The GT 20, a cycling route to discover Corsica at your own pace before the high season

The GT 20, a cycling route to discover Corsica at your own pace before the high season

This route launched in 2019 by the Corsica Tourism Agency offers to cross the island through 600 km of route including 10,000 meters of altitude difference. All to be done in 12 sublime stages, on the roads of the interior.

Hikers have the GR 20, cyclists now have the GT 20 to discover Corsica from a new angle while sweating. This new tourist route, launched since 2019 by the Corsican Tourism Agency (ATC), offers around 600 kilometers of route from the north to the south of the island through the interior roads, crossing the villages. If the program is meant to be contemplative, it still requires 10,000 meters of elevation gain and a highest point at nearly 1,500 meters above sea level.

Accessible to all, the GT 20 can also be done with an electrically assisted bicycle, spread over twelve stages for an average of 50 kilometers per stage. An acceptable pace for enjoying the landscapes of the mountainous island: “We sell this format as slow tourism, assures Olivier Leonetti, in charge of the GT20 for the ATC. Although the length should not be neglected, this route is suitable for all types of cyclists. An experienced cyclist can, however, double the stages and complete the whole thing in six days. With an electric bike, you can finish in eight or ten steps. There is also the possibility of making variations, by stopping at the end of the northern part or the reverse.

A much sportier variant organized by the CESR20 bicycle club has also enjoyed certain success for three years: “The tourist route also benefits from the light of the sporting event organized in parallel, notes Jean-Marc Angelotti, organizer of the cyclosportive event. It is not accessible to everyone and must be completed in five days. More than 220 participants are expected this year, from France, Switzerland or Italy for this demanding course.”

From Bastia to Bonifacio

The all-public route starts from Bastia, before traveling through Corsica from the interior to Porto-Vecchio and Bonifacio.
Angela Chavazas

More leisurely, the all-public route starts from Bastia, before traveling through Corsica from the interior passing through the Gulf of Porto, the Veghju pass, Corte and the hundreds of villages on the route, then a descent to Porto-Vecchio and Bonifacio.

The first stage gives the opportunity to cross the Teghjime pass and discover the wine-growing village of Patrimonio before descending to Saint Florent and its splendid gulf. Balagne then offers its most beautiful panorama, when crossing the Agriates desert, then passing through Île Rousse, Calvi and the surrounding villages. The third stage reaches Galeria, a village nestled at the mouth of the Fango valley which marks the limit between Balagne and the Gulf of Porto.

The next day, after crossing the Palmarella pass, the exceptional panorama of Girolata and Scandola reveals its charms. A stage enhanced by the arrival in Porto and its world-famous gulf. From there, the visitor advances towards the interior of the island towards the Verghju pass, the highest road pass in Corsica and the highest point of the GT20 at 1,478 meters above sea level. What follows is a descent towards the Cortenese university city, via the Scala di Santa Regina parade. From Corte, it is possible to immerse yourself in the Restonica valley, its gorges and its lakes of Melu and Capitellu before reaching the village of Venaco.

There was the desire to set up an emblematic route in the same way as the GR20 (…) It is a participatory approach where we have involved tourist offices, intercommunities and bicycle clubs.

Olivier Leonetti, in charge of the GT20 for the ATC

The final program passes through Ghisoni, Zicavo and Zonza before concluding the adventure in Porto-Vecchio in the far south of Corsica. “The northern part can be done in March and April, advises Olivier Leonetti. On the other hand, it is necessary to ensure good weather conditions for the south and the interior. There may be water, fog and quite low temperatures. The route requires a bit of physical conditions but the electrically assisted bike can overcome the difficulties.”

For equipment, bring a road bike or a “Gravel” which combines the characteristics of a road bike and an all-terrain bike. In total, 350 signs are present, in both directions, in different locations to guide cyclists. “There was the desire to set up an emblematic route in the same way as the GR20, confides Olivier Leonetti. It is a participatory approach where we have involved tourist offices, intercommunities and bicycle clubs. The village mayors give us a lot of positive feedback. Tourist establishments can work out of season. And those who offer accommodation in the interior will gain momentum.”

To tackle the 600 km, July and August should be avoided due to the heat and busy road networks. Although it is possible to reserve your accommodation as you progress, it is preferable to do so in advance due to demand and reduced possibilities in certain stopover towns.


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