If you only have week to spare and want to test yourself out on Corsica’s classic haute route, walking the GR20 southern section is an ideal choice. The route is extremely well marked, easy to follow and you will be supplied with detailed notes and maps as well. You will be carrying all your personal belongings (clothes and a light sleeping bag), but with careful packing, modern equipment and following advice in our dossier your pack should not exceed 10kg. The advantage of backpacking this section is that you stay on the route, avoiding long detours off the route to lower villages.
The GR20 southern section trip starts in Ajaccio, where you make your way to the port – ‘Gare Maritime’ before a private transfer takes you up to the Col de Bavella from where you will start the walk. Accommodation is a mix of tents, refuges, gites and private bergeries, where you will be provided with all meals. Despite being the easier of the two sections, there are still some delightfully ‘interesting’ ridge sections where easy scrambling is involved. The walk finishes at the Col de Vizzavona from where you travel back to Ajaccio for your final night in Corsica.
Please note, this trip is only available for two or more people booking together.
Day 1 Fly to Ajaccio and take a taxi or bus (No 8) to the ‘Gare Maritime’ in time for the 2pm rendezvous with our local agents. If you arrive early your bags can be left at the nearby ‘Brasserie du Port’ (for a small charge) while you explore the town and the Sunday market. At the rendezvous you will be given your personal journey plan, maps, a packed lunch for tomorrow and meet up with any other trekkers who may be following the same or a similar schedule. A private transfer is arranged to take you up to the Col de Bavalla, which is a 3 hour scenic drive. After checking in to your accommodation, time to pack the bags for tomorrow and explore the area before dinner.
Day 2 There are two possibilities today – the ‘Alpine Variant’ or the normal route through the forest. The variant (recommended in good weather) starts with a stiff ascent to a col after which some tricky ground and a short chained section (descent) brings you out onto a superb ridge with great views for of the way ahead. You descend into the Asinau valley and follow this upstream to the refuge or bergerie for the night. 5 hours walking.
Day 3 An imposing granite covered slope looms above the refuge up to the summit of Monte Alcudina (2314m). The trail is very well marked as it weaves it way up, across and around the granite outcrops to cross the ridge 30 minutes below the summit. A detour to the summit along the ‘old’ GR20 is recommended. From the ridge an easy, delightful descent takes you along broad spurs and down to the Bergeries de Crocce. 4 hours walking.
Access to luggage tonight.
Day 4 Easy walking along wide trails and some dirt roads take you past some other hostelries and an ancient chapel across the fertile, well grazed plateau. There is a delightful section alongside a shaded river with some appealing places to stop for a dip. A well-graded ascent through ancient oak leads to the Col de l’Agnone. 20 minutes beyond the col is a spring, a clearing and a lovely lunch spot. After lunch you climb on up to gain the castellated ridge above (the Arete de Monda), along which the route weaves an intricate line through the granite spine with a few challenging sections to keep you alert. Finally you arrive atthe refuge, nestling in a small valley just under the ridge and offering superb views out to the coast. 5 hours walking.
Day 5 Climb back up to the ridge again, and follow it (easier that yesterday) with some great views before a long, knee-jarring descent takes you down and down to the Col de Laparo for well-earned rest and a re-fill with water. This can be a busy place as one of the coast to coast routes crosses the same col. You continue up along the ridge crossing the Punta de Capella before a sweeping descent to the Refuge de Prati, with its gushing spring and spacious grassy campsite. Take a break here before tackling the final section of this long day which involves a descent from the Col d’Oro through stunning forest to the delights of the Auberge at the Col de Verdi. Hot showers, great food and comfy beds! 7 hours walking.
Access to luggage tonight.
Day 6 An easier day – with a tougher alternative! The main GR contours around the slopes through a forest of lariccio pines, undulating as it goes. There is a good climb towards the end of the day to the Bergeries de Traghjete before the final descent to the bizarre ski-station accommodation at Campanelle.
For those confident in navigation there is a partially marked route over Monte Renosu (2352m) which passes the delightful green pastures of I Pozzi before ascending steep and at times loose ground to Monte Renosu. The descent takes you past the corrie lake Lac du Bastini – a great place for a dip in its cold waters. 5 hours walking (+2 hours if taking the high route).
Access to luggage tonight.
Day 7 The last stage of the GR20 southern section makes for a leisurely day. You leave Capanelle, taking a path that is more or less level and along easy terrain. You pass through some idyllic spots, passing remote traditional stone cabins and continue to BoccaPalmente (1640m), from where on a clear day the views are exceptional. You drop down into a thick forest of pine and beech trees for a relaxing descent: the trail looping back and forth down to Vizzavona (920m), the midway point of the GR20, and the end of your walk. 4 to 5 hours walking.
Here from here you will need to collect you main luggage and take a train or bus back to Ajaccio to the hotel that has been reserved for you.
Day 8 Take a taxi of the bus to the airport to connect with your flight home.
International flights and taxes (flight inclusive package)
Accommodation – 7 nights in a mixture of Gites, Refuges, Camps and Hotels
Meals – 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 evening meals
Park fees as appropriate
Some baggage transfers
All camping equipment (excl. personal kit)
Route notes and maps (supplied in Corsica)
Adventure Peaks logoed top.
24hr back-up and support from our UK staff
Single timed transfer to Bavella on Day 1
15% discount off the RRP on clothing and equipment purchased at the Adventure Peaks shop
Travel to and from UK airport
Bus / taxi from Ajaccio airport to meeting point on Day 1.
Train or bus Vizzavona to Ajaccio hotel
Airport transfer on departure
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.