Mare e Monti North

Tour  

Calvi & la Balagne  |  Calvi Town

Walking tour - 8 day holiday, incl 5 days walking

Lowest price package
Sat 04 Jun 2022

£1399(from/pp)

Book This  7 nights | based on 2 sharing
 

High mountain peaks, rocky creeks and quaint fishing villages all form an incredible backdrop on this Mare e Monti North walking tour. 

On this Corsica walking tour, you will discover one of the most beautiful corners of the island – from Tuarelli in la Balagne to the world-renowned Nature Reserve at Scandola and the unique coastal village of Girolata in the Gulf of Porto. 

Mare e Monti North

Duration: 8 days / 7 nights

Walking: 6 days

Difficulty level: Moderately challenging walking

Type: Self-guided

Start and finish point: Calvi

Departure dates: Sundays 15th May - 25th September

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Day 1: Arrival in Calvi

Arrive into Calvi, and a transfer will take you to your hotel with time to settle in before exploring. This picture postcard seaside town is distinctly Mediterranean and you will love the quayside and its vibrant café life crowned by the Genoese citadel. It is great to just sit in one of the cafés opposite the harbour and soak up the atmosphere. Visit the shops along the Rue Clémenceau, and whatever you do don’t forget to climb through the atmospheric streets of the citadel and see the Cathédrale St Jean Baptiste or simply relax on the 5km of pine-backed beach.  

Overnight: Calvi Hôtel 3* (or similar), on bed and breakfast basis.

Day 2 - Piana

After your transfer to Piana and your hotel, high in the village offering fantastic views. Piana is a quaint village in a magnificent setting surrounded by red rocks, lush green forests and blue sky and sea. If you arrive in Ajaccio the day before, we offer a hike on the sentier des cretes, overlooking the city and the Gulf of Ajaccio. The views of the sea and the mountains are superb.

Distance: 6-11km. Duration: 4 hours. Altitude gain: +340m.

Overnight: Hôtel Scandola 3* (or similar), on bed and breakfast basis.

Day 3: Porto

The trail enters the red rocks of the Golfe de Porto, you will discover an incredible site of granite needles and wind sculpted rocks, dotted with maritime pine trees. The walk above the coast road follows the old mule path or travels higher towards the Capo d’Ortu and offers some spectacular views of the indented rugged coastline and its many creeks below. Drop down to the sea (some road walking) and the port at Castagna.

Distance: 12km. Duration: 5 hours. Altitude gain: +70m. Descent: -520m.

Overnight: Hôtel Kalliste (or similar), on bed and breakfast basis..

Day 4: Serriera

A transfer takes you up to the village of Ota, a delightful place with old stone houses, bourgainvillia and chestnut trees high above Porto. The path climbs into the red rocks before arriving at Capu San Petru, a superb rocky belvedere with views over Serriera and the Golfe de Porto. After dropping down to the village of Serriera, you follow the lane down to the beach.

Distance: 14km. Duration: 6 hours. Altitude gain: +697m. Descent: -1039m

Overnight: in Hôtel Stella Marina (or similar), on a half board basis.

Day 5: Girolata

A taxi drops you at the Bergerie on the Capo Razzozu, the trail follows the ridge dropping down to the coast at the unspoilt beach at Caspiu, before climbing to Gradelle. From here you climb a magnificent ridge, well off the beaten track, to Col de la Croix where you find a well trodden path to Girolata, made famous by Guy the postman. The site is inaccessible by road and you will carry your overnight gear.

Distance: 12km. Duration: 5.5 hours. Altitude gain: +595m. Descent: -795m.

Overnight: E Casarelle beachside lodge (more like 'glamping' than a hotel), on a half board basis​.

Day 6: Galeria

The path climbs to the ridge above Girolata, offering a unique view of the Gulf and the Scandola nature reserve and its red granite cliffs. From here you begin your slow descent along the trail to the fishing village of Galéria, either via the Focolara bergeries or along the Tavulaghju river. 

Distance: 11km, duration: 6 hours. Altitude gain: +780m. Descent: -750m.

Overnight: Hôtel L'Alivu 3* (or similar), on a half board basis​.

Day 7: Porto to Calvi

After a transfer you have a beautiful and contrasting walk on the Revellata peninsula, an unspoilt and now protected area of maquis and sea cliffs. Head around the coast towards the lighthouse that watches over the bay towards Lumio. Your journey back to Calvi can be extended to take in Notre Dame de la Serra, high above the town, this beautiful chapel is the ideal spot for a few shots over Calvi Bay.

Distance: 11km, duration: 5 hours. Altitude gain: +210m. Descent: -210m.

Overnight: Calvi Hôtel 3* (or similar) on bed and breakfast.

Day 8: Departure from Calvi

Your holiday comes to an end at your hotel after breakfast. You will be collected from your hotel at the time advised by our representative and taken to the airport. 

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, and 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 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 Stansted to Calvi (other flights on request with extra transfers and supplements)
  • 4 nights' accommodation on half board
  • 3 nights' accommodation on bed and breakfast
  • Return airport transfers
  • Transfers on the walk
  • Luggage transfers between hotels on the walk
  • Maps and route notes.

What's not included

  • Meals not stated in the trip notes
  • Drinks
  • Travel insurance
  • Bus from Piana to Calvi on day 7 (approx €19 per person)
  • Return airport 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. 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 either local taxis, hotel owners or 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 a transfer 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. Soft luggage is recommended.

Accommodation

See Tour Accommodation section below. 

Meals

Breakfasts are continental style. Evening meals are three-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. Alternatively main provisions can be purchased from larger supermarkets in Calvi. 

Spending money

Bring sufficient to cover your personal expenses including snacks and drinks. 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 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 jacket.
  • A rucksack or soft 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
  • 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
  • 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, 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 e Monti North

Room Type: Standard Room

Board Basis: Mixed Board Basis

  More Information

About the Local Area

ABOUT AREA

Calvi town's 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 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.

Fiera di San Petru
Held in Lumio in mid July, this is a village festival with exhibitions celebrating stone-masonry and stone-related crafts made in the village from iron ore mined on Cap Corse.

Foire de l'Alivu in Montegrosso
Around 10,000 visitors honour the olive in July, in a delightful olive grove setting with exhibitions demonstrating olive production over the years and artisans selling refreshments and local produce. 

Foire de l'Amandier in Aregno
Held in the Balagne village of Aregno every August, the Foire de l’Amandier includes tastings, painting exhibitions, events for children and cooking contests all based around the almond and its trees.

 

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 kitesurfing. All 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 1880s and 1890s 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 five 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".

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