Corsica GR20 Trek: The Comfortable Way

Corsica GR20 Highlights

 

  • The hardest trek in Europe, the comfortable way

  • Fully guided trip with luggage support

  • Challenging hiking and scrambling

  • Swim in natural rock pools

Why Choose Cloud 9 Adventure

 

  • Climb Monte Renoso - a gem

  • Visit the beautiful cliff-top town of Bonifacio

  • Off-the-beaten path on little-travelled variants

  • Good quality hotels instead of huts

Corsica GR20 Trek: Dates and Prices

AT A GLANCE

 

14 nights

12 days' trekking

1 rest day in Bonifacio

 

Luggage delivery

 

Group size 4-10

 

Price: £2995

 

Join: Bastia airport/Calvi

End: Bonifacio/Bastia airport

 

ACCOMMODATION

6 nights in hotels

6 nights in gîtes

1 night in a refuge

1 night camping

 

DIFFICULTY GRADING

10

Extremely Tough

Corsica GR20 Trek: Overview

The GR20 is widely known as the hardest walking trail in Europe.  It's a truly spectacular trek that starts in the north of Corsica, and traverses rugged mountains on dramatic paths towards more mellow terrain in the south.  Known as 'Fra li Monti' by locals, the GR20 offers a wide variety of landscapes from rocky, steep drops and airy ridges in the north, to greener meadows, lakes and forests further south.

 

We have created our itinerary with 3 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 overcrowded and "rustic" mountain huts, and instead we stay in hotels and privately-run gîtes - and our luggage is delivered each day.

 

Corscia GR20: Is it the right trip for me?

 

The GR20 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 scrambling and on occasion we need to use fixed chains and ladders, so it is not a suitable trip for those with vertigo.  There are a number of places where there are large drops, so you have to be sure that you are not going to make a clumsy slip.  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 can't afford to go too slowly (as you may be used to doing on other treks). On the GR20 we have an average of 8 hours' walking each day. Some days are 9-10 hours and others are a little shorter - but it does mean that we don't have the option to wait too long. We are not going to go too fast, we just walk at a slow, steady pace without too many stops. Some of the ascents are long, and the descents steep, and these can be problematic for those with sore knees.

 

Accommodation on the GR20 is notoriously bad. 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!

Corsica GR20 Trek: Itinerary

 

Day 1 - Arrive in Bastia. Transfer to Calvi

The trip begins at Bastia airport, and is designed to tie in with the Easy Jet flights from Stansted (arriving in Bastia at 09:40) or Manchester (arriving at 10:35), or any other flight arriving before 11:00 - do check with us if you'd like to catch a later flight.  Note that these are the 2019 flight times and may be subject to change for 2020. From here we take a 2 hour minibus transfer to the seaside town of Calvi.  In the afternoon you will have time to either explore the lovely town of Calvi independently, or perhaps go for a dip in the sea.

 

Accommodation: 3* hotel, dinner not included

Luggage access

 

Day 2 - Transfer to Calenzana. Walk to Bonifatu

We take a short taxi journey to the village of Calenzana, the official starting point of the GR20. Today is an excellent warm-up for the GR20 and gives fantastic views of the coast and the surrounding villages. It is a relatively short day in order to warm up gently, and to allow some time for bathing in rock pools before tackling the final climb to Bonifatu.

 

Accommodation: Gîte, dinner included

Luggage access

Walking: approx 5 hrs

Altitude gain / loss: +800m / -540m

 

Day 3 - Trek from Bonifatu to Haut Asco

An early start today for a long, difficult but spectacular day of trekking. We climb up into the Cirque de Bonifatu, protected from the sun by forests, until we reach the Carrozzu refuge, where we have a quick break before tackling the famous Spasimata footbridge, a 30m long bridge hanging above a beautiful waterfall - probably the most photographed spot on the GR20! We then use fixed cables and chains to work our way up the Spasimata slabs, to arrive at the Muvrella valley. Muvrella is the Corsican for mouflon (a type of wild sheep), and if we are lucky we might get to see some. After the Lac de Muvrella, we have a steep climb up to the Bocca di a Muvrella (2000m), followed by a short but difficult section to our 2nd pass, the Bocca di Stagnu (2010m). The views from here are fantastic - we can see the western coastline, along with the mountains that guard the entrance of the Cirque de la Solitude. Next up is a very steep, partly scrambly descent down to the old ski station of Haut Asco (1422m).

 

Accommodation : Hotel, dinner included

Luggage access

Walking: Approx 8½ - 9 hrs

Altitude gain / loss: + 1480m / -600m

 

Day 4 - From Haut Asco to the Bergeries to Vallone

Following a huge landslide in June 2015, today's route no longer takes the Cirque de la Solitude. It has been closed by the park authorities, and is unlikely to reopen.

 

There is now a new route through spectacular terrain. This new 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. We reach the remote Lac de Cinto, then continue up to a high pass, the Bocca Crucetta at 2450m. From here we have a long descent to the Tighjettu refuge and down to the Bergeries de Vallone, an old shepherd's hut in a delightful setting, with nearby rockpools for bathing.

 

Accommodation: Camping (tent provided in-situ, you do not have to carry it), dinner included

No luggage access

Walking: Approx 7 hours

Altitude gain / loss: +1600m / -1600m

 

Day 5 - Trek from Vallone to Castel de Verghio

Today starts with a very welcome easy stretch of walking through the laricio pine forest, before becoming a bit more scrambly to reach the Bocca di Foggiale, not far from the Ciotulu I Mori refuge and at the foot of the impressive Paglia Orba peak. Great views from here both behind to the Calacuccia lake, and in front to the Golo valley. From here we wind our way down to the river Golo, perfect for a dip in some fantastic rock pools. There is still a fair way to go and we follow the river for a while, before traversing the forest to reach Castel de Verghio, an old ski station, where there is a choice of gîte or hotel, and a small shop.

 

Accommodation: Hotel, dinner included

Luggage access

Walking: Approx 6 - 6½ hrs

Altitude gain / loss: +970m / -1020m

 

Day 6 - Trek from Castel de Verghio to Refuge A. Sega

Today's route is beautiful. It is still a long day, but the scenery starts to change, and we climb up to the Col St Pierre (1452m), and make our way to the spectacular Lac de Nino (1743m). Surrounded by pozzines (little ponds surrounded by grassy meadows), it's an ideal grazing area for horses, cattle and wild pigs. After the Lac de Nino, we stop at the working goat farm of Vaccaja (1621m) before diverting from the GR20 to make our way to the Refuge de Sega. Stunning rock pools make this a delightful location, and being off-the-beaten track we avoid the crowds. 

 

Accommodation: Refuge, dinner included

No luggage access

Walking- approx 8 - 8½ hrs

Altitude gain / loss: +965m / -1200m

 

Day 7 - Trek from Refuge A. Sega along the Tavignanu Gorge to Corte

A shorter day today enables us to take our time as we make our way down the beautiful Tavignanu gorge, with some great swimming spots, to the historic town of Corte. We should arrive with a little bit of time to explore the town, and we have a free evening tonight to eat out in a local restaurant.

 

Accommodation: 3* hotel, dinner not included

Luggage access

Walking - approx 5-5½ hrs

Altitude gain / loss: +720m / -1400m

 

Day 8 - Transfer to Vizzavona. Trek to Capanelle

We have now reached the southern section of the GR20! The walking becomes a bit easier as there is less scrambling, and more opportunity to look at the views. We start with either a train journey or a private transfer to Vizzvona (around 45 mins - 1hr), where we rejoin the GR20 and climb up to the Bocca Palmente (1640m) through shady beech and pine forests, from where we are greeted with fantastic views to the coast and behind us to Monte d'Oro. From here we make our way past the Alzeta shepherds' huts to the U Cardu ridge, and a spectacular view is unveiled, including Monte Renoso, tomorrow's objective.

 

Accommodation: Gîte, dinner included

Luggage access

Walking: approx 6 - 6½ hrs

Altitude gain / loss: +1155m / -715m

 

Day 9 - Ascent of Monte Renoso. Trek to Col de Verde

Today we climb Monte Renoso (2352m), the highest mountain in southern Corsica. It is a gem of a peak, with most people on the GR20 missing it out. The view from the summit is my favourite view of the trip, as you can see both coasts, plus a great view back to where you have been (Monte Cinto) and to where you're going next (Incudine and Bavella). It is a scenic climb and not too difficult (mainly walking rather than scrambling), with a steep descent down to the spectacular pozzine in the valley of I Pozzi. Next we make our way over to the plateau de Gialgone to rejoin the GR20, where it's a further 1½ - 2 hrs to the Col de Verde.

 

For those who are feeling tired and who don't want to climb Monte Renoso, you can opt to follow the easier GR20 today: this is also the route that we take in bad weather.

 

Accommodation: Gîte, dinner included

Luggage access

Walking: Approx 8 hrs with Monte Renoso, or 5 hrs without

Altitude gain / loss: +815m / -110m or +600m / -950m

 

Day 10 - Trek from Col de Verde to Cozzano

We start the day with a steep climb up to a high ridge en-route to the Refuge de Prati. The views from the ridge are stunning - we can often see both coasts, and on a clear day we can see across the Ligurian sea as far as the island of Elba. Next up is 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 typical Corsican village of Cozzano.

 

Accommodation: Gîte, dinner included

Luggage access

Walking: Approx 8 hrs

Altitude gain / loss: +750m / -1300m

 

Day 11 - Trek from Cozzano to Bassetta or Il Croce

We climb up through macquis and chestnut trees to rejoin the GR20, where we reach the Arête a Mondi, which we follow to the Punta d'Usciolu (1815m), the Punta di a Scaddatta (1834m) and finally to the Bocca di L'Agnonu (1570m). The route criss-crosses through exciting notches along the ridge, and consists of around 2 hours of sometimes exposed but straightforward scrambling, offering wonderful views. After this we start our descent, pas the sheepfolds of Bassetta, and continue along to our gîte at Il Croce. It's quite a long day, but continuing to Il Croce instead of staying at Bassetta makes our day a bit easier tomorrow.

 

In the case of bad weather we travel on a lower route via the village of Zicavo.

 

Accommodation: Gîte or camping, dinner included

Luggage access

Walking: Approx 8 hrs

Altitude gain / loss: +1000m / -550m

 

Day 12 - Trek from Il Croce to Bavella

Today is a long but absolutely spectacular day. We climb up to the Col d'Incudine, from where we have wonderful views back towards Monte Cinto, and also towards Sardinia in front of us, along with the Aiguilles de Bavella where we are heading. From the col it's a very steep descent across slabs to the Refuge d'Asinau. Then 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. Dare I say, my favourite day of the trek. Alas unsuitable in bad weather, in which case we take a transfer and do a shorter walk around Bavella.

 

Accommodation: Gîte, dinner included

Luggage access

Walking: Approx 9-10 hrs

Altitude gain / loss: +1300m / -1400m

 

Day 13 - Trek to Conca, the end-point of the GR20, and transfer to Bonifacio

The final day is a lovely way to end the GR20, with wonderful views across the granite peaks before we enter the pine forest. We reach the refuge de Paliri fairly early on, and the scenery remains rugged all the way to the little village of Conca, the end point of the Corsica GR20. After a celebratory drink, we take a short transfer to Bonifacio - one of the most spectacular towns in Corsica.

 

Accommodation: 3* hotel: dinner not included

Luggage access

Walking: approx 7 hours

Altitude gain / loss: +700m / -1670m

Day 14 - Rest day in Bonifacio

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.

Day 15 - Transfer from Bonifacio to Bastia airport

An early start this morning for the transfer (approx 3 hours) back to Bastia airport, where the trip finishes. The trip is designed to tie in with the Easy Jet flight from Bastia to Stansted departing at 10:10 or 10:45, along with the Manchester flight departing at 11:10, but any flight departing after 10:00 is fine. We would also recommend looking at flights from Figari airport at the end of the trip. It's a lot nearer to Bonifacio (20 min drive instead of 3 hour transfer). The only reason we don't offer it for our group transfer is because there are far fewer flights from Figari, so Bastia offers much more choice for connecting flights. A taxi from Bonifacio to Figari costs around 40 - 55€.

Included

 

  • All accommodation (including tent for 1 night)

  • All breakfasts & packed lunches

  • All evening meals apart from Calvi on Day 1, Corte on Day 7, and Bonifacio on Days 13 & 14

  • All transport including airport transfers

  • Luggage transfers on all but 2 nights

  • Qualified & experienced International Mountain Leader

Not Included

 

  • Flights

  • Travel insurance

  • Evening meals on nights 1, 7, 13 & 14

  • Personal drinks & snacks

  • Tips

Corsica GR20 Trek: Book Online

The Park, Waresley, Sandy, Beds SG19 3BS

+44 208 144 8102     

© 2018 Cloud 9 Adventure

info@cloud9adventure.com

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Spasimata Footbridge Corsica GR20