One of the most difficult in Europe
If you speak to anyone who has done the GR20 or the Mare è Monti, they will all say the same thing. That they were proud to have done it and pushed themselves to their limits. They will talk of the adrenaline, fear… and heights. In fact, these two hiking trails are an explosive mix of emotions that only the magic of the Corsican mountains can provide. However, all those who succeeded in finishing this challenge take home the same memory of the complete satisfaction of pushing themselves to their limits!
Calenzana, the gateway to the GR20 and the Mare è Monti…
The GR20 – Frà li monti
The first of the 15 stages of the famous GR 20 and Mare è Monti connect Calenzana to the Ortu di u Piobbu refuge… But, know that it will take you almost 7 hours to complete, with 1,500 metres difference in altitude!
The GR20 is therefore a very sporty trail, only for experienced hikers who have a good level of fitness and who are used to walking regularly.
The mountinous character of this trail, as well as the big changes in altitude (positive or negative) and a few very technical passages (Cirque de la Solitude, Col de Bavella…) make it one of the most difficult mountinous trails in Europe.
Also, it’s essential to know that the best time of year to embark upon this trail is between June and mid-October. The rest of the year, it is often covered with snow on the highest sections. Therefore, a part of it has to be done on skis! In Corsican it is called “l’Alta Strada“, meaning high route. In any case, this hiking trail is only suitable for the most experienced of hikers and skiers.
The Mare è Monti
Just like the GR20, this hiking trail is physical and sporty, but this one does not present any particular difficulties. As proof, this trail can be followed pretty much all year round.
On this trail you will cross forests and villages, overlook coves and finally, come to the conclusion that Corsica is in fact a mountain in the sea. Over the 10 stages of between 4 and 6 hours of walking, you will most certainly be amazed by the different colours that the natural environment here has on offer. The invigorating scents of the maquis and Corsican forests fill the air. The magical settings that you will see along your way will ensure the success of this adventure. Yes, you’ve done it! Well done!
Why not go the extra mile next year and try the GR20?
The GR20 in Corsica... guaranteed thrills!
- From Calenzana (North-West) to Conca (South-West)
- Distance 200 km
- 16 stages of between 4 and 8.5hrs
- Overnight stays in refuges
- Marking: white and red just like all GR routes.
- To be in good shape: the hiker has to consider the GR20 as a steep alpine itinerary. A part of the route is at an altitude of over 2,000 metres with steep climbs at the top, often of over 600 metres, with daily stages of 7hrs walking on average.
- to be equipped with a GR20 guide book or accompanied by a mountain guide.
- to be equipped with hiking boots with Vibram soles. The ground you will cover is mainly rocks and scree, making it difficult, especially for unexperienced hikers.
- See the mountain weather forecast (+33 (0)8.92.68.02.20) and do not hesitate to cancel if weather conditions are not favourable: storms and flooding can be particularly violent and dangerous.
- Make sure you have freeze-dried provisions in your bag. There are a lot of supply points but they are dotted along the route randomly. Always have basic carbohydrate-based provisions and plenty of water.
- Make sure your bag isn’t too heavy. This is not easy but extremely important. Do not leave with over 18kg for men and 14 kg for women.
- Warning, wild camping is forbidden in Corsica. For safety reasons, we advise you to reach a refuge for each overnight stay. There are open-air campgrounds next to the refuges where you can pitch a tent.
- Warning, it is strictly forbidden to light fires.
- Watch out for pigs. They love eating fabric and hikers’ supplies.
- Take photos of flowers, do not pick them.
- Leave nature clean.