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Corsica walking: Mare e Monti North   6 to 13 days   (May-15th october)     


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Corsica: Mare e Monti North

From Calvi to Cargese

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The Mare e Monti North lets you enjoy all the contrasts and colours of the island.  It is one of the five classic walks in Corsica that snakes around the foot of the massifs, which leads through some lovely forests and villages.

Setting off from the Balagne you will head inland towards the high summits,  enticing views of sweeping bays, rocky creeks and glistening waters are forever present. 

This holiday would appeal to  anyone used to walking regularly and in good shape. With eleven days of easy to moderate walking you will discover the richness of Corsica and one of the most beautiful corners of the island.

Numerous pleasures are waiting  to be discovered, from the high airy mountain peaks of Bonifatu, the trail leads past the reserve of Scandola an area protected by Unesco and classed as a site of world beauty.  

In the Gulf of Girolata you stay in the unique little fishing village of Girolata which is accessible only by boat or  foot.  Good place for and extra night and start of a boat trip!

You can start this walk from Calvi or from Galeria (Bus from Calvi to Galeria not on Sunday!, Taxi €100).

Video: Corsica by drone

The following itinerary divides it into 10 daily stages:

From To Highest point Ascent Descent Time ↓ Time ↑ Distance
Calenzana (190 m) Bonifatu (718 m) 581 m 590 m 287 m 5h 4h40 11 km
Bonifatu (718 m) Montestremo (276 m) 1,200 m 620 m 1,050 m 6h30 6h 15 km
Tuarelli (276 m) Galeria (40 m) 180 m 221 m 271 m 4h30 3h40 10 km
Galeria (40 m) Girolata (0 m) 874 m 754 m 784 m 6h 6h20 12 km
Girolata (0 m) Curzu (318 m) 852 m 675 m 1,135 m 6h 6h20 13 km
Curzu (318 m) Serriera (289 m) 360 m 364 m 604 m 3h30 4h 8 km
Serriera (289 m) Ota (675 m) 914 m 880 m 570 m 6h30 6h30 10 km
Ota (675 m) Marignana (1,072 m) 830 m 636 m 260 m 5h 4h20 11 km
Evisa (1,072 m) Revinda - E Case (735 m) 1,102 m 610 m 720 m 6h30 6h30 20 km
Revinda - E Case (735 m) Cargese (95 m) 650 m 380 m 910 m 5h 6h 11 km

The Tra Mare et Monti Nord starts in Calenzana, 12 km South of Calvi (by the D151) and ends in Cargese, at about 50 km North-Westten of Ajaccio. The whole trail can be divided in three parts:

  • Calvi-Galeria
  • Galeria-Porto (de mooie badplaats bij Ota aan de Golfe de Porto)
  • Porto-Cargese

We propose this classic walk as standard ** and as well as **plus** packages from Calvi to Cargese  or  from Galeria to Porto or to Cargese (13b packages "Scandola").

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Walks Mare e Monti  Scandola (From Galeria to Porto or to Cargese, 13b)

These shorter packages of about a week all start in Galeria, In the 9- and 10-days packages you will see every day the sea at the Golfe de Galeria, Golfe de Girolata and the Golfe de Porto.

To go to the start in Galeria you will have to go to Calvi first and take a bus or taxi (€100) for the transfer to Galeria. These transfers to the start are not part of our packages. We can help with the taxi if you want.

Getting there and leaving Corsica

Calenzana, the Northern starting point, is located close to Calvi that is reachable by ferry from France or by air to Calvi's Sainte Catherine Aeroport. Going from Bastia, you can get to Calvi either by bus (one connection a day except Sundays, duration 2 hours), or by train (two or three connections a day, duration 2h44). There is a bus route Calvi - Calenzana. and a bus from Calvi to Galeria and Porto.
Another bus line connects Ajaccio with Cargese at the end of the trail.


 PROGRAM 13 days walk (Calvi-Galeria-Porto-Cargese >> Ajaccio)

The standard** and the **plus** variants differ a little bit around Galeria and in the last part (Porto to Cargese)

  •  Day 1 : Calvi
    If you fly in to Ajaccio you can take the train to Calvi (€25,- not included).
    Your holiday starts at your hotel in Calvi, after checking in, you have the opportunity to explore the town. If you would like to start your holiday in Ajaccio consult us at the moment of reservation.
    Night at your hotel in Calvi. Evening meal not included.

  •  Day 2: Calenzana to Bonifatu
    At 8am transfer by taxi to Calenzana (included).
    Leaving Calenzana your route follows the famous GR20 along an old mule trail, you climb progressively up to the Ortiventi fountain, from where you can look back at Calenzana and the villages of the Balagne. You then drop down on to an old path known as the postman’s route, which cuts through the forest of Sambuccu. You pass a small Col before going gently down hill to reach the Figarella bridge. Once across the bridge you follow the left bank, and then a slight climb up to the ‘Auberge de la foret’.
    Night and evening meal at the auberge in Bonifatu
    Standard package: chambre d'Hôtes .
    5h00 effective walking, +590m altitude, -287m

  •  Day 3: Bonifatu to Tuarelli
    At a nearby bridge you follow a forestry track that is known as the ‘chemin de ronde’, that gently climbs towards the south-west, passing the ruins of the house belonging to Prince Pierre. You then progress into a forest of maritime pines and green oak trees. At an altitude of 1200m you arrive at the Bocca di Bocassa. After approximately 3 hours of a very rewarding and relaxing section you arrive at Tuarelli rock pools, the perfect place for a laze on the sun baked rocks and a swim.
    Night and evening meal at hotel in Montestremo or Galeria. You will get a transfer from Tuarelli to either Montestremo or Galeria
    Standard package: Gite (dormitory in Montestremo) or Hotel ** or *** in Galeria.
    7h00 effective walking, +620m altitude, -1050m.

  •  Day 4: Roundwalk Vallée du Fango at Galeria or walk from Montestremo to Galeria
    You walk from the the beach at Galeria village to the beach at the Fangu river. If you feel more like walking instead of swimming you ga make a round walk by the Pont des Cinq Arcades and reach the Tra Mare et Monti to come back in Galeria. Your route then climbs into the maquis and passes several old shepherds cabins. Your day’s walk finishes with a short down hill stretch in to the village of Galeria where you are rewarded with stunning views over Fangu.
    Night and evening meal at hotel in Galeria.
    If you start in Montestremo you will walk in the Valley of the Fangu to Ponte Veechiu. At le Fango your route then climbs into the maquis and passes several old shepherds cabins. Your day’s walk finishes with a short down hill stretch in to the village of Galeria where you are rewarded with stunning views over Fangu.
    Night and evening meal at hotel in Galeria.
    Standard package: Hotel ** or ***.
    2h00 effective walking, +221m altitude, -271m

  •  Day 5: Galeria to Girolata
    Today you start by following a beautiful path shaded from the sun. Your path leads you to a natural pool, and an uphill section alongside the river bank. You will shortly come across an area of vegetation, after this you will emerge in to a forest of oaks before reaching the Crète du Lucciu (697m). From here you will have remarkable views over the gulf of Girolta, the Genoese tower and the red granite cliffs. You continue west along the ridge path, to reach the River Cavone and the coast. This is also a beautiful spot to swim, to cool off after your days walk.
    Night and evening meal at Gîte in Girolata. Girolata can only be reached by boat or on foot. So you will have to take whatever you need for one night. The other luggage will be brought directly to Curzu.
    Standard package: dormitory.
    6h00 effective walking, +754m altitude, -784m.

  •  Day 6 : Girolata to Curzu From Girolata’s beach, you follow the ridge path that runs alongside the coast, after around 3 hours you will arrive at the foot of Punta di u Tartavellu, from here continue around to the West to arrive at Bocca Ascencu (742m). Continuing along the ridge path in a south-westerly direction you can admire exceptional views over Scandola’s natural reserve, one of the largest natural sites in Europe, which displays an explosion of colours and fantastic landscapes. Once at Capu di Curzu (852m) you rapidly loose altitude as your path progresses into a series of loops before reaching Curzu.
    Night and evening meal at Gîte in Curzu.
    Standard package: chambre d'Hôtes.
    6h00 effective walking, +675m altitude, -1135m.

  •  Day 7 : Curzu to Serriera
    From the Gîtes, you climb through the village and head in a south-westerly direction along a path that overlooks the village of Partinellu and the bay of Porto, the only French natural site to appear on UNESCO’s world heritage list. You then start down hill towards the River Vetricella, and after walking alongside the river for around 50 metres, your path climbs, you will soon arrive at the ‘Chemin de Serriera Pinetu’. Once passing this you will shortly arrive at the Bocca di u Furcatu, the last stretch before Serriera.
    Night and evening meal at your hotel/Chambre d'Hôtes in Serriera .
    3h30 effective walking, +364m altitude, -604m.

  •  Day 8 : Serriera to Porto
    Light stage. Leaving Serriera head to the bridge Pont de Serriera over the Santa Maria stream you head to the beach at Bussaglia. After enjoying some swim climb up to the Bocca Lenzana before going down to Porto. A very pleasant touristy but authentic village at the beautiful Golfe de Porto with subtropical vegetation with woods of Eucalyptus trees. If you want to you can rent here a car to visit the Calanches of Piana.
    Night and evening meal at Hotel in Porto.
    Standard package: chambre d'Hôtes.
    6h30 effective walking, +880m altitude, -570m.

  •  Day 9 : Serriera to Ota
    The stage starts with a transfer bacj to Serriera. Leaving Serriera head to the bridge over the Santa Maria stream, to climb up to the Lonca forestry track and emerging into the forest. You will soon arrive at the rocky belvedere a beautiful viewpoint over Serriera. Crossing through the pine and chestnut forest, you can notice a ‘sechoir chataignes’ a small stone structure used by the villagers to stock their chestnuts while they dried. On the way down into the Vitrone ravine, the granite rock faces have a lot of distinctive red porphyry.
    Night and evening meal at Gîte in Ota.
    Standard package: chambre d'Hôtes.
    6h30 effective walking, +880m altitude, -570m.

  •  Day 10 : Ota via Evisa to Marignana
    From Ota you walk past the Ceccaldi village restaurant, past braying donkeys, noisy hunting dogs and colourful gardens, to pick up the path. Following the direction of the river the path is down hill and in the shade of the olive trees. You cross over the narrow, high arched Genoise bridge ‘Ponte Vechju’ and shortly arrive at the entrance of the Spelunca Gorge, a great rest and swim spot. The first part of the gorge is fairly flat but once across the second small Genoise bridge it starts to zig zag up hill, it is well graded but there is a lot of altitude to gain.
    In the afternoon, a series of winding steps cut down past the bars, bakers and post office, leading through the village of Evisa (after 7,5 km) and onto the lowest road. Walking away from the centre you soon come to a track that heads off into the old chestnut tree woods. The path is easy under foot and was once a well trodden link to the neighbouring villages. You will find all the typical plants that make up the Corsican maquis as you make your way towards the Tavulella river. Once across the river you will shortly arrive at the mystical hamlet of Tassu, a peaceful little haven of houses, church and abandoned terracing. Now just a short 20mins walk from Marignana.
    For the standard package: Night and evening meal at Gîte in Marignana (dormitory). .
    (Plus option: ** hotel in Evisa. After Evisa you are not going to Marignana but you can do a round-walk by the Mare a Mare Nord (Sentier de découverte) to the Piscine a Madre (natural pools in the Aitone stream) and back to Evisa the same way (14,1 km). Next day however a longer walk from Evisa via Marignana. Evisa is the pearl of the mountains, a vibrant mountain village, that has wonderful sunsets over the nearby sea. It is known for it's chestnut forests, a lot of the recipes are still chestnut based. A trail will lead you through the chestnut trees to the Aitone pine forest, here you will find a natural beauty spot, the emerald green rock pools and chutes of water that make up the piscines naturels.)
    12,5 km, 5h00 effective walking, +650m altitude, -260m.

  •  Day 11 : Evisa to Marignana and E Case
    You will not have your luggage today. You get it the next day at Cargese.
    If you start from Evisa you will reach Marignana after 5 km and 2 hours walking.
    After 6,2 km you reach the Bocca a u Mamucciu at 824m alt. By the Mare a Mare Nord and the Mare e Monti Nord combined you reach after 22km and 8,5 hrs walking if you started from Evisa, the dormitory of E Case.
    If you started from Marignana:6h30 effective walking, +610m altitude, -720 m
    It is possible to start with a taxi-transfer from Evisa to Marignana ( € 25 supplement)
    If you book an extra night or book the *plus** version you can take a trail that will lead you through the chestnut trees to the Aitone pine forest, here you will find a natural beauty spot, the emerald green rock pools and chutes of water that make up the piscines naturels.

    Dormitory at Revinda E Case. 22km long stage. Beautiful visas.
    You will not have your luggage today. You'll get it the next day at Cargese
    6h30 effective walking, +610m altitude, -720 m

  •  Day 12 : E Case to Cargese
    You leave E Case via a path that will give you some splendid views on the Golfe de Chiuni.. You then begin to edge your way down hill, passing the Santa Lucia shepherds cabins and the village of Lozzi, situated just before your day’s destination Cargese, a beautiful historical town boasting two churches ‘l’Eglise Latine’ and ‘l’Eglise Grecque’.
    Night and evening meal at your hotel in Cargese.
    5h00 effective walking, +380m altitude, -910m.

  •  Day 13 : Leave Cargese for Ajaccio by bus (not included in the package; not on Sunday!!)
    You leave Cargese by bus in the morning (not included), once back in Ajaccio you have the choice of 2 walks along the ‘Sentier des Crêtes’, a trail that overlooks the gulf of Ajaccio with magnificent views out to sea, over the town and the surrounding mountains. There is also the possibility of visiting the Iles Sanguinaires by boat’.
    From 2h30 to 4h00 effective walking, from +140m altitude to +340m, from 6km to 11km depending on your chosen option.
    Your holiday comes to end in Ajaccio.
    Option of returning to Calvi, by taking the ‘Trinichellu’, Corsica’s rail service, which runs from north to south via the centre of the island (Not included : € 25).


Although it is our intention to operate the itinerary exactly as detailed above, it may be necessary to make changes as a result of factors beyond our control. As a consequence, the itinerary or night stops may be modified and we reserve the right to make changes when/if necessary. Abnormal conditions can prevail in any Moderate holiday; be prepared to be flexible when necessary.

By Air  Direct charter flights during the season from Gatwick and Heathrow offered by Air France, British Midland. Contact Holiday Options or Sky Marketing. Scheduled services via Paris. You can also change at Montpellier or Nice for connecting flights.
By Boat A high speed service BGV, overnight ferries and semi-fast ferries offer a regular service to Ajaccio port. SNCM Ferries - 61 Boulevard des dames - 13005 Marseille. Departs from Marseille, Nice or Toulon. Corsica Ferries, Moby Lines, departs from Toulon, Nice and Italie.
By Bus: Find all information at https://www.corsicabus.org/

Corsica selfguided and independent walking holidays

For all details of our walking and hiking trips in Corsica surf on the links below.

Mare à Mare Sud H12   Porto Vecchio - Propiano 6 - 8 days
Mare e Monti North H13-stnd   Whole trail from Calvi to Cargese stnd** 7, 9, 12, 13 days
Mare e Monti North H13b-stnd From Galeria, Scandola and Golfe de Porto stnd** 6 - 10 days
Mare e Monti North H13-plus   Whole trail from Calvi to Cargese **plus** 7, 9, 12, 13 days
Mare e Monti North H13b-plus From Galeria, Scandola and Golfe de Porto **plus** 6 - 10 days
Corsica: Mare a Mare North-West H17 7 - 8 days

Video: Corsica by drone

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