Walking in Corsica
Keen walkers will know Corsica for one thing: the celebrated GR20 long distance route that crosses the island diagonally from north west to south east. At 180km long and with some serious altitude to contend with, the GR20 is regarded as Europe’s toughest and most beautiful mountain trail, taking 15 days or so to complete from end to end.
There are many maps and guides available if you would like to tackle part of this trail or the slightly less demanding Mare a Mare (sea to sea) routes, and all of these paths do require a good amount of planning, fitness and correct equipment.
For those with more casual exploration in mind, we’ve created an island-wide collection of walks in Corsica. From mountain forests near Porto Vecchio to coastal paths on Cap Corse, the list is designed to give you a taste of what’s available in each area, and you’ll find more suggestions for walks in your villa information book on arrival.
WALKS NEAR PORTO VECCHIO AND BONIFACIO
Trou de la Bombe, Col de Bavella
A 2½ hour walk to a spectacular rock formation, a large hole carved through a rock, in the Bavella mountains. The walk starts from the summit of the Col de Bavella. We suggest parking in the car park on top of the Col and walking the short distance to the auberge. Standing in front of the Auberge du Col, follow the path to the right of the auberge. This is where the walk starts, signposted by stone cairns. The ascent/descent is 300m (follow the red paint markings) and signs to U Campuleddu – the Corsican name for Trou de la Bombe.
Capu Pertusato, Bonifacio
From Bonifacio town it is a 1-hour fairly steep climb along the cliffs to the lighthouse looking out on to the Bonifacio Straits. This is a truly magnificent spot where white chalky cliffs have been eroded by the wind and the sea for centuries. The awesome view looking back towards Bonifacio makes you wonder why no further houses have fallen off the cliffs since 1965 when the last one went! The views of the straits and Sardinia on a clear day are astounding. Please take care as there are often high winds here.
WALKS NEAR CALVI AND THE BALAGNE
Ile Rousse lighthouse
This is an easy walk on a well surfaced path, which climbs, but not too steeply. Follow the road up to the port, and from there you will see a track going up to your left (alternatively, follow the road used by the small tourist train). From here you can walk through the mass of red granite up to the lighthouse and visit the Genoese tower en route. You can’t go inside the lighthouse, but the coastal views all the way back to Ile Rousse are spectacular especially at sunset, when the granite glows a deep rich red.
There is a walking trail that links Île Rousse to the charming village of Sant Antonino, via Occiglioni, Corbara and Pigna. It is signposted in places and follows an old mule track, however we recommend taking the IGN map with you, or purchasing one of the excellent trail guides from the Île Rousse Tourist Office. The trail starts at the top of the Route de Calvi as you leave Île Rousse for Calvi, just before Le Pubs restaurant on the left hand side. It will take approximately 3 hours to walk up to Sant Antonino from Île Rousse.
WALKS AROUND THE VALINCO GULF
Sentier Découverte de Guincheto
This is a well-marked, 3-hour circular walk, starting and ending in the village of Guincheto. The path skirts around the edge of the village, offering panoramic coastal and country views. The village produces a walking leaflet to accompany the route, which also gives information on the flora and fauna of the area and the history of the village. To access the village, take the N196 south from Sartène, then follow the D165 up into Guincheto where can park to begin the walk.
Capo di Muro
This is the name of the northerly headland of the Gulf of Valinco. There is an old watchtower there and a lighthouse, both of which you can reach on foot – drive as far as you can on the Capo di Muro road then park and follow the dirt track. The tower takes about 30 to 40 minutes and the lighthouse is about 50 to 60 minutes. If you go to the tower you can climb up the inside (carefully) to get onto the roof, from where you have glorious views to Ajaccio and the Iles Sanguinaires. Take great care near the edge.
WALKS NEAR ST FLORENT
Sentiers des Douaniers - Cap Corse
'The Customs Officers' Route' is a 19km long coastal path running along the northern coast of Cap Corse. Keen walkers could tackle the trail in one day, but most people prefer to do a section depending on fitness as follows: Macinaggio to Barcaggio: 3h15mins, Barcaggio to Tollare : 45mins or Tollare to Port de Centuri : 4h. The route follows a path through the maquis and crosses many natural protected areas. The tourist office in Macinaggio supplies a free map and route description of the entire path.
Plage du Loto to Plage de Saleccia
A 2-hour (round trip) walk along the coast in the Désert des Agriates following the Sentier du Littoral. Take an early morning boat from the port in St Florent to the Plage du Loto. From the far left of the beach (when facing the sea) a path follows the coast to the Plage de Saleccia. This walk is not signposted, but the path is fairly easy to follow. There isn't much shade, so be sure to wear a hat and plenty of sunscreen, and take plenty of water. There are no facilities on either beach.