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Corsica's complete GR20 - are you tough enough?

KE's Chloë Johnson took on Corsica’s GR20. That’s 13 days of trekking and scrambling, carrying a heavy pack for 10 of those days. She and her K... Read more
Corsica's complete GR20 - are you tough enough?

KE's Chloë Johnson took on Corsica’s GR20. That’s 13 days of trekking and scrambling, carrying a heavy pack for 10 of those days. She and her KE group covered 180km on foot, and conquered 12,000m of ascent and descent during the trip. 

Here’s the trek, explained by Chloë.


The first thing you need to know about this trek: it might be tough, but it’s absolutely brilliant.

Every single minute and every single bit of agony is worth it. You need to be fit for it, not just in your body - in your mind too. You have to be able to take 13 days on the trail, completely 100% switched on, because not only are the days long and tough but the scrambling demands total concentration.



All staff give a presentation to the whole team when they go out on a trip about their experience. When I’d finished my presentation to the KE office last week, there was quite a pause. I’d packed my rucksack, as it had been packed for the 10 days I had to carry it, regardless of the length of day and difficulty of the terrain, and it was heavy. Everyone picked it up and tried it out. It’s hard to impress people at KE. This impressed them.

KE is the only UK tour operator offering the full GR20, and the feeling of achievement after completing the entire route is not to be underestimated. I came home about 10 feet taller, and it has to be said, a little lighter. A number of my fellow trekkers also noticed they'd lost a little weight. It's a committing trip!

It’s not all just about being tough, however. It’s also about fantastic, out of this world, mountains and incredible scenery, every moment of the hike. The endless views of jagged peaks lining the horizon and sparkling blue Mediterranean are the other reason this hike is world-famous and on every serious hikers 'must do' list.  


One of many, many incredible views


 We made it - here we are at the end exhausted but very, very happy!


Some key things you'll want to know:

One of the most common questions: what boots should you take?

When it comes to the GR20, Tim Nicholl, our Operations Manager, always says, “Don’t have boots near the end of their life, or it will end their life”. Equally don’t come in unbroken boots as you can’t afford blisters. Solid boots you've done a few miles in with very good ankle support and excellent grip are a must.


 Comparing how boots are holding up

Why trek it with KE?

Not only are we the only UK tour operator offering the full GR20, but we also make the trek as comfortable as possible. Your guide will be fully qualified in leading scrambling, and there's vehicle support which means that access to your main luggage is available when possible (6 nights). This may not sound like much, but after several days in the same, sweaty clothes, the joy of changing into clean ones is a welcome feeling, and it lightens your load that little bit more. Probably most importantly, we offer camping outside the refuges to avoid the over-crowded dormitories.



What are the campsites like?

Tents are set up for the season. They are Quechua, very comfortable, and come more often than not ready-made for you, with sleeping mats inside. They are owned by the refuges. Some are laid out on wooden platforms and quite secluded. Others are in larger camping areas but with fantastic views. All are quiet and cosy and offer a welcome bit of space at the end of a hard day.




What is the food like?

Breakfast is taken in the refuge and is usually basic, but filling. We ask all guests to bring a reusable lunchbox and every morning, you take your fill of hearty hill food, like lentils and pasta. There are also lots of snacks which, again, you’ll really need to keep eating during the day, and fresh running water to fill your water bottles – there are no reliable water sources on the trail. It can feel a little repetitive, so if you're happy to, you might want to bring some favourite snacks from home. Dinners are taken in the refuges and are huge, 3-course affairs, set out on large serving dishes to be shared. A typical meal would be local charcuterie, pasta with ham and vegetables and then fig cake or fruit for dessert. Being vegetarian is not a problem, but due to the remote, high-level nature of the route, it is very difficult to provide enough food for anyone who is gluten-free or vegan. 

Dining al fresco at a hut


  Dinner in one of the huts - an amazing salad for starters


  One of our delicious pasta lunches


How hard is the trek?

Currently graded at 9, debate in the office is whether or not this trek is really a 10! If you're ready for a challenge, head to Corsica, and you can let us know just how hard this trek is. 

For more information read our article: The GR20 – is it for you?

If you like the sound Corsica but aren't sure about the full GR20, we have less challenging version: The Best of the GR20


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