GR20 Prologue

Corsica an island in the  mediterran sea. I managed to complete the Corsica GR20 trail in the last summer. You will find here all kind of information, about how to plan the trip, equipment and of course about the routes and days themself.

GR20 – Introduction

The Grandes Randonnée 20 (GR20) is a long distance trail and traverses the mountains on Corsica. The start point is the town Calenzana in the north and it ends in Conca in the south. GR20 is said to be the hardest and one of the most beautiful trails in europe. You have to accomplish a distance of 175 km and around 10000 m in metres in altitude. You need to be able to walk on small ridges and additionally you need to climb from time to time with out security arrangements.

Only 25 % of all people are able to finish the trail in one attempt. There are always situations that could force you to stop. Don’t hesitate this trail can be dangerous. If you are injured or feel not healthy enough to go on. Stop and rest for a day or leave the trail. There numerous of possibilities. You need to be physically healthy and be ready to face the challenges of the weather.

The trail was really challenging and I was close by to stop on the last two days. The weather was hot and my feet were really hurting, but in the end I was able to finish the GR20 within 15 days. Thats a warning for you too, the trail takes 15 days, dont book your ferries and airplanes without a day of break. Even when you manage to do it in 15 days, the warm sea will help you to enjoy your 1 day longer stay in corsica.

GR20 – Route

Stage Route Start Goal Distance Metres in Altitude Duration Link to tour
Calenzana Refuge d’Ortu di u Piobbu 10,37 km 1360 m 6:30 h GR20 Stage 1
 Refuge d’Ortu di u Piobbu Refuge de Carrozzu  8,09 km  670 m 7:00 h
 Refuge de Carrozzu Refuge d’Asco Stagnu  4,5 km 700 m 6:10 h
Refuge d’Asco Stagnu  Refuge de Tighiettu  9,64 km  1210 m  8:00 h
 Refuge de Tighiettu  Refuge de Ciottulu di u mori  7,7 km  620 m 4:00 h
 Refuge de Ciottulu di u mori  Refuge de Manganu  24,25 km  700 m 8:00 h
 Refuge de Manganu  Refuge de Petra Piana  8,45 km 790 m 6:30 h
Refuge de Petra Piana  Refuge de l’Onda  9,9 km 480 m 4:50 h
 Refuge de l’Onda  Vizzavona  10,83 km  660 m 6:00 h
 Vizzavona  Refuge de Capannelle  13,11 km  850 m 5:15 h
Refuge de Capannelle  Refuge de Prati  17,74 km  820 m 6:10 h
 Refuge de Prati  Refuge d`Usciolu  13,3 km  680 m 5:45 h
 Refuge d`Usciolu  Refuge d’ Asinau  13,75 km  650 m 4:30 h
 Refuge d’ Asinau  Refuge de Paliri  15,44 km  530 m 4:15 h
 Refuge de Paliri Conca  12,25 km  190 m 7:00 h

GR20 – Best time to travel

Corsica is also called Island of differences. This is particularly clear at the climate of the island. Due to its location in the Mediterranean Sea near the coast there is a year-round Mediterranean climate. That means even in winter temperatures will not fall  below 10 ° C. In the summer it will be hot and often temperatures around 35 ° C can be expected.

In the heights, there is a different climate. It can happen that you have to face snow in June. The best time to visit is recommended by mid-June to late August. In September some passages because of snow can be impassable in the north.


GR20 – How to get there

Corsica is an island. There are several ways to the island to travel: By plane or by boat. A direct flight from Germany is only offered from Frankfurt, therefore we were left with only the possibility of combining flights and ferries. We took the plane from Berlin to Nice, afterwards the ferry from Nice to Calvi.

Our flight was at 07:45 AM from Berlin Schoenefeld, arrival in Nice was at 11.30. The next destination was the port of Nice. The easiest way is to go in front of the airport to the ticket counter and buy a ticket for the bus 98. The bus will leave every 15 minutes, so there’s no reason to panic if the first is crowded. You have to go until the last stop of the line.  From there the ferry port is only 2 to 5 mins away by walking. You will pass various food stalls, it is advisable to take something, because the time on the ferry is long and boring.

The journey takes even with the Express ferry more than 6 hours. On board there is not much to do except drink cocktails, look at the sea and sleeping. The departure was for us at about 03:00 PM and we arrived in Calvi arround 09:00 PM. The entire tour from Berlin to Calvi took us approximately 14 hours. Alternatively you can always try to take a plane to one of the many airports at Corsica.

Upon arrival in Calvi, especially when you’re so late as we did, you should quickly take the bus to Calenzana. In Calenza the GR20 starts.  There is a bus between Calvi and Calenzana, but not when you arrive too late in the evening like us. We went to a hotel who called us a taxi. Finding a taxi is pure luck, without help. The taxi ride to Calenzana lasted about 20 minutes. During the drive you can already see the mountains. The taxi ride was expensive: 45 € for 12 km. Who has the chance to be earlier in Calvi  should take the bus.

The taxi driver left us directly at Gîtes d’étapes (camping). There is no possibility to book upfront for this place. But they have a lot of room, so dont be scared. At 10:30 PM we had pitched the tent for the first time in Corsica. At 06:30 AM should ring the alarm clock and then the Tour of Corsica GR20 was about to start.

Corsica GR20 - Prologue - Port of Nice
Corsica GR20 - Prologue - Port of Calvi
Corsica GR20 - Prologue - Taxi

GR20 – Travel Cost

Corsica Ferries:

Corsica Buses:

Corsika GR20 – Travel Cost:

Plane Berlin – Nice: 80.00 €

Ferry Nice – Calvi: ~ 33.00 €

Taxi: 45.00 €

GR20 – Places to camp and rest

You should consider to book upfront every place where you want to stay during the GR20, because a lot of places are crowded, especially in July. There is a page available to book. French only.

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