not fully grasped the concept of vegetarian food, and you will almost always be served an omelette, with varying accompaniments. Sometimes they will give you fish, so please remember to tell us whether that is acceptable to you. We do try to ask for different dishes such as pasta and tomato sauce, but this is met with reluctance. We recommend that you bring with you: nuts, dried fruit, crackers, oatcakes and extra snacks.

    If you have a 'special' diet because of an allergy or intolerance to a certain food type which will make you ill the accommodation will cater for this as best they can, eg gluten free, nut free, lactose free. Our accommodation will try to cater for those with vegan diets, but in remote refuges in the mountains this is difficult. 

    If you have a 'special' diet which is NOT because of an allergy or intolerance, and is not 'veggie' then we apologise, but we cannot cater for this. The accommodation on the popular routes will be catering for many people each evening, in some cases up to 70/80 meals per night, 7 days a week, and realistically they cannot produce many different meal options unless the food will result in illness.

    Water

    The countries we visit all have tap water that is drinkable. If for any reason a particular hotel is having a problem with a remote mountain water supply they will normally post a sign over the tap indicating that you must not drink the water. At all times you are welcome to ask your guide/instructor if the water can be drunk. We would ask, for environmental reasons, that you avoid using single-use plastic bottles, and bring a water bottle that can be used repeatedly.

  • A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required for visits to countries outside the EU, such as Norway. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice.  

  • We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

    http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/

    Note that if your trip involves staying in a mountain refuge/rifugio/hut that electric sockets may be in short supply and for that night you may not be able to charge any items. Although the accommodation will have electricity this will often be supplied by solar panels or a generator and limited to use by the staff. For this reason we advise that carrying a small slimline and lightweight 'battery pack' can be very useful for recharging phones which many of you will also use as your camera. 

  • 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 have access to our luggage every night while many other companies and their groups are without luggage access for at least half of the nights on the trip. 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.

  • Before booking consider whether you expect to be in the appropriate physical condition on the date of your  departure to allow you to fully participate in and enjoy your holiday. If you have any doubts because of an illness or injury it would be advisable to check with your doctor.

    For UK residents travelling to an EU country you should obtain and bring with you a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This entitles you to state provided medical treatment in certain European countries, but is not a substitute for medical travel insurance. Also note that if/when the UK leaves the European Union that the EHIC card may no longer be valid. Please check this before departing. We advise that you always carry your insurance documents with details of the Emergency Medical telephone number for your insurance provider, and your policy number. 

  • 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. In particular we ask that you remove any toilet tissue.

    You can read our full policy here.

  • Working across international boundaries, and with various currencies means that the price of our trips can change overnight. We have, however, undertaken to guarantee that once you have paid your deposit the price of your trip is fixed. In this respect we urge you to book early to ensure that you receive the price advertised on our website. The website price may increase due to currency fluctuations, but we guarantee that the price advertised on the date of your booking will be maintained in your individual case. 

  • Due to the specialised nature of our holidays, we co-sell a number of trips with 'partner' companies. These are carefully selected to ensure they reflect our ethos and standards in terms of the service we offer our guests. By encouraging other companies 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 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 one of our partners. 

    We guarantee that companies with whom we work will offer the same package as Tracks and Trails Ltd. The price will be the same, though occasionally they 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.

2020

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What's Included

  • The services of a fully qualified International Mountain Leader
  • Seven nights accommodation: 3 nights in hotels, 4 nights in gîtes
  • Evening meals, except Corte - Day 1, and Bonifacio Days 7 & 8
  • All transport including airport transfers
  • Luggage transfers on each day of the trek
  • 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: Expert

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At a Glance

From Price £2045
Holiday Type Walking
Duration 9 Days
Group Size 10
Minimum Age 18
Maximum Altitude 2352m (7714ft)
Countries Visited France
Meet In Bastia, Corsica
View all Walking Holidays

Hiking the GR20: Seen from the air!

Bonifacio: A truly Corsican town.

Why book with T&T?

  • Highly professional guides
  • Personal service guaranteed 
  • Attention to detail throughout
  • Explore off the beaten track
  • Single rooms on request
  • No surcharge guaranteed
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