Hiking the GR20 Corsica 14 day itinerary
EUROPE,  FRANCE

HIKING THE GR20 IN CORSICA: 14-DAY ITINERARY [2023]

Corsica’s GR20 is officially divided into 16 stages, which means 16 days on the track. Is it possible to double the stages and finish the walk faster? Absolutely! If you are a fit and confident hiker, you can even try to do it in 10 days. In my case, it was a little longer though. In this blog post, I’m going to share with you my 14-day itinerary for hiking the GR20 in Corsica with walk notes, daily distance, and elevation change. For other key information about the hike, go to a separate post, GR20 Corsica: everything you need to know [2023].

DAY 1 | Conca – Refuge d’i Paliri

Day one on the GR20 has come! I was too excited to sleep the whole night, woke up at 4:00 am, and hit the trail shortly after. Gite de la Tonnelle in Conca is a very nice place, with spacious bathrooms, hot showers, and no extra fees for charging devices. First sunrise on the GR20 was simply stunning, and the day itself not too long. I made it to Refuge d’i Paliri around noon, set up my tent, went to sleep, and woke up again just before dinnertime. Sharing meals with other hikers became my very favourite thing on the GR20 ever since.

Walking track: 13,3 km, 6 hours
Variant: standard
Elevation gain: 1125 m
Elevation loss: 314 m

Water refill on the track: possible
Food resupply along the way: impossible
Refuge d’i Paliri: shower with icy water, no fees for charging

First sunrise on the GR20 in Corsica
First sunrise on the GR20

DAY 2 | Refuge d’i Paliri – Refuge d’Asinau

Day two kicked off with an enjoyable walk to Bavella, followed by an alpine variant to Refuge d’Asinau. From the very beginning, my plan was to do all the alpine variants of the GR20, so I jumped on the yellow trail with no hesitation at all. This section turned out to have only one technical challenge, a steep wall secured with chains and some foot holds. Honestly speaking, Refuge d’Asinau is my least favourite hut on the entire track. Small campsite, sloping ground, and lentils for dinner, which made me go through hell the next day.

Walking track: 11,6 km, 5 hours 40 minutes
Variant: alpine
Elevation gain: 1167 m
Elevation loss: 693 m

Water refill on the track: possible
Food resupply along the way: possible (Bavella)
Refuge d’Asinau: shower with cold water, charging fees apply (2€)

Alpine variant from Refuge d’i Paliri to Refuge d’Asinau
Alpine variant from Refuge d’i Paliri to Refuge d’Asinau

DAY 3 | Refuge d’Asinau – Refuge d’Usciolu

This was one of the hardest days on the GR20, and here’s why. The alpine variant from Refuge d’Asinau to Refuge d’Usciolu is falsely marked at Bocca Stazzunara as closed. I took it for granted, dropped my bag at the junction, and run up Monte Incudine (2134 m) just to find out on my way back that the track is open and everyone else is taking it. This variant basically doubles the stages, saves heaps of time, so I grabbed my bag and went up again. Unfortunately, a few hours later, I developed a strong stomach pain and severe diarrhea. Let me just say, I will never eat lentils again! This food poisoning made me almost quit my mission.

Walking track: 18 km, 7 hours 20 minutes
Variant: alpine
Elevation gain: 1217 m
Elevation loss: 975 m

Water refill on the track: possible
Food resupply along the way: impossible
Refuge d’Usciolu: shower with hot & cold water, no fees for charging

14-day itinerary for hiking the GR20 in Corsica
Monte Incudine (2134 m)

DAY 4 | Refuge d’Usciolu – Refuge Prati

This was exactly what I needed after a day-long, brutal fight with food poisoning. A shorter distance with no technical sections, and cooler weather. From the start, the heat was immense, sometimes hard to bear, and that obviously didn’t help me walking. So thankfully the temperature went down, and I made it to the next hut with no issues this time. Important note. There is no source of water between Refuge d’Usciolu and Refuge Prati. Make sure to take a sufficient amount of water with you, and use it wisely throughout the day.

Walking track: 10,8 km, 5 hours
Variant: standard
Elevation gain: 765 m
Elevation loss: 684 m

Water refill on the track: impossible
Food resupply along the way: impossible
Refuge Prati: shower with cold water, charging fees apply (2€)

14-day itinerary for hiking the GR20 in Corsica
On the way to Refuge Prati

DAY 5 | Refuge Prati Refuge d’E Capannelle

A pleasant, but long day of walking. Two hours in, and I made it to Col de Verde with a restaurant which unfortunately happened to be a total disaster. No fresh food, and unbothered, rude staff that didn’t even want to talk with me. All I got there was a cup of coffee, and a taste of disappointment. Fortunately enough, Refuge d’E Capannelle is one of the best supplied huts on the entire GR20. They have delicious food, sell plenty of products, and make pizza! On top of that, for no more than 1€, you can access their wi-fi for 24h.

Walking track: 17,7 km, 8 hours
Variant: standard
Elevation gain: 814 m
Elevation loss: 1009 m

Water refill on the track: possible
Food resupply along the way: possible (Col de Verde)
Refuge d’E Capannelle: shower with cold water, no fees for charging

14-day itinerary for hiking the GR20 in Corsica
On the way to Refuge d’E Capannelle

DAY 6 | Refuge d’E Capannelle – Refuge L’Alzarella

This would be an easy day if I didn’t do a side trip to Monte Renoso (2352 m) in the morning. After all, I don’t regret it, the views were worth it, but the distance from Refuge d’E Capannelle to Vizzavona plus the side trip, made me want to cry at the end. My feet were burning, my left ankle was in pain, and that obviously didn’t seem promising for the following days. Refuge L’Alzarella doesn’t serve dinners, but they do have a well-supplied shop there. You can also eat out for a change, in one of the restaurants in Vizzavona.

Walking track: 22,4 km, 10 hours 40 minutes
Variant: standard
Elevation gain: 1436 m
Elevation loss: 2166 m

Water refill on the track: possible
Food resupply along the way: impossible
Refuge L’Alzarella: shower with warm water, no fees for charging

14-day itinerary for hiking the GR20 in Corsica
Monte Renoso (2353 m)

DAY 7 | Refuge L’Alzarella – Refuge de l’Onda

Refuge L’Alzarella to Refuge de l’Onda through an alpine variant with a side trip to Monte d’Oro (2389 m) turned out to be the hardest day on the GR20. I had to deal with a giant snow field hanging on the north-east side of the mountain, elevation gain of more than 1550 m in 7 km, and the final climb to the top, which requires using both, legs and hands at the same time. I made it to the next hut safe and sound, but the pain in my left ankle was stronger than before, and my knees were hurting me too. Couldn’t wait to go to sleep!

Walking track: 11,4 km, 8 hours
Variant: alpine
Elevation gain: 1552 m
Elevation loss: 1068 m

Water refill on the track: possible
Food resupply along the way: impossible
Refuge de l’Onda: shower with cold water, charging fees apply (1€)

14-day itinerary for hiking the GR20 in Corsica
Monte d’Oro (2389 m)

DAY 8 | Refuge de l’Onda Refuge de Petra Piana

If you are thinking of doubling the stages, this may be a good opportunity for you. Many hikers go from Refuge de l’Onda straight to Refuge de Manganu, and stop at Refuge de Petra Piana only for lunch. It’s definitely doable, although, I didn’t do that. I preferred to take it slow and see how it goes with the pain in my leg. There is no source of water between Refuge de l’Onda and Refuge de Petra Piana, so make sure to take heaps with you. I enjoyed my stay at Refuge de Petra Piana, although, their shower doesn’t work well.

Walking track: 7 km, 6 hours 30 minutes
Variant: alpine
Elevation gain: 781 m
Elevation loss: 434 m

Water refill on the track: impossible
Food resupply along the way: impossible
Refuge de Petra Piana: shower with cold water, no fees for charging

On the way to Refuge de Petra Piana
On the way to Refuge de Petra Piana

DAY 9 | Refuge de Petra Piana Refuge de Manganu

That’s probably the most beautiful stage on the GR20. The views were simply stunning all day long, and reminded me of the High Tatras, a prominent mountain range that we Polish people share with Slovakia. It was a very nice ridge walk with only one technical section secured with chains. In my opinion, Refuge de Manganu is the best high-altitude mountain hut on the entire GR20. They have clean bathrooms with hot showers, well-supplied shop, and serve giant dinners. My pasta was so big, it slid off the plate! I kid you not.

Walking track: 8,5 km, 7 hours
Variant: standard
Elevation gain: 656 m
Elevation loss: 794 m

Water refill on the track: possible
Food resupply along the way: impossible
Refuge de Manganu: shower with hot water, no fees for charging

14-day itinerary for hiking the GR20 in Corsica
Lac de Melo

DAY 10 | Refuge de Manganu – Refuge de Ciottulu di i Mori

The stage from Refuge de Manganu to Refuge de Ciottulu di i Mori is also very scenic. Especially, Lac de Nino, which is Corsica’s second-largest lake, as well as a series of cascades, swimming pools, and waterfalls just before the final ascent to the hut. It was a long, hot day, so I struggled a little at the end. It’s well-worth stopping in Col de Vergio, and making a longer break. There is a hotel, private campsite, restaurant, and shop. Feel free to restock, have a coffee, and something fresh for lunch. For me, that was a delicious steak.

Walking track: 23,8 km, 10 hours 20 minutes
Variant: standard
Elevation gain: 1216 m
Elevation loss: 733 m

Water refill on the track: possible
Food resupply along the way: possible (Col de Vergio)
Refuge de Ciottulu di i Mori: shower with warm water, no fees for charging

Hiking the GR20 Corsica 14 day itinerary
Lac de Nino

DAY 11 | Refuge de Ciottulu di i Mori – Refuge de Tighiettu

There was a storm in the forecast, so I couldn’t go up in the mountains. I left Refuge de Ciottulu di i Mori early in the morning, made it to Bergerie de Ballone in less than two hours, and stayed the night there. It wasn’t wise to continue the walk, so I enjoyed my well-deserved rest, and got to Refuge de Tighiettu the following day. I don’t recommend staying there though. The hut is managed by a group of men who made weird comments towards me, so if you can stay overnight in Bergerie de Ballone, do it. It’s much nicer there.

Walking track: 6,5 km, 3 hours
Variant: standard
Elevation gain: 453 m
Elevation loss: 664 m

Water refill on the track: possible
Food resupply along the way: possible (Bergerie de Ballone)
Refuge de Tighiettu: shower with cold water, charging fees apply (2€)

Trailhead at Refuge de Tighiettu
Trailhead at Refuge de Tighiettu

DAY 12 | Refuge de Tighiettu – Refuge d’Ascu-Stagnu

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would meet so many fantastic people on the GR20. Some of them did the south leg of the trail and finished the walk in Vizzavona. Others continued through rough north all the way up to Calenzana. Since many people say Monte Cinto (2706 m) is a hard peak to summit, we decided to team up for this one, and do it together. Fun fact, I found it easier than Monte d’Oro. Feel free to stay overnight in Refuge d’Ascu-Stagnu or a nearby hotel. There is also a restaurant with great food.

Walking track: 10,3 km, 10 hours
Variant: standard
Elevation gain: 1201 m
Elevation loss: 1458 m

Water refill on the track: possible
Food resupply along the way: impossible
Refuge d’Ascu-Stagnu: shower with warm water, no fees for charging

Monte Cinto the highest peak in Corsica
Monte Cinto (2706 m)

DAY 13 | Refuge d’Ascu-Stagnu – Refuge de Carozzu

The most technical part of the hike starts right after Refuge d’Ascu-Stagnu. As mentioned in a separate post, GR20 Corsica: everything you need to know [2023], all those technical sections require rock scrambling skills, and there is no real climbing involved. This stage has two sections secured with chains and a couple of very steep walls with no metal aids at all. It’s not difficult to find foot holds and hand holds, but you do need to be confident to lift your body up with extra weight on your back. So the less you carry, the easier it goes.

Walking track: 4,8 km, 5 hours
Variant: standard
Elevation gain: 660 m
Elevation loss: 820 m

Water refill on the track: possible
Food resupply along the way: impossible
Refuge de Carozzu: shower with warm water, no fees for charging

On the way to Refuge de Carozzu
On the way to Refuge de Carozzu

DAY 14 | Refuge de Carozzu – Calenzana

My goal was to finish the GR20 in 14 days. However, in order to do that, I had to double the last two stages. Sounds crazy, right? Doubling it at the end, with sore knees, and very little energy left. Long-distance hiking is mostly mental, so I decided to give it a go. Apparently, with the right attitude anything is possible as I made it from Refuge de Carozzu to Calenzana in 10 hours. The track from Refuge de Carozzu to Refuge de l´Ortu di u Piobbu is still a bit technical, after the last hut, it’s basically all the way down. Good luck you guys!

Walking track: 18,7 km, 10 hours
Variant: standard
Elevation gain: 1096 m
Elevation loss: 2197 m

Water refill on the track: possible
Food resupply along the way: possible (Refuge de l´Ortu di u Piobbu)
A Casa di Jo: luxury apartment with a swimming pool

Technical section on the GR20 in Corsica
Technical section on the GR20 in Corsica

This is my 14-day itinerary for hiking the GR20 in Corsica. What stages are you planning to double? Let me know by leaving a comment below!


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