Best starting point northern part, given 6 or 7 hiking days

Stan H.

Posted: Sat, Dec 9, 2017, 19:30

Hi all,

I hope someone can give me advice about the following. I'll arrive 31 May in Ajaccio (early in the morning). 7 June I'll fly back to the Netherlands. So this gives me 6 complete hiking days, or 7 if I'm able to reach my starting point fast on my day of arrival. I would like to hike the northern part. Which direction do you recommend? And what would be the best starting point, for example Vizzavona or Calenzana or another stage? I don't like the idea of two stages in one day, because I think that's a bit too mutch. Thanks for your help!

Stan H.


Posted: Sun, Dec 10, 2017, 9:20

You can walk the whole distance between Calinzana and Vizzavona in 6 days, but if you don't want to double up stages then you will have to look at low level routes that aren't always on the GR20. You can use the low level option to get from Calinzana to Carrozzu in a day, then get to Haut Asco the next day. There might be to much snow and ice on Monte Cintu early in June, so you could short-cut by bus to Calasima/Ballone and save a day. Ballone to Vergio, Vergio to Manganu, Manganu to Petra Piana, then just take the lowest possible valley route to the train station at Tattone. All done in 6 days. Works just as well in reverse, but if you find you are losing time, then it's easier to leave the route by bus on the northern stages.

Stan H.

Posted: Mon, Dec 11, 2017, 9:15

Many thanks!! A couple of questions (hopefully you can help me again). Is 'Vergio' the same as 'Castel di Vergio'? And can I read 'Ballone' as 'Bergeries de Ballone'? If I count correctly I have 7 hiking days, unless I take the bus from Haut Asco to Ballone (the same of the bus trip I need to hike to Vergio).

And a more general question, I can also choose to walk from Vizzavona to station d'Ascu Stagnu on the regular route (6 days) and end my trip over there. You prefer your suggestion (I think I do, but just checking)?

Thanks a lot for your very useful help!


Posted: Mon, Dec 11, 2017, 10:31

Arriving in Ajaccio gives you easy access to Vizzavona by train and also the opportunity, if snow is still around on some of the Northern stages, to head South and walk the Southern stages GR20 that takes usually six days of walking.
Providing all goes well if travelling along the Northern stages, and finding you are running out of time, descending to the Auberge at or whatever to Calvi....train back to Ajaccio if that is where your homewards flight is from?



Stan H.

Posted: Mon, Dec 11, 2017, 11:24

Hello Gaffr,

Yes, my flight back home leaves from Ajaccio. Good that we can leave the trail in case we're out of time. And still possible parts with snow in the first week of June; I would never have thought that.

Greets, Stan H.


Posted: Sun, Jan 21, 2018, 13:21

Hello Stan,
We have been twice along the route starting from N and S. both times in early-mid June.
In 2007 snow free but in 2013 several snowfields in the North.
see... might have to shuffle through some other images to reach the relevant images.

Forgot to mention earlier that Bonifatu...if short of time when going North can be reached from Carozzu refuge.




Posted: Tue, Dec 12, 2017, 13:28

Snow is always lying on the trail somewhere at the start of June. It used to be common and sometimes quite dangerous between Manganu and Petra Piana. Ever since the trail was re-routed past Monte Cinto, which is 400 meters higher than the highest point on the trail used to be, snow and ice have caused problems for everyone who starts in June.


Posted: Fri, Dec 15, 2017, 18:41


I am gong out in June for the fourth time, It really does not matter where you start, as transport is a pain in the backside from the North or South. For ease I start at Vizzavona and then go North as I am flying out of Bastia.

Since you are Coming in from Ajaccio it maybe better to take the hit and get the train all the way to Calvi and then taxi to Calenzana, but this will take the best part of a day. On the plus side, when you are walking South you end up at Vizzavona for the train South.

This is our Itinerary for next year, just to give you an Idea:

Monday 18th
STAGE 1a: Vizzavona to Onda. Walking time 8hr. Total distance 11kms.
Total ascent: 670m. Total descent: 1100m.
STAGE 2b: Onda to Petra Piana. Walking time 6hr. Total distance 11kms.
Total ascent: 500m. Total descent: 910m.

Tuesday 19th
STAGE 2a: Petra Piana to Manganu. Walking time 6hr. Total distance 10kms.
Total ascent: 980m. Total descent: 740m.
STAGE 2b: Manganu to Castel di Verghio. Walking time 5.30hr. Total distance 17kms. Total ascent: 670m. Total descent: 475m

Wednesday 20th
STAGE 3a: Castel di Verghio to Ciottulu. Walking time 2.15hr. Total distance 8kms. Total ascent: 0m. Total descent: 580m. (We can bug out here if the route takes us longer than anticipated, bus down to the Gare (station)
STAGE 3b: Ciottulu to Vallone sheppherds cabins. Walking time 3hr. Distance 6kms. Total ascent: 550m. Total descent: 200m

Thursday 21st
STAGE 4: Vallone sheppherds to Tighjettu to Haut Asco. Walking time 9hr. Distance 8kms. Total ascent: 1000m. Total descent: 840m (We can bug out here if the route takes us longer than anticipated, bus down to the Gare (station)

Friday 22nd
STAGE 5a: Haut Asco to Carrozzu. Walking time 5hr. Distance 6kms.
Total ascent: 860m. Total descent: 715m.
STAGE 5b: Carrozzu to Calenzana. Walking time 5.30hr. Distance 21kms. (low Level route)
Total ascent: 1610m. Total descent: 300m.

Saturday 23rd
Train to Bastia, book in hotel near the airport then on an educational cultural site seeing tour of Bastia (piss up)



Stan H.

Posted: Sun, Dec 17, 2017, 18:59

Thanks all! The more I read the more I look forward to it. Maybe we start in Haut Asco and go in 6 days to Vizzavona. Maybe not the most challenging, but I'm not that experienced. I think it is better not to squeeze every minute out of our trip.