Join an extraordinary adventure to the Mediterranean island of Corsica - a hikers' paradise. Discover the cliffs and peaks soaring above white-sand beaches, and dazzling vistas from atop those very peaks. Take in the red-granite formations of the Calanches de Piana, lush canyons, chestnut forests, and storybook mountain lakes. Set out from the port town of Porto to the tiny village of Girolata, follow a high-ridge trail, and head down to the coast to laze on sandy beaches. Along the way, enjoy authentic Corsican cuisine and stay in comfortable accommodations.
Tackle an easier section of Europe's most difficult trek — the famous GR20 with spectacular views
See the red rock formations of Calanches de Piana with their dramatic coastal location
Explore the village of Corte, lost in the hills, surrounded by lush valleys and mountain lakes
Start the adventure in Ajaccio, the island's capital, and the birthplace of Napoleon. Transfer from the Ajaccio airport to the hotel, secluded along the untamed coastline. Have a briefing at 6pm, followed by a festive welcome dinner.
Meet the guides in the morning and transfer to the Calanches de Piana (about 90 minutes by car) for the first hike. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, these blood red pinnacles soar out of the jagged coastline, creating improbable inlets and shapes. The hiking trail meanders through the red rock, rising high above the plunging cliffs, with jaw-dropping viewpoints over the sea. Spot your home for the next three nights, the tiny port village of Porto nestled below the granite cliffs. Enjoy dinner together this evening.
Head into the hills and enter the village of Evisa, perched high above the sea, surrounded by vast forests of chestnut and pine. Follow the deeply encased Spelunca Gorge on a centuries-old mule track, which still has remnants of its cobbled path and stone walls. Enjoy a riverside picnic and an opportunity to swim. Take in Genoese bridges, 200-year-old marvels of stone architecture, and end in the equally charming village of Ota before returning to Porto. Enjoy dinner on your own at one of the restaurants on the port.
Just north of Porto follow the Mare e Monti path that links the sea to the mountains. Take in the maquis vegetation of heather, boxwood, and Corsican pine, and descend to a secluded beach for a dip and a picnic. Continue along the Sentier du Facteur - "the mailman's path" - the one path a mailman took for 30 years to deliver the mail to the village of Girolata. Marvel at the handful of golden-stone homes huddled on a promontory above the bay. Return to Porto by boat and enjoy dinner together.
Get an early start and transfer to the Col de Vergio pass (60 minutes by minibus). Tackle the famous GR20 hiking path, the toughest and arguably most spectacular trail in all of Europe. Cover one of its most majestic sections, along switchbacks up to a grassy crestline with dazzling views to the sea below, and to the fairy-tale Lac de Nino Lake surrounded by deep-green grassy bogs with the backdrop of serrated summits. Continue by vehicle through canyon roads to reach the town of Corte, home for the next three nights.
Today, begin the hike in the lost village of Canaglia, along the leisurely Mare a Mare route through the center of the island, following alongside the Manganello River. Reach a remote shepherd's hut on a clearing with views of high summits, and savor a picnic lunch featuring local cheeses and charcuterie. Hike back and return to Corte by minivan. Take the time to meander through the streets of the island's historic capital, before having dinner together in the center.
Wake up before sunrise and take the minibus on a 30-minute ascent up the Restonica Valley. Hike up a rocky path to one of Corsica's most emblematic glacial lakes, Lac Melo, at 5,576 feet surrounded by imposing cliffs. Interested in some easy scrambling (with chains and ladders to assist)? Opt to continue up to Lac di Capitello, some 650-feet higher. Head back down and enjoy a picnic lunch before returning to the hotel for a free afternoon. Enjoy dinner together in town.
No trip to Corsica is complete without an excursion on its train, affectionately known as 'The Micheline.' Built for the vertiginous and difficult slopes of Corsica, the train ride showcases awe-inspiring vistas as it snakes its way through the mountains before reaching the coastline. The guides wait in Calvi for a short walk to a secluded beach for a feast of local grilled fish at a little restaurant. Then take a walk along a coastal path, ending the afternoon on the beaches of Calvi. Enjoy a celebratory farewell dinner together.
Your trip ends after breakfast with a transfer from the hotel to the airport or to Calvi port.
MT Sobek's custom designed trip takes you to an achievable section of the GR20 trail - one of the toughest hikes in Europe - without camping or sleeping in huts.
Get the inside scoop on one of Europe's best hiking destinations with expert local French Corsican guides, who know the island inside out.
Explore Corsica's historic, cultural and urban life, breathtaking mountains, and sandy beaches, while avoiding the mass of beach tourists!
Our expert guides and trip leaders are truly the key to our trips' success. Many are locals who live in-country year-round; others have made it their second home—all are passionate, enthusiastic and endlessly knowledgeable. Meet a few of the guides that might be on your trip.
Moderate to challenging hikes, scenic drives, culture tours, and tastings of local delicacies, all the while taking in the island's majestic landscapes.
Waterfront hotels, converted historic monasteries, and riverside retreats all feature excellent service, great views, and the full spectrum of amenities.
Corsica is dry, Mediterranean, and unshaded. In the mountains it is cool with possible storms.
You will be met by your guide(s) at the Ajaccio airport upon your arrival.
You can fly into the Ajaccio airport (AJA), where the trip starts, from the Paris Orly airport (ORY), Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG), Nice airport (NCE), or Marseille airport (MRS).
You can take a ferry from Nice to Ajaccio, where the trip starts. You can see schedule and book tickets at Corsica Ferries HERE.
There is only 1 hotel on this trip that has a swimming pool, the 1st night's hotel - Cala di Sole. However, on nights 2, 3 and 4, our hotel is located directly on the beach.
Air Corsica has flights directly from Calvi to Paris Charles de Gaulle, or else you can take a flight to Marseille and then connect to another flight to Paris Charles de Gaulle. Total travel time would be 3.5 to 4 hours.
A good trail shoe with a low ankle is acceptable on this trip. Please make sure your hiking shoes have a good lug sole.
Make any of our trips a custom adventure or start from scratch. Take two itineraries and match them up to create a unique third. Add extras and extensions and more...if you can imagine it, we can make it happen!
"Corsica is Europe's best-kept secret. It has it all in one space: beaches like Greece, hills like Scotland, rocks like New Zealand. A true gem!"
MT Sobek Guest, Corsica: Hiking the Island of Beauty
"Breathtaking hikes expose the island's cultural traditions and hidden treasures. An incredible way to reconnect with nature and experience a different side of France."
MT Sobek Guest, Corsica: Hiking the Island of Beauty