Mare e Monti North

Tour  

Calvi & la Balagne  |  Calvi Town

Walking tour - Min 2 pax.

Lowest price package

Sun 14 Sep 2014 - 7 nights

from £1157pp (based on 2 sharing)

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High mountain peaks, rocky creeks and quaint fishing villages are all part of this diverse walking tour. You will discover one of the most beautiful corners of the island - from the dense bonifatu forest of la Balagne, to the world renowned Nature Reserve at Scandola and the unique coastal village of Girolata in the Gulf of Porto. Combine this 8 day walk with a few extra nights in Calvi, allowing you to completely unwind after your extraordinary journey.

Mare e Monti North

Duration: 8 days

Difficulty level: Moderately challenging walking

Type: Self Guided

Start and finish point: Calvi

Departure dates: Every Sunday from May to September

Day 1: Sunday arrival in Calvi

After being transfered from Calvi airport to your hotel, the day is dedicated to discovering Calvi and its citadel, the nearby beaches may encourage you to do some swimming.

Day 2: Monday Bonifatu to Tuarelli

At a nearby bridge you follow a forestry track that is known as the 'Chemin de Ronde', that gently climbs towards the south-west, passing the ruins of the house belonging to Prince Pierre. You then progress into a forest of maritime pines and green oak trees. At an altitude of 1200m you arrive at the Bocca di Bocassa. After approximately three hours of a very rewarding and relaxing section you arrive at Tuarelli rock pools, the perfect place for a laze on the sun baked rocks and a swim.

Distance : 14 km, duration : 6h30, altitude gain : +730m, descent : -11 70m.

Day 3: Tuesday Tuarelli to Galéria

You walk along the old transhumance path linking Calvi to Niolu, a pleasant route lined with junipers and myrtle bushes. The path also follows the course of the River Fangu. Once at the Ponte Vechju, Paglia Orba is visible in the distance dominating the landscape with an altitude of 2325m. From here you cross the Fangu bridge and head on to the hamlet of Fangu. Your route then climbs into the maquis and passes several old shepherd's cabins. Your day's walk finishes with a short downhill stretch in to the village of Galéria where you are rewarded with stunning views over Fangu.

Distance : 9km, duration : 4h00, altitude gain : +240m, descent : -320m.

Day 4: Wednesday Galéria to Girolata

Today you start by following a beautiful path shaded from the sun. Your path leads you to a natural pool, and an uphill section alongside the river bank. You will shortly come across an area of vegetation, after this you will emerge into a forest of oaks before reaching the Crête du Lucciu (697m). From here you will have remarkable views over the gulf of Girolata, the Genoese tower and the red granite cliffs. You continue west along the ridge path to reach the River Cavone and the coast. This is also a picturesque spot to swim and to cool off after your days walk. Please note, that during peak season, this part of the walk can be very hot, due to there being no shade. Please prepare yourself for this and pack what is necessary.

Distance : 11km, duration : 6h00, altitude gain : +785m, descent : -785m.

Day 5: Thursday Girolata to Curzu

From Girolata's beach, you follow the ridge path that runs alongside the coast. After around three hours you will arrive at the foot of Punta di u Tartavellu, from here continue around to the West to arrive at Bocca Ascencu (742m). Continuing along the ridge path in a south-westerly direction you can admire exceptional views over Scandola's natural reserve, one of the largest natural sites in Europe, which displays an explosion of colours and fantastic landscapes. Once at Capu di Curzu (852m) you rapidly lose altitude as your path progresses into a series of loops before reaching Curzu.

Distance : 12 km, duration : 6h00, altitude gain : +1000m, descent : -750m.

Day 6: Friday Curzu to Serriera

From the gites you climb through the village and head in a south-westerly direction along a path that overlooks the village of Partinellu and the bay of Porto - the only French natural site to appear on UNESCO's world heritage list. You then walk downhill towards the River Vetricella and after walking alongside the river for around 50 metres your path climbs. You will soon arrive at the 'Chemin de Serriera à Pinetu'. You will shortly arrive at the Bocca di u Furcatu, the last stretch before Serriera.

Distance : 8 km, duration : 4h00, altitude gain : +460m, descent : -600m.

Day 7: Saturday Serriera to Calvi

Leaving Serriera about 10h00 a.m,  you will take a bus to Calvi  for a last night’s relax and celebratory meal before heading home tomorrow.

Day 8: Sunday Calvi

You will be collected from your hotel and taken to the airport.

Trip grading and level of difficulty

The walks are on good footpaths and trails, the terrain is varied but often rocky. You need to be used to walking all day and take regular exercise to enjoy this holiday.

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.

Services includes

Return flights from London Stansted or Manchester, 4 nights accommodation on half board, 3 nights accommodation on bed & breakfast, return airport transfers, transfers on the walk, luggage transfers between hotels on the walk, maps and route notes.

Services not included

Meals not stated in the trip notes, drinks, travel insurance, single & upgrade supplements, transfer Serriera to Calvi by bus approx €15 per person.

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 3 course affairs using local produce. 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 requirments at the time of booking.

Transfer

Day 2: A private taxi will pick you up at your hotel in Calvi to bring you to the start of the hike at Bonifatu, your luggage will go along and be delivered to the gite of Tuarelli as you walk.
Day 7: Please note it is no longer possible to book tickets in advance on public bus lines. You will have to purchase your ticket on site and bring your luggage along with you. Buses do not run on bank holidays or on Sundays during "off-peak season". You can consult this website for schedules: http://www.corsicabus.org/

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 Regina

Room Type: Standard Garden & Pool View

Board Basis: Bed & Breakfast

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Days 2 to 6 - Mare e Monti North

Room Type: Standard Room

Board Basis: Half Board

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Day 7 - Hôtel Regina

Room Type: Standard Garden & Pool View

Board Basis: Bed & Breakfast

  More Information

About the Local Area

ABOUT AREA

Calvi Towns social life focuses on the many restaurants and cafés of the quai landry which is a large seafront walkway that links the marina and the port effortlessly. To get the best possible feel of the town, this is the place to be! A walk up through the narrow passageways off quai landry will take you to rue Clémenceau where you will find an array of restaurants and souvenir shops plenty. Further walking will present the Ste-Marie-Majeure, built in 1774 and from this a flight of stairs will introduce you to the modern high street which is the point of entry to the wonderful Citadel.

Wherever you are in Calvi Town, you will never be short of inspiration for a bite to eat. The Marina offers a host of seafood options, the more inland streets present pizzerias and Corsican restaurants and of course the cafés complete the variety.

LOCAL BEACHES

Calvi's main beach
Calvi's beach is a huge sweeping crescent of white sand fringed by woods of planted maritime pines and it has something for everyone: it is patrolled by lifeguards in the summer and has a gentle shelving gradient that is perfect for all ages, including toddlers. It boasts a fine array of restaurants and cafés nearby - some of which serve directly onto the beach whilst you bask on your sunlounger; not to mention a diverse range of water sports activities for the more energetic.

Pointe de la Revellata
At this headland, just three kilometres west of Calvi Citadel, there is a sandy beach and tiny coves which can only be reached on foot or bike. A great, more secluded alternative to the town beach that gives an idea of the wilder coastline to be explored on the west coast of Corsica.

Ste Restitude
A picturesque and secluded beach that can be reached by train or by a two hour walk along the coast. Backed by macchia and pine trees, swimming conditions are perfect at Ste Restitude with soft sand and clear water. There is a restaurant serving refreshments but little else.

FESTIVALS

Calvi Jazz Festival
Held in late June, this festival consists of a week of concerts in and around the citadel. Those in the music tent on the port or in the cathedral in the citadel are usually very popular and well known and require you to book a ticket. Jamming sessions in the harbour front bars in the evenings add to the ambiance.

Calvi on the Rocks
This festival held in  July is a youthful music and arts festival with a mix of electronic music and digital art and includes a concert each night in the citadel.

Rencontres Polyphoniques de Calvi
Polyphonic singing is at the heart of Corsican culture and musicians from around the world perform in the citadel at this event.

 

THINGS TO SEE & DO

Calvi has so much to see and do, there is something to suit everyone!

Calvi Citadel
If you don’t mind the climb to the top through the cobbled streets and narrow alleyways, then a visit to the Citadel is a must during your holiday. From here, the views across the bay to the mountains are magnificent.

Music Lovers
For energetic music lovers, walk up to Notre Dame de la Serra to listen to the violinist playing in the chapel. At 216m above Calvi, you will also be rewarded with fabulous views across the bay below and don’t forget to take water, a hat and sun cream.

Each week held at the Cathédrale Saint Jean-Baptiste, which stands at the highest point of the Citadel you can experience Corsican Polyphonic singing with the concerts of “Chansons polyphoniques”.

Water sports, Jet-ski & Boat Rental
There are a number of places in Calvi where you are able to participate in ‘on the water’ activities. Waterskiing, motorboats of all sizes, parascending and jet ski hire to name but a few, plus English speaking instructors are available for windsurfing, sailing and kite surfing.  All of these activities are bookable in advance through local companies.

Train Journeys
Taking a train journey is a delightful and different way to experience the varied and wonderful landscapes of Corsica.

Calvi – L’lle Rousse
This regular service allows you to explore the coastline to the east of Calvi, stopping at all of the beaches en route. The line built in the 1880’s and 1890’s hugging the coast is undoubtedly one of the worlds most scenic railways. The journey takes approx 50 minutes, and depending on the time of year travelling, there are between 5 and 10 return journeys a day.

Balagne villages

Take a coach trip for half a day around the old Balagne villages, or take a full day to travel a little further afield. Perched high above the sea, the fortress villages of the Haute-Balagne offer dramatic mountains landscapes and spectacular views over the coastline. Stop en route to sample the local produce or visit one of the workshops along the craft trail "Strada di l'Artigiani".

Bonifatu forest

Explore the Bonifatu forest, a spectacular pine forest with hidden rock pools and stunning views over Calvi bay with walks of varying difficulties.