Mare e Monti North


Calvi & la Balagne  |  Calvi Town

Walking tour - 8 day holiday, incl 5 days walking

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Sat 28 Sep 2019

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Book This  7 nights | based on 2 sharing

High mountain peaks, rocky creeks and quaint fishing villages are all form an incredible backdrop on this 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: 5 days

Difficulty level: Moderately challenging walking

Type: Self Guided

Start and finish point: Calvi

Departure dates: Departures on Thursdays, Saturdays or Sundays 18th May - 24th October 2019

Day 1: Arrival in Calvi

Arrive into Calvi, a transfer will take you to your hotel with time to settle into your hotel 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 Citadelle. 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 just relax on the 5km of pine backed beach.  

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

Day 2 - Calvi to Galéria

A transfer by taxi in the early morning will take you to Tuarelli, you walk along the old transhumance path linking Calvi to Niolo, a pleasant route lined with junipers and myrtle bushes, this path also follows the course of the River Fango. Once at the Ponte Vecchio, Paglia Orba is visible in the distance dominating the landscape with an altitude of 2325m. From here you cross the Fango bridge and head on to the hamlet of Fango. Your route then climbs into the maquis and passes several old shepherds' 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 Fango.

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

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

Day 3: Galéria to Focolara bergeries

Today you have a choice of walking, either to the sheepfold of Focolara, just on the edge of Scandola, above the bay of the same name. The other option is the Capu Tondo, a summit walk giving superb views over the village of Galéria and the Fango delta, however high you decide to climb. For those wanting an easier day, take a kayak into the Fango delta nature reserve.

Distance: 11.7km, duration: 5 hours, altitude gain: +760m, descent: -760m.

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

Day 4: Galéria to Girolata 

You will not see your bag tonight so make sure you have all you need for tonight in your day pack. 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. Your stop for tonight is the picturesque harbourside hamlet of Girolata. The accommodation is a simple beachside cabin on half board with a restaurant on the sand.

Distance: 11km, duration: 6 hours, altitude gain: +750m, descent : -780m.

Overnight: La Cabane du Berger in Girolata (or similar), on a half board basis.

Day 5: Girolata to Serriera

From Girolata's beach, you follow the postman’s path that runs alongside the coast, to Col de la Croix. From here you leave the Mare e Monti and continue down to the coast to walk along magnificent ridge path in a south-westerly direction you can admire exceptional views over Scandola's natural reserve and the Golfe de Porto, one of the largest natural marine sites in Europe, this path offers beautiful views some of the best in Corsica - an explosion of colours and fantastic landscapes. Stop at the beach at Caspiu before a short transfer takes you to tonight stop is in a comfortable 3* hotel on half board near the beach at Bussaghia, Serriera.

Distance: 11km, duration: 5 hours, altitude gain: +799m, descent: -799m.

Overnight: Hôtel Stella Marina 3* (or similar), on a half board basis​.

Day 6: Serriera to Porto

After a ride to the trailhead, from Serriera, the Mare e Monti then climbs steeply up through a pine forest to the Capu San Petru. The views from here are spectacular, across the Gulf of Porto. After a walk on the flat, the path plunges down through a high mountain landscape towards the village of Ota, a delightful place with old stone houses, bourgainvillia and chestnut trees. A transfer takes you from Chez Felix to overnight in a comfy 3* hotel on bed & breakfast basis, situated high in Porto. Choose from a number of nearby restaurants for dinner.

Overnight: Hôtel Capo d'Orto 3* (or similar), on bed & breakfast basis​.

Day 7: Porto to Calvi

A bus is available for Calvi (payable locally), just 200m from your hotel or you could choose a private transfer later in the day (at a supplement) and take a boat trip to Scandola from Porto. After a 2 hour transfer along the west coast you arrive in Calvi, and your last night in Corsica, either spend the afternoon relaxing on the beach or exploring the old town, or take a short walk to Notre Dame de la Serra or onto the Revellata peninsula. Night in Calvi in a central 3* hotel near the beach on bed & breakfast basis.

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, 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.

What's included

  • 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.

What's not included

  • Meals not stated in the trip notes
  • Drinks
  • Travel insurance
  • Bus from Piana to Calvi on day 7 (approx €18 per person)
  • Return airport transfers from/to Bastia airport, £100 per person

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 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. Soft luggage is recommended.


See Tour Accommodation section below. 


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. 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.


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


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.


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.


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.



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.