Hiking the Exquisite Island Worlds of France and Italy

Overview

Corsica is a wildly beautiful French island, scented with myrtle, dotted with ancient, gnarled oak and olive trees, and home to one of the most diverse landscapes in Europe. Neighboring Sardinia, belonging to Italy, is an island-world with its own language, colorful traditions, and churches where Christianity and Paganism intermingle. Our perfectly crafted journey combines these two Old World cultures with a marvelous mix of dramatic coastal and mountain hikes, evocative prehistoric sites, elegant picnics, wine and cheese tastings, and many opportunities to savor the legendary cuisine of both islands. Our stay at the charming Hotel Su Gologone in the Barbagia Mountains is a glorious finale to this adventure.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-4
Ajaccio, Corsica / Col de Bavella / Bonifacio

Winding on foot through mystical oak woodlands on the high plains of Cauria, we reach the ancient menhirs or standing stones at Filitosa. Created some 8,000 years ago, they are distinct from all other European menhirs due to their carved, stylized human features. Our hikes take us down to the beach for a picnic lunch and a refreshing swim in the Mediterranean, and through forests of Corsican pine to mountaintop Col de Bavella (4,000'). In cliff-perched Bonifacio, an ancient port isolated at the southernmost tip of Corsica, we hike along white bluffs above the turquoise sea, discover a maze of tiny streets, and sample cheeses at a goat herder’s farm.

Hotel San Damianu
Sartène, Corsica, France
Days 1 to 2 (2 nights)
Hotel Genovese
Bonifacio, Corsica, France
Days 3 to 4 (2 nights)
Days 5-7
Alghero, Sardinia / Monte Ferru

In Sardinia, we hike on Capo Testa, a spectacular granite promontory at the northern tip of the island, and visit our first nuraghi, beehive-like stone structures built by a little-known people who inhabited Sardinia between 1800 and 500 BC. Heading into the wild interior, we follow trails on the dormant volcano of Monte Ferru, with its forests of cork oak and views across Sardinia’s prime Vernaccia wine-producing region.

Hotel Catalunya
Alghero, Sardinia, Italy
Days 5 to 6 (2 nights)
Aquae Sinis Albergo Diffuso
Cabras, Sardinia, Italy
Days 7 to 8 (2 nights)
Days 8-11
Sinis Peninsula / Tiscali

After a coastal hike on the Sinis Peninsula, we enjoy a catch-of-the-day lunch prepared for us by local fishermen and hike to the Phoenician ruins of Tharros, set on Capo San Marco. We’ll also visit the prestigious Contini winery and sample Vernaccia di Oristano. Our final hikes bring us to the mysterious ruins of a prehistoric village of round stone dwellings near the top of Monte Tiscali, and through the Codula di Luna, a remote canyon leading to a tiny half-moon beach accessible only on foot or by boat. Depart on Day 11 via Olbia.

Aquae Sinis Albergo Diffuso
Cabras, Sardinia, Italy
Days 7 to 8 (2 nights)
Hotel Su Gologone
Oliena, Sardinia, Italy
Days 9 to 10 (2 nights)

Highlights

Highlights

Hike among Corsica’s craggy peaks and spectacular cliffs above the sea
Prehistoric sites include Corsica’s standing stones and Sardinia’s Nuragic villages
Explore Sardinia’s fishing villages, cork oak forests, and unique cultural heritage
Fine wines and regional delicacies—wonderful farm-to-table cuisine on both islands
Enjoy elegant picnics and a private lunch at a goat herder’s farm

Details

Length: 11 days
Cost From: $5995  
Arrive: Ajaccio, Corsica
Depart: Olbia, Sardinia
Lodging: 10 nights 3-, 4-, and 5-star hotels
Meals: All meals included except 3 dinners (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level:

9 hiking days on moderate to strenuous trails, 3-7 hours a day, van support (for luggage or if you wish to skip a day’s hike)