Mare e Monti North

Tour  

Calvi & la Balagne  |  Calvi Town

Walking tour - 8 day holiday, incl 5 days walking

Lowest price package
Sun 18 Jun 2017

£1303(from/pp)

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, 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 trip with a few extra nights in Calvi, allowing you to completely unwind after your extraordinary journey.

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: Every Sunday from 14th May to 1st October 17

Day 1: 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 - Calvi to Galeria

After a taxi transfer to Tuarelli, your walking starts. From here a lovely loop climbs to Manso, offering grand views of the high granite summits that form the backbone of the island.  The path descends back to the Fango torrent and you pick up the famous long distance trail called the ‘Tra Mare e Monti.’ The water below is translucent, with massive rock pools and mini canyons, quite wondrous. Pulling up and away from the river, the path leads through the maquis to Galeria, your home for the next two nights.

Distance: 18km, duration: 6 hours, altitude gain: +565m, descent: -550m.

Overnight: Hotel Stella Marina, with pool, on a half board basis.

Day 3: Galéria

There are several opportunities today. You could do the short but stunning ascension of Capu Tondu, a pyramidal peak overlooking the village and offering a fine panorama over the wild Balagne region. The summit is immensely enjoyable and easily combined with a visit to the Fango valley kayaking. You can kayak up the river to explore this spot of exceptional wild beauty, there is a hoard of wildlife to discover.

Alternatively, you can walk to Focolara Cove, on the edge of the Scandola national park, which can only be reached by foot or by boat. 

Distance: 6km or 11km, duration: 4 or 51/2 hours, altitude gain: +760m or +780m, descent: -760m or -780m.

Overnight: Hotel Stella Marina, with pool, on a half board basis.

Day 4: Galéria to Serriera 

This morning your taxi transfer takes you early to the start of the walk, just beyond the pass at Bocca di Palmarella.   A glorious path drops down hill through the maquis, giving glimpsing views of the tiny hamlet of Girolata. The cluster of houses with bright orange roofs are set off against a backdrop of rugged pink- hued sea cliffs and the crystal blue waters.  You can choose to walk out along the old “postmans” trail, or take a taxi boat across the bay to Bocca a Croce. The trail follows the magical indented jagged cove line all the way to Bussaghia. Your hotel is tucked just 300m away from the beach. You can expect some succulent cuisine in a very private and relaxing setting.

Distance: 16km, duration: 6 hours, altitude gain: +680m, descent : -950m.

Overnight: Hotel Stella Marina (a different one to previous), with pool, on a half board basis.

Day 5: Serriera to Porto

Today you also have two choices of walk, either take to the heights and head up to the summit of Capu St Petru at 914m.  A beautiful ascension through pine and chestnut trees, you can make your way down to Porto, via a ridge walk that is off the beaten track, or continue to the mountain village of Ota on the Mare e Monti, you are sure to love the views!  The proximity of mountain and sea is surreal. Once down at your hotel, you may wish to relax at the hotel swimming pool, or go for a dip at Porto beach.

Distance: 14km, duration: 61/2 hours, altitude gain: +890m, descent: -900m.

Overnight: Capu d’Orto hotel, with pool on a B&B basis​.

Day 6: Porto to Piana

Porto is in a spectacular location, it is a kaleidoscope of colour, red cliffs, shock blue sea and the bold silhouette of the Genoese tower. The coastline is beautifully dramatic and heads up to the area known as ‘Les Calanches’  This is an incredible site of granite needles, tortured shapes and sculped rocks, dotted with pine trees. If you want to do something more strenuous, a high level path up to the airy col of Foce d’Ortu can also be taken to emerge in Piana. A fine setting for a last night celebration. This sleepy village is classed as one of the prettiest in France and the sunsets are sublime.

Distance: 12km, duration: 5 hours, altitude gain: +520m, descent: -70m.
Overnight: Hotel les Roches Rouges Piana on a half board basis​.

Day 7: Piana

Leaving Piana in the morning, you will take a bus to Calvi for a last night’s relax and celebratory meal before heading home tomorrow.

Day 8: 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.

What's included

  • Return flights from London Stansted or Manchester
  • 5 nights accommodation on half board
  • 2 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
  • Single & upgrade supplements
  • Transfer from Piana to Calvi by bus on day 7 (approx €16 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 dietary requirements at the time of booking.

Transfer

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

Days 1 to 6 - Mare e Monti North

Room Type: Standard Room

Board Basis: Half Board

  More Information

Day 7 - Hôtel Regina

Room Type: Classic Sea View

Board Basis: Bed & Breakfast

  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.