Skip to content

Hiking on Corsica

Corsica is in a sense France at its finest, although that phrase would no doubt make any self-respecting Corsican pull out his vendetta knife and stick you like a wild mountain pig.

The Corsicans view themselves as an entirely different (and superior) people from the French, and are famously and fiercely independent. It’s more or less impossible to buy land here; they just don’t want to sell it. But happily, they don’t mind if you turn up on holiday, and if you pack your hiking boots when you come you’re in for a good time.

Despite its amazing beaches and beautiful coastline, the Corsicans seem to me to be more of a mountain people–it’s just that their mountain happens to stick out of the sparkling blue waters of the Med. You notice after a while that any restaurant calling itself local is going to be a whole lot heavier on the wild-boar and aubergine stew, than on grilled red mullet and bountiful seafood. So take your cue and head up into the hills. There are some great coastal paths to be sure, but the really dramatic scenery is inland, in the rocky ridge of mountain that gives the island it’s north-south backbone. And from up on high, the magic of hiking on Corsica becomes clear–views to all sides of the mountains framed by the sea–rugged bare mountaintops, with the azure waters of the Mediterranean behind them.

Planning hikes is pretty easy, as the paths are well marked and plentiful, and range from week-long treks to day outings. You can check out a good site for route planning here, describing various multi-stage walks in three areas of the island. The mythical GR20 is the grandfather of all of these. A 200 km hike across the island, it takes about two weeks in all from Calenzana near Calvi in the north, to Conca near Porto Vecchio in the south. Most people either do the north (rocky) section, or the south (more gentle) part, but you can bite off the whole lot if you’re a little Napoleon. Various companies provide walking guides, but you can of course go it alone, or buy a package whereby your bags are carried from lodge to lodge and your accomodation is prebooked. After that, you will need a beach holiday, so book a few nights at the Casa del Mar, and take a speedboat to Sardinia for a decent seafood lunch.

From up on high, the magic of hiking on Corsica becomes clear–views to all sides of the mountains framed by the sea.

Destination Details