On this walking trip, you will venture away from the famous beaches and cosmopolitan towns of the south up into the Alta Rocca. Carpeted with heather and wild herbs, your trail will lead you through sleepy perched villages, pink granite pinnacles and archaeological sites whilst never failing to offer breathtaking views of the coastline below.
Mare a Mare South
Duration: 8 days
Difficulty level: Moderately challenging walking
Type: Self Guided
Start and finish point: Porto Vecchio
Departure dates: Every Sunday from May to September
Day 1: Start your holiday in Porto Vecchio
Fly to Figari and spend the rest of the day exploring Porto Vecchio. Night in Porto Vecchio.
Day 2: From Porto Vecchio to Cartalavonu
Your walking circuit starts in Porto Vecchio. After a short taxi transfer to Alzu di Gallina you will start walking towards the mountains. Passing through the Ospedale villages you will reach Cartalavonu situated at 1020m altitude. The trail will take you through the Corsican scrub and under maritime pine trees until finally reaching the plateau of Cartalavonu.
Night in Cartalavonu.
Around 5H walking, +880m.
Day 3: From Cartalavonu to Levie
The path leads northwards, from the hamlet of Cartalavonu to the high mountain pass of Foce Alta, from where there are magnificent views over the Lake of Ospedale. After arriving at the Bocca a Mela, you will see the small villages of the Alta Rocca and the famous pink granite "needles" (or pinnacles) of Bavella. After crossing a river and walking through olive groves you will finally arrive at Levie.
Night in Levie.
Around 5H walking, +510m, -920m
Day 4: From Levie to Quenza
The village church is the starting point for today's trek. After the last house in the village the path climbs up through an oak forest full of huge blocks of granite lying on the forest floor. You will then arrive at St Laurent chapel which is close to some well known archaeological sites. The most famous of these is Cucuruzzu dating back from the Bronze Age and now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Heading in the direction of Zonza, you will finally reach the village of Quenza after crossing the Criviscia river.
Night in Quenza.
Around 4H walking.
Day 5: From Quenza to Serra di Scopamena
Quenza is famous for its church that dates back to the year 1000. A track will lead you to the hamlet of Jallicu (Ghjallicu), offering you swimming opportunities in the river Codi. You will then descend through the Corsican scrub towards the shepherds huts at Lavu Donacu before arriving at Serra di Scopamena. You will have the opportunity to visit an old chestnut mill near the river.
Night in Serra di Scopamena.
Around 4H05 walking.
Day 6: From Serra di Scopamena to Santa Lucia di Tallano
Today's walk commences through a chestnut forest and you will notice the old mill that has been restored by the Corsican Natural Park. After passing through a grove of green oaks, the path loops down to come out at a small country lane before ending at Campu. You will then climb up through the middle of oak and strawberry trees to the Col de Tavara. You will find in the village of Ste Lucie a XVth century convent and tower, a restored olive mill and an olive oil museum.
Night in Santa Lucia di Tallano.
Around 5H walking, +400m, -800m.
Day 7: From Santa Lucia di Tallano to Burgo
Passing the XIIth century Roman chapel St-Jean-Baptiste, the path descends through a forest of oak trees to the Piombatu Bridge that crosses the Rizzanese. You will head towards Fozzano, a village famous for a story from Mérimée. After which you will make your way towards Baraci, crossing the Capannajola and the Baraci river close to an old water mill.
Night in Burgo.
Around 6H walking, +675m, -1135m.
Day 8: End of holiday
After breakfast in Burgo you will be transfered to the airport for your return journey home.
Trip grading and level of difficulty
The walks are on good footpaths and trails although terrain is often rocky and rarely flat. You need to be used to walking all day and take regular exercise to enjoy this holiday. There are many uphill and downhill sections. We describe this walk as moderate with strenuous sections and encourage walkers to use two walking poles.The paths are well trodden and way- marked but you still have to be attentive to your maps.
Why self-guided walking?
You can walk at your own pace, choosing when and where to stop. There are often other walkers on the same itinerary that you will bump into along the way. We transport your bags between the hotels, provide maps and good walking notes. This is a way of enjoying complete flexibility, you dictate the walking pace and rhythm of your holiday.
Number of participants
From 2 people. For safety reasons we do not accept single person reservations.
- Return flights from London Stansted or Manchester
- 5 night accommodation on half-board
- 2 nights accommodation on bed & breakfast
- Return airport transfers
- Taxi transfer to Propriano
- Luggage transfer, maps and route notes
What's not included
- Meals not stated in the trip notes
- Travel insurance
- Single & upgrade supplements
Luggage moving and day sack
You will need to carry a day sack only, with your water bottle, camera, picnic and gortex jacket. Our bag-moving service means you can travel light during your walks, just taking with you what you need for the day. Your main luggage will be transported by vehicle between the different night stops by a variety of different people. This ranges from local taxis, hotel owners and our own staff. We ask you to please limit your main luggage to around 15kg per bag to facilitate the driver loading it in and out of the vehicle.
It is important to consider that it may be necessary to carry your bags short distances at the start and towards the end of your holiday. You will need the appropriate luggage.
See Tour Accommodation section below.
Breakfasts are continental style. Evening meals are simple local specialities and there can often be a limited choice. We recommend that you bring your preferred trail food, or high energy bars for the walks. Picnics can be purchased daily from bakers or small supermarkets. Please ensure you make us aware of any dietery requirements at the time of booking.
Bring sufficient to cover your personal expenses including snacks and drinks. Bottled water, soft drinks, beer and wine, coffee are all expensive. It is impossible to change money here and trying to find a working cash machine can be problematic. We recommend bringing all the Euros you need with you in cash.
Preparing for your trip
It is a good idea to get fit for this trip. The more time you put in before you leave, the more you will get out of the walking. You should do regular aerobic exercise in preparation for the hills. Walking regularly with a rucksack is the best way to make sure you are fit enough for the Corsican hills and enjoy the trip to the fullest.
You can expect to encounter some very wide ranging temperatures. During the walks you should be ready for everything, take powerful sun protection, as well as warm fleeces and a gortex wind jacket. Corsica is known for its micro climates and each valley can be very different. The weather can change quickly and the mountains generate some stormy, often unpredictable weather.
What to bring and pack
- A small day pack for your water bottle, camera, picnic and waterproof.
- A rucksack or suitcase for your main luggage 15kg maximum per person
- Good walking shoes or boots with a good grip sole
- Walking socks
- Warm fleece
- Shorts and t-shirts.
- Swimming costume or trunks
- 2 walking poles (optional)
- Water bottle (one litre minimum)
- Personal first aid kit with good blister protection
- For your picnics:
- A good cutting knife, fork, spoon, plastic cup and plate some plastic bags
- Sun and rain protection
- Sunglasses and sun cream
- Sun hat
- Wind and waterproof jacket (Gore-tex style)
- Trainers or open sandals
- Warm fleece and casual wear
- First aid - we recommend that you bring your own personal first aid kit consisting of: antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Immodium) painkillers, plasters and blister treatment, re-hydration (Dioralite). Glucose tablets or Kendal Mint cake and multi-vitamin tablets are a good idea.
UK residents should obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before travelling. The EHIC is normally valid for three to five years and covers any medical treatment that becomes necessary during your trip, because of either illness or an accident. The card gives access to state-provided medical treatment only and you'll be treated on the same basis as an 'insured' person living in the country you're visiting. This might not cover all the things you'd expect to get free of charge from the NHS in the UK. You may have to make a contribution to the cost of your care. You can obtain an EHIC from the Department of Health by phone, online, or at the post office.