GR20 South - Itinerary and preparing for your trip

Duration: 7 nights

Walking: 6 days' walking: 5-8 hours a day 

Difficulty level: Tough - read more on our walking gradings

Accommodation: Camping, simple refuges and shepherds' cabins - all shared dorms with limited showers and wcs

Type: Self-guided

Start and finish point: Bavella to Vizzavona. Fly in / out of Figari.

Departure dates: Sundays from 4th June to 17th September



Day 1 - Arrive Bavella
After your flight arrival into Figari, your transfer will take you directly to Bavella, where you check into your first accommodation. The region is known as the Alta Rocca and Bavella is one of the most famous peaks of the island, known for its high mountain pass and mystical summits. 

Day 2 - Bavella to Asinau
From the high mountain pass, the Col de Bavella you take the GR20 trail - Alpine variant. It leads steeply uphill before passing at the base of several granite pinnacles. The trail is rough under foot and equipped over a few metres with a chain that helps stability across the rocks. The trail plunges down into the valley before passing through the woods. After a river crossing the GR20 pulls up to Asinau.
7km, 5.5 hours, +815m, -485m.

Day 3 - Asinau to Coscione plateau
The GR20 trail heads up to the magnificent ridge line of Alcudina, the highest summit in the south at 2134m altitude. There are fantastic views and on a clear day you can pick out your route and see where you are heading. You leave the high ground and head down towards the famous Cuscione plateau, a wild open area that is grazing land in the summer months.
8km, 4.5 hours, +650m, -660m.

Day 4 - Coscione plateau to Usciolu
The GR20 crosses the grassy plateau. The trail then heads uphill through a forest of dwarf oak trees to the Col de l’Agnone. From here starts one of the best ridge walks on the GR20, it is very exposed. The rock has been wonderfully sculpted by the elements and the granite decor is sublime. The GR20 trail topples back and forth over the ridge, to one side then the other.
14km, 6 hours, +680m, -460m.

Day 5 - Usciolu to Col de Verde
This walk has some really special scenery with great views. From the refuge, the GR20 continues along the ridge. The trail plunges down towards the Col de Laparo and passes the refuge at Prati (1820m) it is worth stopping to enjoy the airy rooftop views of the island and enjoy the lush, spongy fresh ground. The GR20 drops rapidly down in and out of the forest to your destination at the Col de Verde. (1289m).
15.5km, 7.5 hours, +770m, -1200m.

Day 6 - Col de Verde to Capanelle
The GR20 trail undulates gently today and mainly contours through a forest of Larricio pine trees. The walk is essentially traversing the slopes of Monte Renosu. A steeper section leads us to the small shepherds’ hamlet of Traghjette before arriving at a ridge where you can see your night stop and the cabins of Capanelle, a ski station in the winter.
13km, 5 hours, +710m, -400m.

Day 7 - Capanelle to Vizzavona
This is the last stage of the GR20 southern section, the walk makes for a leisurely day. The GR20 leaves Capanelle (1568m) taking a path on more or less easy terrain. The GR20 trail then climbs to Bocca Palmente 1640m, from where on a clear day the views are exceptional, the massifs of the Monte d’Oro and the Rotondu tower above. The trail drops down into the thick Vizzavona forest to Vizzavona (920m) the midway point of the GR20. You will then catch the train from Vizzavona to Ajaccio (purchase tickets, approx €10pp).
14km, 5.5 hours, +320m, -1000m.

At the end of your day walking, you will take the train to Ajaccio for your final overnight stay. You will meet your luggage at the train station to collect it before boarding the train, (you will be given a voucher to exchange at the station for your bags). Once in Ajaccio your hotel will be a short, independent walk from the station.

Day 8 - Ajaccio
Your adventure in Corsica ends today with a transfer to Figari Airport for your flight home.

Day Stage Accommodation Type Full Board
1 Bavella* Gite (DORM) Full Board
2 Asunau Bergerie (TENT or DORM) Full Board
3 Cuscione* Bergerie (TENT or DORM) Full Board
4 Usciolu Refuge (TENT) Full Board
5 Col de Verde* Gite (DORM) Full Board
6 Capanelle* Gite (DORM) Full Board
7 Vizzavona* 2* simple hotel in Ajaccio Bed & Breakfast

Bag Information*
The asterisks in the grid above indicate when you will have your luggage with you. The other days will be just your rucksack / day sack.


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.

GR20 South

GR20 South

Preparing for your trip

The GR20 is becoming more and more popular, but it remains the most difficult trek in Europe. To overlook this could put inexperienced walkers in danger. There is a need to prepare for this trip properly and to not overestimate your ability. The GR20 is for hikers in very good physical shape who already have the experience of high mountain trekking over several days and are able to manage to self-guide their walking with all that that involves: determination, effort, map skills and orientation, be aware and can handle adjustments in the weather.

We recommend at least three sessions a week of aerobic exercise and regular hill walking. It is good to get in some hill walks on rough, uneven terrain, to build up ankle strength. Train to walk downhill, get used to knowing where to put your feet. Aim to progress walking downhill at a reasonable pace, two walking poles will reduce the shock on your legs.


Relevant walks you should have undertaken before the GR20
Ascending Snowdon by Crib Goch
Descending from Blencathra in the Lake District by Sharp Edge
Scrambling along the Aonach ridge edge of Glen Coe in the Scottish Highlands


Specifics of a trip to Corsica

Breakfast is a simple continental (cold) style with tea, coffee, milk, long life bread, butter and jam.
Evening meals are based on local specialties - starter, soup or smoked meats, main course or pasta or rice with a sauce, cheese, a fruit or a sweet pudding.
Picnics style lunches therefore please bring a tupperware for rice, pasta, lentils, couscous salad.
Should you have any food allergies, special requests or dietary requirements, please be aware that food choice is limited for vegetarians, and special diets cannot be accommodated due to the remoteness of the trek.

Set in the Mediterranean, 170km from France and 85km from mainland Italy, Corsica has a pleasant Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and moderate dry, clear winters. The climate in the mountains is alpine rather than Mediterranean. Corsica is known for its microclimates, each valley can be different, with the proximity of the mountains and the sea often generating some stormy, unpredictable weather. Corsica also has one of the highest sunshine records in France, with around 7.5 hours a day throughout the year, making it the ideal destination for active outdoor adventures. Itshould be noted that mountains see significant snow in the winter, generally lasting into May on the highest slopes. 

Forest fires 
During the summer months, in the event of high winds and in hot and dry conditions, forested areas can be closed to prevent fires. Areas at risk are closed to walkers in order to reduce the high risk to life. Access to these areas is prohibited during a stated time scale which could affect the walking itinerary. On certain routes including the GR20 and Mare e Monti, this could close consecutive stages, and prevent walking. Alternative itineraries may not be available. 

Rivers & Lakes
Rivers and lakes may be a tempting spot for a dip on your walking holiday, but you do so at your own risk. It is important to be aware of weather in the mountains around you that could suddenly and significantly change the water level and flow of a mountain stream. 

GR20 Equipment 
There is no opportunity on this trip to buy new equipment. Ensuring you have the right gear is essential for everyone’s safety. It can be equally dangerous to carry too much gear that is not useful. If you are weighed down this adds to fatigue, and you will be unable to accelerate your rhythm in bad weather. 

What to bring and pack 

Hiking boots or fell shoes, with soles in excellent condition, socks, shorts and t-shirts, swimwear, good quality waterproof Gortex jacket and waterproof trousers (optional), thermal hat and thermal gloves, warm fleece, sun protection (sunhat, sun cream, lip protection, sunglasses), two-litre platypus/camel-bag (a platypus system helps you to drink enough and saves time. Mix in energy drinks or electrolyte if this is something you do normally), tupperware lunch box with leak proof lid (0.8l) fork or spoon and penknife (knifes are often not provided), basic first-aid kit with blister repair (moleskin or Compeed), walking poles and headlamp.

Casual wear
Leggings or thermal tights Teva style sandals.

Plastic bags and zip-lock style bags Small quick dry travel towel, small wash bag with toiletries and antibacterial hand wash, earplugs, toilet paper / pocket tissues, sleeping bag -5° comfort, energy bars 

Rucksack 35-45 litres (You will need a heavy-duty bin liner inside it to keep your bag waterproof, a thin nylon cover is not sufficient in heavy rain). Main luggage for your belongings 12kg, transported for you to the end of the trek. 

First Aid
A first-aid kit is required. We would suggest adding to its usual contents, Imodium for diarrhea, re-hydration salts (Dioralite), Antihistamine tablets or cream and plenty of blister protection.

We try to describe our accommodation on the GR20 as accurately as possible. During this trip you have a mix of different accommodations. When you are reserved at a park refuge, the guardian will normally allocate you a tent.

Sleeping mats are provided. Nights can be noisy due to snoring and rustling. On the GR20 we use a mixture of park refuges, private gites and shepherds’ cabins. Refuges in Corsica are small, simple and rustic, with a limited level of comfort and a lack of facilities (cold showers, few sanitary arrangements, no blankets). 

Water supplies
You can drink water from springs en-route. Spring water is generally safe to drink on the GR20 but care should be taken in drought periods and you should never drink from rivers or streams. We advise you to take purification tablets in case of emergencies. 

Wildlife and Insects
Mosquitoes, wasps, ants, and other insects are common in Corsica, and in the heart of the countryside, rodents, cows, goats, foxes and wild pigs are abundant and care should be taken around them, especially with food. There are no dangerous snakes in Corsica. Bed bugs are becoming an increasing problem throughout the world on hiking trails and the GR20 is no exception. About 4mm (1/4 in) long, 2.5mm wide and brown in colour, they are notorious travellers, and walkers are the ideal way to spread infestation. Whilst bed bugs do not carry any known diseases, bites can be very uncomfortable and cause painful rashes in some people. Guardians and hoteliers are well aware of these pests and are extra vigilant in the prevention of an infestation. If you do get bitten, you should assume that your belongings are carrying bugs and/or eggs. Once infested, bed bugs are very difficult to get rid of and on returning from the trek, you should always be aware that your luggage could harbour them. The presence of animals or insects in or near any accommodation is out of our control. 

You will need to bring sufficient cash to cover your personal expenses, including picnics, snacks, and drinks. Credit cards are sometimes not accepted in more remote villages. Cash machines can be found only in the larger towns.


GR20 South

GR20 South

GR20 South, South Bastiani