It never gets tougher than the second stage to Carrozzu: A tough ascent followed by tough scrambling followed by the toughest descent of the entire GR20. The 4th stage over Monte Cinto replacing the Cirque de Solitude is just long and exhausting while the third stage is somewhat shorter than the other two but with a very tough ascent followed by a difficult descent to Haut Asco.
Immediately after these stages, I´d place stage 7 and stage 1.
The easiest stages:
1. Stage 10: Vizzavona to Bergeries d´E Capanelle
2. Stage 11: Bergeries d´E Capanelle to Bocca di Verdi
3. Stage 15: Refuge d´I Paliri to Conca
The two first stages on the GR20 are significantly easier than any other stage on the GR20: A gradual ascent through forest out of Vizzavona is followed by easy walking through woodlands. The last stage is straight-forward throughout.
Despite the lack of scrambling, descending the steep scree slopes towards Carrozzu is clearly the most difficult descent of the GR20. Closely followed by the steep descent towards Haut Asco, with a couple of scrambling sections, where I had to throw my backpack in front of me. The flat and steep rocks above Asinau would be a nightmare to descend if wet.
The oughest scrambling sections:
- Stage 7: A short section on the ridge overlooking the lakes Melu and Capitellu
- Stage 3: A short section on the descent to Asco
- Stage 2: Several sections between Bocca Piciaia and Bocca Carrozzu
On the high ridge overlooking Lac Melu and Capitellu a very short scrambling section, aided with a chain is, in my opinion, the most difficult scrambling section on the GR20. Second to this is one short 5 m section scrambling over some rocks before Haut Asco, while the scrambling on the second stage after Bocca Piciaia is slightly less difficult, however more extended.
The most beautiful stages:
1. Stage 7: Refuge de Mangano to Refuge de Petra Piana
2. Stage 4: Haut Asco to Refuge de Tighjettu via Monte Cinto
3. Stage 2: Refuge d´Orto di u Piobbu to Refuge de Carrozzu
4. Stage 3: Refuge de Carozzu to Haut Asco
It does not get more beautiful than walking through Bréche de Capitellu after a steep ascent to find yourself on top of a magnificent cirque overlooking Lac de Capitellu and Lac de Melu. Closely followed by the early morning ascent towards Monte Cinto, the magnificent cirque traversed between Bocca Piciaia and Bocca Carrozzu and the ascent through the wonderful Spasimata Gorge.
The best camping:
All of the above campsite offers great mountain views.
The worst camping:
I walked the entire GR20 in August 2015. Below the itinerary, where each days walk is described in an individual post:
Stage 1: Calenzana to Refuge d´Orto di u Piobbu
Stage 2: Refuge d´Orto di u Piobbu to Refuge de Carrozzu
Stage 3: Refuge de Carozzu to Haut Ascu
Stage 4: Haut Asco to Refuge de Tighjettu via Monte Cinto
Stage 5: Auberge U Vallone to Hotel del Vergio
Stage 6: Hotel del Vergio to Refuge de Mangano
Stage 7: Refuge de Mangano to Refuge de Petra Piana
Stage 8: Refuge de Petra Piana to Refuge de l´Onda (high route)
Stage 9: Refuge de l´Onda to Vizzavona
Stage 10: Vizzavona to Bergeries d´E Capanelle
Stage 11: Bergeries d´E Capanelle to Bocca di Verdi
Stage 12: Bocca di Verdi to Refuge d´Usciolu
Stage 13: Refuge d´Usciolu to Refuge d´Asinau via Monte Alcudina
Stage 14: Refuge d´Asinau to Refuge d´I Paliri
Stage 15:Refuge d´I Paliri to Conca
GR20 general information sources:
Guidebook: Paddy Dillon´s GR20 (Cicerone). The new 2016 version includes the new stage 4 over Monte Cinto. Also available as ebook.
PNRC Randoblog – official blog of the PNRC (National Park)
Corsica for hikers forum – forum with an answer to any possible question about hiking in Corsica and the GR20 in particular.
Travelblog as well as general information on GR20