• Experience GR20 In Corsica And Make One Of Your Most Memorable Adventure Travel

    A few days ago, I posted a picture from the famous French trail called GR20, that cross the island of Corsica in south of France. This trail is really known as a challenging walk for experienced, fit walkers. Thus if you are looking for adventure travel, this article is for you!


    This trail is #9 in on my 10 best trails selection on infographic. In this article, I want to show why it’s definitely a route one should take once in a lifetime.



    Introduction To GR20

    “GR20″ stands for “Grande Randonnée”, Great Trail or Big Excursion, in French. It really deserves this name. In France, this path is so famous, you just say GR20 and everyone knows about it. Its local name “fra li monti” means Across the mountains as the 200 km (311 miles) sea to sea trail traverses Corsica from  North to South across rocky paths, up to 2700m. It takes around 15 days to walk the entire route. You can split in 16 stages.


    [Photo courtesy Antti Rantanen]


    GR20 is an advanced trail. It requires fit hikers to go the entire route.  Paddy Dillon, an english hiker and adventure traveler, wrote an enthousiastic book: GR20, Corsica: The High Level Route. I recommend to have it along the way. He shares his views on the trail difficulty with these words:

    There is no doubt that the GR20, traversing the rugged mountains of Corsica, is one of the top trails of the world. Its reputation precedes it, and most walkers who trek the route describe it afterwards as one of the toughest they have ever completed. Others find they are unable to complete it, having seriously underestimated its nature. The GR20 climbs high into the mountains and stays there for days on end, leading ordinary walkers deep into the sort of terrain usually visited only by mountaineers. The scenery is awe-inspiring, with bare rock and vertical lines in some parts, contrasting with forests, lakes and alpine pastures in other places. Those who walk the route are only too eager to share their experiences with those who haven’t, so that everyone who completes the GR20 is probably responsible for two or three more people walking it!

    From Paddy Dillon in GR20, Corsica: The High Level Route (source www.cicerone.co.uk)


    [Photo courtesy Antti Rantanen]

    However, remind the trail is 2 parts, North and South, very different:

    Hiking the Northern section of the GR20 is regarded as more demanding than hiking the GR20 South. From Vizzavona to Asco, the GR20 North winds through some incredulous mountain terrain, over the highest cols, past glacial lakes, down deep chasms and bare granite slopes and across almost impassable barriers equipped with hand chains and ladders. There are many steep ascents and descents, the ambience is strictly alpine. [...] Walking the South part of GR20, you will encounter a variety of landscapes and ever changing climates and enjoy some unforgettable experiences. Walking the GR20 South is no exception. The GR20 South is certainly less precipitous than the Northern section…

    Read full article here (Source www.le-gr20.com)



    In 1972 the Parc Naturel Regional du Corse (PNRC) was established to encourage `green tourism’ in the mountains and bring back to life the ancient transhumance trails. Soon after, the idea for the GR20 was conceived by Michel Fabrickant, a keen mountaineer with a passion for the Corsican Mountains. It was primarily intended for the very sporty and the sale of food at the refuges was forbidden up until the 1990s so that walkers had to carry everything with them or regularly descend into the valleys to stock up. The route has since been diverted and extended to pass through more of the villages and bergeries and hence bring money to the more remote areas of the mountains.

    Read the full article here (source www.gr20mountainadventures.blogspot.fr)


    Why You Should Hike It

    Experience the GR20 more than a simple walk. You can enjoy local strong culture, food and wines. Cheese is made in the local mountains, as meat. Make detours to villages and create the opportunity to meet and discuss with corsicans people.

    Most people would relish the opportunity to walk among wild mountains, feeling the roughness of the rocks with their fingers, enjoying the clarity of the views under a blazing Mediterranean sun, maybe enlivened with streaks of snow on the higher slopes. There is the perfumed scent of the maquis, and the chance to spot eagles in flight. You can do all this, provided you keep an eye on the weather, since Corsica is noted for severe summer thunderstorms, while in winter the mountains are truly alpine. There is the prospect of sleeping in rustic refuges, or even better, sleeping under canvas, peeping out to discover the mountains bathed in moonlight. On moonless nights, you can gaze awe-struck at the firmament speckled with millions of pinprick stars. You can enjoy all this and more provided you make careful plans and walk within your limits.

    From Paddy Dillon in GR20, Corsica: The High Level Route (source http://www.cicerone.co.uk)

    Moreover, as the trail’s reputation has gone beyong frontieres, many people seeking adventure travel take this trip. You enjoy a melting pot of hikers from around the world when resting in refuge, having great time and moments with peers walkers.


    [Photo courtesy Antti Rantanen]

    Well, in a few words, people tend to say that it’s a trail you don’t want to end…


    Best Season

    The best time for the GR20 trek is late June and early September, when most huts are open, weather is not so hot and the trail is less crowded than in July or August. Between November and May there is snow in the mountains and the trail is quite dangerous. There are no guards in refuges off-season, so you have to carry all food.

    Read full article here (source www.corsica.forhikers.com)


    A Hiker Testimonial : Memories of a trekker

    I recommend to watch this truly inspiring video from a hiker who found his wanderlust in GR20 and experienced this rich adventure travel.

    This is a 55 minute documentary-film of my experience on the northern section of the GR 20 (Corsica) I did back in July 2010 with a couple of friends. If you care to watch it to the end, you will (hopefully) share our same emotions and will get the distinct impression of what this trek is about.
    For those who have done this trek already it will be heartwarming to find some familiar places.

    Shooting and editing this film has been for me an act of love towards this fantastic land.



    Other Tips

    - Where to start?

     The GR20 can be completed in two senses, North-South and South-North. Even though most route notes provide a guide to the North-South version, there are two reasons that defend the South-North choice. Firstly, the mountains in the Southern section of the GR20 are less technical and steep than the mountains in the Northern section. This therefore permits you to carry out the hike by following a progression in difficulty, a great advantage especially for beginners. Secondly, hiking from the South to the North means that the sun is behind you, which improves the light and visual quality during your walk.

    Read full article here (source www.le-gr20.com/)

    - Get the GR20 detailed itinerary here with all daily stages, maps and variantes (source www.corsica.forhikers.com)

    - Get the full list of equipment for packing light and smart + accommodation details: here (source www.le-gr20.com/)


    There is no doubt one should walk this exceptionally stunning route to make a trip of a lifetime. Did you hike it of a part of it? How does it sounds for you? Please leave a comment below and don’t forget to vote on top of this post.