Drei Personen beim Wandern auf Korsika auf dem Wanderweg "Grande Randonnée 20".


Trekking in Corsica: the ‘Grande Randonnée 20’ hiking trail

  • #Hiking
  • #Trekking
Bushcraft pro
© Fotos

The mystical hiking trail ‘Grande Randonnée 20’ – GR 20 for short – is one of Corsica’s flagship trails. The alpine path runs across the rough mountain landscape connecting the north and south of the island. Mastering it requires a good level of fitness and sure-footedness.

A striking yellow night ferry takes us from Savona to Bastia. We set up camp outside on the deck right next to the pool. The next morning we eagerly await our arrival in Corsica. Being surrounded by the sea is a beautiful, adventurous feeling, but it’s also nice to have land in sight. I’m looking forward to a week on the wild island.

Warm-up at the beginning of the trail

Three of us – Katrin, Martina and me – put on our hiking boots on the first day to explore the polished granite formations at the Cavu stream. The crystal-clear natural pools invite you to swim and relax. But that was just the warm-up.

Tomorrow we are planning to tackle the GR 20. We leave the lovely Hotel la Tonelle in Conca early in the morning and make our way to the start of the GR 20. The path winds gently uphill through wonderfully fragrant scrubland. We are amazed at the still very green, lush vegetation.

Pumping drinking water and hiking in the fog

After about an hour and a half we reach a stream with several pools that are ideal for swimming. However, it’s too cool at the moment, so we just fill up our water containers. You could probably just drink it straight from the source, but the water filter needs to be tested. So we start pumping. The water filter is reminiscent of the pumps in playgrounds, where you pump up water with a handle. These childhood memories make it all even more fun.

  • Schroffe Felslandschaft in Korsika, drei Personen mit Rucksack wandern zwischen den Felsen hindurch.
    Photo © Jonas Jäggy
  • Im Vordergrund ein Wegweiser des GR20 in Korsika, hinten in der Unschärfe drei Personen beim Wandern.
    Photo © Jonas Jäggy
  • Zwei Personen beim Wandern des GR20 in Korsika, sie gehen durch eine neblige Landschaft.
    Photo © Jonas Jäggy
  • The tent glows in the darkness, framed by the silhouettes of trees and rocks.
    Photo © Jonas Jäggy
  • Zwei Personen beim Zeltaufbau, sie werfen das Aussenzelt über das Innenzelt.
    Photo © Jonas Jäggy
  • Three people on the Grande Randonnée 20 in Corsica checking out the Trou de la Bombe.

    Trou de la Bombe

    Photo © Jonas Jäggy
  • Hölzerne Wegweiser auf dem GR20, die den Weg zu Unterkünften anzeigen.

    Refuges along the way offer a place to sleep, take a shower and eat.

    Photo © Jonas Jäggy

Suddenly, a thick fog appears. But not even the overcast sky can affect the colour intensity of the flora. We enjoy this mystical atmosphere and recount other adventures where fog led to disorientation. Luckily that can’t happen to us: we have a GPS to show us the way.

As evening approaches, a few deep red rays of sunshine penetrate the clouds and create a peaceful atmosphere. A majestic view of the Punta Tafunata d’i Paliri and the Ferriate group opens up before us. We cook a delicious Trek’n’Eat meal. This food from the bag tastes surprisingly good. I’m always amazed that freeze-dried meals can taste so good with a splash of hot water and 10 minutes of patience. Although we’re carrying a tent, we spend the night in a refuge, namely the Refuge de Paliri.

Packing dilemma

When you’re travelling with a tent, there’s always something that needs doing. That’s what happened the next morning: dismantling the tent and stowing it away to leave space for everything else. It’s worth taking care with the packing, or you’ll always be looking for something. Or worse still: it doesn’t fit in your backpack at all and you’re left wondering about the space that seems to have shrunk overnight.

Equipment for trekking

Just along from the refuge you can fill up your drinking water at a spring. The hiking trail takes us along a slope before rising in steep serpentines to Foce Finosa, which offers tremendous views of the Aiguilles de Bavella. Incidentally, it’s worth taking the short circular hike to the Trou de la Bombe, an eight-metre hole in the summit ridge of the Paliri chain.

Two days spent hiking the GR 20 leave you wanting more. It would take around 15 days to complete the entire long-distance trail. Perhaps we’ve whet your appetite. I certainly look forward to it, and will probably try to keep 15 days free to tackle the entire trail.

Click here for information about the ‘Grande Randonnée 20’ long-distance hike.

Long-distance hiking in Corsica: the ‘Grande Randonnée 20’

GR stands for Grande Randonnée, and 20 stands for Corsica’s department number at the time the trail was developed in 1972. The trail stretches 180 kilometres from north to south through the Corsican mountains, connecting the towns of Calenzana and Conca. It takes around 15 days to complete the entire GR 20. The best time to travel is from mid-June to the end of October.

Where to sleep: There are huts, known as refuges, where you can stay overnight along the entire route of the GR 20. Camping is tolerated in Corsica as long as it is near one of these mountain huts.

Experience profile: Alpine trail through the rough Corsican mountains with unique views of the sea and the surrounding mountains. Good fitness level, sure-footedness and good equipment are a must.

  • #Hiking

  • #Trekking

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