GR20 northern section for 4-5 days


Posted: Fri, Apr 7, 2017, 10:55

Hi all,

I would be interested in options for doing the more spectacular northern section of GR20 in a week long trip. This would need to include flying from the UK and taking public transport to the start and exit points. We would be staying in mountain huts in late summer (assume late august or early september time).

I'd be organising this for our outdoor mountaineering club so anywhere up to 8-10 people could be doing the route.

I am unsure of the entry/exit points on the route in relation to staying in the huts and fitting in with travel options etc

Any guidance gratefully appreciated.


Posted: Fri, Apr 7, 2017, 11:51

I guess that being a Mountaineering club everyone will be very fit and used to long multi day walks? and probably have done a few of these prior to arriving in Corse?
Halving the time on the Northern part of the route Calenzana-Vizzavona would be a big ask for a large group maybe?...all moving at the same pace day after day?
Maybe there would be a problem to get spaces in the refuges for 8-10?
Have you looked at Paddy Dillon's guide to the route Corsica GR20 ...Cicerone?




Posted: Fri, Apr 7, 2017, 14:05

Thanks. We are used to doing hut to hut trips in mainland Europe for groups of 6-10. The GR20 is one that I was thinking of organising for the club having not contributed before.
We normally book our huts in advance as we know our travel itinerary so availability at the huts should be ok.
Its more the transport links and how that fits in with the available route options...


Posted: Fri, Apr 7, 2017, 15:22

Flight arrivals on Sunday to Bastia Poretta are not best served by train/Bus....See the on-line Corsica bus and train timetables. Corse has mainly a rest day on Sunday.

The refuges on the GR20 are small and usually very crowded....I have always taken my tent and mostly cooked my own to avoid the 'scrambling' around the refuges. If you are used to those in France or Switzerland the ones in Corse are a very different experience. Only bookable on-line On the PNRC website....not yet, as far as I know, open for business for this season.

Possibly....suggestion...Take the train to Vizzavona and then head to the North which means a starting altitude from there at 900 metres. This is assuming an arrival at Poretta/Bastia?

On completion you have only take train or Bus from Calvi to get back to near the Airport.

It will be very tight for time on account of the time needed for internal travel.

Perhaps a different story if you were to get into Calvi airport which is fairly close to the Start at the Northern end Calenzana.....I once look at getting to there by air and the costs were quite steep!
Train from Vizzavona to get back to Calvi. Taxi might well be needed at both ends ...Calvi to Calenzana to start the route and at the finish Calvi to the airport.
Not a taxi but a navette to get 10 of you around. :-)




Posted: Fri, Apr 7, 2017, 17:28

With a group, where no-one has prior experience of the GR20, plan with great caution. I doubt you would get from Calenzana to Vizzavona in a week. If you start at Calenzana, be aware that there is the 'classic' brutal ascent, taking two days to get to Carrozzu, and also a low-level option that gets you to Carrozzu easily in a day. Exit points would be - Haut Asco, using a navette service, or calling for a taxi. Bergeries de Ballone, where you walk to Albertacche and catch a bus to Corte. Castel di Vergio, where you catch the bus to Corte. After that, you can leave the route before Manganu, but it's a truly hefty day's walk via Sega to Corte. After Manganu, you can drop down to Grotelle and catch the navette to Corte. After Petra Piana, you can simply walk all the way down a valley to the railway station at Tattone, skipping Vizzavona entirely. You could also have options where one or two people might finish early, while the rest did more of the route. Read up on your options carefully, because it's surprising how few trekkers know anything at all off-route.


Posted: Sun, Apr 9, 2017, 8:12

This page is written specifically to help with such queries:
Since you are a group, it might even be a better idea to fix up a private transfer: contact bus/taxi companies in the region of the section you choose.


Posted: Sun, Apr 9, 2017, 20:56

For the northern section, Taxis Corse, operating out of Ponte Leccia, will do pick ups and drop offs for groups.


Posted: Mon, Apr 17, 2017, 7:14

In April 30, we arrive to Ajaccio on Sunday morning. Trains depart from Ajaccio 15:23. So in Vizzavona we will be only about 16:32. Since we have only a week to the northern GR20 part, we want to try to save time. Could you recommend a transfer company with minibus from Ajaccio to Vizzavona Sunday for a group of 8 people? All companies that I found, offers or simple taxi or Minivan taxi (which means 2-3 machines). Maybe the minibus will be cheaper way to go.
Thank you very much


Posted: Mon, Apr 17, 2017, 8:39

You are 'hardy' for taking on this trip in early May.
Nothing much concerning the GR20 is 'up and running' at this time. All kind of appears to be against you when condensing the Northern part of the route into a few would be difficult enough if considering this trip within these time limits in say June when all the facilities will be open.

Maybe if all seems to be against you and the current conditions on the high ground is still under snow-cover.....head South from Vizzavona?
See the Rando blogspot PNRC ...latest images on parts of the Southern GR20 are available of what they saw a week ago.

Let us have here a wee report of what you found during your visit to the GR20 when you get back home.




Posted: Mon, Apr 17, 2017, 8:48

Hi amber,
I would try and give a call to the camping La Tonnelle (Conca) and ask for their services. As a rule they don't do this, but they might accept your request and arrange a special transfer for you (they have a minivan After all the official GR20 season has not started yet and they might be free and available. The phone number is in the picture. Best luck.