Country : France
Region : Corsica
Outdoor Activity: Hiking/Trekking
Length : 16 days but variants available
Period : June to september
Difficulty : Ask a good healty condition and a good preparation before departure
Sustainable tourism rating:
Often said the most difficult Europa’s hiking trail, the GR 20 trough Corsica Island from north to south during 180 km. It’s one of greatest Hiking Trail in the Word. Despite its difficulty, it’s affordable for medium Hikers but in good physic condition. It’s important to really prepare himself before to not have to abandon during the hike.
This trail thought the island by mountain and follow steep ways : + 13 000 m of positive altitude. The path rarely cross roads and the only supplying point (except shelter) is Vizzavona around the middle of the trail.
Its start from Calenzana (next to Calvi – North) and follow 16 steps to Conca (next to Porto Vechio – South). This trail can also be made in the other way from south to north. Some professionals advice this second way because the south part is less abrupt, less technical and permis a better accimatation. Also it can be more comfortable to walk with the sun in the back. For a first time, don’t matter the sense this trail is wonderful from all ways. From my personal experience, I prefer the south stages in the sense north- south with seawiew at the end.
One of this trek special is that it’s always trough a natural park and bivouac is forbidden instead of some area nearby shelters at each stage (16 stages since 2012).
There are a lot of itineraries options but it’s important to ask information in advance. It’s possible to do only the half part (North Half or South Half) because train come in Vizzavona at the middle. It’s also possible to take options trails who reach sea. There are also variants possible with complementary top ascensions. It’s also possible for better ones to “double” some stages (make 2 stage in the same walking day).
2 types of Trek are possible: Total autonomy or half board. Half board can seem expensive but permits a light bag (no tent, no gaz, no food…) and it’s a comfortable option. Meals in shelter cost between 15 to 20 €. Corsican welcome is sometimes very warm and sometimes a bit cold and rigid.
Like all hikes, the bag weight is a very important element because we should carry it all the day long and a 20 kg bag can be very handicapping in technical parts. You should take care of this before choosing which option you want to take. Be careful, the number of places in shelter is not unlimited. The price in shelter range from 5 € per person in bivouac with you own tent to 12 € per person in dormitory. It’s possible to book by internet in advance but I will not advice it because you can’t modify you itinerary (In case of rain for example).
The trail is very well marked all the way long with red/white marks you’d just have to follow. The « Topoguide” from GR 20 give all necessaries informations about the trail and seems me essential.
The season choice is important too: It’s not adviced to make this trek too early during the year because summit can be full of snow. Shelters are opened all year long but are kept from end may to end September. Preferred seasons are June or early September. Days are longer in June and the hiking trail is crowded in July and August during French holidays.