Walking in Paradise: A Guide to the Best Hiking Routes in Corsica - Al Fresco Holidays
Corsica is widely regarded as a hiker’s paradise. The diverse yet consistently spectacular natural landscape lends itself perfectly to walking, with a vast array of trails that lead across sandy Mediterranean beaches, through verdant fields and between snow-capped mountain ranges.
In recent years, Corsica’s reputation as a premier hiking destination has risen; and the island is now considered one of the finest locations for walking in the world. In fact, its GR20 route has become the stuff of legend, and is widely regarded as the most challenging long distance hiking trail in Europe.
Whatever level of ability; whether you’re an experienced walker looking for the next epic challenge, or a novice hiker who prefers to take things at a slower pace, you’ll find exactly the route you’re looking for on this picture-postcard pretty island.
The Best Hiking Routes in Corsica
There are a huge number of hiking trails in Corsica, through a wide variety of terrains. Here are just a few of the best routes to experience whilst on a walking holiday in the country.
GR 20 is the most famous of the Corsican hiking trails and it draws keen walkers from all across the globe. The route, which takes approximately two weeks to complete, stretches across the entire length of the island, cutting a diagonal line from north to south.
The route is very much a ‘split personality’. The northern half of the trail is mountainous, with a steep, craggy landscape to navigate, whilst the southern half is easier going, with most of the trail leading through flatter terrain. The trail has some real highlights to enjoy, with scenic glacial lakes, soaring mountains and lush green meadows. Though it can be challenging at times, hikers require no specific skills in order to complete the route.
Bastia village walk
If you’d rather enjoy a shorter, less demanding walk, then the Bastia village trail is a highly pleasant way to spend an afternoon. The trail winds a level path around the villages that surround the main town of Bastia, providing plenty of opportunity to pause the hiking and engage in some exploration.
It’s a very easy trail, suitable for most abilities, and is a great route for taking in the coastal and mountain scenery, not to mention visiting the villages.
The Mare a Mare routes
There are three Mare a Mare (Sea to Sea) routes in total; all of them fairly long distance (taking between five and seven days to complete). Like the GR 20, there are parts of the routes that can be challenging.
The Mare a Mare nord (north) takes in mountains, rocky valleys and thermal springs; the Mare a Mare centre has pretty coastline, villages and rivers; and the Mare a Mare sud (south) is the shortest of the routes, with archaeological sites to enjoy along the way.
For some really impressive panoramas of the island and the Mediterranean Sea, the Monte Stello route is a popular option. It’s another short trail and should only take half a day to complete, though it does require some level of physical fitness, due to the elevation of the walk. However, the path isn’t too steep, so most people should be able to complete the trail.
The Monte Stello provides a really great chance to engage in some gentle mountain climbing, whilst experiencing some of the finest views on the island.
Calvi to Capu di a Veta
The hiking trail from Calvi to Capu di a Veta is one of the easiest on Corsica and also one of the most popular, as it incorporates some great views. Calvi, the largest town in the region, is easy to get to by bus, and from there, the walk to Capu di a Veta (the highest hill in the area) takes around two hours there and another two hours back.
For the most part, the trail is suitable for all abilities, though there are just a few places along the way that may require a minimal level of physical fitness!
Finding a Place to Stay when Hiking in Corsica
Whilst hiking on one of the longer routes, there are plenty of simple refuges along the way, with basic accommodation. It’s also possible to camp whilst hiking, providing you take your own equipment.
After you’ve completed your hike, or if you’d rather spend your time enjoying the shorter routes, chances are that you’ll be looking for a place to stay. Holiday parks are an excellent option in Corsica, offering great facilities and, most importantly, a swimming pool to cool off in after a hard day trekking! Sole di Sari on the ‘Coast of Pearls’ is perfectly situated for exploration, and the Marina d’Erba Rossa campsite is located only a short stroll from the beach.