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Sardinia & Corsica “combo” Walk

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

On our Sardinia and Corsica tour you will experience the natural beauty and cultural/culinary splendours of two of the Mediterranean’s most unique islands. Only 11 kms of azure seas separate them, but they are completely different, both geographically and culturally. You begin in Italian Sardinia with hikes through sensational gorges, a visit of a mysterious 3,000-year-old Neolithic Nuragic structures, and walks by the beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean. At the end of the week take a short ferry across the Straits of Bonifacio into the wilds of French Corsica, where we hike among charming hilltop villages, along the spectacular red rocks of the "Calenques de Piana" and end our trip with a hike up to a glacial lake. 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 Sardinia and Corsica. (Luggage is moved by van. 1 night Oblia, 2 nights Alghero, 2 nights Su Gologone, 2 nights Cala Gonone; 1 night Bastia, 2 nights Calvi, 2 nights Piana, 2 nights near Corte)

** NOTE: Our September 13th combo tour begins in Corsica and ends in Sardinia, so the itinerary below is reversed. **

Sardinia & Corsica “combo” Walk itinerary

Day 1 - Sunday

Independent arrival in Olbia and check-in at the Hotel Panorama (or similar), located in the historic old town. There are several flights per day to Olbia from Rome and Milan as well as from other European hubs. Take some time this afternoon to explore Olbia’s charming city center. Dinner is on your own tonight to allow for a flexible and relaxed start to the trip. Hotel included. Dinner not included.

Day 2 - Monday

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 (or similar). Hotel, breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Day 3 - Tuesday

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 specialities. 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 4 - Wednesday

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 5 - Thursday

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 6 - Friday

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 (or similar), 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 7 - Saturday

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 8 - Sunday

Today we have an hour drive to the northern tip of the island at Santa Teresa di Gallura. From there we take a ferry over the Straits to Corsica and then drive north along the coast to the colorful port city of Bastia, where we stay the night. Hotel, breakfast, and dinner included.

Day 9 - Monday

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 10 - Tuesday

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 11 - Wednesday

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 back to our vehicle to 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 (or similar) in Piana and enjoy breath-taking views of the coast. Hotel, breakfast, and dinner included.

Day 12 -Thursday

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 13 - Friday

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 rejoining your group for dinner. Overnight at the 4-star Dominique Colonna (or similar), a "hotel de charme" with a pool located a few kms outside of town. Hotel, breakfast, and dinner included.

Day 14 - Saturday

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 15 - Sunday

We offer ONE morning shuttle back to Bastia (45 mins to the airport or 1hr15 back to the ferry port and town) usually departing around 9 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 Bastia; all luggage transfers; special events, visits, and transfers as per itinerary.
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 Olbia (Italy), which is easily reached by air from Rome and Milan plus a number of other European hubs. You can also get to Olbia by ferry from the Italian mainland. Contact us for further details. [** the Sept 13th departure begins in Bastia (Corsica) and ends in Olbia (Sardinia) **]

Air:  Both Bastia and Olbia have airports with connections to European hubs. For a complete list of Italian airports and a selection of low-cost airlines, see our "Transport Info" page.

Ferry: there are ferry connections with Civitavecchia (near Rome), Livorno (near Pisa), and Genoa with a three different companies, so see the latest schedules at the Direct Ferries website.
 

Getting Away at the End of the Trip: the trip ends after breakfast on Sunday morning with an hour transfer back to Bastia (airport or city/port), arriving around 10:30 a.m.
[** the Sept 13th departure begins in Bastia (Corsica) and ends in Olbia (Sardinia) **]

3.92/5
RatingRatingRatingRatingRating  
3.92 out of 5
Ratings based on 2 Verified Reviews



Average ratings
4.5
Guides
3.5
Quality of itinerary
4.0
Food quality & variety
3.5
Value for money
4.0
Right amount of activity
4.0
Overall satisfaction

Reviews
3.6
by Sophia
Posted Oct 06, 2019

Wonderful scenery and good hiking.Several meals not included and breakfasts are at the discretion of the hotel, so bring any needed diet-specific foods.Wonderful history/cultural experiences, especially in Sardinia. Would recommend the optional grotto excursion. A unique experience. Manu was an exceptional Sardinian guide.Some hikes need refinement and two hotels were clearly of lesser quality than the rest of the tour, which overall were quite enjoyable.

4.1
by shan
Posted Oct 02, 2019

Fantastic trip with superb guides. Terrific food and scenery. A few of the hikes need to be adjusted to the terrain. Overall a wonderful experience.



Wonderful scenery and good hiking.Several meals not included and breakfasts are at the discretion of the hotel, so bring any needed diet-specific foods.Wonderful history/cultural experiences, especially in Sardinia. Would recommend the optional grotto excursion. A unique experience. Manu was an exceptional Sardinian guide.Some hikes need refinement and two hotels were clearly of lesser quality than the rest of the tour, which overall were quite enjoyable.
by Sophia

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