Mare a Mare South

Tour  

L'Extrême Sud  |  Porto Vecchio

Walking tour - Min 2 pax.

Lowest price package

Sun 07 Sep 2014 - 7 nights

from £1194pp (based on 2 sharing)

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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.

What's included

  • 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
  • Drinks
  • 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.

Accommodation

See Tour Accommodation section below. 

Meals

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.

Spending money

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.

Climate

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
  • Towel
  • 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.

Tour Accommodation

Day 1 - Hôtel Costa Salina

Room Type: Standard Room

Board Basis: Bed & Breakfast

  More Information

Days 2 to 7 - Mare a Mare South

Room Type: Standard Room

Board Basis: Half Board

  More Information

About the Local Area

ABOUT AREA

Porto Vecchio as we see it today has grown up around the famous 16th-century citadel, perched atop an outcrop of granite; and the rampart restaurants offer splendid views from this ancient vantage point. The town’s old centre, a maze of narrow streets, has kept its charm and still has the atmosphere of the fortress town it once was. Just a few minutes walk away is the marina, lined with lively cafés, this is a great place to enjoy a leisurely drink on a warm summer evening.

BEACHES

Palombaggia
Arguably the most famous beach on the island, the beach at Palombaggia is one of Corsica's finest and therefore one of its most popular. It was recently voted one of Europe's top 20 beaches in a poll in the Times and as such it can be very crowded in peak season - and it's easy to see why. An exquisite blend of fine white sand guarded by huge red granite rocks and fronted with gorgeous blue seas, and lined with beautiful pine trees. 

Santa Giulia
Santa Giulia is another very popular beach and arguably the most photogenic of all the beaches in L'Extrême Sud - it sits in a magnificent horseshoe bay with its shallow and translucent water making it the perfect swimming spot for the little ones. Around 10-15 minutes drive from Porto Vecchio, this beach has a good selection of shops and restaurants and it is also very popular with water sports enthusiasts.

Pinarellu
This exquisite bay situated 7km north of Porto Vecchio with its fine sweep of yellow sand is more than worth a visit and was recently included in The Times' list of the best 20 beach holidays in Europe. While you're there you can check out the near perfect Genoese tower which dominates the peninsula. It has a long sweep of soft white sand and is backed by a pine forest, ideal for any members of the party who need shade. If there is a breeze on the day you plan to visit it is well worth taking a body board with you to surf some of the breaking waves. That said the beach is also great for younger children as there is a nice wide stretch of warm shallow water too.

San Ciprianu
Around 15 minutes drive north of Porto Vecchio, San Ciprianu is a beautiful half moon of white sand and turquoise water. Parking is available on the approach road to the beach or if you are lucky there may be space available in the smallish car park about 50m from the beach. 

FESTIVALS

Foire de Porto Vecchio - Porto Vecchio, June
Traditional artisan fair.

Lumières de Toscane - Porto Vecchio, June
Lyrical concerts, parades, theatrical representations, art exhibitions, arts and crafts, cinematography and workshops for school children. This event is held in three places: cultural centre, bastion de France and the narrow streets of the town.

Journées Médiévales - Bonifacio, June
A variety of mediaeval entertainment and exhibitions.

Fête de la Nativité de la Vierge - Bonifacio, September
Stuffed aubergines ‘à la Bonifacienne’ are prepared and distributed amongst the people attending the ceremony of this religious feast.

Mosaicales du Rire de Porto Vecchio - Porto Vecchio, September
The Tourist Office and Philippe Delmas Productions, the organisers, are proud to present this event welcoming both famous French comedians and up-and-coming artists as well as celebrities to entertain - all under the theme of laughter.

Defi Inter-Isles - Bonifacio, September
Supporting the Corsican windsurf championships, this competition will see some hundred windsurfers from all corners of the world participating.

THINGS TO SEE & DO

Old Porto Vecchio
The old Genoese walled town still seduces visitors with its picturesque narrow streets and the austerity of its high stone houses that are set within the Citadel's ramparts. Wander the ancient streets, the Borgo, where you can see the enormous twisted tree of the Place de la République, the 19th century church of St-Jean Baptiste and the gallery housed within the Bastion di A Funtana Vechju. Experience live Corsican music and soak up the local atmosphere. Amongst the best venues is 'la Taverne du Roi', which is tucked away in the citadel of Porto Vecchio. Many restaurants also host a Corsican night once a week featuring a local band - look out for posters or ask your representative for up-to-date information.

Porto Vecchio Marina
Within a few minutes walk of the old town, the marina lined with cafés is an excellent place to enjoy a leisurely drink during those hot summer evenings. There is also a variety of boat trips on offer with tours around the beautiful coastline.

Horse riding
Go horse riding on Palombaggia or San Ciprianu beach early morning, a truly memorable experience.

L'Ospédale and Col de Bavella
Drive inland more than 1200m up to the spectacular Col de Bavella, one of the most dramatic passes in Corsica with stunning views across extensive forest, ocean and mountains. Also visit the surrounding mountain villages in the area. Try canyoning or take a dip in a rock pool in the rivers of the Bavella massif. There are many walks through the forests to the hidden waterfalls of the Alta Rocca, including Piscia di Gallo, or Cockerall falls. A short drive inland from Porto Vecchio will bring you to the Ospédale forest, and some great spots for a picnic.

Prehistoric settlements
Explore the prehistoric settlements of Casteddu d'Araggiu, just north of Porto Vecchio above the hamlet of Palavesa - a well-preserved site dating back from 1500BC. The views from here over the Gulf of Porto Vecchio are truly spectacular. Should you wish to venture further afield, the prehistoric sites of Cucuruzzu and Capula near Levie are also worth the detour.

Mountain restaurant
Try one of the mountain restaurants and indulge your tastebuds with mountain food. Amongst our recommendations are 'le Refuge' near the Lac de l'Ospedale or 'A  Pignata' in the village of Levie.

River Cavu at Taglio Rosso
Take a drive to Taglio Rosso which leads you to the river Cavu. Here you will find some beautiful rock pools, big enough to swim in – a fantastic alternative to the beach.

Bonifacio
At Corsica’s southernmost point, the fortress town of Bonifacio sits in an isolated location perched high on a limestone plateau and surrounded by an expanse of maquis. Mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey, the precipitous white cliffs overhang the turquoise waters below and are honeycombed with old watery grottoes. Established in 833, the old town is rich in history with its dramatic Citadel, ramparts and maze of narrow cobbled streets. The newer harbour has a more Italian flair with an abundance of cafés and restaurants dotted along the Quai Comparetti – the perfect spot to watch the yachts set sail.