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Southwestern Corsica Highlights 41

Southwestern Corsica Walking Highlights

Overview

This walking holiday offers a delightful mix of mountains and sea along the beautiful South West Coast of Corsica. From Ajaccio to Bonifacio, the walk takes place in forests and hilltops and along wild coastlines, while you will enjoy the contrasting landscapes of the southwestern part of the island and discover the beauty of this less known and wild region. You can expect some out of the way accommodation, including the beautifully restored working lighthouse at Senetosa on Corsica’s most remote stretch of coastline, a real highlight of the trip before finishing in style at the clifftop fortress of Bonifacio.

Highlights

  • Walk along the wild coast from Ajaccio to Bonifacio
  • Sleeping in a remote lighthouse
  • Bonifacio fortress

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Itinerary

Day 1: Ajaccio

After arriving at Ajaccio airport, it is just a short ride into the town. Time to settle into your hotel before exploring Ajaccio, the capital of Southern Corsica. The town has a backdrop of hills with a lovely trail called the “Sentier des Crêtes”, a ridge walk that gives fantastic views of the bay and an aerial view of the town. The maquis at this altitude offers a host of plants, strawberry trees, wild myrtle, garlic, orchids, bright yellow broom and heather.

  • If you arrive early in Ajaccio, optional walk The Crest Trail: 6 km, 2 h ↑140 m ↓140 m
  • Accommodation: 3-star hotel in Ajaccio (Hotel Fesch, Hotel Napoleon or similar)

Day 2: Pietrosella to Coti Chiavari | 16 km

After a short ride from Ajaccio, you arrive at the village of Pietrosella. The path travels from the village of Pietrosella, from where you steeply climb to the ridge. From here, you have fantastic views out over the Gulf of Ajaccio. After a final summit, you descend to Côti Chiavari, a sleepy village with great views, once home to an important penitentiary. Your night stop is at a Hotel Restaurant with fabulous views over the Gulf of Ajaccio.

Day 3: Coti Chiavari to Porto Pollo | 10 km

The walk from Coti Chiavari has some of the best views of the southern end of the Gulf of Ajaccio with its hidden coves and watchtowers. The view then opens on the Gulf of Valinco and the mountains of the Southeast before dropping down to Cupabia. The trail runs along the beach of fine sand, and the water is pure and transparent, so don’t forget your swimming gear. You then walk the coast to Capanelle tower before arriving at the delightful seaside village at Porto Pollo, your stop for tonight.

  • Walking for the day: 10 km, 4 h ↑260 m ↓750 m
  • Accommodation: 3-star hotel in Porto Pollo (Hotel Eucalyptus or similar)

Day 4: Porto Pollo to Propriano | 15 km

Today you leave the Tavaro valley; there is a short transfer in the morning to the trailhead, where you start climbing along the ridge to the perched village of Olmeto. The maquis cloaked hills rise high above the Gulf of Valinco; you pass by shepherds huts, watchtowers and olive groves, and the views are superb. Olmeto is a very atmospheric village, with a great view of the Valinco. After visiting the village, go down to Barracci beach at Propriano before arriving at your hotel.

Day 5: Campomoro to Senetosa Lighthouse | 14 km

A short taxi ride takes you to the start of the trail. You won’t see your luggage tonight, and you will need to carry provisions for meals. This is a real adventure; you are walking into the most remote lighthouse on Corsica, in an area of truly outstanding beauty. The walk is over the ridge, with superb views over the coast, through the maquis to deserted coves at the Capu di Senetosa where you finally catch sight of the lighthouse nestled in the rocks. A truly unique setting, the overnight is in a simple twin room with shared facilities at Senetosa Lighthouse.

Day 6: Senetosa Lighthouse to Campomoro | 14 km

Climb to the Genoese tower high above Senetosa, with views over the southern Corsican mountains. Then, follow the ridge before descending to Cala di Conca Bay; your coastal path takes you to all the bays on this remarkable coastline and all the way to Campomoro. Rocks are shaped by the wind, and the sea is very tempting for a quick swim. Finally, arrive at Campomoro, from where a taxi takes you at the end of the day to Bonifacio, where you stay for the next two nights.

Day 7: Bonifacio Circular Walk | 15 km

Bonifacio has a choice of walks along the clifftops and the coast of this southernmost tip of Corsica. For a longer walk, a coastal path takes you from La Trinité to Capo di Feno and then Paraguan beach before heading onto the cliffs near the Iles Fazzio and towards la Madonette lighthouse. Finally, return to Bonifacio for an overnight.

Day 8: Departure

The tour ends after breakfast. From Bonifacio, there is a bus to Ajaccio (payable locally; 3 times a day Mon-Sat during the low season / daily during high season). If you finish the tour on a Sunday in May-June and September-October, it is better to take the bus to Ajaccio the day before and spend the last night in Ajaccio instead of Bonifacio. Or you can add one more night in Bonifacio.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodation is in comfortable 3-star hotels, a simple hotel-restaurant with clean rooms and exceptional food and a lighthouse turned to a refuge with a unique location. The accommodation at the hotels is in twin/double rooms with en-suite facilities. In the lighthouse, you will overnight in a twin room with basic conditions and shared facilities.

Click to view default hotels

*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.

Meals

All accommodations include breakfast, mostly continental breakfast (tea, coffee, milk, bread, butter, jam). One dinner in Coti Chiavari is also included, based on local specialities, including a starter, a main course and a dessert. For your picnic lunches, there are grocery stores available to purchase your picnic for the following day. At certain hotels, they can be provided as a supplement (payable on the spot). Please note that you need to bring food for your dinner and lunch the next day for the overnight in the lighthouse.

Difficulty & terrain

Unlike the GR20 (considered the most difficult trek in Europe), for this itinerary, we have chosen routes that will appeal to the averagely experienced walker. The nature of the terrain presents little technical difficulty, but some previous hillwalking experience will be useful. The ascents will vary from 400 m to 800 m altitude gain per day (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 daily between the beginning of May and mid October. 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. Spring is initially cool and unstable in March and April, while it becomes gradually milder and sunnier and generally pleasant by May. Summer, from June to August, is warm to hot and sunny along the coasts, while in inland areas, it becomes progressively cooler with increasing altitude, and there is also a higher chance of afternoon thunderstorms. Autumn is initially mild or pleasantly warm and gradually becomes cooler and quite rainy in October. The best time for hiking in the mountains is from June to September. The best months for a beach holiday are July and August; you can also go in June and September but expect chilly evenings, cool sea and occasional rain.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

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By plane

Our recommended airport for this tour is Ajaccio. An alternative airport is Figari.

By train or bus

Ferries to Ajaccio are available from Marseille and Nice; timetables can be checked here. From Bonifacio there is a bus to Ajaccio, the schedule can be checked here. Please, note that if you need to leave Bonifacio on a Sunday outside July and August you have to take the afternoon Saturday bus to Ajaccio after you finish the walk for the day and the last night will be spent in Ajaccio instead. Taking a taxi from Bonifacio to Ajaccio is very expensive and not recommended.

Inclusions

Included

  • Accommodation in 7 nights as listed in the itinerary – rooms with ensuite facilities; shared facilities at the lighthouse
  • 7 breakfasts and 1 dinner on Day 2
  • Transfers as per the itinerary
  • Luggage transfers on all walking days (1 piece up to 15 kg per person) except on day 5 – you have to pack luggage for one overnight and food for 2 days
  • Detailed travel dossier with IGN maps and topo guide
  • 24/7 phone support from our local office/representative in Ajaccio

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, 6 dinners, 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

  • Supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room / single use of a double room
  • This tour is NOT available for solo travellers
  • Private airport transfers
  • Extra nights

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