GR20 is considered the most difficult – and one of the most beautiful – treks in Europe for a reason. It traverses the island of Corsica diagonally following the high granite barrier of mountains, offering some fantastic scenery. The GR20 south section will take you from Bavella to Vizzavona, and we will transfer your main luggage at selected points, so you do not have to carry a heavy load all of the time.
Your accommodation will be in a variety of camps, refuges, gites or shepherd’s cabins, situated in places of exceptional beauty. All meals are prepared for you by your hosts, and we will transfer your main luggage at selected points during the trek, so you do not have to carry a heavy load all of the time – a real bonus adding to the enjoyment of the walks.
- Amazing views
- High Alpine walking
- GR20 from Bavella to Vizzavona – a great introduction to GR20
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Day 1: Ajaccio to Bavella
This holiday starts on a Sunday in Ajaccio port opposite the CCI building at 14:00 h; the first transfer will take you directly to Bavella, where you check-in at your first accommodation. The region is known as the Alta Rocca, and Bavella is one of the most famous peaks on the island. The journey takes approximately 2 h 30 min. Time to settle into the gite before the evening meal.
- Overnight in dorms in a gite in Bavella (Auberge des Aiguilles), dinner included
Day 2: Bavella to Asinau | 7 km
From the high mountain pass Col de Bavella you start walking on the trail that is called the Alpine variant. It leads steeply uphill before reaching the base of several granite pinnacles, such as the Acellu, the Ariettu or the Vacca. It is a superb ridge walk. The trail is rough underfoot and equipped for a few metres with a chain that helps stability across the granite rocks. You plunge into the valley before following an easy trail through the woods. After a river crossing, you ascend a hill up to Asinau Bergerie or refuge.
- Walking: 7 km, 5 hours ↑750 m ↓550 m
- Overnight in tents or dorms in a refuge in Asinau (Chez Aline Bergerie), breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner
- No luggage transfer – your main luggage will be transported directly to the Day 3 accommodation
Day 3: Asinau to Coscione Plateau | 8 km
You walk up to the magnificent ridgeline of Monte Alcudina, whose summit reaches 2134 m altitude. There are fantastic views, and on a clear day, you can pick out your route and see where you are heading. Next, you start descending towards the famous Cuscione plateau. This is the largest plateau on the island and spreads over some 50 sq. km. This large wild space is a mix of forests and open spongy green land full of runnels of water, great grazing land in the summer months. Your night stop is a shepherd’s cabin situated on the edge of the plateau.
- Walking: 8 km, 3 h 30 min ↑560 m ↓560 m
- Overnight in tents or dorms a refuge at Coscione plateau (Croci Bergerie), breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner
- Luggage transfer included
Day 4: Coscione Plateau to Usciolu | 13 km
Today you pick up the trail on the plateau and cross the wide-open green pasture with its streams and little water holes. You make your way uphill through an age-old forest of dwarf oak trees up to the Col de l’Agnone. From here, you start possibly one of the best ridge walks; it is very exposed, the trail is ambitious, and it is hard to imagine that there is a way through. The elements have wonderfully sculpted the granite, and the decor is awesome. The trail topples back and forth over the ridge, to one side then the other. Usciolu refuge occupies a sheltered position a little lower down; it is a hive of mountain activity.
- Walking: 13 km, 5 h ↑820 m ↓600 m
- Overnight in a tent at Usciolu refuge, breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner
- No luggage transfer – your main luggage will be transported directly to the Day 5 accommodation
Day 5: Usciolu to Col de Verde | 15 km
This walk has some exceptional scenery with great views. From the refuge, you continue along the ridge that separates the valley of Taravo and the Fiumorbu. Next, the trail plunges towards the Col de Laparo. You will pass the GR refuge, Prati (1820 m); it is worth stopping to enjoy the airy rooftop views of the island and enjoy the lush, spongy fresh ground. It is sometimes possible to see the islands of Elba and Monte Cristo. The descent winds rapidly down in and out of the forest to your destination at the Col de Verde (1289 m).
- Walking: 15 km, 7 h 30 min ↑850 m ↓1250 m
- Overnight in dorms in a gite at Col de Verde (S Petru di Verdi Gite), breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner
- Luggage transfer included
Day 6: Col de Verde to Capanelle | 12 km
The trail undulates gently today and mainly contours through a forest of pine trees. These majestic tall, straight lariccio pines with smooth silvery bark are very much a symbol of the island. Today’s walk is essentially traversing the flanks of the dominating mountain, Monte Renosu. A steeper section leads us to the small shepherds’ hamlet of Traghjette. There is just one shepherd that lives here now, following the age-old lifestyle of transhumance and producing cheese. A last short walk before you arrive at a ridge where you can see your night stop and the cabins of Capanelle, which is a low-key ski station in the winter.
- Walking: 12 km, 4 h ↑580 m ↓350 m
- Overnight in dorms in a gite in Capanelle (U Fugone gite), breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner
- Luggage transfer included
Day 7: Capanelle to Vizzavona | 16 km
This is the last stage of the GR20 southern section; the walk makes for a leisurely day. You leave Capanelle (1568 m), taking a path that is more or less on the same level and along easy terrain. You pass through some idyllic spots, past remote traditional stone cabins and luxuriant vegetation. You continue to Bocca Palmente 1640 m, from where on a clear day, the views are exceptional, the looming massifs of the Monte d’Oro and the Rotondu tower above. You drop down into a thick forest of pine and beech trees for a relaxing descent; the trail loops back and forth, lacing down to Vizzavona (920 m), the midway point of the GR20. You will be in Vizzavona at about 15:00 h.
- Walking: 16 km, 5 h ↑190 m ↓860 m
- Overnight in dorms at a hotel in Vizzavona, breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner
- Luggage transfer included
Day 8: Departure
The tour ends after breakfast. You can return to Ajaccio, Calvi, Bastia by train.
This itinerary is an example of the itinerary we aim to adhere to, correct at the time of publication. Should situations arise that are beyond our control, such as severe weather conditions, or other factors that could put your safety at risk, it may be possible for the itinerary to be modified.
What to Expect
Simple gites, refuges & shepherd cabins in dormitories or camping at refuges; hotel in Vizzavona. Sleeping mats are provided when sleeping in a tent. Refuges in Corsica are small, simple and rustic, with a limited level of comfort and a lack of facilities (cold water showers only, limited and shared WC facilities, no blankets).
*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.
Simple continental breakfast (tea, coffee, milk, bread, butter, jam). Evening meals are based on local specialities – a starter, soup or smoked meats, main course or pasta or rice with a sauce, cheese, fruit or sweet pudding. Picnic lunches are included (please bring a Tupperware for rice, pasta, lentils, couscous salad). Should you have any food allergies, special requests or dietary requirements, please advise when booking. Food options are limited for vegetarians and particularly vegans, and special diets usually cannot be accommodated due to the remoteness of the areas.
Difficulty & terrain
The GR 20 is considered the most difficult trek in Europe for a reason. Overlooking this fact could put inexperienced walkers in big danger. Do not overestimate your skills, and prepare for your trip properly. The GR20 is for hikers in excellent physical shape who already have solid experience of high mountain trekking over several days. The walks are long, between 6-9 hours a day, sometimes more. You can expect steep uphill and downhill sections with up to 1000 m altitude gain some days. The temperatures will range, and weather conditions can be severe. You need to be sure-footed and not be afraid of heights; the terrain is rocky and can be slippery at times (read more about difficulty grades). We provide you with a Travel Dossier complete with an IGN map and Topo guide. During your hike, 24-hour phone assistance will also be able to answer all your questions and, if necessary, give you useful tips for the smooth running of your stay. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain.
When to go
This trip is available to commence on Sundays only between the beginning of May (the first possible date in 2023 is 7 May) and the middle of September. Other days are available on request only. The climate of Corsica is Mediterranean on the coast, with mild, rainy winters and warm, sunny summers, while in inland areas, it gradually becomes colder with increasing altitude. The best time for hiking in the mountains is from June to September.
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By train or bus
Ferries to Ajaccio and Bastia are available from Marseille and Nice; timetables can be checked here. From Vizzavona there are trains to Ajaccio, Bastia and Calvi. Train and bus schedules on Corsica be checked here
- Accommodation for 7 nights as listed in the itinerary
- Full board – breakfast, picnic lunches (please, bring a tupperware for rice, pasta etc.), dinners
- Transfer from Ajaccio Port to Bavella by public bus
- Luggage transfers on 4 walking days (can be opted out to reduce the cost) – your main luggage will be transported by vehicle to Bavella, Coscione, Col de Verde, Capanelle and Vizzavona
- Detailed travel dossier with IGN maps and topo guide
- 24/7 phone support from our local office/representative in Ajaccio
- Airfare/ferry tickets and connecting land transfers
- Lunches and dinners in Ajaccio, drinks and snacks
- Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
- Personal expenses
- Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on the spot)
- Any items not explicitly listed as included
Options, extras & supplements
- Single room supplement is not available as you stay in dormitories or tents.
- For safety reasons, solo travellers are NOT accepted on this tour.
- Luggage transfers opt-out
- Private airport transfers
- Sleeping bags and poles rental on request