Corsica 2012 – Calanche

Since we originally supposed getting from Curzu to Porto would take us 2 days, not just one, we had a free day in Porto. Of course we didn’t want to just spend it on the beach, so I made an improvised plan for a trip to Calanche, probably the most well-known natural sight of Corsica.

Start Finish Distance Max. elevation Min. elevation Track record
Piana Porto 15.3 km 744 m 0 m GPX file

Unfortunately, when we woke up on Saturday morning it was raining:-( Lukáš decided to stay in the camp and I set out for the trip alone.

Near Châtaigneraie de Palani

Near Châtaigneraie de Palani

At first I went to the bus stop in Porto (opposite the photographer, see waypoints) and took a bus to Piana (ticket cost: 4 Euros), village located not far to the south-west. During the bus ride, raining stopped, sky suddenly became blue and it was clear it’s gonna be a beautiful, but very hot day.

That is why the first thing I did in Piana was going to nearby shop and buying two St. George mineral waters (I was carrying one from the camp, but my bag was 13 kilos lighter than usually, so I thought better more than less…). Then, after taking a few photos of a local church, I went back along the road to Porto to local football field in Piana – starting point of many hiking trails (not only to Calanche, but also to Capu d’Orto and Capu di u Vitullu mountains).

Ancien Chemin de Piana e Ota

Ancien Chemin de Piana e Ota

Since this was my second trip to Calanche, I’ve decided to do a hike along combination of two hiking trails I liked the most during the first visit.

First of these was Ancien Chemin de Piana e Ota, starting just at the football field in Piana. From the place it slowly ascends to the north-east, to the beautiful orange rocks of Calanche. I enjoyed this track a lot – orange rocks, green woods and blue sea and skies created an amazing scenery, and I went very slowly, taking photos almost every other step! (as usually, most of them were deleted at home:-)). And the best thing was, there was noone else there, probably thanks to the morning rain…

Ancien Chemin de Piana e Ota leads up to cca. 545 m ASL and then descends quite steeply down to the Piana – Porto road. I didn’t want to return to the road so soon, so instead I turned around shortly behind the highest point and went back for about 500 meters to a small branching (located at N42 14.515 E8 39.404, cca. 523 m ASL).

Calanche

Calanche

There, instead of continuing straight ahead to Piana football field, I turned left and started climbing up the hill to Châtaigneraie de Palani. Getting there took me about 40 minutes, during which I ascended by approx. 200 meters. The ascent was not very difficult, and totally worth it – “Châtaigneraie de Palani” is properly named, there are a lot of chestnut trees and some very beautiful rocks.

From there, I started descending to Piana – Porto road. This part of the trip was probably the most exhausting, since the path descends down by cca. 400 meters, in a small serpentines that seemingly never end… Fortunately they do:-), and finally, at 12:40,  4 hours and 8 km after leaving Piana I arrived to the road.

Porto

Porto

However, there was one little problem – I had to somehow get back to camp. I tried hitchhiking for a while, but unfortunately there were very few cars going in my direction and none of them stopped. So, in the end I had to go on foot all the way back to Camping Municipal. It was quite a long hike (cca. 7 km!) and due to walking all the way along the road not a very pleasant one; When I arrived to the camp at about 14:40, I was awfully exhausted, but very happy and glad for making this trip.


Here is the elevation diagram (generated by my GPS altimeter and processed by Garmin BaseCamp application) of the track:

Elevation diagram - trip to Calanche

Elevation diagram – trip to Calanche

The following GPS waypoints might also come in handy. You can download all of them in a single GPX file.

Name Description Approx. Elev. Latitude Longitude
PIANA Square in Piana 442 m N 42° 14.299′ E 8° 38.211′
PIANA FOOTBALL FIELD Football field near Piana 480 m N 42° 14.396′ E 8° 39.276′
BRANCHING Hiking track branching (see text) 523 m N 42° 14.515′ E 8° 39.404′
CHATAIGNERAIE DE PALANI Châtaigneraie de Palani 723 m N 42° 14.651′ E 8° 40.090′
PIANA-PORTO ROAD Hike end on Piana – Porto road 317 m N 42° 15.200′ E 8° 40.144′
CAMPING MUNICIPAL Camping Municipal d’Ota-Porto 0 m N 42° 15.864′ E 8° 42.191′

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