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Known as the mountain in the sea, Corsica boasts majestic peaks, forest-backed beaches with crystal-clear water, dramatic gorges and a plethora of hilltop villages where panoramic vistas are ubiquitous. These gems are not easily accessible to nervous drivers or those prone to car sickness: with mountains making up two-thirds of the island, the hairpin bends feel like traversing the spiral shell of a Corsican sea snail. One scenic route wound 1,218m into the Alta Rocca mountains to the Col de Bavella, where a monumental sculpture of Our Lady of Snows was framed by extraordinary needle-shaped rocks that pierced the sky. Hikers headed into the peaks above, part of the challenging GR20 route, that, walking seven hours a day, takes a fortnight to complete. More tempted by hunger than hiking, we set off for the terraced Auberge du Col de Bavella. The bar was propped up by men clad in the dark-green uniforms of the forestry department. Hikers trickled in, thirsty for a cold beer. With the ...

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