7 Best Hikes in Corsica: Hiking in Corsica – a planning guide


7 Best Hikes in Corsica

Corsica is a mountainous Mediterranean island which is a blend of stylish coastal towns, dense forest, and craggy peaks. More than 50% of this beautiful island is covered by the Regional National Park of Corsica whose hiking trails hold a test of your endurance and nerve.

Corsica is a part of France since 1768 but it still retains the essence of distinct Italian culture. Do you want a true hiking experience? Corsica is your ideal place. To enjoy the ultimate hiking experience through the ancient paths, with adventurous trails, lodges, and huts, you need to be an adrenaline junkie. In Corsica you can enjoy the beauties of spectacular landscapes and magnificent panoramic views of the sea.

Here are some of the amazing hiking trails that you need to check out in Corsica.

GR20:

You can’t miss the hiking of GR20 when you are in Corsica. Sentier de grande randonnée 20 is one of the best hiking trails in Corsica and takes in the beauty of Whole Island following the central spine from North to South. Wherever you look, you will be blessed with spectacular and fascinating natural and manmade beauties of Corsica.

This hiking trail has several mountain huts or hamlets where the weary traveler can rest. It is considered one of the best places for hiking in Corsica and even consider the toughest hike in Europe!!

It’s a spectacular 180 km (112 mi) trail. Although the terrain is generally rugged terrain, it is one of those hikesthat are within the capabilities of most hikers. The hiking trail is well marked, making it easy for travelers. The average time needed to complete the GR20 trail is approximately 11-12 days but 100% will vary depending on your own capabilities and fitness levels.

Best Hikes in Corsica
GR20 View – Best Hikes in Corsica 2020

Faster, red bull, fueled hikers can complete the trail in 5-6 days and slow trekkers can take up to 15-16 days. Though wild camping is prohibited, you can find lots of camping options along GR20 as well if you do not want to rest at mountain huts.

It starts in the north from the point of Calenzana and ends at Conca in the South. The best time to choose to hike GR20 starts from early June to late October. However, if you want to avoid the crowds opt for July and August.

I would highly advise that you refresh your memory on those basic high-school key French words and phrases before the start of your hike. A key piece of advice for GR20 would be to partake and enjoy some of the meals available at the mountain huts as it will save some of the weight of your backpack as well as bonding with your fellow trekkers. Frankly, the food is good anyway and nice to have a meal cooked for you at the end of a long day of hiking.

This hiking trail also has regular accommodation options and resupply options. You can do a full resupply at Vivvazona, and supplement your supplies at Asco, Castel di Verghio, Bavella. You can enjoy some of the spectacular swimming holes throughout the journey and a dip in clear waters on the hot sunny day is an absolute must. The spectacular and fantastic panoramic views will leave you slack-jawed if you opt for a side trip to Monte Cinto which is the highest peak in Corsica.

Sentier Des Douaniers:

Sentier Des Douaniers, a long-distance footpath commonly called GR34, is one of the best hikes in Corsica. The difficulty level is low as compared to GR20.

The starting point of this adventurous hike is Macinaggio and it ends at Port de Centuri. The path is not very difficult so it should suit hikers of all levels. The path is only 19 kilometers but is filled with wonderful and fascinating views. Sentiers des Douaniers will surely not disappoint as it has a lot to offer. If you are an experienced hiker or of medium/advanced fitness level, you can complete the trail in approximately 8 hours.

Depending on your pace and the time you have allotted, you can also divide your trail into two parts i.e you can complete your hike in two days.

You can also consider Bastia as a starting point because you reach Macinaggio through this route. Just take the D80 route to the north and follow the road signs that take you to Macinaggio.

If you are in your car, the journey will take approximately one hour. You will be blown away by the beauty of Cap Corse while you’ll be on your way to Macinaggio.

Sentiers des Douaniers should top your list if you want hikes with beautiful picturesque landscape, beaches, and ancient towers. You will encounter Baia di Tamarone along the trail that is one of the most beautiful beaches of Cap Corse.

The Romanesque church of Santa Maria, Torre D’Angelo, Capo Grosso, Capo Bianco, and other picturesque landmarks are a treat to eyes.

Mare a Mare Sud:

It is one of the best hikes in Corsica. It’s a path from the east to west coast but lies in the Southern part of Corsica. While hiking through this easy five-day trail, you will encounter some stunning beaches, forests, and high-altitude farmland.

The juxtapositions of Alpine-like topography and Mediterranean vegetation are a treat on this hiking trail. This Southern hiking trail is lusher and reflects the true essence of the island’s history.

This hiking trail takes you from one coast of the island to the other i.e from Porto Vecchio to Propriano. Also, it’s one of the shortest sea-to-sea routes in Corsica.

It’s a five-day trip with not more than 5-6 hours a day. The best time to hike through this path is spring and autumn.

The lodges along the way have limited capacities but can be a good places to rest up. Just remember to pre-book your accommodation.

Castello de Capula and Castello di Cucurazazu are the famous archaeological sites that you can visit while on this trail. 

This hike is of low level difficulty and can be easily done by a person of good fitness. It’s a great starter trail for anyone interested in gaining experience and skilling up for long hikes in the future. The trek through pine forests, traversing rivers and lakes like Lake Opsedale and the charming little villages will leave you with that warm fuzzy feeling and a good sense of accomplishment once you have completed Mara a Mare Sud.

Mare a Mare Nord:

It’s quite a long path with the intermediate level of difficulty, ranging from the west coast to the east coast, in the Northern region of Corsica. It will also allow you to explore the mountains and beaches in Corsica.

It is divided into 17 stages, starting from Cargese and ends at Moriani Plage. It is, again, one of the best hiking trails in Corsica. You can enjoy the spectacular views of this beautiful hiking trail from mid-April to November.

There are accommodation options in the form of hotels and restaurants but pre-book them.

It can take up to 10 days to explore this hike. Spectacular landscapes and fascinating views will await you, making it one of the top hikes in Corsica.

The hiking trail is about 140 km and covers magnificent mountains, beautiful lakes and streams, and lush green forests as well.

Don’t forget to dive/belly flop into the natural pools and give a visit to small remote villages in the mountain areas.

Throughout the view of the beautiful Mediterranean will remain constant.

You will also have the opportunity to visit the historic city of Corte and is worthy of a day of your time on the island. Be sure to have a sleeping bag with you on this hiking trail.

Tra Mare e Monti:

It is one of the best hikes in Corsica that starts from Calenzana and ends at Cargese. The hiking trail is about 100 km long but if you are in good shape you can do it.

The duration of this hiking trail is about 6-10 days but it may vary from hiker to hiker.

Explore this adventurous hike along the untamed coastline of the island. During this hike, you will get a lot of bathing opportunities that will keep you refreshed and revitalize you throughout your journey.

This rewarding hiking trail is considered one of the best places for hiking in Corsica. It’s a fairly tough but highly rewarding hiking trail. Also, it’s one of the most celebrated and best hiking trails in Corsica.

Some points of interest along this trail are only accessible by foot or sea. You will see the beautiful Mediterranean flora, mountains, and valleys along your hike.

You will encounter hotels and other accommodation options along the way. But, once again, try to book in advance to avoid disappointment.

You can see the gulfs of Porto and Girolata plus the villages of Partinello and Curzu as well. Also, you will get the opportunity to do a boat trip to Scandola.

Sentier de Littoral:

It’s a short easy hiking trail of about 50 km but is considered one of the best hikes in Corsica. It’s a predominantly coastal route also know as the Coastguard Path/ This hiking trail can be visited all year round but the at its easiest in early spring.

You don’t need such a high level of experience to undertake this hiking trip.

The trail starts from Saint Florent and ends at Ostriconi. It is definitely one of the least demanding hiking trails on the Island, but a suggested itinerary would be as follows:

  • Day 1: Saint Florent to Saleccia -Approx. 5 Hours 30 minutes
  • Day 2: Saleccia to Ghignu – Approx. 2 Hours 45 minutes
  • Day 3: Ghignu to Ostriconi – Approx. 6 hours 30 minutes

Also, there are restaurants along the way, so you do not need to worry about food and drinks on this hiking trail.

You will be witnessing some of the beautiful and spectacular views throughout the trail. It’s surely one of the best places for hiking in Corsica. Make sure to take a lot of drinking water with you as there are few sources for fresh water along the route.

Sentier de la Transhumance:

The name ‘Transhumance’ derives its name from the seasonal movement of sheep by the shepherds from the coast in winter to higher cooler pastures in summer when there is extreme heat. The same 1000-year-old paths form the trail for this fantastic route.

It is one of the most enjoyable and best hikes in Corsica. Though the level of difficulty is medium, it is also suitable for beginners. If you are not up to hiking along the GR20, this is an easier alternative.

The starting point of this hiking trail is Calenzana and it crosses the highest mountain range of Corsica, ending at Monte Cinto. It’s a 100 km long trail and can be completed in 5-6 days on an average. You will only need to hike for about 5-6 hours per day. The perfect time to hike around this, one of the best hiking trails in Corsica, is from June to September.

Along the route you will find small hostels and family-run hotels for the accommodation needs. Book in advance and try to get your luggage transported from one hotel or hostel to the next. Carry your backpack full of your day’s provisions. Most important have several bottles of water.

This hiking trail joins up with other hiking trails as well which includes GR20 and Sentier Ile Rousse-Corte making it one of the top hikes in Corsica.

Sentier de la Transhumance is a marked route with signs all over the hiking trail. Signs in many cases take the form of an orange daub of paint on rock faces as you go. My advice on this trail is to ensure you have maps and detailed instructions as you can sometimes find yourself hopelessly lost looking for the next orange rock!

The views here are generally jaw-dropping, including dry riverbeds with rock-strewn gullies, over which you will hike on vertigo inducing, wobbly suspension bridges!! Exotic caves, sea inlets, rocky cliffs, rock pools, and the beautiful alpine trees along the way will leave a lasting impression on you.

Make sure you stop at Piscine Naturelle, the amazing rock pool in the middles of high pine trees. It’s absolutely freezing cold but sooo invigorating.

Tips and Tricks for hiking in Corsica:

  • Plan your hike well, bring all relevant route maps, a compass and lots of water.
  • Wear sturdy hiking shoes as you can encounter anything throughout the hiking trails.
  • Also, you need to have a good fitness level to avoid getting into difficulty on the tougher hikes.
  • Wear sunscreen, because it can be hot throughout the day.
  • Hiking can be dangerous sometimes, so be careful. Tell someone where you’re going on any particular day. Stay safe!

Conclusion:

The beautiful island of Corsica has some amazing hiking trails. If you are new to hiking or are an experienced hiker, it doesn’t matter.

You need to book a holiday trip to Corsica as soon as possible. With adventurous hiking trails, interesting and spectacular views throughout the trails, you will never get tired or bored. There are several hiking options available; both long and short trails. If hiking and trekking is your passion, Corsica should be on your checklist. Explore some of the top hikes in Corsica.


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