Walking in Corsica
Long-distance and short walks
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This guidebook gives details of 3 long-distance walking routes in Corsica - Mare e Monti, Mare-Mare Nord and Mare-Mare Sud - which cross the island, and also describes 18 day-walks in prime spots both in the rugged mountains of the interior and the softer southern coastal fringe. Good local information.
- Any time of year for the coastal routes, but avoid July and August - too hot and very busy! March to May is best for flowers; May to September best for the mountains.
- Calvi, Cargese, Calenzana, Moriani, Corte, Porto-Vecchio, Propriano, Ajaccio and Bonifacio.
- Mainly fairly easy to moderate walking, with two shorter walks of a more challenging nature.
- Must See
- Views of the Aiguilles de Bavella, ancient bridges and villages, mountain and coastal scenery to take your breath away.
The 'scented isle', or Corsica, is a paradise for walkers and leads to a memorable holiday. The stunning, time-tested, Mare e Monti, Mare-Mare Bord and Mare-Mare Sud long-distance walking routes, criss-crossing the magnificent island, are presented in this guide. A total of 26 days are spent on coast-to-coast routes through the rugged mountainous interior and the softer south, along with the exceptional coastal fringe. A supplementary section has a selection of 18 day-walks in prime spots, allowing you to explore the towering forests, gushing cascades, beautiful isolated coves, aromatic maquis and spectacular river gorges. Top scenery and unspoilt nature are unavoidable! A fantastic range of comfortable hostels and well-run hotels ensure the walker is never far from their overnight stop and the enjoyment of some excellent catering.
With its informative colour maps and photographs illustrating the guide, and its valuable content this is the long-distance walkerís ultimate guide to the randonnées of Corsica.
When to Go
Getting to Corsica
What to Take
Food and Drink
Mare e Monti: Calenzana to Cargèse
Mare-Mare Nord: Cargèse to Moriani
Mare-Mare Sud: Porto-Vecchio to Propriano
1 St-Florent Coastal Route
2 The Fango Valley
3 Visiting Girolata
4 Spelunca Gorge
5 A Calanche Walk
6 Capu Rossu
7 The Aïtone Forest and Rock Pools
8 The Paglia Orba Loop
9 The Tavignano Bridge
10 Glacial Lakes in the Restonica Valley
11 La Cascade des Anglais
12 Trou de la Bombe
13 Foce Finosa
14 Zonza–Quenza Circuit
15 Cucuruzzu and Capula Archaeological Sites
16 Punta di a Vacca Morta
17 Piscia di Gallo Waterfall
18 The White Cliffs of Bonifacio
Long-Distance Route Summaries
Glossary of French and Corsican Terms
A detailed contour map is an essential aid to any walk undertaken in Corsica. The sketch maps provided in this guide are limited by space and graphics and are not intended as substitutes. Excellent maps published by the France's Institute Géographique National (IGN) are referred to in the heading of each walk described in this book. The blue Top 25 1:25,000 series are on sale all over Corsica in newsagents and even supermarkets, not to mention outdoor and map shops overseas. An orange 1:50,000 series has also been published, handy for the long-distance routes, however they are inexplicably unavailable on the island and can only be purchased at official IGN outlets in France, through specialist distributors in other countries or online at www.ign.fr.
At a stretch the green IGN 1:100,000 series could accompany a long-distance route and be used for identifying distant ranges and landmarks including villages, though they won't be much help if you get lost.
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p87 the bridge over Riviera St Antoine is no longer there so be prepared to wade over or balance on stepping stones. Further on the way has been rerouted via Chapelle St Marie en route to Quenza.
p118 Walk 8 the ford is now a bridge
p140 the Mare-Mare Sud out of Quenza has been rerouted via Chapelle St Marie and the bridge over Riviera St Antoine is no longer there so be prepared to wade over or balance on stepping stones
(Thanks to Wanda)
Sept 2014 Corsica Health warning - from Centre for disease control and prevention
Updated: August 04, 2014
According to the European Centre for Disease Control 6 people were infected with schistosomiasis on the island of Corsica (France). All of the travellers were exposed to the freshwater in the Cavu River and had not traveled to other areas where schistosomiasis is known to occur.
CDC recommends that travellers to the island of Corsica avoid exposure to freshwater to prevent schistosomiasis.
What can travelers do to protect themselves?
There is no vaccine or medicine to prevent schistosomiasis. If you are in an area where schistosomiasis occurs, you should avoid having your skin exposed to freshwater sources, such as lakes, rivers, ponds, and wetlands. If you get potentially contaminated freshwater on your skin during a trip to areas where schistosomiasis occurs, talk to your doctor about getting tested and treated.
Avoid wading, swimming or bathing in freshwater in countries where schistosomiasis occurs.
Swimming in the ocean or in well-chlorinated pools is safe.
If you have to use freshwater, such as lake or river water, for bathing, treat the water in one of 3 ways to avoid infection:
Filter water with fine mesh filters (pore size of 30 μm or smaller) to remove the parasite.
Heat bathing water to 122?F for 5 minutes to kill the parasite.
Keep water in a storage tank for at least 24 hours before use to kill the parasite.
If you feel sick and think you may have schistosomiasis:
Talk to your doctor or nurse if you feel seriously ill, especially if you have a fever.
Tell them about your travel. Describe in detail where and for how long you travelled, and explain that you may have been exposed to contaminated water. Ask if you need to be tested for schistosomiasis.
page 43 Mare e Monti. Day 5
Day 5 Girolata to Curzu. The path has been redirected and now follows what is described as the varient in the 2013 reprint of our book. The original route is now abandoned and extremely overgrown, with some paths fallen away and sometimes no water available. Please do not use this original route from Girolata, which is now abandoned.
P139 The bridge over the river San Antoine has been washed away. When we were there last month the water was low enough to ford easily. It looks as though they are preparing to replace it.
Mare e Monti Day 6 - pp45-46 - the path has been rerouted and no
longer touches on the D81 road. Follow waymarking carefully and you walk
directly into the village of Serriera.
The maps for Mare e Monti are sheets 4149OT, 4150OT and 4151OT
p69 and pp123-6
The bridge over the River Tavignano is no longer a hanging structure, but has been rebuilt with steel and wooden beams.
‘Ah, the scented Isle…loved by French gourmands and Italian sun-seekers but, most of all, by walkers. Around 10,000 a year tackle the GR20, one of France’s more technically demanding long distance footpaths. But only a relative few take the paths less travelled, through the forests and along the coast.
Gillian Price has laid this magical island bare to walkers of all abilities. In her usual straightforward style, she provides a wedge of information in the front of the book, including a glossary of French and Corsican terms. It’s worth mentioning (the book doesn’t) that, as well as heavily accented French, Corsicans speak a Genoese-based dialect which, in remote places, might be spoken as the first language. Most places have two names: the Corsu or Corsican names which often end in u, and the Frenchified names where the u translates to o.
There are a couple of other small omissions. Gillian fails to point out that a massive influx of summer tourists means prices on the island almost double during July and August. Still, most of these peak-season visitors are beach blobs and some of the more remote walks described in the book will be quiet year round. Nor does she discuss the political unrest created by the independence movement on the island, possibly because this does not generally impact on tourists.
Gillian has intentionally excluded the GR20 (covered in Paddy Dillon’s Cicerone guide, GR20: The Corsican High Level Route) and instead offers three long-distance walks: the glorious 10-day Mare e Monti (sea and mountains) plus north and south versions of a coast-to-coast. These are infrequently walked, so a guidebook to back up dodgy signposting will erase many of the question marks along the way.
Fairly obviously, these walks can be dissected into smaller chunks or blended with day routes described later in the book. My own favourite area, around Evisa with the Aitone cloud forest, rock pools and the Spelunca Gorge, joined together with bits of the Mare e Monti, could keep you happy for days on its own. For the day walker, 18 routes vary from a one-way cliff-top bumble from the pirate port of Bonifacio to the five-hour Paglio Orba loop in the central highlands though, unfortunately, many are linear. The routes are clustered in the north-west and south-east in the two Parc Naturels – fair enough as these are truly spectacular areas – and while the list of walks isn’t exhaustive, it provides an excellent basis for planning a holiday.
Once you’re on the island, with the right maps and the scent of sun-baked mountain herbs floating up your nostrils, you might even cut loose and find your own way.'
(Judy Armstrong, TGO May 2004)
Gillian Price was born in England but has lived in Venice for many years. Gillian has steadily explored the mountain ranges of Italy, and Corsica, and brought them to life for visitors in a series of outstanding guides for Cicerone. She is an active member of the Italian Alpine Club (CAI) and Mountain Wilderness.View Articles and Books by Gillian Price
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