Mare a Mare South


L'Extrême Sud  |  Porto Vecchio

Self-guided walking tour - including 6 days walking

Lowest price package
Sat 04 Jun 2022


Book This  7 nights | based on 2 sharing

Venture away from the beaches and cosmopolitan towns of the south up into the Alta Rocca. Carpeted with heather and wild herbs, this Mare a Mare walking trip leads you through sleepy perched villages, pink granite pinnacles and archeological sites whilst never failing to offer breathtaking views of the coastline below.

One of the most popular long-distance footpaths in Corsica, the Mare a Mare South trail crosses the rocky spine of the island between the Porto Vecchio and Valinco Gulf, taking in the full cross-section of Corsican landscapes, from the deep blue inlets of the coast to the beautiful forests and high peaks of the Alta Rocca region.

This Mare a Mare South walking ttrip will also offer you the opportunity to take cooling dips in the clear waters of the many rock pools and rivers along the way. All in all, this is an ideal trip for those looking to swap the hustle and bustle of the coastal south for a more off-the-beaten-track experience, involving spectacular mountain scenery and timeless village life.

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Mare a Mare South

Duration: 7 nights

Walking: 6 days

Difficulty level: Moderate

Type: Self-guided

Start and finish point: Figari

Departure dates: Saturdays or Sundays 28th May - 18th September

Day 1: Fly to Figari and spend the rest of the day exploring Porto Vecchio. Spend the 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 1,020m altitude. The trail will take you through the Corsican maquis and under maritime pine trees until finally reaching the plateau of Cartalavonu.

Spend the night in Cartalavonu.
Distance: 16.3km. Around 5 hours walking. Altitude gain: +1110m. Descent: -150m 

Day 3: From Cartalavonu to San-Gavino-di-Carbini

The start of the day provides you with a beautiful viewpoint over the Gulf of Porto Vecchio and the lake of Ospedale. Take a short detour around the summit of Vacca Morta (which also rewards you with great panoramic views). After passing through the Col de Mela, you'll discover the needles of the Bavella mountains and the charming little village of Carbini. Your last section takes you through Levie and a couple of archaeological sites, the most famous being Cucuruzzu, dating back from the Bronze Age, before reaching San-Gavinu-di-Carbini.

Spend the night in San-Gavino-di-Carbini.
Distance: 18.7km. Around 7 hours walking. Altitude gain +900m. Descent: -1250m  

Day 4: From San-Gavino-di-Carbini to Quenza

The path you follow leads you through shaded undergrowth and runs alongside the stream of Pian di Santu. You will walk into the heart of the Alta Rocca villages, from Zonza to Quenza – an absolutely charming walk!

Spend the night in Quenza.
Distance: 10.8km. Around 4 hours walking. Altitude gain: +470m. Descent: -340m. 

Day 5: From Quenza to Aullène

Quenza is famous for its church that dates back to the year 1000. You leave this village and hike up to the plateau of Cuscione and the hamlet of Giallico, before descending through scrubland and passing by the shepherds' huts of Lavu Donacu before reaching your stop for the evening.

Spend the night in Aullène.
Distance: 8.5km. Around 3 hours walking. Altitude gain: +450m. Descent: -410m 

Day 6: From Aullène to Santa Lucia di Tallano

Today's walk commences through a chestnut forest and Serra di Scopamena – you will notice the old mill that has been restored by the Corsican Natural Park. In the shade of the oak trees and thick vegetation, you can swim in the local fresh river while enjoying your surroundings. You will climb up through the midst of oak and strawberry trees to the Col de Tavara and the hamlet of Altagène. A bend in the path then takes you through the scrubland to the bell tower and olive groves of Santa Lucia di Tallano.

Spend the night in Santa Lucia di Tallano.
Distance: 13.5km. Around 5 hours 40 walking. Altitude gain and loss +740m, -1140m. 

Day 7: From Santa Lucia di Tallano to Burgo

Passing the XII 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 Baracci, crossing the Capannajola and the Baracci river close to an old water mill.

Spend the night in Burgo.
Distance: 15km. Around 5 hours 20 walking. Altitude gain +880m. Descent: -1130m. 

Day 8: End of holiday

After breakfast in Burgo you will be transferred to Figari airport for your journey home.

Please note: This itinerary is an example of the itinerary we aim to adhere to, correct at time of publication. Should situations arise that are beyond our control, such as severe weather conditions, or other factors that could put your safety at risk, it may be possible for the itinerary to be modified.


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 choose a self-guided walking holiday?

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 two people. For safety reasons we do not accept single person reservations.

What's included:

  • Return flights from London to Figari
  • First night accommodation on bed and breakfast
  • 6 nights' accommodation with dinner in authentic Corsican B&Bs
  • Return airport transfers from and to Figari
  • Luggage transfer, map and route notes

What's not included

  • Meals not stated in the trip notes
  • Drinks
  • Travel insurance
  • Transfers from/to other arrival airports

Luggage moving and day sack

You will need to carry a day sack only, with your water bottle, camera, picnic and weatherproof jacket. The luggage 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 local taxi, hotel owners or tour staff. 

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.


The accommodation on this tour is a mix of mountain refuges, simple auberges and bed & breakfasts, offering hearty food and a warm Corsican welcome. 


Breakfasts are continental style. Evening meals are simple local specialties 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. 

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 not possible to change money on the tour and trying to find a 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 weatherproof 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 weatherproof.
  • A rucksack or soft suitcase for your main luggage
  • Good walking shoes or boots with a good grip sole
  • Walking socks
  • Warm fleece
  • Shorts and t-shirts
  • Swimming attire
  • Towel
  • Walking poles (optional)
  • Water bottle (one litre minimum)
  • For your picnics: a good cutting knife, fork, spoon, plastic cup and plate some plastic bags
  • Sun and rain protection
  • Sunglasses and sun cream
  • Weatherproof jacket
  • 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, diarrhea treatment, painkillers, plasters and blister treatment, re-hydration. Glucose tablets or malt loaf 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

Days 1 to 7 - Mare a Mare South

Room Type: Standard Room

Board Basis: Mixed Board Basis

  More Information

About the Local 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.


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.

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. 


Fête de la Saint Jean Baptiste - Porto Vecchio, June
Celebration of the Patron Saint of Porto Vecchio to mark the end of the harvest season.

Festi Lumi - Bonifacio, July
A magical festival of lights across the streets of Bonifacio with concerts and a light show taking place at the weekend.

Festa di Luddarreddu - Porto Vecchio, July
"U Luddarreddu", a historical figure made of straw and cork, will be paraded through the streets of Porto Vecchio and set alight on the Place de la République to celebrate the end of the hot and difficult conditions in which local artisans and farmers have to work in July.

Les Médiévales de Levie - Levie, early September
A medieval fair that will transport you back to ancient times. On the programme: medieval tournaments, street parades, equestrian displays, music and crafts.

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


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 Vecchia. 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'Ospedale 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.

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.