The Secret Trails of the Island of Corsica. Wonderful scenery, highlighting the contrast between coastline and mountainous regions. Great insight into one of the least known parts of Europe. Good local food and wines, magnificent views.
Corsica – the birthplace of Napoleon and (so the locals claim) of Christopher Columbus – is a Mediterranean island the culture of which owes as much to Italy as to France. But in truth Corsicans, who have long had a difficult relationship with France, believe themselves to be unique. The result is a distinctive culture on a rugged, wild island surrounded by a magnificent coastline with fine beaches, offering some of the most varying landscapes in Europe.
The climate is benign and the island is not spoilt by tourism. The walking takes you through the central part of Corsica and finishes on the west coast. It is a stunningly beautiful area, filled with Mediterranean flora – in Spring, for example the rose coloured cistus flowers and the white blaze of Asphodels cover the hills. The warm sun on the maquis brings the invigorating smell of wild myrtle, thyme and rosemary. There are wonderful views across the sea and towards the mountains. There are gorges and rock pools. An unforgettable destination.
£775 per person (supplement of £80 per person in July and August)
Single room supplement £300 (May, June, Sept, Oct); £340 (July & August)
This tour is not suitable for a solo walker
Daily from April to end October
Day 1: Arrival Corte for overnight.
We recommend you take the train to Corte (payable locally) from Ajaccio to arrive with enough time to enjoy this mountain city. This single line track took 16 years to build from 1878 to 1888. Gustave Eiffel was responsible for one of the high bridges. The track winds back and forth through numerous tunnels, before arriving in the island’s historic capital, Corte. The rocky citadel dominates the town, and after dropping your bags at the hotel, you can take a walk around the old town, to discover the sights of this atmospheric place. If you arrive late, you stay in Ajaccio instead of Corte and take the train the following morning.
Overnight hotel in Corte B&B
Day 2: Ajaccio to Calacuccia.
After a short transfer you walk the Scala di Santa Regina, A historically important trail, used by shepherds leading their herds in and out of the Niolu Valley. You walk among granite cliffs on a superb ‘balcony’ path across Erco Genoese bridges. Descend to Calacuccia village, passing through old chestnut groves with great views of the Niolu and the lake. e of Calacuccia. Your night stop is 3* Hotel Acquaviva, in Calacuccia, and you can expect some hearty local cuisine at a nearby restaurant.
Distance: 10kms. 4 hours. +705m -345m. Overnight hotel in Calacuccia B&B
Day 3: Walk to Evisa (2 nights)
Walking from Calacuccia, you cross the village of Albertacce. Taking the Mare a Mare North path, you pass an old chestnut mill and cross another Genoese bridge, following a trail that winds its way up through a wonderful forest. Walking below the Monte Cinto and the Paglia Orba, this is wild Corsica, remote and wonderfully mountainous. A forest path leads uphill towards the Col de Vergio and the mountain lodge Castel di Vergio, where you stay on Half Board basis for the next two nights.
Distance: 17km, 7h00, +700m, -340m. Overnight hotel in Evisa Dinner B&B
Day 4: Evisa to Marignana
Today you have the option of just relaxing, or taking a walk that follows part of the trail known as the ‘Mare e Monti’. It is a village to village walk, which in the old days was the only route of communication between the villages. It leads through the surrounding chestnut woods into a luxuriant maquis, a jumble of vegetation, a mix of oak, cistus flowers, strawberry tree, curry plant and tree heather. You will arrive at the abandoned hamlet of Tassu, a small treasure to investigate. Nearby is the village of Marignana, a good spot to stop for a coffee. A return walk via the village of Cristinacce completes the insight into rural village life.
Distance: 9km. Active walking time: 5 hours. Altitude gain: +300m. Descent : -300m. Overnight Evisa Dinner B&B
Day 5: Walk to Porto (1 night)
Our walk today takes us through the Spelunca Gorge getting closer to the rose coloured granite sea cliffs as we walk. We follow the torrent to a Genoese bridge and from here we start the walk up through the maquis towards the village of Ota – a village that combines mountain architecture with a hot Mediterrean climate and flora. Braying donkeys, hunting dogs and villagers working in their garden, bougainvillaea, lemon and fig trees all add to the colour and beauty of the village. Then downhill and again we will notice different vegetation and plants associated with heat and granite in abundance – deep blue black island lavender, pale pink and white cistus that smells of witch hazel. Porto is a delightful sea town with plenty of options for water sports and swimming.
Distance: 14km. Active walking time: 6 hours. Altitude gain: +320m. Descent: -1170m. Overnight hotel in Porto B&B
Day 6: Porto to Piana (1 night)
A half day walk leaves you plenty of time to explore Porto and there are regular boats to Scandola. This dramatic coastline is classed by UNESCO as a site of world beauty. From Porto beach, it’s possible to explore on your own with snorkel and mask, or if you wish, there is scuba diving. If you decide to walk directly to Piana in the morning it is possible to walk down to the small sandy cove of Ficaghiola in the afternoon. Leaving Porto, you cross over the bridge that links the marina area to the harbour. The beach is bordered by a eucalyptus wood and the path is just above sea level giving a balcony view down onto the clear blue waters. There are splendid views of the indented rugged coastline and its many creeks. Depending on the season, you can find foxgloves, tall white asphodels and delicate wild cyclamen. Once in the ‘Calanques’ you will discover an incredible site of granite needles, tortured shapes and rock sculpted formations dotted with maritime pine trees.
Distance: 12km. Active walking time: 4.5 hours. Altitude gain: +520m. Descent: -70m. Overnight hotel in Piana B&B
Day 7: Departure after breakfast
Corte: Hotel Duc de Padoue, http://www.ducdepadoue.com/
Calacuccia: Hotel Acquaviva, http://www.acquaviva-corse.fr/
Evisa: Hotel Aitone, http://www.hotel-aitone.com
Porto: Hotel Kalliste, https://www.hotel-kalliste.com/
Piana: Hotel Scandola, https://hotelscandola.com/
Ajaccio: Hotel Kalliste, https://www.hotel-kalliste-ajaccio.com/
(or equivalent if above unavailable)
By air to Ajaccio or Bastia airport. Train from Ajaccio or Bastia to Corte (scenic train ride)
Sturdy walking boots and walking socks (with a change of socks in rucksack), rucksack/day pack, 1 x water bottle with 1 litre capacity, insect repellent, sun glasses, sun hat, sunblock/cream, compass, torch, first-aid kit.
We recommend that you take out appropriate holiday insurance covering you against illness, injury, and loss or damage to luggage. This insurance should also cover the possibility of your having to cancel your holiday for any reason.
Contact us now to book this walk or make an enquiry.