The GR20 is a beautiful and spectacular long-distance hike across the French island of Corsica.
The GR20 is one of the toughest long-distance trails in Europe. The 112-mile (180km) trail traverses the Mediterranean island of Corsica, from north to south, beginning in Calenzana and ending in Conca.
Although one of the most difficult trails, it is also considered to be one of the most beautiful mountain trails in Europe. This guide will provide you with everything you need to know before embarking on your journey.
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The trail consists of two parts. The difficult and rocky northern part, where you will be having to tackle constant steep ascents and plunging descents, it begins in Calenzana and ends in Vizzavona.
The Southern part, which spans from Vizzavona to Conca, is the easier leg of the trail, but not as spectacular as the northern part. You can choose to do either of the two parts or complete the entire hike from Calenzana to Conca.
You can do the trail in either direction, but it is most often done from north to south. If you are looking to avoid the crowds it is suggested that you hike northwards.
The trail, separated into 16 sections, winds its way along the jagged granite spine of Corsica’s mountainous center.
The terrain is rugged, but the trails are well marked with red and white rectangles on rocks, boulders and trees.
Although the trail is well-marked it is still highly recommended that you make use of a map to avoid getting lost.
The amount of time needed to complete the trail can vary considerably from hiker to hiker, but on average it should take hikers between 11-16 days.
When planning your trip, be sure to factor in an extra day or two in case of inclement weather. You may also want to consider a few extra days to enjoy the rich culture and history of the various villages as well as spend time at the beautiful beaches.
Mountain huts known as refuges offer basic accommodation along the route as well as the option to purchase food and drink. These refuges generally consist of one large dormitory that sleeps between 25-50 people.
You may also have the option to sleep in a tent near one of the refuges, this option is also a bit cheaper than staying in the actual refuge. It is recommended that you pack a tent in case any of the refuges are booked so you have a place to sleep.
Wild camping is prohibited so you will need to make sure you set up camp in the vicinity of a refuge. There are also private lodgings along the trail and although they are more comfortable they will also be more expensive.
It is recommended that you visit in late June and early September when most of the refuges are open, the weather is not so hot, and the trails are not so crowded.
Avoid hiking in July and August as this is the most popular time and the trail will be crowded.
The GR20 hike is considered challenging, therefore it is important that you know exactly what you’re getting yourself in to.
This guidebook provides low and high-level alternatives, extra mountain climbs and everything you need to know about this tough route including what to bring, maps and how to trek.
This guidebook promises to provide you with all the information you could possibly need when embarking on this hike.
With this guidebook you will feel prepared and confident to embark on your journey.
It is recommended that you embark on the hike in late June or early September. The number of days needed to complete the hike varies greatly from hiker to hiker.
If you choose to do one section per day, the hike will take you 16 days, weather permitting. You can either do the trail from north to south (as per the itinerary) or south to north.
In this video by Friendly Hiker, you can see that the GR20 is truly one of the most difficult hiking trails in Europe. Follow these six hikers day by day on their epic journey through an impressive mountain scenery.
Late June and early September. This is when most of the refuges will be open, the weather is not so hot, and the trail is less crowded than in July and August.
Between November and May, there is snow on the mountains and the trail can be a little more difficult.
The GR20 is known as the toughest long-distance trail in Europe.
The Northern part of the trail is very demanding with many steep ascents and descent, whereas the southern part is not as difficult.
The fitter you re the more enjoyable the trail will be. Make sure you are both physically and mentally prepared to tackle the GR20 and you should be fine.
No permits are required to hike the trails of the GR20.
The temperatures can vary greatly. You need to be ready for anything and everything.
From very hot to severely cold mountain weather – even in summer.
Corsica is known for its micro-climates; each valley can be different. The weather is unpredictable and can change quickly.
There is no opportunity to buy any new equipment along the route, so make sure you have everything you need before you embark on the trail.
It is also important that you make sure not to carry too much, as that can be equally dangerous.
They speak French and a little English.
There are no fees as of yet, but you will obviously have to pay to stay in the refuges etc.