Key information: Mare-Mare Sud
- The least demanding of Corsica’s long-distance routes. This 5-day coast-to-coast walk, takes you through a rolling interior of forests and high-altitude farmland and unexpected juxtapositions of Alpine topography and Mediterranean vegetation.
- Walkopedia rating87
- Natural interest15
- Human interest10
- Negative points0
- Total rating87
- Length: 77km (5 days)
- Maximum Altitude: 1,100m
- Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
There are two Mare-Mare walks; this, the southern one, is lusher and more reflective of the island’s prehistoric and feudal history. The other is the higher, longer, sometimes tougher, Mare-Mare Nord.
Much of the land across which the Mare-Mare Sud connects the coastal settlements of Porto-Vecchio (Genoese, 16th Century) in the east and Propriano in the west by crossing the island’s mountainous spine – much of it has been continuously farmed since prehistory, and was particularly prominent, and known as the Terre des Seigneurs, in the feudal era. It is a fecund area of great pine forests, high grazing pastures, delicious rivers and charming, isolated villages.
A five-day, 77km walk, this has its demands but is very doable for anyone at a reasonable level of fitness, and, with a good network of overnight accommodation and lovely seaside to top and tail it, would be a great starter-trail for anyone wanting to dip their toe into long-distance walking. It is generally walked east to west.
The first day – Porto-Vecchio–Cartalavonu – is the toughest in terms of ascent, with a thousand-metre climb over five-odd hours, but rewards with a terrific botany lesson as it passes through bands of fragrant coastal Mediterranean vegetation, breathtaking Corsican pine forest and, finally, a lovely, lightly wooded and orchid-filled medium-altitude plateau.
Day two carries you up and down across forested hill country, with huge granite boulders and great views of the Bavela rock needles, passing through a few ancient hamlets and fording the Fumicicoli river to reach Levie, with its lovely archaeological museum.
Day three: the trail breaks out of the woods and into wild open mountain country, dotted with delightful villages and interesting detours to Bronze Age settlements and cracking views – a six-hour, not-too-strenuous, walk to the panoramic views at Serra di Scopamena.
Day 4 is another reasonably straightforward one, with plentiful shade and memorable river-bathing, to the gem of Ste Lucie de Tallano, a church-filled, ancient town with Arabic connections and a derelict nunnery with lovely views.
The final day (5) is a long – almost 7 hours – one, with a 600m ascent and a 1000m descent, that affords gorgeous and varied views and passes through the lovely towns of Fozzano and Burgo before finally descending to Propriano on the coast.
Waymarking is in the form of stripes of orange paint on rocks, walls and trees along the route.
Both Porto-Vecchio and Propriano are plentifully supplied with bus links to Ajaccio, Bonifacio and Bastia.
The trail is accessible in its entirety from mid-April through to early November, but temperatures at middling altitudes, unrelieved by sea breezes, can reach the unbearable in July and August. Expect a lot of tourists in the coastal towns in high season.
Note: beware of notorious summer thunderstorms, get away from risk areas if one approaches.
Key book: Cicerone’s Walking in Corsica. Find relevant books on Amazon
For more information and photos, including detailed practical information and some warnings, see our Corsica walk page.
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Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.
Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.
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