Vizzavona to Asco-Stagnu: tips

CedricDM

Posted: Sun, Jun 28, 2020, 22:54

Hi everyone,

I’m new to this forum and although I have been browsing the topics for a couple of weeks now, I can’t seem to find specific answers to my questions. I was hoping someone could help me out, because our travel date is approaching soon...

Our plan is to do a part of the Northern GR20 in the South to North direction. We would start at Vizzavona and end at Asco-Stagnu. My questions are these:

1. Where can I park my car safely? We arrive in Ajaccio around 4 pm and would drive up towards a parking spot either near Vizzavona or somewhere near Ponte Leccia where we’ll be arriving by bus coming from Asco-Stagnu.

2. I’ve read there’s a campground in Tattone (Le Soleil) where you can park your car and start a trek towards Petra Piana. How does this route compare to the traditional GR20 trail from Vizzavona to Onda and then Petra Piana? I don’t want to miss out on great views...

3. Continuing on my previous point: how easy is it to get transport from Tattone to Vizzavona early in the morning? If we’re doubling towards Petra Piana, I want to get an early start, but the train rides only at 10 AM.

4. How realistic is an itinerary of 4 days (vizzavona-petra piana-manganu-tighjetu-asco)? We are a fit couple who have experience with multiple day treks, only not on this level. The alternative would be to add a stop at Ciotullu di Mori.

I hope someone will read this and help me along!
I’m looking forward to give it my best :)

Safe travels everyone!

Cheers,

Cedric



Michele
moderator

Posted: Tue, Jun 30, 2020, 8:12

Hi Cedric,

Here are my suggestions: park the car at Vizzavona railways station (like I did back in 2018); you can pitch your tent at L'Alzarella camping site right across the tracks.
The best way to go to PietraPiana is to follow the GR20: it's a beautiful section; I wouldn't miss out on that.

Your itinerary is realistic and I'll add if you don't want to stop at Ciottulu de i Mori, you can take a shortcut towards Bocca Foggiale once you are in the Niolo valley. But you should at least use a map if you're not familiar with the place.

Best luck

Michele



GRRR 20

Posted: Tue, Jun 30, 2020, 9:43

It's always taken me six days to cover the distance between Vizzavona and Asco Stagnu, so you really do need to be fit to do it in four days. Last summer I walked from Le Soleil to Petra Piana in a day and it was quite an easy valley walk.

Do you really need a car? You can get a train from Ajaccio to Vizzavona or Tattone. When you reach Asco Stagnu a minibus takes you down to Ponte Leccia, where you can catch another train.



CedricDM

Posted: Tue, Jun 30, 2020, 10:44

Hi Michele,

Thank you for your reply! After reading up some more on the different stages, we’ve decided to do it in 5 days, just to be on the safe side...

I’ll definitely look for a map or guidebook to prepare some more for the walks, even though the general consensus seems to be that it’s a well-marked trail that you could do without a map (again safe side).

Actually in response to GRRR20’s post I would like to ask both of you the following, because I have received varying answers: which route would you advise most in terms of views/highlights

- Vizzavona through Onda to Petra Piana (someone told me the first part to Onda is just a lot of rocks and ascending)
- Tattone through Onda to Petra Piana
- Tattone directly to Petra Piana (I heard it’s a nice walk through the valley, but I just want to make sure we’re not missing out on anything spectacular)

Thanks for the help!

Cedric



CedricDM

Posted: Tue, Jun 30, 2020, 10:50

Hi GRRR20,

Also thank you for your advice! Hopefully you can also weigh in on my question to Michele above? :)

The car is an element I can’t change, as we’ll be staying in the south of France the week before and then making the trip by ferry... I was wondering what would be the best way to get back from Asco-Stagnu, because I’ve read about the minibus, but the connection with the train to Vizzavona is not ideal (I think the first train that passes Ponte Leccia after we arrive in the morning is in the late afternoon). So still looking for options there!

Cheers,

Cedric



GRRR 20

Posted: Tue, Jun 30, 2020, 11:54

If you're stuck with the car, then maybe drive from Ajaccio to Ponte Leccia and park at the station, then get the train to Vizzavona. The minibus from Asco Stagnu will take you back to the station at Ponte Leccia for your car.

Tattone to Petra Piana is a pleasant walk and half of it is on the main GR20 anyway. If you go from Tattone or Vizzavona to Onda, then you still have a choice of whether to take the main GR20 to Petra Piana, or the more scenic mountain variant, which is actually a bit shorter. I have walked from Vizzavona along the main GR20 to Onda, and then continued along the mountain variant to Petra Piana, but I only did it once and it was hard work.



SQFP

Posted: Tue, Jun 30, 2020, 12:40

My take on this:

1. You can easily park at Ponte Leccia (e.g. at the train station, or near the Super U supermarket...). Vizzavona is cramped and quite inconvenient (it's just a bunch of houses on a slope in the woods).

2. Tattone to PetraPiana is a nice way to start and acclimatize; compared to the very recent, monotonous "alpine" footpaths that make up most of the GR, the millennia-old shepherds' path that runs along the Manganellu Valley offers a greater variety of landscapes (diverse forests, shrubland, grasslands, waterfall).

3. Tattone to Vizzavona takes about an hour by foot, on a very popular easy hiking path. Or hitch a ride. Or take the morning train, it takes ~5 minutes and costs 2€.

4. Four days is easily feasible if already fit and acclimatized, five days is safer in case of mishap (bad weather etc.). Ciuttulu is only two hours from Tighjettu - not really worth stopping there if you're in a hurry (...otherwise this is a highly recommended place to experience the nicest landscape and mountains in Corsica)

--

Geologist in Corsica



CedricDM

Posted: Tue, Jun 30, 2020, 15:13

Alright, thank you guys for your take on this!

I think we'll go with the route starting from Tattone and I'll see whether it's worth to detour via Onda and take the scenic mountain route. I guess we'll have lots of highlights still ahead of us at that point :)

I didn't know the walk from Ciuttulu to Tighjettu was so short... In any case, we already booked our spot at the Ciuttulu Refuge, so if you have any tips on some "sidehikes" in that area, feel free to enlighten me ^^



Michele
moderator

Posted: Tue, Jun 30, 2020, 15:34

Cedric,

if you're staying at the Ciottulu refuge a climb to the Paglia Orba summit is a must. Although that requires a little bit of climbing experience.



SQFP

Posted: Tue, Jun 30, 2020, 16:40

Many things to see and do around Ciuttulu:

The climb to the Paglia Orba - a.k.a. "Corsican Matterhorn" - takes at least half a day and a good physical condition. No expert techniques or gear needed, but some parts are definitely steep and tricky: using your hands, correctly positioning your feet, paying attention to other hikers etc.

On the other hand, a visit to the Tafunatu Arch is a guilty pleasure only 40 mn away from the Ciuttulu refuge. Not demanding at all, but better not be afraid of heights ;) The path has a couple of narrow, frightening parts but that's it; if unsure about the directions, just follow another hiker from a safe distance.

Even easier: any stroll, long or short, towards the Capu di Guagnarola and back (= the neat ridge/divide south of the refuge, almost level, covered in orange screes; the GR actually runs briefly on the ridge for a mile or so prior to reaching Ciuttulu). Pure bliss at sunset thanks to panoramic overlooks of Scandula and the Gulf of Portu... Keep silent, pay attention, and you're likely to spot some wild sheep, mostly females with babies.

Going north past the Tafunatu Arch, an easy 30mn walk leads to the "Col des Maures" (Moors' Pass) with some miniature arch, sometimes a bit of snow in the shadows, and wonderful views too.

--

Geologist in Corsica