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Corsica in Autumn

Tour Code: FRA22

An 8-day holiday of birdwatching and botanical walks in the rugged mountains of northern Corsica.

8 days from £1495(inc flights) Land Only Price: £1345 SRS: £190


There can be no Mediterranean island as spectacular as Corsica. The wild and rugged landscape is wholly dominated by huge, granitic mountains. Accessible only via tortuous winding roads, or pretty mountain trails, Corsica provides a near perfect Naturetrek destination, its wealth of endemic plant and bird species ensuring its appeal to the naturalist. This early autumn departure combines gentle walking in the mountains, meadows and forests of this wonderful location, together with enjoyment of the wildlife. Towering snow-capped peaks and the deep blue sea and the sky all provide a memorable backdrop to one of our most popular wildlife holidays.

  • Enjoy daily wildlife walks amongst spectacular mountains & gorges
  • See the endemic Corsican Nuthatch, Corsican Finch, & an endemic race of Crossbill
  • Experience the island’s scented & colourful maquis
  • Discover a rich Sample characterful accommodation amidst stunning scenery & tasty cuisine!
  • Learn from our expert botanist & ornithologist leaders

Food

All included in the price.

Accommodation

A 2-centre holiday using characterful and well situated mountain hotels with private facilities.

Autumn Squill

Autumn Squill

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Fly Calvi and transfer to Evisa

Day 2/3 Evisa

Day 4/7 Venaco

Day 8 Fly London

Corsican Coastline (David Morris)

There can be no Mediterranean island so spectacular as Corsica. There can be no island anywhere, as mountainous. It is truly a green mountain in a turquoise sea. Further, and what is so remarkable, is that an island so well-deserving of its ancient Greek name, Kaliste (the most beautiful), is so delightfully free of tourists and tourist development. Corsica’s wild and rugged landscape is wholly dominated by the huge granitic mountains which soar to nearly 2,740 metres and form a giant spine that runs the length of the island. Accessible only via tortuous winding roads, or pretty mountain trails, Corsica provides a near perfect Naturetrek destination, its numerous endemic plant and bird species ensuring its appeal to the naturalist. On this holiday we will be staying in two simple but comfortable mountain hotels, both situated in fabulous settings. From them we will be exploring the island’s wealth of natural history, wherever possible on foot.

Corsica is by far the greenest of the Mediterranean islands, in part because it is the least populated of the larger islands, but also because it is so remarkably well covered with unspoiled natural forest and maquis. The riot of colour presented each spring by the profusion of blossoming plants, the lush green meadows and forests, the towering snow-capped peaks, and the deep blue sea and sky will undoubtedly provide one of the great memories of this holiday. It is Corsica’s isolation from mainland Europe, being 160 kilometres from the coast of southern France, and 80 kilometres from the Italian mainland, together with its exceptional topography, that give the island its unique cultural blend, and cause the high degree of endemism amongst its flora and fauna (although many of the endemics are shared with neighbouring Sardinia, just 12 kilometres away). The endemic Corsican Nuthatch occurs in the island’s high pine forests, as do endemic races of the Citril Finch and Crossbill, amongst others. The acidic nature of Corsica’s rock does slightly limit the variety of plants, but amongst the many endemics we will hope to see are EM>Pinguicula corsica/EM>, EM>Crocus corsicus/EM>, EM>Leucojum longifolium/EM>, Corsican Pine and Corsican Hellebore, plus a wonderful range of orchids.

We begin our holiday by flying to Calvi in the north of the island. From here we will drive south-west through the scented air of the maquis to Evisa, taking the scenic route that winds through the rugged and almost uninhabited hills that rise abruptly from the island’s coastline.

This is one of the most beautiful and peaceful corners of the island, with its extensive maquis and Holm Oak forest providing cover for many bird species, including Woodchat Shrike, Marmora’s, Subalpine and Dartford Warblers, and Bee-eaters. Overhead fly Alpine and Pallid Swifts.

Driving on, we will reach Evisa, a beautiful hilltop village in one of Corsica’s finest settings. High in the mountains, yet overlooking the sea and the spectacular Spelunca Gorge, the view from our hotel terrace is breath-taking. From this base, we will spend the first part of our holiday looking for Corsican Nuthatches in the Forest of Aitone, enjoying the fabulous scenery and flowers of the Spelunca Gorge, and looking at the exceptional variety of coastal and wetland birds and plants to be found on the Liamone Estuary and the dunes of the Golfe de Sagone.

Crossing the Col de Verghio, and driving through the extensive forests of Aitone and Valdo-Niello, we will descend to the historic town of Corte, Corsica’s ancient capital. Nearby is the beautiful valley of La Restonica, in the heart of the Corsican National Park. This is a long, narrow and spectacular valley, with numerous walking opportunities and an interesting range of birds and plants. To explore the region we will spend the second part of our holiday in a comfortable auberge in the Restonica Valley itself, an ideal base for our birding and botanical walks in the area. In the Gorge de la Restonica and the beautiful high alpine meadows of the Asco Valley we will look for EM>Cyclamen repandum/EM> and EM>Leucojum longifolium/EM>, Lammergeier, Golden Eagle, Alpine Accentor, Alpine Chough and Water Pipit. In the forest of Corsican Pines near Vizzavona we have our best chance of finding Corsican Nuthatches, Crossbills and Citril Finches, whilst in the nearby Verghello Valley, that sits between the giant summits of Monte Cinto and Monte d’Oro, a range of differing vegetation provides a corresponding diversity of bird and plant species.

Finally, by way of a contrast from the island’s dominating mountain habitats, we will visit one of Corsica’s few good wetlands, the coastal lake of Biguglia. Here, a good variety of wetland birds may be found, supplemented by such specialities as Red-footed Falcon, Osprey or Audouin’s Gull, a final treat perhaps, from a truly special destination!

Lac de Melo (David Morris)Col de Vergio (David Morris)Plain Tiger (David Morris)Tyrrhenian Wall Lizard (David Morris)Tyrrhenian Tree Frog (David Morris)Scarab Beetle (David Morris)Rose Snowflake, <i>Leucojum roseum</i> (David Morris)Praying Mantis (David Morris)Praying Mantis (David Morris)Plain Tiger (David Morris)Plain Tiger (David Morris)Parasol Mushroom, <i>Lepiota procera</i> (David Morris)Nosed Grasshoper (David Morris)Mt Etna Barberry, <i>Berberis aetnensis</i> (David Morris)Corte (David Morris)Punta Bianca (David Morris)Mantid, <i>Ameles spallanzania</i> (David Morris)<i>Cyclamen hederifolium</i> (David Morris)<i>Cyclamen hederifolium</i> (David Morris)Corsican Wall Brown (David Morris)Corsican Wall Brown (David Morris)Corsican Painted Frog (David Morris)Audouin's Gull (David Morris)Corsican Painted Frog (David Morris)Corsican Fire Salamander (David Morris)Corsican Fire Salamander (David Morris)Common Blues (David Morris)<i>Colchicum neapolitanum</i> (David Morris)Wasp Spider, <i>Argiope bruennichi</i> (David Morris)Cardinal (David Morris)Brown Argus on Willow-leaved Gentian (David Morris)Brown Argus (David Morris)Broad-bodied Chaser (David Morris)Bedriaga's Rock Lizard (David Morris)Autumn Squill, <i>Scilla autumnalis</i> (David Morris)Soveria (David Morris)Our hotel in Venaco, CorsicaOur hotel in Venaco, CorsicaBreakfast at our hotel in Venaco, Corsica
D.H.
Somerset
David was an excellent leader,courteous, very well informed and organised.
J.W.
Kent
Thank you for an excellent, very well organised and guided holiday in Corsica. Rarely does anything live up to expectations but this holiday was exactly as described and often better than expected.
A.C.
London
As a group we decided we wanted to reduce time spent in Corte and do an extra walk in the mountains, we switched programme easily to take advantage of the favourable weather.
D.A.
Warwickshire
Enjoyed both hotels, friendly, helpful staff and fantastic scenery.
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DeparturesAvailableCost

Sun 24th September 2017 - Sun 1st October 2017

YES

£1495

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are limited. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £1345 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Sun 23rd September 2018 - Sun 30th September 2018

YES

£1495

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are limited. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £1345 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Visiting: France

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Tom Mabbett
Operations Manager

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01962 733051

Tour Focus

Wild flowers

Tour Reviews

David was an excellent leader,courteous, very well informed and organised.
D.H., Somerset