by Rick McCharles, editor of besthike.com
I’ve hiked many of the best treks of the world. The GR20 compares favorably with the best of the best. But it’s very physically challenging, in fact the toughest hike I’ve ever done.
Read my 7 day trip report.
For me the start was extremely grueling. But at the summit of Mt. d’Oro, last day, I was feeling terrific.
If YOU are interested in taking on the “toughest hike in Western Europe”, here’s my advice.
Browse the best websites in English:
Order one or both of the two best Guidebooks in English:
Both those books describe the trek north to south, but there’s no real reason you couldn’t do it in the opposite direction, leaving the most spectacular and difficult sections to the end.
I also bought Lonely Planet Corsica as a travel guidebook, but was less impressed than usual. The long predicted decline in quality of LP may be proven by this edition. If you are only going for the GR20, you may not need anything more than a trekking guide.
There are no dedicated “hiking maps” for the GR20 that I saw in 2011. The guidebooks are sufficient if you are going to stay on the main trails.
The trail is possible from early June through mid-October.
Best month to hike is June when water (and snow) is more available.
July and August can be VERY HOT. And crowded. Lightning storms frequently drive you off the heights by afternoon.
Keep to the highest (most difficult) route as much as possible.
Due to the wonderful climate, I’d recommend you sleep in a tent. Those can be rented at Refuges, but it’s safer to carry your own. I refused to stay under roof, myself. Refuges are noisy, crowded and unsanitary. That’s just me. Most hikers seem to like them.
Very little English is spoken on the GR20. You’ll need at least a smattering of French to survive.
My biggest mistake was carrying too much food and liquid. My pack was too heavy. Instead I should have carried more Euros and simply bought meals along the way at Refuges.
Most do this adventure independently, but you can sign on with a guiding company. Try …
The easiest, cheapest way to get to Corsica is by Air. Try EasyJet first. Personally I enjoyed taking the overnight ferry to and from the island, saving the cost of accommodation both ways.
Leave a comment if you’ve done the GR20 and have advice to add.