Corsica is certainly an ideal destination for lovers of the sea and Caribbean beaches, but you will be surprised to discover that it is also an ideal natural paradise for those who love trekking and mountain climbing.
Some people describe Corsica as a mountain in the middle of the sea and they are not wrong. The island is covered with dense forests that, in some places, reach sheer to the sea and offer unique views.
The routes in Corsica are many and varied, suitable both for beginners looking for easy routes that can be covered in a few hours, and for experienced hikers who want to try their hand at multi-day treks, some of them difficult but among the most beautiful in Europe.
The GR20 trail is certainly the most spectacular hiking route in Corsica. This 180-km-long trail connects Corsica from north to south, from Calenzana to Conca, crossing the Natural Regional Park of Corsica.
The GR20 is divided into 16 sections (each lasting about 1 day’s walk). One must therefore take into account the time needed to walk it and the fact that it is a trek for experienced hikers as it requires good physical preparation.
It is very important to know the route in advance and be prepared for it: study the stages, book accommodation and, of course, use suitable equipment. It should be noted that the GR20 is considered the most difficult hiking trail in Europe.
It starts at an altitude of 275 metres and goes up to 2,200 metres, but more than the difference in altitude, it is the changing weather conditions that are the main obstacle: with adverse weather conditions, it is necessary to consider whether it is better to continue or wait one or more days to continue.
The customs path, not to be confused with the route of the same name in Brittany, is a 26 km long route along the Cap Corse peninsula. It is mostly easy, especially the first part, and can be covered in 8/9 hours or you can decide to do it in two days at a more relaxed pace.
It is frequented not only by passionate trekkers but also by many tourists, as it can also be done by the inexperienced. In fact, it is not a mountain path but mostly a long hike along the coast. However, it is a very suggestive path, overlooking the sea, capable of offering incredible scenery, it is really worth it.
Departure from Macinaggio and arrival in Centuri.
If you liked the customs path so much or it does not seem enough and you want to continue, then the ideal is the crossing of Capo Corso, which is its continuation.
In fact, you start from the same point, from Macinaggio, walk along the Sentier des Douaniers to the reserve protected by the Conservatoire du Littoral and then continue on the Sentier des Crests. Ideally, you should walk it in spring or autumn to avoid the scorching heat, but of course summer is also fine if well equipped with water and sunscreen.
Allow six days to complete it.
The Sentier du Littoral is an easy but very scenic route lasting only 2 days (or if you take your time, even 3) that crosses the Agriates desert: a succession of rocky landscapes and green Mediterranean scrub ending in Caribbean sandy beaches. It takes place entirely in a protected area, where both camping and bivouacking are prohibited.
Starting in Saint Florent and ending in Ostriconi, the total length is about 50 km on an easy trail.
Within the Natural Park of Corsica, it is a little-known and frequented path and consequently more authentic and peaceful.
However, as it is a fairly new and little-used path, it is essential to have a route map and a compass: the paths are often unclear or unmarked. This should make you realise how easy it is to get lost….
You start from L’Ile Rousse and arrive at Corte, for a total duration of about 7 days. The level is easy/hiking, more complex is finding the right directions.
The Ospedale Forest is located in the hinterland of Porto Vecchio within the Corso Regional Nature Park.
Starting from the hamlet of l’Ospedale, one can take a circular route with the arrival point at Punta di Vacca Morta. The route is 10 km long, which can be covered in about 4 hours. Despite the height difference of almost 900 metres, the hike is of intermediate level and is well signposted.
Along the way, you will encounter a large lake nestled between rocks, a mountainous landscape more reminiscent of Canada than an island in the Mediterranean, followed by the Piscia di Gallu waterfall, about 60 m high.
Continuing along the path, the route will be interspersed with pools of green water and pools where the more daring can take a swim.
It is worth finally reaching the summit of Vacca Morta and enjoying its viewpoint over the hamlet of Cartalavonu and the mountains, with the coast in the distance. The climb to the summit is tiring but is rewarded by a spectacular view of the Piana del Freto and the Rizzanesi Hills. On the way down, one also encounters the ruins of the Casteddu di l’Accintu.
The Calanchi di Piana are extraordinary rock formations of incredible natural beauty, also included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Starting from the town of Porto Ota, drive up to Piana and leave your car in one of the many clearings along the road. From here you can choose from several trails, one of the most scenic of which is certainly the loop trail that starts from the Fort of Piana: the Antico cammino dei Mulattieri.
The path passes through pine and chestnut forests and then opens up to wonderful views of the rocky overhangs near the Roches Bleues. Continuing along the mainly rocky path, you return to the starting point.
The route is about 6 km long and lasts about 2.5 hours with a total altitude difference of about 700 metres. We recommend taking this walk at sunset, when the rocks are tinged with beautiful red tones.
This 1670-hectare forest is a true oasis of coolness for those who want to escape the coastal heat for a day.
There are a number of hiking trails of varying difficulty within it that will take you to admire the magnificent forest and its waterfalls, set in an idyllic landscape of shady pine trees.
On the way there or on the way back, you can make a stop in Evisa, a quiet village surrounded by chestnut groves, whose fruit has been awarded the Protected Designation of Origin.
This strip of land jutting out into the sea is a true wonder. With its shades of colour ranging from grey to pink, Cape Rosso plunges into the sea from a height of 300 metres.
It is really worth coming here for a walk to the top of the cliff and admire the incredible view that will open up before your eyes.
You can also reach the Tour de Turghio overlooking Cape Rosso on foot, a hike of medium difficulty due to the climbs and lack of shade, in 3 hours round trip. It is considered one of the most beautiful hikes on the Corsican coast.
To describe the spectacular beauty of this promontory is almost impossible. With its bizarre shape of a sinking ship, it offers a breathtaking view of the cliffs, the seabed, Bonifacio and the Lavezzi Archipelago.
You can reach this vantage point by following a 4 km path on the cliffs: a fabulous path for photography enthusiasts, which will allow you to admire glimpses otherwise precluded to those travelling by car (taking the D58 from the hospital).
Calculate 2 and a half hours round trip, the difference in height is minimal and the path is not difficult, but it winds along the edge of the cliff without shade: maximum attention if you bring children.
This oasis of peace and coolness among the fragrant conifers is a true enchantment for nature lovers and hikers, whether experts or amateurs.
3000 hectares of pristine and pure environment inhabited by mouflons, foxes, woodpeckers and wild boar: an enchanting forest at an altitude of almost 200o metres, with ridges and crests that delight hikers.
From the Auberge de la Foret, an easy footpath leads along the Figarella stream, where you can also take a swim. From the end of this path, decidedly more demanding but also more evocative trails run through the heart of the area.
In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article