Let us get one thing off the chest before going into the details: As of today, Corsica is by far the best place we have been to when it comes to active holidays. After being to many places on all five continents we never encountered a single spot offering as many possibilities as Corsica.
A short overview
Corsica is the fourth largest island in the Mediterranean with a mountain range running from north to south. While the mountains offer plenty of opportunities for climbing, hiking, canyoning and cycling, the coast line offers scuba diving, jet ski riding or simply enjoying the beach.
While Corsica a is small enough to get from one end to the other within a few hours, geography has it that the roads are twisted enough to allow for beautiful hideouts just around every corner. The island offers plenty of solitude for everybody to enjoy. And the Corsicans make sure it stays that way by all means necessary. Many investors can tell a story of their hotels at the beach been blown to pieces. An attitude rooted in the century long struggle for independence. Think of it what you may, as a result, all beaches are publicly accessible without charge.
The best activities
There is plenty of places to enjoy this island, with the best parts being the famous GR20 hiking trail and the south eastern area of Corsica. The activities available in this area alone will keep you busy for several seasons :-)
Tip: Login/register to download the pdf map at the end of the article which provides detailed information where the different activities are located.
Gorges of the Solenzara River & Col de Bavella
The adventure hotspot of Corsica are the gorges of the Solenzara river flowing from Col de Bavella to the town named Solenzara at the east coast. Available activities are:
Driving up to the Col you will pass several companies offering canyoning tours. Equipped with harness, wet suite and helmet, experienced guides will show you the beauty of the gorges. Tour operators in this area are
Natural swimming pools
On your way to the Col you will pass several easy accessible spots to swim in the gorge conveniently next to a few restaurants.
Nevertheless the best spot, the Cascades du Polischellu, lies between the col the bavella and the bocca di larone. A trail through the under woods passing off to the river in several places gives access to 17 smaller and larger waterfalls with plenty of swimming opportunities in solitude.
How to get there: Coming from the bocca di larone you will drive over a bridge and after the next turn you see a large parking area to the left. The trail starts right across the road. Unfortunately there is no sign pointing it out. Alternatively walk back to the bridge and walk up the river on the left side.
Starting from the parking spot at the col the bavella it is a 10 minutes walk to the north (to the right when coming from Solenzara) until you hit a small climbing area. Standing in front of the rocks the route difficulties start with a 4a and slowly get more interesting the further left you go. A 50 meter rope is sufficient and bolts are available in short distances. You can find more details in the following guide books, the first being English / French the second German only.
Due to the beautiful but steep terraine, hiking the GR20 requires a good portion of fitness and ideally some experience in hiking in the mountains. Luckily this sounds more dramatic as it is. Yes, especially at the Cirque de Solitude steep slopes and a lot of debris have to be expected but there is no real climbing experience required and "dangerous" parts are secured with metal chains to hold on. Thus, as long as you are moderately fit and know how to walk in uneven terraine you will love the trail.
Should you not have the time to walk all sixteen stages you can only do part of the trail. A simple three day section leads from the Col de Bavella and the Col de Verde to Monte Incudine.
As the hiking leads throuhg hight altitudes, the best time for it is June to October. During the other months of the year snow and ice needs to be expected.
To stay in the huts along the way you need to have a reservation which you can get on the website of the GR20. Should you carry a tent to sleep in, no reservation is needed.
For a detailed description of the individual stages visit the website of the GR20 (in French only) or get yourself one of the many guide books available:
If you don't have a lot of gear you want to take with you, the easiest way to reach Corsica is to get one of the many cheap flights. You can choose between four different airports on the island and rent a car to explore your surrounding.
WIth kids and a lot of equipment driving in your own car is another possibility. Ferries are available from Italy or France.