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Vizzavona : Click to enlarge picture
Monte d'Oro dominates the route south of Corte to VIZZAVONA, about 10km away. Shielded by trees, the village is invisible from the main road, so keep your eyes peeled for a turning on the right signposted for the train station. With its handful of gîtes d'étapes and restaurants, Vizzavona is an ideal place to spend a few days walking in the forest, although it gets crowded in summer when it fills with hikers taking a break from the GR20, which passes nearby. The glorious forest of beech and Laricio pine surrounding the hamlet is among the most popular walking areas in Corsica, thanks to the easy access by main road or train. a lot of people come here to tackle the ascent of 2389-metre-high Monte d'Oro, but there are many less demanding trails to follow, among them the busy route to the Cascade des Anglais, connected to Vizzavona by the red-and-white waymarks of the GR20.

Among the gîtes here, top of the range is I Laricci (tel & fax; €40–55; closed Nov–March) a recently converted alpine-style building with pitched roofs and charming Moroccan carpets decorating the walls of its dining room. A cheaper option is Resto-Refuge-Bar "De la Gare" (tel & fax; €30–40; May–Oct), directly opposite the station. When full, the dormitories here are stuffy and cramped; half board (€30) isn't obligatory, which is just as well as the food isn't up to much, either. For more atmosphere, head 3km further south along the main road to the hamlet of LA FOCE, where the venerable old Monte d'Oro (tel,; €55–70) occupies a prime spot overlooking the valley – with its period furniture and fittings, fin-de-siècle feel and magnificent terrace looking out onto the mountain, it ranks among the most congenial hotels in Corsica. Adjacent to the Monte d'Oro, slap on the main road, is a little gîte d'étape (tel; €30–40) that's nowhere near as gloomy as it looks and makes a handy fallback if the places down in the village are fully booked. The nearest bona fide campsite is the Savaggio, 4km north of Vizzavona (tel; open year round); note that the train will make a special request stop at the site if you give the conductor plenty of warning.

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