Gorges de Spelunca Hotels
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Inland from Porto, between the villages of Ota and Evisa, is one of the highlights of Corsica - the Gorges de Spelunca.
The Spelunca river runs through the gorge between great boulders and pools - in places the gorge is almost unbelievably red - where you can cool off while high above you the granite cliffs plunge towards the rivers and streams below.
Exploring the Spelunca gorges
Explorations of the gorges usually start from Ota (5km from Porto). It is also possible to catch the bus from Ota to Evisa and then return to your car along an old mule track between the two villages - a splendid way to appreciate the Spelunca Gorges.
We had envisaged a quick drive to the start of the walk but instead the beauty of the gorge led us to travel slowly with lots of stops to admire the view. Aswell as the stunning countryside there are goats, cows and large groups of wild pigs and piglets to admire as you drive along the road.
Walking in the Gorge de Spelunca
If you drive to the start of the walk you can park your car on the hairpin bend not far from Evisa. There is a reasonable amount of parking here and a choice of 5 or 6 walks. One of the most popular is the mule track to Ota which is a 3 hour walk and passes two Genoese arched bridges, the Pont du Zagliawas and the Pont de Pianella.
Rather than walk all the way to Ota we decided to walk as far as the first of two bridges - a walk of about 45 minutes each way. This lovely walk hugs the river at the begining and indeed the attractive rock pools attract plenty of visitors wishing to bathe and relax rather than set off walking.
The path soon winds gently upwards to run parallel with the river and is a lovely shady walk over pebbles, stones and boulders but nothing particularly strenuous. The rocks at the edge of the paths are covered in a sort of natural rock garden full of box, hellebores, white cistus, french lavender and curry plants and are simply beautiful. The lovely 'curry' scent of the curry plants fills the air and the sound of the river and the bird accompanies you along the path.
After 40 minutes or so the path descends and a large open stretch of the gorge opens out with the 18th century Pont du Zagliawasi. This lovely stone arched bridge has a a 'single-arch' design and was carefully constructed to withstand the occasional water torrents that pass through the gorges. It fits beautifully in its setting.
This is a lovely spot for a picnic.
If you continue along the trail there is a second bridge of similar construction but dating from the 15th century - the Pont de Pianella. Both bridges are classified historic monuments.
The region is a haven for hikers and walkers, although (unusually) a significant part of the beauty of the Gorges can be seen from the D84 road that follows its course (of course, we still recommend you follow the mule path...).
Places to Visit Nearby
Porto and the Calanches were our favourite places in Corsica and definitely not to be missed.
You can find more local travel ideas in the guide.