Corsica boasts fashionable yet historic towns combined with peaceful bays and beaches, attracting visitors looking to escape and explore an unspoilt island. However, if you fancy swapping the beach in favour of a day’s walking in the Corsican countryside, try one of the trails that appeals to hikers from all over the world for the stunning scenic views and continually changing landscapes.
The GR20 hiking trail has gained international recognition for its challenging pathways running from north west to south east Corsica. Leading from the Balagne region to the countryside surrounding Porto Vecchio, this walk covers up to 170kms, leading hikers through spectacularly diverse landscape – from scenic pine forests to snow-capped peaks and even glacial lakes if you happen to visit early season. While this walk may probably be too long for the average hiker, the island has still got a large selection of lesser well-known walks that offer similarly impressive scenery without the strenuous challenges of the GR20.
There are several trails surrounding the main GR20 route that lead walkers away from the more touristy areas into the undiscovered heart of Corsica and can easily be completed in a day or less. On one such trail you can explore the ‘Gorges de la Restonica’ surrounding the River Restonica. Many choose to wander around the valley on the less strenuous pathways, from which the impressive gorges can be viewed, before taking a dip in one of the deep pools to escape the heat. However for the more adventurous walker, there is a variety of other paths. The most popular leads to a couple of glacial lakes: ‘Lac de Melo’ and ‘Lac de Capitello’, which are near the GR20 walk. The first lake can be found after a relatively easy hike through the rocks, although the second lake is larger and considered the more spectacular of the two. Enclosed by a sheer cliff-face, Lac de Capitello contains a deep turquoise pool and has stunning views to the far side of the valley. Another route climbs up to the Monte Rotondo leading walkers through beautiful pine forests and past glacial lakes.
There are also walking trails scattered across other parts of Corsica which can be completed as day trips from different areas of the island. In the Cap Corse region in the north, a half-day hike can be completed from Pozzo to Monte Stello, then onto the highest summit of Cap Corse with stunning views of the island’s northern mountains. The Calvi area offers a four hour hike over Calvi Bay, whilst the Balagne region boasts an entire day’s walking trip through idyllic rural villages and past traditional monasteries such as Marcasso and Corbara. Alternatively if you are heading to the Bastia region, you can complete the six hour walk which passes through both mountains and seaside villages.
In the south west of the island and surrounding the Corsican town of Ajaccio are easier hikes that are perfect for day trips. Sandy pathways climb from the town and lead to the ridgeway that overlooks the entire area, with the sea as a peaceful backdrop. Here a multitude of wildlife can be found – from lizards jumping across the paths to a range of species of bird. Coastal paths out of town provide a more relaxed walk with views out to the Mediterranean Sea.
The trails in Corsica wind round rugged cliff faces exploring isolated coastal coves and mountain paths. The experience of discovering this island by foot is incomparable, so wherever you go in Corsica, make sure you to explore one of the nearby trails for a truly off the beaten track experience!
For holidays to Corsica Silver Travel Advisor recommends Simpson Travel