Over the years I have travelled to many countries and had lots of amazing adventures. The adventure travel experience really broadened my mind and gave me a new outlook on life. Deciding to settle in the Lake District I was lucky enough to land myself a job at KE Adventure Travel with a great team of people with similar interests. I have just returned from a familiarisation trip to Corsica - The Mountains to the Sea trek, which was a great experience! Below is my account of the trip…
Corsica – Mountains to Sea
Day 1: Our flight to Ajaccio was early but it was only two hours. We were met by our guide Denis and after a relaxing 2-hour drive up the coastal road to Sagone and then inland up into the mountains we arrived at the hotel Castel de Virgio. We had lunch and met for our first briefing to introduce ourselves and for Denis to explain the trip itinerary. We had a free afternoon to rest or take a stroll in nearby woodlands. We met at 7pm for dinner and had wonderful views of the mountains. It was a great opportunity for everyone to relax and get to know each other.
Day 2: We started early each morning to catch the cool mornng air. Breakfast was at 7 and we set off at 7:30 on a section of the famous GR20 route. The weather was perfect with clear blue sky and sunshine (something us Brits have not seen much of this year!). We arrived at the mountain pass of Col de Vergio, which offered us our first big views, and then continued through a valley towards the left bank of the Golu. Lunch was at a series of very inviting rock pools with impressive views of rugged mountains. The group made the most of the pools, jumping in to cool down and enjoy a relaxing swim. We walked on towards our hotel stopping off at another secret pool on the way.
Day 3: We set off at 8 to trek to our next hotel in Evisa. The route headed back up the same section of the GR20 to the Col de Vergio. From here it was down hill and in the shade of the forest so a lot cooler. Lunch was at another rock pool where we enjoyed some more swimming and ate in a lovely shady spot with wonderful views. Our trek continued for about an hour in the sun and so on arrival in Evisa we decided we were in need of some cooling refreshments at the local bar. Our hotel in Evisa had a pool and there was time for more refreshments and another swim before dinner.
Day 4: We had the option to take it easy today, relaxing by the pool and exploring the village or going on a day walk. Most of us opted for the walk and we set off through chestnut woodlands and vegetation known locally as Maquis towards the deserted hamlet of Tassu. Tassu was fascinating to explore with its stone houses, old terracing and church which were all slowly being hidden by a layer of ivy. We continued on to the village of Marignana, where we could see views back across the valley to Evisa. There was time to enjoy an ice-cream at a village gite before looping back around the valley towards Evisa via the village of Christanacce.
Day 5: Today's objective was the lovely village of Porto, a small seaside resort on the West Coast famous for its dazzling sunsets. The route was a little easier today as the old path descended through the Spelunca Gorge providing us with plenty of shade. We had some amazing views along the way, stopping by a cool river for a swim and some lunch. After lunch we climbed up to Ota, a typical Corsican village built on the side of the mountain. After descending to the vibrant harbour village of Porto, surrounded by red granite cliffs, we checked in to our hotel with ocean views. Dinner was outside overlooking the harbour and of course watching the sunset.
Day 6: Our walk today was not as long but much of it was up hill! However, most of it was in the shade and everyone managed fine. We arrived at the top and began a ridge walk, offering amazing views of Porto, the mountains and the ocean with the white surf crashing into the island. After lunch we continued on to the village of Piana, stunningly located on plunging cliffs overlooking the Calanches. Everyone agreed that today's trek with its incredible views had been the best of all. Having arrived at Piana at 2pm there was plenty of time to explore the atmospheric village with its old white washed stone houses arranged around the 18th century church and square. It was a 'free' night so we were able to choose where to eat. We opted for a restaurant called Casablanca with great tasty local meals.
Day 7: Once again we had the option to relax or do a walk up to the summit of Capu d Ortu. Six of us decided to go. There had been a thunderstorm overnight but it had cleared by morning so we set off at 8:30. The walk provided us with more wonderful views and glimpses back to Porto. As we got close to the final ascent the skies started to darken and we could hear the distant roll of thunder. Denis our guide decided it was not safe to summit and it was time to get us off the mountain. He briefed us for a quick descent and his decision was correct because the weather quickly worsened and the storm soon descended. We all got off the mountain quickly and safely, despite the weather interrupting play. For our last meal we ate at a lovely local restaurant where we chatted, joked and laughed about the highlights of the last 7 days.
Could I go back to Corsica…Cors-i-can!
I have travelled to many countries, but had never considered going to Corsica. This trip has changed all that! I will definitely return for a holiday at some point and would love to do the GR20!
Corsica’s rugged mineral mountains, blue Mediterranean Sea with white surf crashing up against the rocks, white houses and lots of sun with blue sky make it an amazing place to visit!