Food at refuges, sleepingbag and route


Posted: Thu, May 9, 2019, 7:20

Hi all,

Myself and a friend is going to tackle a part of the northern section of the GR20 from July 28 - Aug 2.

After reading through this forum, we got a bit discouraged from tackling multi-legs during a day so here is our itinary:

We will start from Vizzavona - Refuge de Onda - Refuge de Petra Piana - Refuge de Manganu - Refuge de Ciottulu di i mori - Refuge de Ascu Stagnu.

Do you guys think this route is a taking it a bit to easy - or decent enough?

We will sleep at all the listed refuges, so here goes my question:

Ideally, we would travel as light as possible i.e. avoid bringing a sleeping bag, food etc. - but is that possible on the GR20? Do the refuges only have a mattress and no other sleeping material? And regarding food, I read some posts stating that all refuges serve a warm meal at the end of the day, whereas other forums states the contrary.

Hope you guys can help with some clarification.

Thanks in advance



Posted: Thu, May 9, 2019, 8:37

These are no hotels but typical mountain refuges, therefore only mattresses are at hand (if not all taken... better book in advance during high season). Neither sleeping bags nor covers are provided, as a rule.

Refuges - when staffed - may provide warm meals on evenings as a service to their guests (this is no legal requirement, prices are totally unregulated, the staff uses this to make extra money): you must book dinner as soon as you arrive (= no later than 5 or 6pm, for it is served around 7pm). If you arrive later, you'll have to buy some food and/or cook your own meal.

Your route is a bit unbalanced, however it depends on which variants you'll take - regular ones, or alpine ones, you did not mention. Please check again your expected schedule, hiking abilities etc.
For example: Manganu to Ciuttulu is fairly quick (about 5 hours of easy walk for the average hiker) whereas Ciuttulu to Ascu (which IS multi-leg, if not stopping at Tighjettu) is among the hardest parts (10-12 hours of rocky slopes... if not more, depending on conditions); better do Manganu-Tighjettu, then Tighjettu-Ascu to stay safe. Similarly, Vizzavona to L'Onda is only half a stage and thus a bit short.


Geologist in Corsica


Posted: Thu, May 9, 2019, 20:20

First of all, thanks for your thourough reply.

We have booked the aforementioned refuges - but will then bring a sleeping bag. Was not sure about the concept, since refuges in Italy provide these things.

Regarding food, as I understand your reply - we will most likely be able to get breakfast and dinner at the refuges, but not lunch? Is there a way to directly contact the refuges (mail or phone) to ask directly?

Route-wise, I guess we aim for the alpine routes. Okay, we based the route on the different stages based in this website, so that’s a bit surprising. Is there a way to rebook the refuges without having to pay extra? Just shuffle around the dates?

We are however, aware that we need to have one day with a multi-leg and based on the different routes that was the leg that seemed more feasible.



Posted: Thu, May 9, 2019, 22:15

You have to order meals at each refuge: order the dinner as soon as you arrive before 5 or 6pm, then tell the staff whether you'll also have some breakfast too - then you'll find coffee stick, bread, marmalade etc. waiting for you on the table on the next morning (beware of early hikers eating your part ;))

There's (usually) no lunch service. You may eventually order something to take away (by providing your own lunchbox) for example leftovers from the previous dinner, some cold sandwich, etc. Better buy the food you need in advance or when you reach a refuge around noon (sausage, sandwich, noodles, whatever) and cook it yourself.

Corsican Refuges operated by the Park are basic mountain shelters, hence the name "refuge". Some closed room with mattresses, a gas burner, wc, cold water, and that's it - anything else (food, meals, showers) is optional with no guarantee. These mountain huts are usually in remote areas, staffed only a few months a year, and even then the staff is not available 24/7. There's no easy way to contact each refuge separately, unless you know each guardian's private cell phone number so as to leave them a message (they try to get their messages once a day).
There's only one central booking website/email for the Park refuges ; it's probably feasible to alter your booking online at (or maybe ask a refund then book again?) (or drop 'em a mail telling how you would like to alter your booking?).

The Tighjettu-Ascu is, in my humble opinion, the most difficult leg of the whole route; combining it with another stage adds some extra difficulty, especially if you want to arrive early and order a dinner. For combining stages, Vizzavona to Petra Piana using the direct alpine variant, or Manganu to Tighjettu without stopping at Ciuttulu are probably better options.


Geologist in Corsica


Posted: Fri, May 10, 2019, 9:29

Thank you for your response.. I'll try and do that!


Posted: Sat, May 11, 2019, 8:07

About lunch ..... in my experience in "some" refuges you might be able to get an omelette or something. Just ask.


Posted: Sat, May 11, 2019, 9:44

Sure, you can usually order some basic stuff (omelette, sandwich, deli meats, box of leftovers... for 8-10€) but don't expect a hot square meal. :D

(Sometimes the staff even leaves during lunch.)


Geologist in Corsica


Posted: Sat, May 11, 2019, 17:46

Ahh okay... Well thats perfect, I just want some kind of food. But will probably also bring a little extra if it fails at one or two places.



Posted: Mon, Jun 24, 2019, 20:32

Most of the refuges sell a tinned tuna salad (in various styles) they have a ring pull top and taste great!
Just get your spork in!


David Ellis