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Following the route of the Col de Bavella between Sartene and across Corsica towards the east (north-west of Porto-Vecchio), you pass through the Alta rocca mountains.
These provide a dramatic landscape of rocky needles (aiguilles), spires and cliffs that follow the horizon, with trees at higher levels often stunted by the weather and difficult climatic conditions.
Explore the Col de Bavella
The scenery here at Bavella is among the most distinctive and impressive to be found in Corsica, so although it is a little way from the main resort towns we highly recommend an excursion. It is accessible enough to allow a good number of tourists to get here!
The Col de Bavella itself reaches an altitude of 1218 metres with the peaks of the 'needles' reaching more than 1800 metres. below the col there are the extensive forests (mostly varieties of pine tree) of the Bavella forest.
We strongly recommend you follow one of the trails from the col, in particular to appreciate the environment away from the rather large number of visitors at the col itself. There are a few paths of different lengths so you can find something to suit your fitness and time constraints. If you can't do the walks you can still see some stunning views without having to walk far.
Sadly despite excellent weather elsewhere in Corsica the day we went to the Col de Bavella it was covered in low cloud. We had one very brief glimpse of the incredible views and then it disappeared. Despite this we had a lovely walk along one of the trails and saw a mass of wild flowers (we visited in May) and quite a few goats too!
There is an auberge at the col de Bavella where you can stop and get lunch before setting off on one of the shorter trails.
Weather permitting in the heart of this impressive landscape you can also see the Trou de la Bombe, a large hole through a cliff - there is a trail that leads here from the Col de Bavella and takes about three hours return trip - and a statue known as 'Notre-Dame des Neiges'.
As well as tourists you will also see that that Bavella attrcats many outdoor enthusiasts for hiking, cycling, rock climbing, canyoning and other activities.
The road up to the Col de Bavella offers some stunning views over the coast below.
On the way up to the col stop at the charming village of Zonza. This little village is a popular place and has a number of bars and restaurants.
The road between here and Solenzara (to the north-east) is quite a slow winding road but is also exceptionally scenic. The road follows the Solenzara river which contains several rock pools and canyons where swimming is possible such as at Fiumicelle and elsewhere along the river.
You can find more local travel ideas in the guide.