Corsica | French Isle Adventure Trek

Explore the island’s craggy mountains, sandy beaches, glacial valleys and more.

France flag
  • Beautiful flowers and town perched on the island of Corsica
  • Mountains in Corsica, France
  • Historic ruins in Corsica, France
  • Coastline of Corsica, France
  • Jagged peaks and hiking trails on the coast of Corsica

Trip Highlights:

  • Explore deserts to the Mediterranean coast, to deep glacial valleys and mountain summits
  • Weave in and out of cliff sides, hidden coves, and down to the idyllic stone beaches
  • Immerse yourself in rich culture with both Italian and French influences
  • Enjoy a French culinary experience of fresh seafood, cheeses, pastas, and meats

Hiking Tour in Corsica!

Corsica is a land of pure magic – the island’s craggy mountains are hemmed by the waters of the Mediterranean interspersed with beaches, medieval villages, and pastureland. Ryder-Walker’s tour of Corsica will take you through a suite of different biomes from deserts to the Mediterranean coast, to deep glacial valleys and mountain summits. The heart of the Corsican mountains is the Balagne Mountains which stretch along the island. Our tour begins in the village of Bastia and from here we set out to visit Calvi – a labyrinthine village situated by the sea with its own gothic citadel – it is also the alleged birthplace of Christopher Columbus, a fact the explorer would try to obscure throughout his life so his association with the island would not conflict with his political ambitions. The Calanques de Piana is a geological marvel; these massive cliffs stretch over a thousand feet into the sea and are known for their striking rust hue.

The hiking in Corsica is as varied and unique as it gets. Our first hike explores the Agriates desert, which was once the breadbasket of Corsica but has since been protected as sweeping nature preserve. In one day, we get to see the desert landscape transform into the more coastal one as we approach the sea near Algajola. From Algajola the hiking will be a variety of coastal trails that weave in and out of cliff sides, hidden coves, and down to the idyllic stone beaches that Corsica is known for. The final section of the tour is spent high in the peaks that make the island so visually dramatic. Of note here are the deep glacial valleys that run from the domed summit of Monte Rondo and are full of waterfalls and sparkling glacial lakes.

The culture of Corsica is a broad crossroads. You will find Italian and French influences to be the most dominant, with some occasional Moorish influence in architecture. The food has its own unique Corsican flair, with the most popular dishes incorporating the wealth of seafood that is gathered just off the island. Otherwise, the island offers a variety of meats, cheeses, pastas, and the culinary expertise and tradition that one would associate with France. The Corsican people themselves are a varied and wily bunch – Corsica itself has a unique identity that is not inherently cohesive with the standard French identity, with a particular independent pride that is familiar to other island cultures connected to major mainland nations.

Trip Itinerary

Arrive in Bastia. Meet guide(s) and group for welcome dinner.

Depart Bastia to the serene Balagne region, and explore the western edge of the Agriate desert, a 25-mile-long natural reserve. Our route traces the custom officers’ path to the promontory at Monte Orlandu, ending at the picturesque sand dunes of Ostriconi Beach. A brief drive along the scenic Balagne coast takes us to Calvi and our charming seaside hotel. Distance: 8 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 700 ft.

We start today in Calvi’s historic district, hiking alongside the 13th-century citadel before joining the custom officer’s path to Faro della Revellata. Enjoy captivating views of the Balagne mountains arching above Algajola and Calvi’s beaches, and the Genoese citadel overlooking the bay. We also explore the far side of the peninsula, and the rugged Scandola shoreline. Distance: up to 10 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 700 ft.

Today hike begins at Algajola’s sandy beach. We follow the village trail, ascending gentle hillsides to the old mule path which leads us from the village of Corbara to Pigna, an on to St. Antonio, where we enjoy a terrace lunch with breathtaking aerial views of the Balagne region. Later, we wander Sant’Antonino’s charming narrow streets and passages before descending through olive groves and returning to Algajola’s beach. A one-hour transfer brings us to Corte, the old capital located in the heart of Corsica, for a two-night stay. Distance: up to 10 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 1500 ft.

We explore one of two stunning glacial valleys, Restonica and Tavagnino, renowned for their natural beauty. The Restonica Valley features a scenic road that winds through the valley to waterfalls, glacial lakes beneath the granite domes of Monte Rotondo. In the Tavagnino gorge, a marked path follows the former glacial valley alongside a crystal-clear river, part of the ‘Mare a Mare’ hiking trail traversing the island from east to west. Distance: up to 9 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 2000 ft.

A dramatic drive over Col de Vergio, the island’s highest road pass near Monte Cinto’s summit (4846 ft.) takes us to the village of Evisa where we begin our hike. The trail goes through the dense Aïtone Forest, descending into the 6 km (3.7-mile) Spelunca river gorge. We pass striking rock formations and serene pools on our way to Ota, a small village surrounded by impressive cliffs. We continue along the banks of the river Fango, concluding at Porto’s beach with breathtaking Mediterranean Sea views. Distance: 8.5 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 500/3000 ft.

Today, we explore the Calanques de Piana, a UNESCO World Heritage site, one of Corsica’s most impressive landscapes. These striking red granite cliffs, some towering 1000 ft. above the Mediterranean, stretch for several miles along the coast to the Gulf of Porto. We then venture to Capo Rosso, a rocky promontory near the charming village of Piana. Our hike leads us to a preserved watchtower on the cape before transferring to Ajaccio, Corsica’s capital. Distance: 6.5 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 1700 ft.

French Isle Adventure Trek | Corsica

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