The Bogtrotter

Le Sentier des Douaniers – a walk into the wilderness

by on Mar.21, 2009, under France, French Walks

The Sentier du Douaniers (which translates as the custom officers path) follows the coast around the tip of Cap Corse, the long peninsula that sticks out from the northern end on the island of Corsica. The first half of the walk is fairly flat, but the second half in more demanding with more hills.

The route is just under 20km and could be completed in one day (official guides say 7h45 minutes of walking), but we chose the more leisurely approach of doing it over two days with an overnight stop in a hotel.

View back to Macinaggio

View back to Macinaggio

The walk starts in the small village of Macinaggio, which has a tourist marina and a couple of shops where you can get your provisions. From Macinaggio the route heads north along the coast – just walk along to the end of the beach and follow the path. After walking around the first headland you drop to a beach where the only things that are normally found sunbathing are the local cows. As you walk along the path you cannot fail to smell the mixture of scents from the “maquis”, the herbs and shrubs that make up the vegetation that covers the landscape.

Tour De Santa Maria

Tour De Santa Maria

The next bay contains the ruin of the Tour de Santa Maria tower stands with it’s feet in the water. Dramatically sliced in half, the remains of this three storey tower sit just off the beach and you can walk across to it to have a look at what’s keft.

Continuing along this classic coastal walk you see the Tour d’Agnello tower standing proud on a small headland marking the north-eastern point of the island. Before you reach the tower the path cuts inland, away from the cliffs, before turning and following a track straight down to the tower.

You then drop down to the beach which gently curves round the bay. As you leave the far end of the beach you enter Barcaggio, the small village that is the half-way point on the walk. We then stayed the night in Barcaggio’s only hotel – the Hôtel La Giraglia (Open 01/04 to 30/09 – Tél 04-95-35-60-54). The hotel has no restaurant and no televisions. But who needs a tv when you can leave your bedroom window open and listen to the waves gently lapping against the shore. This has to be one of the most remote-feeling hotels I’ve ever stayed at – a real place to “get away from it all”.

If you do stay overnight you need to consider where you will eat. Barcaggio only has one restaurant – U Pescadore which specialises in seafood and is in an ugly prefab building on the quayside (Tel 04-95-35-61-64). It is only open from June to September and otherwise it is 7km to Chez Néné on the main road.

From Barcaggio the Sentier des Douaniers continues round to Centuri Port, which is covered in part two of the walk.

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