Great Hikes on France's Mediterranean Isle


Rugged mountains cut by plunging river gorges, enchanting pine and chestnut forests, pristine glacial lakes, white-sand beaches lapped by translucent seas, atmospheric fishing villages—this is Corsica, often called the “Mountain in the Sea.” Set in the middle of the Mediterranean, Corsica belongs to France, but is an entity unto itself, with a delightful blend of French and Italian influences and its own distinctive cuisine and fine wines. On our newest adventure with Trip Leader Tania Masi, whose infectious enthusiasm and knowledge makes every day a five-star experience, we’ll hike the island’s mountainous trails, picnic beside hidden tarns, swim from perfect half-moon beaches, visit winemakers and cheesemakers (and sample their wares, of course!), and venture through river gorges where delightful pools allow us to cool off after a full day of hiking. Many of our hikes are along Corsica’s famous multi-day long-distance trails, the Mare e Monti (Sea to Mountains) and the celebrated GR20, one of the most beautiful dramatic treks in Europe that takes in the island’s most spectacular terrain. Our overnights are in charming towns and villages. Join us to explore this hiker’s paradise!

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-4
Calvi / Mare e Monti Trail / Scandola Nature Reserve / Hikes on the GR20

We meet in Calvi, a vibrant seaside town with a majestic Genoese citadel, and hike a section of the Mare e Monti (Sea to Mountains), a challenging multi-day trail that traverses the coasts and mountains of Corsica, and follow trails overlooking the Scandola Nature Reserve. This land-and-sea UNESCO World Heritage Site is a hotspot of bodiversity and brimming with geological landscapes of astonishing beauty. Our next hikes are along sections of the GR20, considered Europe’s most demanding long-distance trail, and include a hike right from our auberge to the Cirque de Bonifatu, a glacial amphitheater of jagged granite peaks.

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Days 5-6
Gorges du Tavignano / Corte / Lac de Melo and Lac de Capitello

From the lakeside village of Calacuccia, we follow a trail past old shepherds’ stone houses (called bergeries) into the Tavignano River Valley, Corsica’s deepest mountain gorge, and right into the historic town of Corte. Another hike brings us to the mountain lakes of Lac de Melo and Lac de Capitello, dramatically surrounded by towering crags.

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Days 7-10
Canyoning / The Bavella Peaks / The Last Leg of the GR20

We have the opportunity to explore the many river gorges and waterfalls of the area on a canyoning/hiking trip. Some of Corsica’s most beautiful scenery awaits us at the Bavella Peaks, where we hike around granite towers, savoring dramatic views of mountains and sea. Completing our sampling of the GR20 (we did the first two legs on Days 3-4), we hike the final stretch of this famous trail, descending from Bavella into the town of Conca, passing by the climber’s paradise of Punta Tafunata di Paliri, an impressive crag with a huge rock window. We cap off our adventure in the seaside village of Pinarello, on one of the most beautiful bays of southern Corsica. Depart on Day 10.

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Hike sections of Corsica’s multi-day long-distance trails, including the celebrated GR20 that traverses the backbone of the island
Enjoy the Corsican lifestyle and its multi-faceted beauty: relaxing beaches and challenging mountain hikes
Sample Corsican delights—savory charcuterie, brocciu cheese, fiadone (a traditional Corsican cheesecake), draft beer made from chestnuts, excellent wines


Length: 10 days
Cost From: $5795  
Arrive: Calvi, Corsica
Depart: Figari, Corsica
Lodging: 9 nights comfortable hotels and inns
Meals: All meals included except 2 dinners (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level:

7 hiking days on moderate to steep trails, 4-10 hours a day, van support (for luggage or if you wish to skip a day’s hike). This is a strenuous hiking trip, read “What the Trip is Like” for more details.

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