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Gorges de la Restonica on a November morning with the Bergeries
de Grotelle car park hardly visible in the gorge's shadow, centre
of the photo.
marked with yellow paint splashes and tracks well-worn by many
thousands of hiking boots make it pretty easy to navigate most
of Corsica's spectacular mountain treks, whether they're easy
ones around the Calanches
de Piana or early sections of bigger scenarios like the
Restonica Gorges and Tavignano Gorges, or the massive, renowned
and serious, multi-day GR20 trail.
Tavignano walk proper starts about 5 kms west of Corte
but hikers could trek all the way from Corte in the haute ville
opposite Chapelle-Ste-Croix; much of the hike runs mostly
alongside the River Tavignano and ends 30 kms later at Lac de
Nino, with a refuge about halfway along the trail. Hardened
trekkers could join the GR20 at that point.
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head up the valley gorge to a couple of lakes. The first one,
Lac de Melo takes little more than an hour while the second
walk, Lac de Capitello, is steeper but only takes another 40
minutes. At that point most day-trippers halt and explore the
area while serious trekkers head on to join the GR20 route.
Restonica Gorge mountain stream.
official hiking routes
in Corsica include:
Mare a Mare Sud (Sea to Sea South)
running from near Porto Vecchio (east coast) to Burgo near Propriano
(west coast) and taking about five days, not too tough and possible
Mare a Mare Centre from Ghisonaccia (centre-east coast)
to the beach at Porticcio (west, near Ajaccio) taking about
seven days. Best April to November due to its altitude.
Mare e Monti Sud (Sea and Mountains South) from Burgo,
near Propriano to Porticcio, walking along the south west coast
for five days.
Mare a Mare Nord from Moriani (east)
to Cargese via Corte, about twelve days and best April to November.
Mare e Monte Nord from Cargese
to Calenzana via Porto, possible all year-round though very hot in summertime so best in the autumn or spring. About ten
Corse, Corsica's northern finger, offers many great hikes
including a a pleasant 8 hour stroll around the fingertip known
as Sentiers du Douanier because it winds past the remains
of many Genoese customs watchtowers.
hiker on the GR20 track; note the red trail mark as opposed to the easy-peasy yellow further above. Next, Corsica beaches.
famous GR20 trek across the island is about 200kms (125 miles) of stunning views
on mountain trails, running from Calenzana near Calvi to Conca
near Porto Vecchio. It should take 15 days for the entire stretch.
The path is well equipped with refuges, small hotels and guest
houses and even shops not far away from some sections.
to say, this is a serious walk and should not be undertaken
lightly. Prepare well, carry emergency gear, wear good hiking boots like these, carry a walking stick, a backpack and a waterproof jacket in case of weather change, and do not travel alone.
GR20 hiking website in French.
GR20 Corsica for Hikers in English.
Official tourist website of Corsica.
Email from Mandy, Corsica in March:
We had one of the loveliest holidays ever. We were all absolutely enchanted with the beauty of the island, the wildness, the emptiness, the hospitality of the natives, and their very refreshing and generally alarming disregard for health and safety. There were several occasions in which I just had to say to myself – oh sh**! Here we go!
The first a horse ride in the mountains near Corte– no great shakes, you might say. But these horses climb mountains – literally jumping from rock to rock. Now, I've been up the High Atlas on mule back – five months pregnant at the time – and that was a walk in the park. This was something else altogether – extraordinarily beautiful, as thousands of asphodels were growing between the cracks in the rocks, the views were spectacular and the peaks were covered in snow. It wasn't really riding, tho', as you had to let the reins go slack and let the horse decide which rock it was going to jump onto next, it was more hanging on like a leech and hoping the horse knew what it was doing and you weren't going to take a tumble over a precipice. We all found it very exciting!
Finally, our last day's entertainment – tyro-trekking – the longest and highest in Europe. In essence, you don helmet and harness, climb half-way up a mountain, and zip-wire down, zig-zagging across a rocky gorge. Sounds tame? Listen, it was sh** stirring stuff. There were just the three of us on the mountain. The kid insisted on going first. What can you do? Parents both shared a moment of 'oh my God!' as the kid took off on the first wire – it was more than 300 foot off the ground! Why do people want to do these things? He stopped short of the platform and then had to haul himself along the wire to safety. The guide had explained all this to us, but I had omitted to translate this to the kid. I'm glad he had the sense to sort himself out – tho' he did say, when I made my way over: 'That was really freaky.' He loved it, of course, and after the first couple of zips you do get used to throwing yourself off high cliffs and whizzing over gorges.
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