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Along the GR20 through Corsica – Europe's toughest long-distance hiking trail

kaveman734

Along the GR20 through Corsica – Europe's toughest long-distance hiking trail

Hiking Collection by Vanessa Kopp

16-37

days

3-6 h

/ day

109 mi

37,400 ft

37,250 ft

Rough landscapes, loneliness, extreme heat, freezing cold and hardly any drinking water. Every morning at half past five, the alarm rings. Although that may not sound very inviting at first, for many, the GR20 is still a perfect hiking holiday. But, why? The French Grande Randonnée No. 20, or GR20 for short, is one of the toughest and most exciting long-distance trails in Europe. Over the course of 15 stages, it meanders 111 miles (180 kilometers) from northern Corsica through beautiful landscapes to the south of the island. The white and red mark will guide you the entire way from Calenzana via Vizzavona to Conca.

As far as Vizzavona, the northern part of the route is generally a more demanding and beautiful part and is therefore more well-trodden. But, the southern stages 10 to 15 will also make your hiking heart beat faster. Snow-covered cirques, deep valleys and glacial lakes tell tales of the area’s ice age history. The scenery is unbelievable and tough even for experienced mountain goers. As a result, this long-distance trail is one of the hardest and will be one of the best tours you have ever done.

Surefootedness, good physical condition and careful planning are crucial for the GR20. You should also have adequate supplies of drinking water and food in your backpack, since you will not be able to find it at many shelters. We recommend reserving spots in huts, rental tents, or bivouac in advance online to make sure you have a space.

The weather on Corsica is very varied. While hot summers and mild winters are the norm along the Mediterranean coast, the Corsican mountains are characterized by climates that range from continental to alpine. You can find snow fields even in the middle of summer. The managed huts on the GR 20 start their season in May and open until October. It is generally not advisable to start hiking before April. Also, bear in mind that many springs have dried up due to the summer heat by September. The months of June and July are therefore optimal for your adventure. However, you have to expect sudden changes in the weather and bad weather conditions all year round.

If that does not scare you off but arouses your interest, then you’ve come to the right place on the GR20!

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GR20 through Corsica

110 mi

37,675 ft

37,725 ft

Last updated: November 24, 2022

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Etappe 1: Calenzana zum Refuge de l'Ortu di u Piobbu – GR20 durch Korsika

    Difficult
    08:35
    7.47 mi
    0.9 mph
    4,650 ft
    275 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Welcome to the toughest long-distance hiking trail in Europe. The first stage of the GR 20 has it all: on the twelve kilometers from Calenzana to the Refuge d'Ortu di u Piobbu you master 1,420 meters in altitude. On the way, however, you will be rewarded with great views of the wild mountain landscape

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  • Difficult
    05:44
    4.64 mi
    0.8 mph
    1,950 ft
    2,850 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Mountains, mountains and more mountains. On today's stage, you'll get up high and crack the 2,000 meter mark. From the Refuge d'Ortu di u Piobbu you hike almost eight kilometers to the Refuge de Carezza.

    

    

    

    The first half of the stage takes you through the impressive and barren mountain landscape most of

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  • Difficult
    05:29
    3.11 mi
    0.6 mph
    2,325 ft
    1,800 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    All good things come in threes: On day three, hike along beautiful paths through the fantastic mountain landscape of Corsica. The path meanders through the rugged rock formations at high altitudes, accompanied by a breathtaking panorama.

    

    

    

    The hike is only a good five kilometers long, but from your night

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  • Difficult
    07:18
    6.18 mi
    0.8 mph
    4,050 ft
    3,250 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    New day, new rise. Today's stage takes you over the pass of Monte Cinto. You exceed the 2,600 meters in altitude and thus the highest point of the entire GR20. If you want to go even higher, then you can make a detour to the top of the mountain and stand on the roof of Corsica. At 2,706 meters, Monte

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  • Difficult
    05:00
    4.41 mi
    0.9 mph
    2,150 ft
    1,175 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Today's stage starts relaxed - which is quite appropriate after yesterday's hiking day. From the Refuhe Tighiettu it goes gently downhill at first. The ascent only begins halfway through, but you can easily manage the 650 meters in altitude.

    

    

    

    After almost a kilometer you will pass a pretty bathing pool

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  • Intermediate
    04:49
    5.69 mi
    1.2 mph
    550 ft
    2,375 ft
    Intermediate mountaineering route. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Today you hike downhill instead of uphill for a change. From the Refugio Ciotruli di Mori, the first five kilometers are downhill, after which the path is relatively flat to your current destination, Hôtel Castel De Vergio.

    

    

    

    You start at an altitude of almost 2,000 meters, so be prepared for frosty conditions

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  • Difficult
    08:22
    9.63 mi
    1.2 mph
    2,125 ft
    1,425 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Today we continue through green meadows and small woods. Although there are more than 600 meters in altitude and 15 kilometers of distance waiting for you today, you are now in the best training. The first four kilometers you can warm up on level ground.

    

    

    

    Then the climb begins. The path took you across

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  • Difficult
    06:32
    5.30 mi
    0.8 mph
    2,525 ft
    1,800 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Half time – you have already mastered half of the GR20. That gives motivation for today's stage. From the Refuge de Manganu you hike over the Punta alle Porta, further over the Bocca Soglia to the small and cozy Refuge Petra Piana.

    

    The first three kilometers you walk steadily uphill. The summit of Punta

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  • Difficult
    04:01
    6.13 mi
    1.5 mph
    1,375 ft
    2,800 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    New day, new hiking luck. Today you hike almost only downhill - nice for a change. You can also pack your bathing suit on top of the backpack, because you will pass two great bathing spots. Your destination today: the small town of Tattone.

    

    

    

    After just under four kilometers you will pass a waterfall whose

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  • Difficult
    13:44
    10.9 mi
    0.8 mph
    5,600 ft
    5,000 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    At the start of today's stage you can confidently treat yourself to a good breakfast, after all there are more than 1,700 meters in altitude ahead of you today. You leave the Refuge de L'Onda and climb straight uphill. However, since you are currently in full training, you can manage the ascent with

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  • Difficult
    10:15
    11.0 mi
    1.1 mph
    2,975 ft
    2,300 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    After ten days, hiking is already second nature to you. Today, on your eleventh stage, you can look forward to a nice up and down through - again - fantastic nature. From the Refuge de Capanelle you enter the beautiful single trail. Let yourself be lulled by the beautiful nature and you will quickly

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  • Difficult
    06:31
    6.46 mi
    1.0 mph
    1,975 ft
    2,175 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    It's worth getting up early today. The morning mood at the Refuge de Prati is unique when the sun slowly pushes up the horizon and drives away the cold of the night. After such a wonderful start to the day, the first meters of altitude on the Punta de Cappella run almost by themselves.

    

    

    

    The next four kilometers

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  • Difficult
    09:49
    11.8 mi
    1.2 mph
    2,550 ft
    3,250 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The GR20 is slowly coming to an end - all the more reason to enjoy the remaining stages to the fullest. Today's stage begins quite relaxed, the climb of the day awaits you at the end of the tour. Until then, however, you can still enjoy pure hiking fun: wide meadows, beautiful paths and hardly any meters

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  • Difficult
    07:48
    7.69 mi
    1.0 mph
    1,825 ft
    3,325 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    The beautiful Bavella massif will also accompany you on today's path. The first kilometers from the Refuge d'Asiano the path leads you quickly on level ground. After a good five kilometers it gets jagged: the Punta della Vaca massif protrudes from the gentle forest and meadow landscape and offers an

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  • Difficult
    07:17
    8.24 mi
    1.1 mph
    825 ft
    3,525 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Open your eyes, organize your thoughts, last day! You've almost made it, there are still 13 kilometers between you and your destination Conca. On your way mainly downhill you dive further and further into the lush green landscape of Corsica. Here it seems unreal that you were hiking through barren rocky

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    15
  • Distance
    109 mi
  • Duration
    111:13 h
  • Elevation
    37,400 ft37,250 ft

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