Any serious walker will surely have the complete GR20 haute route on their to do list. Much more than simply an idyllic Mediterranean island, Corsica contains mountains offering alpine style challenges to climbers and walkers alike. Following the spine of the mountains, the spectacular GR20 (which we follow diagonally from north to south) fits perfectly into a 2-week holiday. It weaves up and down and in and out of granite spires, forested valleys, rocky cirques and dramatic boulder-strewn ridges. Following a rock fall in June 2015 in the once famous ‘Cirque de Solitude’, the GR20 now takes an alternative route, crossing over the Monte Cinto ridge line. We also offer you the chance to climb Monte Cinto, Corsica’s highest peak at an altitude of 2706m. This new path provides a spectacular longer route to a higher altitude than the original Cirque route.
We support the walk with our local guides and private accommodation owners, thus keeping to a minimum what you need to carry in your daypack. Deviations from the main route to reach the valleys we stay in bring an added dimension to the walk, visiting traditional shepherds’ settlements in beautiful locations. Accommodation is a mixture of camps, refuges and gîtes with each providing its own individual twist of traditional Corsican hospitality.
Day 1 Rendezvous at Bastia Airport. Single timed group transfer to Bavella.
Day 2 We follow the Alpine Variant passing granite towers and pinnacles along the way. At times the trail is steep and chains are in place to assist your progress. After crossing a ridge at 1660m, we descend down into the Asinau valley. 4 – 5 hours walking. Carry personal gear.
Day 3 We follow a steep trail that leads up to Monte Alcudina (2134m). A rocky scramble (30 min detour) takes you up to this dramatic peak from where you can see both sides of the island and the route ahead. You then return to the col and drop down to the Cuscionu plateau (1550m), dotted with ancient shepherd’s cottages. We spend the night in a small bergerie at Crocce. 5 hours walking. Carry personal gear.
Day 4 After passing through a forest of weathered oak trees, we ascend to the Bocca di l’Agnonu and on up to follow a spectacular ridgeline leading to the Refuge d’Usciolu. From here we drop down to our accommodation in Cozzano. 6 – 7 hours walking.
Day 5 More superb views today as we follow the Mare Nord path along a ridge to the Bocca di Laparo (1525m). From here we continue along the ridge passing the Refuge de Prati before descending through the forest to our gîte for the night. 8 – 9 hours walking.
Day 6 The main GR weaves its way through Lariccio pines under the east flanks of Monte Renousu (2352m). In good weather however we may walk over the summit of the mountain, and take the opportunity to plunge into the inviting Lac du Bastani on the descent to Capanelle. 5 – 6 hours walking (+2 hours if taking the high route).
Day 7 The final stage of the southern section involves a leisurely undulating day following the east side of the ridge. This is crossed at the Bocca Palmento (1645m) from where we drop down through dense forest to the halfway point at Vizzavona. 5 hours walking.
Day 8 A short vehicle transfer takes us to Canaglia to start the longest day of the walk. We follow up the forested Manganellu valley alongside a tumbling torrent. Ascending all the time, we pass the Refuge de Petra Piana (1842m), and we continue on up into the high mountains to the Bocca Renosa (2150m). Shortly beyond here we descend into the wild Restonica valley to Grotelle for the night. 9 – 10 hours walking.
Day 9 A true mountain day involving some ladder and chain assisted sections as we climb back up past two lakes to regain the main GR near the Breche de Capitellu (2225m). From the Breche we descend past the Refuge de Manganu to the broad and flat Camputile plateau. Our camp is on a shelf above the plateau – a beautiful location. 7 hours walking. Carry personal gear.
Day 10 A short walk takes us to the Lac du Nino, a delightful spot with a spring next to it, where we can rest a while. A low ridge is crossed, from where a short detour to the summit of Monte Tozzu is recommended for the all-round views, before descending on a lovely trail to Corsica’s ski station. You will get to your bags here. 6 hours walking. Carry personal gear.
Day 11 A predominately uphill day, initially following the Golo river which provides resting and bathing opportunities. A stiff pull up to the ridge where you are rewarded with great views across to the west coast. Tonight we stay up on the ridge below Paglia Orba (2525m). 5 hours walking. Carry personal gear.
Day 12 This morning there is an option, weather permitting, to make an ascent of Paglia Orba. This is a 3 to 4 hour round trip from the refuge and does involve some steep scrambling sections. On departing from the refuge the trail plunges steeply down the Ruisseau de Foggiale and into the forest again to the Vallone cabin which is accessed only by walkers and mules, not vehicles. 4 or 8 hours walking. Carry personal gear.
Day 13 Today is a tough, high altitude mountain walk. We make our way uphill progressively to the foothills of Monte Cinto, the highest mountain on the island. The climb is steep, rocky and slow. After a couple of hours, you arrive at Bocca Crucetta, a ridge leads to the daunting ‘Pointe des Eboulis’; at 2607m this is the highest point on the GR20, and the view is absolutely spectacular. We offer you the chance to ascend to the summit of Monte Cinto (2706m) if you wish. From here, the path literally plunges down to the small lake the other side. The trail then continues downhill, the scree, rocks and austere décor gives way to a river and woods as you approach the old ski station of Haut-Asco, our last stop. 8 hours walking. Carry personal gear.
Day 14 For our final day in the mountains from Haut Asco a superb ascent takes us to Bocca Di Stagnu (2010m) and up to the Muvrella (2150m). The view over Calvi bay from here is incredible. We descend back down to Haut Asco for our transfer to Bastia and the comfort of our hotel.
Day 15 Group transfer from Bastia to Bastia airport to connect with your flight home.
Accommodation – 14 nights in a mixture of gites, refuges, camps and hotels
Meals – 14 breakfasts, 12 lunches and 13 evening meals
Park fees as appropriate
All road transfers in country (unless indicated in ‘exclusions’)
All camping equipment (excl. personal kit)
Qualified English speaking leader/guide
A logoed Adventure Peaks top
24hr back-up and support from our UK staff
Single timed airport pickup on Day 1 and return airport transfer
15% discount off the RRP on clothing and equipment purchased at the Adventure Peaks shop
Travel to and from UK airport
Drinks and personal spending
Tips for local staff
Meals if not indicated in ‘inclusions’
Visas (if required)
It is vitally important that you have adequate travel insurance for your trip with Adventure Peaks. We recognise the complexity and variety of choice in the insurance market and know that many of you either have your own preferred insurer or have annual multi trip cover in place already. If this is the case, please ensure that your insurer is aware of your Adventure Peaks itinerary and can agree to cover the activities being undertaken.
Adventure Peaks do not provide any advice on travel insurance, although it is a requirement of our booking conditions that you have travel insurance which covers the activities which you are likely to be undertaking on your holiday. Cover must include emergency medical, helicopter evacuation, repatriation and rescue expenses.
It is strongly recommended that suitable cancellation insurance is purchased at the time of booking as all deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable.
13th September: All safely through the famous Cirque de Solitude and enjoying a beer at Haut Asco. A cold front came through recently turning the weather clear but very cold when the sun is not out. Final days walking tomorrow.
How many people
The Initial Deposits for this booking will be :£200 per Person