La Balagne, in northern Corsica, is criss-crossed with walking paths, ranging from the sedate to those requiring crampons.The mountains and valleys are wild, unspoilt and crowd-free; scattered with fig, olive and chestnut trees, and fragrant maquis. From timeless mountain villages such as Ville de Paraso and Speloncato, there are stunning views across the Regino valley towards the distant coast, and as the light changes in the afternoon, the jutting ridges of granite glow pink. Late spring and early summer are the best time for walking; July and August are usually too hot.
The 24km coastline between Calvi and Ile-Rousse is full of wonders. It boasts stunning views of fine sandy beaches and turquoise blue sea on one side and of small villages nesting in the mountains on the other side.
Try the Corsican specialities served in most restaurants and enjoy the delicious ice cream while watching Corsican men play the “petanque” (Paoli Square, Ile-Rousse). Visit the Citadel (Calvi), cycle up the nearby mountains or simply relax on the heavenly Bodri beach. Sea, sun and fun guaranteed.
While Corsica may not get quite the same freezing temperatures as the rest of France, on the Plateau d'Ese, near the village of Bastelica, one can spend a great time skiing and snowboarding. Altitude tops 2,400m, there are only four ski lifts, but it's a great place to escape for the weekend. There's a small restaurant and equipment rental is also available. For those of you lucky enough to visit Corsica in winter (best seasonal food, fabulous hikes, hunting, friendly locals...), it makes a fun day out. For the locals, it's heaven to be able to escape to the slopes at the weekend. For cross-country skiing, one can also try "plateau du coscione" and "col de Vergio". It is quite rare that Corsica does not get any snow, and the best chances are in February and March.
Widely considered the toughest trek in Europe the GR20 follows the spine of the Corsican mountains from the north west to south east of the island. The trek, mountains and views are spectacular. The hut infrastructure is good and the people are very friendly.
Some people go out and do as much as they can of the route in a week. It can be completed in less than 2 weeks but give yourself 1 week more and you can take the 'alpine variations' and a few side trips. Treat yourself to some time in Corsica at the end of trek to enjoy beaches, good food and powerful cheese.
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