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Corsica & Sardinia “combo” Walk

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  • Location: Italy, France
  • Duration: 15 Days/14 Nights
  • Departing from: Bastia, Corsica, Sunday evening, Day 1
  • Tour finishes: Olbia, Sardinia, around 10:30 a.m. on Sunday Day 15
  • Departures 2019: September 15
  • Price 2019: €5,950 per person in double occupancy. Single supplement Euro €580. One guide accompanies departures of 2 - 8 people. Two guides accompany departures of 9 or more people.
  • Departures 2020: September 13
  • Price 2020: €6,000 per person in double occupancy. Single supplement Euro €580. One guide accompanies departures of 2 - 8 people. Two guides accompany departures of 9 or more people.

On our Corsica and Sardinia tour you will experience the natural beauty and cultural/culinary splendours of two of the Mediterranean’s most unique and spectacular islands. Only 11 kms of azure seas separate them, but they are completely different, both geographically and culturally. We begin in French Corsica, whose rugged mountains, variegated coastline, and hilltop villages create a dramatic backdrop to our daily hikes. After a week in Corsica we cross the Straits of Bonifacio into the wilds of Sardinia, where you will hike sensational gorges, visit mysterious 3,000-year-old Neolithic Nuragic structures, and experience the beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean. You will also enjoy delicious local food as both islands have developed a culinary tradition specific to their terrain and culture. We'll taste a creative blend of fresh seafood and hearty meat dishes made from local ingredients, and don't forget about the wine! The Sardinians produce fabulous white Vermentino and vivacious Cannonau reds, while the Corsicans complement their cuisine with hearty Nieluccio-Grenache blends and white Muscat that range from crisp and dry to floral and unctuous.This is truly a sensational tour in which you experience the breath-taking beauty and marvellous food, culture, and historical highlights of both Corsica and Sardinia. (Luggage is moved by van. 1 night Bastia, 2 nights Calvi, 2 nights Piana, 2 nights near Corte, 1 night Oblia, 2 nights Alghero, 2 nights Su Gologone, 2 nights Cala Gonone)

Corsica & Sardinia “combo” Walk itinerary

Day 1 - Sunday, Sept 15

Independent arrival in Bastia and check-in at the Hotel Central, located in the historic old town. Bastia can be reached from Paris and London by direct flight, or via Italy by ferry. Take some time this afternoon to explore Bastia’s charming city center, surmounted by an imposing Genoese citadel. Dinner is on your own tonight. Hotel included. Dinner not included.

Day 2 - Monday, Sept 16

Meet your group after breakfast for a two-hour shuttle to the port town of Calvi. We check into our hotel and then depart for an afternoon walk along the coast to a lighthouse perched on a rocky promontory. Stroll through the town’s colorful streets this evening and then meet for dinner. Hotel, breakfast, and dinner included.

Day 3 - Tuesday, Sept 17

We have a short van transfer this morning to Aregno, one of the hilltop villages along the Haute Balagne coast. Our walk starts from its Romanesque church and follows the crest to Sant’Antonino, one of the most beautiful villages in Corsica. We continue towards the Convent of Corbara before reaching our lunch spot, Pigna, which has retained its medieval character with cobblestone paths, narrow alleys, and vaulted passageways. Our afternoon walk takes us through Corbara, a quintessential Balagne town of small square houses clinging to a steep hillside. From there our trail abandons the crest to take us down to the coast, where we can have a swim at the sandy beach or return straight-away to Calvi. Enjoy another fantastic dinner tonight accompanied by some of Corsica’s fine local wines. Hotel, breakfast, and dinner included.

Day 4 - Wednesday, Sept 18

An hour’s drive takes us to the beautiful Gorges du Fango, a vast area of unspoiled nature that has been designated a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. Hike along a sparkling river and stop along the way for a refreshing dip, then enjoy a picnic lunch before heading to the nearby town of Galeria. From here we take a boat trip into the Scandola Marine Reserve, another protected UNESCO site due to its unique rock formations, islets, caves and vibrant marine life. We then embark on one of the most dramatic drives in all of Europe as we head through the "Calenches." The narrow road twists and turns its away along the rocky cliffs of red-orange rock. Check into the Hotel Les Roches Rouges in Piana and enjoy breathtaking views of the coast. Hotel, breakfast, and dinner included.

Day 5 - Thursday, Sept 19

Our walk this morning goes through “Les Calanches,” another UNESCO protected site. It is a vast expanse of red porphyry rock, eroded into magnificent towers, chasms and animal shapes stretching down to the sea. We return to Piana for lunch, and then offer some optional afternoon activities: we can do another hike out to a Genoese tower, or have a swim and relax on a wide sandy beach, or explore the Greek village of Cargese. Enjoy an aperitif on the terrace and then head off on your own for a “free night” dinner. Hotel and breakfast included. Dinner not included.

Day 6 - Friday, Sept 20

We leave the coast this morning and drive into the rugged interior of the island to the town of Corte. The drive takes about 3 hours, but we stop half-way for a walk through a beautiful pine forest to a series of waterfalls. We’ll picnic by the falls and maybe even have a dip in the cool mountain water before continuing our way to Corte, Corsica’s capital during their brief but fierce struggle for independence. Have a look around this charming town before re-joining your group for dinner. Overnight at the 4-star Dominique Colonna, a "hotel de charme" with a pool located a few kms outside of town. Hotel, breakfast, and dinner included.

Day 7 - Saturday, Sept 21

We have a spectacular last day of hiking along mountain trails which lead to a series of glacial lakes. The dramatic change in scenery will make you feel like you’ve been transported to the Alps, and you will fully experience the diversity and beauty of this amazing island. Head into town for a drink together before our final night's dinner of local specialties. Hotel, breakfast, and dinner included.

Day 8 - Sunday, Sept 22

Today we transfer from Bastia to the southern tip of the island at Bonifacio. From there we take a ferry over the Straits to Sardinia and then drive to our next destination, the bustling port city of Olbia, where we stay the night. Hotel, breakfast, and dinner included.

Day 9 - Monday, Sept 23

Meet your guide(s) this morning at 9:00 a.m. for a 1-hour drive to the Romanesque church of Sant’Antioco di Bisarcio. From there we have a three-hour walk through an eerie volcanic landscape, featuring ancient rock-cut tombs and prehistoric petroglyphs. Stop for lunch at a working farmhouse, with chickens, donkeys and other animals roaming the grounds. The day continues with a visit of some extraordinary ruins from the “Nuragic” period (the original inhabitants of the island, whose origin is still unknown). From there we go to to the lovely city of Alghero and enjoy a special dinner at a local trattoria, where our enthusiastic hosts treat us to some of the island's best food and wines. Overnight Alghero at the Hotel Catalunya. Hotel, breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Day 10 - Tuesday, Sept 24

We head up the coast this morning for a beautiful and wild walk high above the sea. We stop for lunch at a rustic B&B and enjoy a taste of local specialties. Continue another hour down to the wide, sandy beach of Porto Ferro for a refreshing swim. Afterwards we have a short drive back to Alghero where you’ll have some free time to wander the colorful city streets before dinner. Tonight is a “free night” so you’re free to dine where you like. Overnight Alghero. Hotel, breakfast, and dinner included.

Day 11 - Wednesday, Sept 25

8:30 check-out & 30-min transfer to the trailhead on one of the most scenic roads on the island. We head south to the beautiful coastal town of Bosa, where you'll find colorful houses in pastel hues, wrought-iron balconies, and narrow medieval alleys. Our hike takes us through the verdant and terraced hills surrounding the town. Afterwards, we have a 2-hour transfer inland to Su Gologone, a unique hotel complex in a lush garden setting of geraniums, hydrangeas, bougainvillea and prickly pear. Each room is different, and the furnishings and materials are all local: juniper, terracotta and inlaid plaster for the decorative touches. Overnight Su Gologone. Hotel, breakfast, and dinner included.

Day 12 -Thursday, Sept 26

Depart at 8:30 this morning for a transfer to the ruins of another ancient site called Tíscali. Built along the walls of a rocky overhang, it consists of two groups of dwellings built and inhabited between the 15th - 8th centuries BC. Its origins are unclear still today as the building technique is different from those of other Nuragic sites, and it may have been inhabited even farther back in history. It was later repopulated and used as a defense against the Romans. Relax at the hotel this afternoon and then enjoy a cooking lesson at a local "agriturismo" tonight. We dine on our handiwork, so be sure to do your best! Overnight Su Gologone. Hotel, breakfast, and dinner included.

Day 13 - Friday, Sept 27

A 50-minute drive takes us to the mountain pass of Genna Silana for a rugged “Dolomites-style” hike to the spectacular Gorropu gorge. At its narrowest, the gorge is 5 meters wide between sheer rock walls 500 meters high. From there an easy walk takes us along the river, where we get picked up by Jeep for an adventurous (and painless!) ride back up to our vehicle. A short drive takes us east to the sea at the lively port town of Cala Gonone. Our hotel, the Cala Luna, is right on the waterfront, so relax with a cold drink on the rooftop terrace or head out to the beach for a swim. Overnight Cala Gonone. Hotel, breakfast, and dinner included.

Day 14 - Saturday, Sept 28

Today we begin with a two-hour coastal walk to Cala Luna, where we stop for a swim and a tasty lunch. Finish off your tour with a boat trip to experience some of Sardinia’s most spectacular and isolated bays and beaches (weather permitting, of course). Or, enjoy the afternoon exploring the coast by sea kayak, or simply chill out and enjoy our hotel overlooking the lovely Cala Gonone beach. Overnight Cala Gonone. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.

Day 15 - Sunday, Sept 29

We offer one 1hr15 min drive to the Olbia airport, arriving around 10:30 a.m. If you need to leave earlier, we can arrange a taxi for you (at your expense). Breakfast included.

Activity Rating: (Corsica) 3 = Moderate and (Sardinia) 3+ = Moderate Plus: 
In general: This is a Moderate tour for fit hikers, and a little challenging but do-able for not-so-fit hikers. The Sardinia trip is a bit more difficult with some longer hikes.
Terrain: Rolling to hilly terrain with frequent climbs and descents, often over rocky terrain. May have some short, relatively steep climbs and descents. 
Actual walking time: between 2-5 hours per day, mostly in the morning but also in the afternoon.
Distances: Usually between 8 and 12 kms/5 and 7 miles. Max distance is 14 kms/8 miles.
Surfaces: Trails consisting of mostly compact earth, gravelly earth, and sometimes dirt-gravel roads and on occasion rocky and uneven trails. 
Footing: Good, but on occasion you have to pay attention to where and how you place your feet. Proper hiking shoes with thick soles with good treads are required. Sport sandals, running shoes and tennis shoes are not adequate.
Specifics: For Corsica, we walk 3-4 hours a day, some of which is on easy coastal track while other days involve rocky terrain and some steep sections. The final day's hike up to a glacial lake has a steep part at the end, but you could stop before that if you didn't feel up to it. Sardinia is slightly more difficult because the walks are generally longer, and some involve short sections of scree (loose rock).
Hiking Poles: Recommended but not required, but if you habitually use hiking poles then you will find them helpful.  
Compared to the Cinque Terre: These tours are easier than the hikes in the Cinque Terre.
Other: This tour is appropriate for fit first time “hikers” who enjoy walking and who have good balance and who are coordinated. 
Moderate Tours: Tuscany ChiantiDordogne WalkSicily WalkLake Como Walk, and Corsica. 

Trip Cost Includes: 14 nights’ accommodations (quality three-star hotels or “Chambre d’hôtes de charme”); 14 breakfasts and 12 dinners; 2 trilingual Customwalks guides (Italian, French, English); all transfers by van, boat, and ferry from pick-up on Day 1 to the end of the tour on Day 15 in Olbia; all luggage transfers; special events including a cooking course, 4X4 transfer, a boat trip through the Scandola National Park, rental of two vehicles to accommodate a group of between 8 to 12 people.
Does not include lunches, two dinners, drinks other than water at lunch and dinner, or personal items.

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Getting There: we begin our trip in Bastia, which is easily reached by air from France, and by ferry from Italy and southern France.

Air: a number of airlines fly into Bastia, including Air France, CCM Airlines (Air Corsica), Air Linair, Lufthansa, and Luxair; as well as a changing array of low-cost carriers: EasyJet, Transavia (Amsterdam), Thomson Airlines (from the U.K.), Jetairfly (Brussels) and Volotea (Barcelona). See the Bastia “Poretta” airport website for more information. For a complete list of French airports and a selection of low-cost airlines, see our "Transport Info" page. At the bottom of the page you will also find information about the French railway system (the SNCF).

Ferry: there are daily ferries from cities in southern France (Toulon, Marseille, Nice) to Bastia with Corsica Ferries or the SNCM (in French) and overnight ferries from Marseille with La Meridionale. You can also get ferries from the Italian cities of Genoa, Savona and Livorno (1.5-2 hrs from Florence) with Moby Lines and Corsica Ferries. Ferries take 4-6 hours, depending on destination and type of ferry. Be sure to shop around before you buy! Here’s a really complete website, Direct Ferries, with lots of information, or also try Corsica for Hikers for more information.

Getting to the Hotel: there is an airport bus ("Navette") to downtown Bastia, it takes about 35 minutes and costs €9. You can also get a taxi, it costs about €42 (or €58 after midnight).

Getting Away at the End of the Trip: the trip ends after breakfast on Sunday morning with an hour transfer to the Olbia airport, arriving around 10:30 a.m.

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