Walking in Corsica

£10.00

Landscapes of CORSICA: walks and car tours

by Noel Rochford

Once again I am writing to express our appreciation of the excellent series of walk books, this time for walking in Corsica. The guide book really brought the island to life for us and was an invaluable aid and, of course, really enjoyable to browse through before we went. (SM, Abergavenny)

Brilliant. This was our first Sunflower guide book and from now on for every walking holiday that series will be our first choice of walking guide. (W, Amazon)

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Description

CorsicaNoel Rochford, who has written several Landscapes guides, found the Corsicans to be the friendliest people he encountered throughout his travels. But the landscapes enchanted him as well: “No other Mediterranean island can boast such a wealth of natural beauty. Beaches to suit every taste: from long stretches of glaring white sand to pink rocky coves. Real mountains — climbers’ terrain — that reach almost 3000m/9000ft. In these mountains you stumble upon a magnificent mixture of pine forests, beech woods, chestnut groves, and coppices of evergreen oaks. Streams bound down the mountainsides; rivers cascade through awe-inspiring gorges, leaving behind blue-green pools as clear as crystal. The pink granite hills and cliffs, normally conjured up only for an artist’s canvas, are real indeed on Corsica.”

Best months for walking in Corsica: In May and June the countryside is enlivened with a tapestry of wild flowers and maquis in bloom. The hills are ablaze with colour and the air is intoxicatingly-scented by the maquis. This is possibly the best time to walk in Corsica, although September and October are also good choices.

Where to stay

The walks have been written up from four bases: Ajaccio/Porto, Calvi, Bastia and Porto-Vecchio. All are quite well served by public transport, so it is not essential to have a hire car. But it’s a very large island, and driving in Corsica is great fun for those who enjoy motoring. Note: in the peak season (July and August) it is essential to have accommodation booked in advance.

Edition/contents etc

10 car tours, 55 long and short walks, 14 picnic suggestions
136 pages + touring map; plans of Ajaccio, Calvi, Bastia; large-scale (1:50,000) topo maps
6th ed, 2016; ISBN 978-1-85691-481-9; UK retail price £12.99 / USA retail price $18.00

Table of contents:

Preface 5
Acknowledgements; Recommended books and maps 6
Getting about 7
Touring 8
Short walks and picnic suggestions 9

TOURING
Ajaccio 1: THE PINK CLIFFS OF THE PORTO GULF AND THE SPELUNCA GORGE 10
Ajaccio 2: COUNTRY ROADS TO BASTELICA 14
Ajaccio 3: SOME HISTORY AND THE D69 17
Calvi 1: THE ISOLATED NIOLO BASIN AND THE BREATH-TAKING WESTERN GULFS 21
Calvi 2: THE ASCO VALLEY 26
Calvi 3: VILLAGES OF THE BALAGNE, AND THE TARTAGINE VALLEY 28
Bastia 1: SEASCAPES OF CAP CORSE 32
Bastia 2: THE ROCK POOLS OF THE RESTONICA 38
Bastia 3: LA CASTAGNICCIA’S CHESTNUT GROVES 40
Porto-Vecchio: THE OSPEDALE AND BAVELLA MASSIFS,AND A SUNSET OVER BONIFACIO 43

Walking 48
Maps and guides 48
Where to stay 49
Weather 49
What to take 50
Language 51
Things that bite, sting, or shoot 51
Waymarking 51
A country code for walkers and motorists 52
Organisation of the walks 52

WALKS FROM AJACCIO
1 Pointe de la Parata · Anse de Minaccia · Pointe de la Parata 54
2 Rocher des Gozzi 57
3 Forêt Domaniale de Chiavari 59
4 Forêt Domaniale de Vizzavona 61
5 Bergeries de Tolla 63
6 Ponte di Noceta 66
7 From Venaco to Vivario 69
8 Santo-Pietro-di-Venaco circuit 71
9 Circuit from Poggio-di-Venaco 72
10 Evisa to Ota (Spelunca Gorge) 73
11 From Ota to Serriera 75
12 Cascades d’Aitone 77
13 Le Château-Fort 78
14 Les Calanche 79
15 Capu d’Orto 80

WALKS FROM CALVI
16 Calvi · Notre Dame de la Serra · La Revellata · Calvi 83
17 Capu di a Veta 84 18 Cateri · Occi · Lumio 87
19 From Sant’ Antonino to l’Ile-Rousse 90
20 Plage de l’Ostriconi 92
21 From Calenzana to Bonifatu 93
22 Bonifatu · Refuge de Carrozzu · Spasimata bridge · Bonifatu 95
23 Erbaghiolu circuit 97
24 From Bonifatu to Tuvarelli 98
25 Barghiana · Bocca di Capronale · Barghiana 101
26 From Galéria to Girolata 103

WALKS FROM BASTIA
27 Capandula circuit 107
28 Lavasina · Pozzo · Lavasina 108
29 Monte Stello 109
30 Corte · Gorges du Tavignano · Refuge de la Sega · Corte 111
31 Lac de Melo and Lac de Capitello 115
32 Gorges de la Restonica 117
33 Sentier du Littoral: from St-Florent to Punta Mortella 119
34 Monte San Petrone 121

WALKS FROM PORTO-VECCHIO
35 Foce Finosa and Refuge de Paliri 123
36 Trou de la Bombe 125
37 Cascade de Piscia di Gallo 127
38 Monte Calva and ‘the Diamond’ 129
39 Forêt de l’Ospédale 131
40 Bonifacio and Capo Pertusato 132

Index 135
Touring map inside back cover
Transport timetables reverse of touring map

Guidebook index

Agnone (river) 61
Aitone (river) 24, 77, 77
Ajaccio 10, 13, 14, 16, 17, 20
Albertacce 22
Algajola 21
Ancien Chemin de Piana a Ota 79, 81, 82
Anglais, Cascades des 61, 61, 62
Anse de Fornali 119, 120
Anse de Minaccia 54, 55, 56
Anse de Tuara 25, 103, 105
Appietto 10, 56, 57, 58
Aregno 31, 88-89, 90
Argentella, l’ 25
Asco (village and valley) 26, 27
Aullène 17, 20

Bains de Guitera 20
Balagne, la 28, 29, 30, 31, 88-89, 89, 90-91
Barcaggio 34, 107
Barghiana 101
Bastelica 14, 16
Bastelicaccia 16
Bastia 32, 37, 38, 39, 40, 42
Bavella 45, 123, 124, 125, 126
Aiguilles de Bavella 45, 124
see also under Col
Belgodère 29, 34, 35, 36-7
Belvédère 18
Bergerie (shepherds’ outpost)
de Bonniace 111, 113
de Codopratu 66-67, 71
de Tatarellu 66-67, 71

Bergeries de Grotelle 39, 115, 116, 118
de Porteto 61, 62
de Tolla 63, 64-65, 65

Bettolace 34
Bigorno 39
Bocca (pass); see also Col, Foce
a l’Arinella 111, 113
d’Illarata 44, 129, 130
dell’ Oro 46
di a Battaglia 28, 30
di a Croce 25, 103, 105, 106
di Bigorno 39
di Bonassa 94-95, 97, 98, 99
di Capronale 101, 102
di l’Erbaghiolu 94-95, 97
di Lucca 98-99
di Mercujo 16
di Salvi 29
di Velaco 125
Murellu 66-67, 70
San Bastiano 10
San Petru 74-75, 76

Bonifacio 43, 46, 47, 132, 133, 134
Bonifatu 93, 94-95, 96, 97, 98
Cala Rossa 45
Calacuccia 22
Calanche, les 12, 13, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82
Calenzana 28, 93, 94, 94-95
Calvi 21, 25, 26, 27, 28, 31, 83, 84, 85
Camera 35
Campana 41
Campomoro 17, 18
Canaglia 63, 64-65
Canonica, la (church) 42
Cap Corse 32, 33, 34, 35, 107- 110
Capandula (nature reserve) 107
Capigliolo 54, 56
Capo (cape)
di Feno 55
Pertusato 47, 132, 133, 134
Rosso 12

Capu (summit, peak); see also Monte
a Chiostru 114, 116
Corbinu 88-89, 90
di a Veta 84, 85, 86
di Larata 73
d’Orto 12, 80, 81, 82
Tafunatu 23, 102

Carcheto-Brustico 42
Cargèse 11
Casalabriva 17
Casamaccioli 22
Casamozza 38
Casanova 66-67, 72
Castagniccia, la 40-42
Cateri 31, 87, 88-89
Cauria (site) 19
Cauro 16
Centuri-Port 32, 35
Cervione 40, 42
Château-Fort, le (rock formation, les Calanche) 78, 81
Chiavari, Ancien Penitencier de 59, 60
Col (pass); see also Bocca
de Bavella 43, 44, 123, 125
de la Serra 34
de la Vaccia 20
de Listincone 56, 57, 58
de Mela 130, 131
de Palmarella 25
de Prato 41, 121, 122
de Sevi 13
de Teghime 37
de Vergio 21, 23
de Vizzavona 61, 61
St-Georges 16, 17

Corbara 28, 30, 88-89
Corte 38, 111, 112, 113, 114
Coti-Chiavari 14
Couvent de Marcasso (Cateri) 31, 87, 88-89, 90
Croce 41

Désert des Agriates 21, 119, 120

Erbalunga 32
Evisa 10, 13, 21, 24, 73, 74-75

Fango (river) 25, 98, 98-99, 100
Favone 45
Feliceto 29
Ficajola 12
Figarella (river) 93, 94, 94-95
Filitosa (site) 17, 18
Foce, la 61, 62
Foce (pass); see also Bocca, Col
Alta 130, 131
d’Orto 80, 81
Finosa 123, 125
Forêt (forest)
Communale de Calenzana 99
Communale de Vivario 65
de l’Ospédale 43, 131
de San Pietro d’Accia 122
de Valdu Niellu 23

Domaniale d’Aitone 77
Domaniale de Bavella 105
Domaniale de Bonifatu 94-95, 96-98
Domaniale de Chiavari 14, 15, 59, 60
Domaniale de Piana 81
Domaniale de Sabineto 75
Domaniale de Zonza 130
Domaniale de Vizzavona 61, 61
Domaniale du Fango 101, 105
Domaniale du Tavignano 118, 119
Francardo 22

Galéria 25, 103, 104, 105
Girolata 25, 103, 104, 105, 106
Golfo di Sogno 45
Golo (river) 22, 38
Gorges
de l’Asco 27
de Spelunca 13, 21, 24, 73, 74-75
de la Restonica see Restonic
du Prunelli 14, 16
du Tavignano see Tavigano

Grottaccia (river) 64-65

Haut Asco 26, 27

Ile-Rousse, l’ 21, 26, 28, 30, 31, 40, 88-89. 90, 91
Lac (lake)
de Capitello 115, 116, 116
de Melo 115, 116, 116

Lancone, Défilé de 38, 39
Lavasina 32, 108, 109
Lavatoggio 88-89, 90
Listincone 56
Lozari 22
Lugo 66-67
Lumio 21, 28, 31, 87, 88-89, 90
Lunghignano 29

Macinaggio 32, 33, 34, 107
Manganello (river) 63, 64-65
Marato 15
Marine de Meria 33
Marine de Pietracorbara 33
Marine de Sisco 33
Mezzavia 10
Miomo 32
Monte (mountain); see also Capu
Calva 129, 130
Cinto 27, 102
d’Oro 61
Renoso 16
San Petrone 41, 121, 122, 122
Stello 32, 109, 110
Montemaggiore 29
Morosaglia 40
Morsiglia 35
Moulin Mattei 34
Muracciole 66-67, 69, 70
Murato 38, 39
San Michele di (chapel) 39
Muro 28, 29

Niolo, le (plateau) 22, 23
Noceta 66-67, 70
Notre Dame de la Serra (chapel, near Calvi) 25, 83, 84, 85
Nonza 32, 36

Occi 1, 87, 88-89, 89
Occiglioni 88-89, 91
Ospédale, l’ (village, reservoir) 43, 44, 127, 130
Ota 10, 12, 21, 24, 73, 74-5, 76
les Deux Ponts d’ 13, 24, 74-75

Palaggiu, Menhirs de (site) 19
Parata, la (Pointe de, Tour de) 54, 55, 56
Patrimonio 32, 37
Piana 10, 11
Piccovagia 46
Piedicroce 40, 41
Pietranera 32
Pigna 31, 88-89
Pinarellu 43, 45
Pino 36
Piscia di Gallo (waterfall) 43, 127, 128
Plage (beach)
d’Arone 12
de Botre 30, 88-89
de Bussaglia 25
de Ostriconi 8-9, 22, 92, 92
de Palombaggia 43, 46
de Portiglio 18
de St-Antoine 56
de Tamarone 107
de Tuara 103, 105

Poggio-de-Venaco 4, 66-67, 72
Poggio-Riventosa 66-67, 72
Pointe de la Corba 54, 56
Pont (bridge); see also Ponte
de Grotelle 114, 118
de Listincone 74-75
de Mezzanu 12, 79, 80, 81, 82
de Serreira 74-75
de Tuvarelli-Chiorna 98-99. 100
de Zaglia 13, 73, 74, 74-5
du Vecchio 66-67

Ponte (bridge)
di Noceta 66-67, 68, 69
Vecchiu (Fango River) 98-99, 100
Vecchiu (Porto River) 13, 24, 73, 74, 74-75

Ponte Leccia 21, 22, 38, 40
Ponte Nuovo 38, 39
Poretto 108
Porta, la 40, 41
Porticcio 14
Porticciolo 33
Porto 10-11, 12, 24
Porto-Vecchio 43, 47
Pozzo 108, 109, 110
Propriano 17, 18
Punta (peak)
di a Vacca Morte 130, 131
di a Literniccia 104, 105
di u Diamanti 44, 129, 130
Mortella 119

Refuge (mountain hut)
de Carrozzu 94-95, 96
de la Sega 111, 113, 114, cover
de Paliri 123, 124, 125

Melo 111
Restonica (river) 39, 112, 115, 116, 116, 118
Revellata, la (peninsula) 25, 83, 84
Riventosa 66-67, 72
Rizzanèse (river) 19
Rocher des Gozzi (peak) 10, 56, 57, 58
Roches Bleues, les (les Calanche) 79, 80, 81, 82
Rogliano, Commune de 32, 34
Ruisseau (stream)
de Campottoli Rossi 101, 102
de Zirione 14, 59, 60

Sagone 11, 13
Saint-Florent 37, 119, 120
Sainte-Lucie-de-Porto-Vecchio 45
Salicio (Belvédère) 11
San Ciprianu 43, 45
San Nicolao 40, 42
San Petru d’Accia (chapel) 121, 122, 122
Sanguinaires, Iles 55
Sant’ Antonino 28, 29, 31, 88-89, 90
Santa-Maria-Siché 17, 20
Santa Severa 33
Santo-Pietro-di-Venaco 66-67, 71
Sartène 17, 19
Scala di Santa Regina (gorge) 22
Sénèque, Tour de 33, 35
Sentier (waymarked trail)
de la Sitelle 77
des Douaniers 35, 107
des Rochers 130, 131
du Littoral 119
du Myrte 15, 59, 60

Serra di Pigno 37
Serriera 2, 74-75, 76
Sisco, Commune de 33
Solenzara 43, 45
Sollacaro 17
Spasimata (river) 94-95, 96
Speloncato 28, 30
Spin’a Cavallu (bridge) 19
Stranciacone (river) 26, 27

Tarco 45
Toala (river) 66-67, 72
Tartagine (river) 28, 30
Tavignano (river) 111, 112, 113
Tattone 63, 64-65
Tête de Chien (rock formation, les Calanche) 12, 13, 78, 81
Tizzano 19
Tolla 14, 16
Lac de 16
Trou de la Bombe (Bavella) 125, 126
Tuvarelli 98

Valle-di-Campoloro 42
Vecchio (river) 66-67, 68, 118
Venaco 66-67, 68, 69, 71
Verghia 14, 59, 60
Vico 10, 13
Vivario 66-67, 69, 70
Vizzavona 61, 62

Zicavo 17, 20
Zonza 43, 44
Zucchero 66-67, 68

Current update

Corsica, 6th edition (2016), updated 8/10/2016

Updates for walks and car tours (drives) on Corsica given below supplement those provided in the guidebook. It is vital that this Update is read in conjunction with the text of the book, but note that the Update applies only to the edition stated and not to any earlier editions. (If you have an older edition of this book you can “upgrade” to the latest edition at half price.)

Information has been forwarded to us by users of the book, and Sunflower Books offers the data in good faith but cannot be held responsible for any misleading or inaccurate content in the Update. Unless indicated otherwise, what appears here has not been verified by the author or publisher, so please allow due caution when new or amended routes are suggested. Each piece of information is dated; bear in mind that some of the older observations may have since been overtaken by events or further changes. If, during your holiday, you are using the current edition of the guide and are able to provide any additional updating to add to this page, we will be pleased to hear from you. Please send information, preferably by e-mail, to info@sunflowerbooks.co.uk.

Car tour Bastia 1: The Tour de Nonza has been rebuilt into a posh, uniquely placed bar/restaurant. (Sunflower, 7/16)

Walk 6: A user, not realising there was a new edition of the book, used a previous edition to do this walk – the ridge top and valley circuit shown in purple for “adventurous walkers”. Here is his report:

We had major problems on walk 6 and would not recommend anyone else to attempt it. The road along the ridge has no orange flashes and we found only one, heavily overgrown, path that looked like a shortcut.  We followed it for 10 mins until it ended in impenetrable scrub on a steep hillside.  So we returned to the road.  We followed the road to its end, as shown on the map, but found no waymarks, no sign of Zucchero nor any descending path.  We tried one tentative possibility but it soon petered out in thick scrub again.
I’ve since looked at Google maps and see paths descending both sides of the ridge 550m before the end of the road.  However, the only path we could discern on the ground descended to the north-east, not the south-west as shown on your map.  We could see ruined buildings down there but nothing on the other side of the ridge so we descended this path past two ruined buildings, which each had orange waymarks.  This led us to a steep path in dense forest with orange waymarks on trees every few yards.  The waymarks ended at the top of a small cliff and, although we cast about for half an hour, we found no more.
Of course, we should have retraced our steps at this point but instead we fought our way downhill for an hour until we emerged on the T50 road.  From here we managed to find our way on road to the Ponte di Noceta and join the proper route which was exactly as described from then on. (User, 8/16)
Walk 24: IMPORTANT: There is an error on page 121! The fork where you take the “lower track to the right” is reached after about 25 minutes; at the 45min-point you must fork LEFT UPHILL.  Ten minutes later, on the RISE in a small pine wood (55 min) the path to Monte San Petrone is no longer signposted. The only “sign” in summer 2016 was a red paint way mark on a tree. (User, 2016, confirmed by Sunflower)

Below are some suggestions from users for other walks or variations; these are not corrections to the text.

NEW WALK FROM BONIFATU to the Refuge Ortu di Piobbu 8 miles, 4h30min
Fairly strenuous, with an ascent of approx. 1000m/3300ft lasting 2.5h. Not suitable in cold, wet or changeable weather.
Equipment, Access: as Walk 15
Follow Walk 15 for 15min, but then fork left for the Refuge Ortu di Piobbu. At this point you ford the river, jumping from boulder to boulder. You immediately commence a steady ascent up a rough track which is concreted for a couple of sections. The river is in a deep gorge on your left. After brisk 1h10min you ford a stream with a partially-concreted bed. After 1h30min ford another stream; here a sign tells you that it is another 1h30min to the rufuge. From now on follow yellow pain daubs. The track gets progressively steeper and winds through Corsican pine forest. After 1h55min you ford another stream. Continue up through pines and then a birch forest containing large boulders, before reaching the tree-line of the pine forest. Once above the treeline you ascend through rocks and grass. After 2h05min the refuge is visible up a steep pasture and is reached at 2h15min. The refuge is for the use of overnight visitors only and sits in a natural amphitheatre of pasture and crags, with some birch forest nearby. Return the same way. You can swim in the large pools near the auberge at Bonifatu. (User)

NEW WALK FROM CALENZA
I walked from Calenzana on the GR20 to a ridge about 1000m above Calenzana. Even on a very hot day this took 3h and 2h down the same way. The path continues above this ridge, but the ridge itself is a very rewarding spot. (User)

NEW WALK FROM CALVI
Take the train towards Ile Russe and alight at St Ambroggio or Cocoody Village (Club Med). From there it is possible to follow a coast path back towards Calvi, near the train line. You can stop when you like. From St Ambroggio to St Restitude takes about 3h. Plenty of beaches en route. (User)

NEW WALK FROM CORTE
Info. in Corte have the full details.
Waymarked (orange) circular route from Corte starting just to the right of the start of the Travignano valley path. Steep climb up towards the ridge, firstly up open hillside then up through shady chestnut and pines before very steep final path to the top. Fabulous views into the Travignano gorge. Had no time to complete the circuit which continues anticlockwise along the mountainside before returning downhill, but no doubt the waymarking is more than adequate to return into Corte. (User)

NEW WALK FROM BONIFACIO: A good walk is shown by the red randonnee line on the 1:25000 map Top25 4255OT Bonifacio. The walk starts left up a track some 100m or so up the entrance road to Bonifacio. The walk goes to 3 bays and round the coast. (User, 5/09) [Editor’s comment: This user is referring to the path shown on our map which begins just west of the road to Port Vecchio and runs to the Phare de la Madonetta; it is waymarked.]

NEW WALKS FROM BASTIA: A map giving 17 circular walks, varying in length from 1 to 5 hours, may be obtained free from the Syndicat d’Initiative in Piedicroce (up some steps out of the village square). These walks link ancient villages in the Castagniccia region, NE of Corte. The reverse of the map gives the estimated time of the walk, but no indication of the difficulty. It also gives information about things you will see in this fascinating area. There are no detailed instructions for the walks but they are well marked with wooden signs in the villages giving walking times, and with frequent orange flashes. We used a 1:100 000 map of Northern Corsica, purchased locally, to get an idea of the terrain and to get to the starting points. The D506 road from Folelli on the main N198 takes you up into this region. We did the first walk, Boucle 1: Piedicroce – Pastoreccia – Campodonico – Pie d’Orezza – Piedipartino – Piedicroce (2 hours), setting off from the Syndicat d’Initiative in Piedicroce. The going was moderate with ups and downs through sweet chestnut forests and with one long, very steep descent. If you prefer a long, steep climb, you could do the walk just as well in the other direction, setting off just past the Mairie on the main street. We went wrong at one point where a fence has been built across the original route. We had to go down and round the bottom of the fence and up the other side (clearly waymarked when we looked for it). We found that the orange flashes are so frequent that if you walk for a few minutes without seeing one, you have gone wrong and need to retrace your steps! We also did Boucle 6: La Porta – Ezau – Ficaja – Chapelle Santa Maria – Croce – La Porta (2 hours). Again there were moderate ups and downs, with nothing really difficult. The two walks we did were very interesting and varied, with woodland, streams, villages, churches and sudden wonderful views across valleys. It was great to find so many circular walks! (User, 10/09)

NEW WALKS IN COSTA VERDE: A map giving 20 circular walks, varying in length from 1 to 9.5 hours, may be obtained free from the Tourist Office in Mariana Plage, south of Bastia on the N198. These walks link ancient villages in the Costa Verde region, some starting from the main road itself. The reverse of the map gives the estimated time and distance of the walk, a gradient profile and instructions for getting to the start point. There are no detailed instructions for the walks but they are well marked with wooden signs in the villages giving walking times, and with frequent orange flashes. We used a 1:100 000 map of Northern Corsica, purchased locally, as backup. We did the short Loop 20 which took in the interesting village of San Nicolao with its old black and white photos displayed in front of the buildings they depict. We also did Loop 13 in a clockwise direction. This seemed best as we did the uphill parts first and finished up with a pleasant stroll along the river. (We didn’t park down by the main road as suggested, but drove to where the paths divided at the start of the walk proper, although parking here is very limited.) (User, 9/10)

NEW WALKS IN HAUT ASCO: You mention Haut Asco in your ‘drives’ section, but I would strongly recommend climbing the GR20 to the Bocca di Stagnu: a bit ‘scrambly’ in places but nothing too difficult. The views from the Bocca are fantastic. I believe you could also carry on to the ‘a Murvella’ peak: being on my own I did not do this, it looked like there might be some awkward bits I wouldn’t want to try on my own, but probably it is a straightforward scramble. (User, 5/14)

CAVU VALLEY? I would also recommend the Cavu valley running inland from Ste Lucie de Porto-Vechio. An unmade road (tractable in an ordinary hire car) goes up this valley beyond the ‘Tyrolania’ adventure park with numerous shady parking and picnic spots. Walking along the road is v pleasant, with opportunities to scramble down to the river which has rock pools for bathing. There may be potential to work out a circular walk here. (User, 5/14)