View from GR20, one of France's iconic walks. Credit Tim Oun. via unsplash

In the Shadow of the Aiguilles de Bavella

In the southern highlands of Corsica, the quaint village of Zonza occupies a landscape where nature’s drama is palpably felt. Dominating the horizon are the Aiguilles de Bavella, a series of jagged peaks that form the Bavella Massif. This rugged, breathtaking backdrop sets the stage for a day that promises both adventure and serene reflection. In Zonza, whether you are an avid hiker or a contemplative observer, the majesty of Corsica’s highlands awaits your discovery.

Hiking the Trails of the Bavella Massif

The Bavella Massif range offers a variety of hiking trails, ranging from leisurely walks to demanding hikes. Here are some details for someone planning to hike in this stunning wilderness:

GR20 Trail

The GR20 is one of Europe’s most challenging long-distance walking routes.It spans approximately 180 km (112 mi) and winds its way along the jagged spine of Corsica’s mountainous center.The trail is known for its spectacular views, pine forests, and rocky routes.It is considered a demanding hike and requires good physical fitness and hiking experience.

Trou de la Bombe Trail:

The Trou de la Bombe is a remarkable rock formation eroded into the shape of an arch. It is a popular choice for a day hike in the Bavella Massif range. The trail leading to the Trou de la Bombe is moderate in difficulty and generally accessible to anyone with reasonable fitness. The hike takes approximately 3 hours round trip. The views from the trail are extraordinary, offering a unique perspective of the surrounding wilderness.

  1. Other Hiking Trails:
    • The Bavella Massif range offers several other hiking trails starting from the Bavella mountain pass at an altitude of 1,243m.
    • These trails vary in difficulty and duration, providing options for both leisurely walks and more challenging hikes.
    • Some popular hikes include the Croix de Leccia, Aiguilles de Bavella, and the Four Lakes of the Vosges.

When planning your hike, it’s important to consider your fitness level, experience, and the duration of the hike. Make sure to bring proper hiking gear, sufficient water, and snacks. Additionally, check the weather conditions and trail conditions before embarking on your hike. Enjoy the stunning wilderness of the Bavella Massif range and have a memorable hiking experience

Canyoning – Climbing – Abseiling

Canyoning Excursions in Zonza, Corsica

The area of Zonza in Corsica offers exciting canyoning opportunities. The watercourses in the region have been shaped over millennia, creating natural slides, jumps, and pools that are perfect for adventurous activities. Guided tours for canyoning are widely available in Zonza, catering to both beginners and experienced canyoners.

One popular choice for canyoning in Zonza is the Canyon de la Vacca. This canyon provides a mix of jumps, slides, and abseils, all set in a stunningly beautiful environment

Climbing Excursions in Zonza, Corsica

Zonza in Corsica is also a great destination for climbing enthusiasts. The region offers various climbing routes and opportunities for both hiking and mountaineering.The Arête Integrale de Zonza is a notable climbing route in the area. It can be accessed by following the road RN 196 to Petreto, then N852 to Aullene, Quenza, and Zonza.

The Bavella massif, located near Zonza, is another popular climbing area in Corsica. It offers countless routes for climbers of different skill levels.

Abseiling Excursions in Zonza, Corsica

Abseiling, or rappelling, tours are also available in Zonza, Corsica. These tours provide thrilling experiences for those who enjoy descending down cliffs and rock faces.

Some of the canyoning and rappelling tours in Zonza offer the opportunity to combine both activities, allowing participants to explore the natural beauty of the region while enjoying the excitement of abseiling.

It is always recommended to check with local tour operators or travel agencies for the most up-to-date information and to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Reflective Moments in a Captivating Landscape

The charming village of Zonza

Not all the magic of Zonza is reserved for the daring. The village itself, with its stone houses and welcoming cafés, invites leisurely exploration. As you stroll through its cobbled streets, each turn seems to whisper stories of the ages that have passed. The welcoming smiles of locals echo a warm, familial sentiment that is deeply ingrained in Corsican culture.

From the comfort of a café terrace, the Aiguilles de Bavella are a captivating sight, their shapes ever-changing in the shifting light. As you sit, sipping on a freshly brewed Corsican coffee, you can’t help but feel small under the immense grandeur of these peaks. These are the moments to reflect, to breathe deeply and absorb the natural beauty that surrounds you. As evening falls, this small Corsican village, nestled among towering peaks, takes on a serene, almost enchanted atmosphere. The air cools, and the sky above Zonza transforms into a vibrant canvas of oranges and pinks – a painter’s dream.

Culinary Delights in the Highland

After a day of exploring, nothing compares to a hearty Corsican meal. Zonza’s restaurants are proud ambassadors of the island’s culinary heritage. The atmosphere is alive with laughter and clinking glasses. Expect dishes like wild boar stew (sanglier), a Corsican speciality, a rich and flavorful delicacy that warms you from the inside out. Or trout fresh from the local rivers, grilled to perfection and often served with a side of seasoned vegetables and local cheeses. Each bite is a testament to the rich, diverse landscape of Corsica – a melody of flavors that dances on your palate.

For dessert, indulge in fiadone, the Corsican answer to cheesecake, made with the island’s signature brocciu cheese. This delicacy, light and subtly sweet, is the perfect ending to your meal. It’s a humble reminder of the island’s pastoral heritage – simple ingredients crafted into something extraordinary.

The Heart of Corsican Craftsmanship

Before leaving Zonza, take the time to peruse its small, often family-run shops. In these quaint spaces, the heart and soul of Corsica’s craftsmanship thrives. Each shop is a treasure trove – here you’ll find locally made charcuterie, fragrant and rich, a true embodiment of Corsican tradition. The honey, infused with the scents of the maquis (Corsica’s aromatic shrubland), is unlike any you have tasted before – it’s the essence of Corsica captured in a jar.

Handcrafted jewelry, made from the island’s natural materials such as chestnuts and olive wood, hang delicately on display. As you touch them, you can almost feel the passion and history that went into creating each piece. These artisans, with skilled hands and an eye for detail, preserve and pass on the island’s cultural heritage through their work.