Explore-Share logo and link to home

Corsica GR20 hike guided tour

Corsica GR20 hike guided tour
Corsica GR20 hike guided tour
Corsica GR20 hike guided tour
Corsica GR20 hike guided tour

Experience GR20, the hardest trek in Europe, in a comfortable way, among breathtaking panorama and natural rock pools with Emma, UIMLA mountain leader.

Group

Mont Cinto

14 Days

Jun - Sep

High

Intermediate


Highlights

* Hike in the hardest European trail.

* Discover varied landscapes on the way.

* Go across mountains, meadows, forests and lakes.

Description

The GR20 is known around the world as the hardest European trail. This truly incredible hike starts in northern Corsica, and crosses rugged mountains through dramatic routes towards a southern terrain that becomes more mellow.

The locals call it ‘Fra li Monti’. The landscapes throughout the GR20 are widely varied. They change from steep rocky drops and airy edges along the north to green meadows, forests and lakes moving to the south.

I had 3 main goals in mind when I created this itinerary:
(1) climbing several different summits
(2) getting off the beaten track
(3) making sure that the trip is as comfortable as possible. We will avoid lodging in overcrowded mountain refuges, instead we will stay in privately-run gîtes or nice hotels. Furthermore, our luggage will be delivered each day.

Corsica GR20: Is it the right trip for me?
The GR20 is a very strenuous hike during which we spend successive long days walking. I think its reputation of the hardest European trek does it justice. You have to be in good shape and used to mountain walking. We will scramble a lot and sometimes will need ladders and fixed chains. Therefore if you have vertigo it’s not the trip for you.

In several places, there are big drops. Therefore you need to be sure that you won’t slip clumsily. This is a quite remote trek; sitting out for the day if you get tired is not really an option. Since there’s a lot to do each day, we can’t afford to progress slowly.

The average walking hours per day is 8, although it may vary. We won’t progress too fast, we keep a steady pace and don’t make many stops. Certain ascents can be long and some descents are steep, which can be a problem for those who have sore knees.

Usually, accommodation during the GR20 is quite poor. In contrast, for this trip I chose privately-run gîtes and nice hotels, This will render our trip very comfortable compared to other companies – although please don’t expect luxury! The places are basic but nice and clean.

Please understand that with the above description I don’t mean to put you off. My intention was only to be sure that you will enjoy this holiday. It’s important before booking to know that you will be up to the challenges of this trip. So if you have any doubts, don’t hesitate to ask me!

Please get in touch with me if you want to join me for this comfortable option of the GR20 hike in Corsica. I will guide you here with much pleasure. Also, I will make sure you have a great time during the whole adventure.

You can also check out the 13-day classic Haute Route hiking traverse that I guide.

Price includes

- Accommodation included

- Guiding fee

- Breakfast

- Dinner

- Transportation start and back

- Transport during the trip

- Luggage transfer

Price details

Group size: 4 to 10 people. All breakfasts and packed lunches are included. In addition, all dinners except for Calvi on Day 1, Corte on Day 7, and Bonifacio on Days 13 & 14 are included.

Group size: 4 to 10 people. All breakfasts are included. Picnic lunches are included on the trek days. In addition, all dinners except for Calvi on Day 1, Corte on Day 7, and Porto Vecchio on Day 13 are included.


Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Bastia and transfer to Calvi

The arrival time for 2024 is any flight before 15:00 at Bastia airport, but we also advise you to fly to Calvi directly. We also recommend arriving a day early for those who can. If you are catching a flight later please check with me so we can arrange something.

– Night in hotel, dinner not included
– Access to luggage

Day 2: Transfer from Calvi to Calenzana and walking to Bonifatu

Short taxi drive to Calenzana, which is the official GR20 starting point. This day will be an great warmup before the proper GR20. We will enjoy beautiful panoramas of the surrounding villages and the coast. To have a gentle warmup, on this day the hike is quite short. We will have time to bathe in rock pools, then start the climb up to Bonifatu.

-Night in Gîte with dinner included
– Access to luggage
– Walk: around 5 hrs
– Altitude change: +800 / -540 m

Day 3: From Bonifatu to Haut Asco

On this day we start early. It will be a spectacular trekking day, but long and hard. We ascend to the Bonifatu cirque, sheltered by the forest from the sun. Reaching Carrozzu refuge, we take a short break before starting again for the renown Spasimata footbridge, which hangs on top of a beautiful waterfall for 30m. This is the most photographed location of the whole GR20!

Then we go up to the Spasimata slabs using chains and fixed cables, and get to the valley of Muvrella. Muvrella is Corsican for “mouflon” (wild sheep). With luck, we will spot some! Then a climb takes us to the Bocca di a Muvrella (2000 m). A short and hard section ends in the Bocca di Stagnu (2010 m), our second pass. The scenery from here is stunning: we can appreciate the west coastline, together with the mountains surrounding the entrance to the Cirque de la Solitude. A quite steep and scrambly descent follows, taking us to Haut Asco (1422 m), an ancient ski station.

– Night in a hotel with dinner included
– Access to luggage
– Walk: Around 8½ – 9 hs
– Altitude change: + 1480 / -600 m

Day 4: 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: Hike from Vallone to Castel de Verghio

The day begins with an easy stretch, walking in the laricio pine forest. Then it turns more scrambly until we get to the Bocca di Foggiale. It is close to the Ciotulu I Mori refuge, at the base of the stunning Paglia Orba summit. From here there are beautiful views, on one side the lake Calacuccia and on the other the valley of Golo. Then we go down until the Golo river, where we can have a dip in great rock pools. The day is not over yet, we walk along the river for some time, then cross the forest and get to an ancient ski station, Castel de Verghio. Here we can choose between a hotel or gîte, and there is a small shop.

– Night in hotel or gîte with dinner included
– Access to luggage
– Walk: Around 6 – 6½ hs
– Altitude change: +970 / -1020 m

Day 6: Hike from Castel de Verghio to A. Sega refuge

The route on this day is truly stunning. It is again a long day, although the scenery starts changing. We ascend to the St Pierre pass (1452 m) and then to the incredible Nino lake (1743 m). Surrounded by little ponds with grassy meadows called pozzines, it’s an ideal area for horses, wild pigs and cattle to graze. Then we go to Vaccaja (1621 m), an active goat farm, before stepping of the GR20 to go to the Sega refuge. Beautiful rock pools render this location delightful. Furthermore, staying off-the-beaten track allows us to spend some calmer time away from the crowds. The owner is friendly and the meals hearty.

– Night in refuge with dinner included
– No access to luggage
– Walk: around 8 – 8½ hs
– Altitude change: +965 / -1200 m

Day 7: Hike from A. Sega refuge along Tavignanu gorge to Corte

The day is shorter today, enabling us to enjoy taking our time while we go through the stunning Tavignanu gorge. There are some perfect swimming spots here. Finally, we reach Corte, a historic town. If everything goes according to plan we will have some time to discover Corte. Free evening, eating at a local restaurant.

– Night in a 3-star hotel, dinner is not included
– Access to luggage
– Walk: around 5-5½ hs
– Altitude change: +720 / -1400 m

Day 8: Transfer to Vizzavona and hike to Capanelle

We will arrive in the south part of the GR20! From here on the walks become easier since it is less scrambly and we’ll have more opportunities to enjoy the views. The day starts with a trip to Vizzavona, either by train or private transfer (45 min – 1 h). Here we join again the GR20. We climb to Bocca Palmente (1640 m) through pine forests and shady beech. Fantastic views of the coast, plus Monte d’Oro greet us. Then we pass the Alzeta shepherds huts towards the U Cardu ridge. An incredible view appears, which includes Monte Renoso, our objective for the next day.

– Night in Gîte with dinner included
– Access to luggage
– Walk: around 6 – 6½ hs
– Altitude change: +1155 / -715 m

Day 9: Ascent to Monte Renoso and hike to the Verde pass

This day we will ascend to Monte Renoso (2352 m). It’s the highest peak of southern Corsica. Most people don’t get to see this true gem. The views from the top are my favourite of the whole trip. We can see perfectly both coasts. Moreover, we can appreciate the view of our previous and next paths. This climb is scenic and it’s not so difficult (mostly walking, not much scrambling). There is a descent to the stunning pozzine in the I Pozzi valley. Then we reach the Gialgone plateau and join back the GR20. A further 1:30-2 hs walking take us to the Verde pass.

If you feel tired and do not want to make the ascent of Monte Renoso, you can follow the easy GR20. In case of bad weather, we will also take this route.

– Night in Gîte with dinner included
– Access to luggage
– Walk: around 8 hs if Monte Renoso, or 5 hs without
– Altitude change: +815 / -110 m or +600 / -950 m

Day 10: Trek from the Verde pass to Cozzano

The day starts with an ascent up to a high ridge on our way to the Prati refuge. From there, the views are stunning. Often we get to see both coasts, on clear days we see the Elba island across the Ligurian sea. Then there is a scrambling section until the Laparo pass. Here we go off the GR20 to avoid the overcrowded refuges. Instead, we sleep in a gîte in Cozzano, a beautiful Corsican village.

– Night in Gîte with dinner included
– Access to luggage
– Walk: around 8 hs
– Altitude change: +750 / -1300 m

Day 11: Trek from Cozzano to either Bassetta or Il Croce

We go up through chestnut trees and maquis back to the GR20, and we get to the Arête a Mondi. We follow it until the Punta d’Usciolu (1815 m), then the Punta di a Scaddatta (1834 m) and finally the Bocca di L’Agnonu (1570 m). The path criss-crosses across notches through the ridge. It will be two hours of straightforward scrambling in occasions exposed. The views are stunning. Then we start the descent, passing the Bassetta sheepfolds, continuing until a gîte in Il Croce. Today is quite long, but reaching Il Croce rather than stopping at Bassetta will make tomorrow easier.

In case of bad weather conditions, we go on another route through the Zicavo village.

– Night in gîte or camping with dinner included
– Access to luggage
– Walk: around 8 hs
– Altitude change: +1000 / -550 m

Day 12: Trek from Il Croce to Bavella

This is long but truly spectacular. We go up to the Incudine pass. From here the views of Monte Cinto behind us and Sardinia facing us are wonderful. We also see the beautiful Aiguilles de Bavella, which is our destination. From the pass, the descent is quite steep across slabs until the Asinau refuge. Then follows an easy and short part through the woods. Afterwards, we go off the GR20 for an Alpine variant, through the Aiguilles de Bavella, a really fantastic journey, occasionally using chains. This is probably my favourite day of the whole trek. However, it can’t be done if the weather is very bad. If this is the case, we will take a transfer and have a short walk in and around Bavella.

– Night in Gîte with dinner included
– Access to luggage
– Walk: around 9-10 hs
– Altitude change: +1300 / -1400 m

Day 13: Hike to Conca, final point of the GR20, transfer to Porto Vecchio

This is a beautiful way to conclude the GR20, the views across the granite peaks are wonderful, and then we go into the pine forest. We get to the Paliri refuge. The scenery stays rugged throughout the way until Conca, a small village which marks the end of the GR20. Then we go back to Porto Vecchio, famous for its sandy beaches.

– Night in 3-star hotel, dinner is not included
– Access to luggage
– Walk: around 7 hs
– Altitude change: +700 / -1670 m

Day 14: Transfer: Porto Vecchio to Figari airport

The last day starts early with a transfer (3 hs) to Figari airport. You can catch any flight and we'll provide a private transfer.

 

FAQs

What are some recommended accommodations near our adventure location?

We understand that finding the perfect place to stay is an essential part of your adventure experience. To help you with this, we’ve curated a list of three highly recommended hotels that offer comfort, convenience, and a touch of local charm. These accommodations are well-suited for adventurers looking to relax and rejuvenate after an exciting day of exploration
Hôtel L'Empereur Ajaccio
See rooms
France Hotel San Carlu Citadelle Ajaccio
See rooms
France Hotel Napoleon Ajaccio Ajaccio
See rooms
France
See rooms

About the guide

Guide profile image

-Emma & Guides' team

4.60

(9)

Mountain Leader

I'm a qualified International Mountain Leader (IML) and I have been leading expeditions for the last 15 years. I have led the Tour du Mont Blanc over 40 times, the Everest Base Camp trek 27 times, Kilimanjaro 10 times, and I have also led trips in Nepal, Peru, Cuba, India, Bhutan, Cambodia, Thailand, the Alps, the Pyrenees, Russia, Uzbekistan and Madagascar, amongst others. I work together with qualified mountain leaders like me, If I'm not available to guide you, one of my colleagues will take care of you.

I'm a passionate skier, in 2009 I made the first ski descent of Manaslu, the 8th highest mountain in the world (8156m).

Fluent in French, Russian and Spanish, I also work as an interpreter and love to chat.

Languages

Russian | French | English

Certificates

UIMLA

Request more information

What people are saying about -Emma & Guides' team

Paul

5.00

Emma was very easy to communicate with (once we we able e in the same time zone, of course!). Our guide Phil was fabulous. Thanks to all.

5.00

Emma was a very sweet and knowledgeable guide. She was adaptive to the different personalities and skill level of our group. Easygoing, talkative, friendly and pleasant to be around! Couldn't be happier with our guide!

jeanne

4.00

We were Very pleased With Emma guiding us through the hikes. We really enjoyed the entire trip:) As we were just our family we would have loved a little more flexibility hiking in our own pace - felt we were rushed a bit too much. We should have informed Emma about this but we were too compliant:) The explore-share platform was a bit rigid/ formel - it was not clear that exploreshare hired another firm to do the job. Also quite a High fee to explore share We were first told to have an (expensive) extended travel insurance (with mountain rescue) up to departure / after we had plaid. We should have been told this before signing up. Another mistake were that explore share had told us last payment were due closer to departure - so in a rush we had to pay up 60 days before as this is cloud9advenures policy. This made us uncertain if it was fraud. But it wasn’t:) overall pleased with our trip

Fausto

4.00

Bruno our guide was very helpful and profesional

Jill

5.00

AMAZING! This was a last minute decision and my first multi day trekking tour and it far exceeded my expectations. The communication and preparation was comprehensive and accurate. Our guide (Lindsay) was phenomenal. The route was the perfect mix of challenge and comfort. I will definitely be booking my next hiking trek thru Emma.


You may also like

Join our newsletter!

Stay up-to-date on the best adventures.