This trail was on our bucket list for 10 years, once we decided to move forward with the detailed planning process our approach was systematic. This page offers a sneak peek at the detailed itinerary and preparation required to complete the GR20 (Grande Randonnées no.20).
Planning for the GR20 was relatively simple. There were several guidebooks available. We looked at a many videos and read (a lot of) travel blogs from other hikers to get a sense of the trail.
No specific itinerary was needed as we would (and kind of have to) follow the guidebook’s recommendations. Every hiker must follow the alpine hostel itinerary which is set for a good trekking pace. It may appear to be low kilometers per day - but please keep in mind that this is a very challenging scrambling route - no climbing equipment is required but it is not for the faint of heart!
- The GR20 will take about 12-15 days to accomplish.
- The hiking season is May to late September, July and August being the hottest and busiest months.
Health and Fitness:
- The GR20 traverses the mountainous spine of Corsica (North to South). Expect to climb and descend hundreds of meters daily on rough terrain. A good fitness base is required to minimise muscle soreness and injuries on the trail.
- No inoculations are needed to travel to Fance and Corsica.
- This trail is a well marked trail. There are some steep sections and some rock scrambling as well. Having good hiking skills and experience walking on technical terrain is very useful.
- Backcountry camping skills are important only if you plan on camping. But the ‘leave no trace ‘practices and water/sanitation management techniques are a must as the environment is fragile and many visitors visit the area yearly. Do your part in keeping it pristine.
- Corsicans speak French. Understanding and speaking French is a must when travelling on the island.
- Having a bit of first aid knowledge may be useful. The year we hiked this trail a few unfortunate individuals fell and injured themselves. We were able to help prior to seeing them being evacuated by donkey.
The Gites’ hosts provided a copious evening meal and sold foodstuffs for breakfast and lunch. It was a bit pricy as most of the supplies were brought to the gites by horse back or donkey train.
Our menu consisted of bread and cheese for breakfast, mixed nuts, sausage and apples for lunch and the typical Corsican stew of sheep or boar with beans, potatoes, and onions. A soup and desert were served along with this satisfying meal.
Vegetarians be forewarned that there was no vegetarian version of the stew.
This was a challenging trek. Our winter fitness program built a good base. But as the new year came about, we started increasing our workouts.
For detailed information on our exercise routines check out our 'Exercise' page.