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Sardinia & Corsica

Firecrest © Ian Redman

The ‘lost world’ of the Giara di Gesturi is a landscape as unexpected as it is strangely beautiful. Outcrops of pinky-black basalt and prehistoric ‘nuraghi’ emerge from marshy meadows and dwarf Cork Oak woodlands on plateaux two thousand feet above sea level.

As a chorus of trills from Tyrrhenean Tree Frogs rises from pools we’ll enjoy lovely Crocus minimus and pink-purple Romulea revelieri amongst several orchids. Newly described Ophrys ortuabis blooms with yellow Anemones under the shadow of six-thousand feet high Monti del Gennargentu. We’ll visit a wood full of the endemic Paeonia morisii, a startling sight. Lower down the beguiling landscapes that lie between our ideally placed hotel and the Fluminese are rich in orchids. One of Europe’s most beautiful orchids, Orchis longicornu is rather common, and mixes with Pink Butterfly Orchid and the endemic Orchis ichnusae. The lovely Mirror Orchid is a frequent sight and amongst a host of commoner Bee Orchids we’ll see plenty of the island’s specialities of which there are quite a number! Ophrys eleonorae has lips of glowing blue and purple, endemic Ophrys chestermannii large velvety square flowers, and oval-lipped flowers of grey, purple and pink belong to exquisite Ophrys morisii.

Corsican Swallowtail by Fiona Dunbar

The little green orchid Gennaria diphylla joins several species of Romulea, Bellardia and Barbary Nuts in one of Europe’s pre-eminent wetlands, the little-known Sinis. Corsican Swallowtails fly amongst dunes by lagoons that are home to birds such as Audouin’s Gulls. Even as we land at Cagliari’s airport we’ll see flocks of Greater Flamingoes on lagoons next to the runway – Sardinia’s that sort of place!

For the second part of this tour we’ll move to scenically stunning Corsica which has long held an interest to naturalists, there are many elegantly penned articles from a bygone era with prose redolent of aromatic maquis and dramatic gorges.

Crocus corsicus © Tristan Lafranchis

Brick pink granitic cliffs sweep down to the sea west of Ajaccio, where yellow Calicotome villosa dominates maquis that has a rich flora including Convolvulus sicula and Succowia balearica. Southern coastal limestone is home to beautiful Erodium corsicum, endemic Morisia monanthos, and fine hummocks of Astragalus massiliensis. Orchids include Orchis laxiflora and bee orchids such as Ophrys morisii, Ophrys marmorata and Ophrys lutea corsica. Corsican Dappled White and the Corsican Swallowtail are on the wing as we stop by roadsides dotted with Green-winged and Pink Butterfly Orchids.

Cytinus hypocistus’s yellow flowers glow from crimson bracts amongst Cistus, and in meadows there are displays of Serapias hardly matched elsewhere in the Mediterranean with large-flowered Serapias cordigera and Serapias neglecta and the common Serapias lingua. In the mountainous interior extensive Corsican Pine forests are home to the endemic Corsican Nuthatch, and a second endemic bird, Corsican Finch, is rather common, especially amid Sweet Chestnut woods. Endemics continue with the rare Tyrrhenian Tree Frog, European Leaf-toed Gecko, and Pygmy Algyroides.

In the south Kerry Lily blooms, and the broomrapes Orobanche rigens and Orobanche sanguinea are both beautiful richly-coloured species. Narcissus tazetta and Romulea requienii decorate rocky crevices and shorelines have much Matthiola tricuspidata, Medicago marina, and purple-streaked Silene sericea. Moving inland we’ll find Brimeura fastigata and Pancratium illyricum, which unlike its more widespread European cousin flowers far up into the mountains. Cyclamen repandum blooms at all altitudes, with Corydalis pumila at higher passes amid a selection of gageas, and slopes covered with pretty lilac Crocus corsicus, the outside of the flowers etched with deep purple lines. Fabulous mounds of Saxifraga cervicornis adorn shaded rocks in a narrow gorge where Armeria leucocephala, Saxifraga corsica, Arenaria balearica, and Orchis olbiensis bloom. On the east coast we will see the endangered Anchusa crispa at one of its remaining sites. Our hotel in the Gorges du Restonica sits beside the cascading river, Helleborus argutifolius flowering abundantly nearby.

Dates and Prices

7th April - 22nd April 2025 (16 days)

London - London £4,455
Cagliari to Figari £4,200
Single Supplement* £560
Deposit £400

* doesn't apply if you're willing to share and a room-mate can be arranged

or ask us a question.

Please note; dates and prices are provisional and will be confirmed by August 2024

Tour Summary

Days 1&2
To Sardinia and the Giara de Gesturi
Days 3&6
Day 4
Cala Mosca and the Molentargius Marshes
Day 5
Domusnovas and the Sa Duchesa Valley
Days 7&8
Laconi, Ortuabis
Day 8
To Corsica
Day 9
Filitosa and Ajaccio
Day 10
Pointe de la Parata and the West Coast
Days 11&13
Col de Verghio and the Restonica Gorge
Day 12
The East Coast: Aleria, Inzecca Gorge & Col de Sorba
Days 14&15
Bonifaccio & the Southern limestone
Day 16

Tour information


Spring Flowers, particularly Orchids. Also Birds, Butterflies, Reptiles and Amphibians, and superb rural Landscapes.


Paul Cardy will lead throughout. Alexis Fitzgerald is second leader in Sardinia, Ian Bennallick in Corsica

Paul Cardy , Ian Bennallick , Alexis FitzGerald

Group Size

The minimum is 4 and the maximum is 12. Only one leader will accompany a group of 6 or less. Paul Cardy is first leader throughout. Alexis Fitzgerald is second leader in Sardinia, Ian Bennallick in Corsica

Included in the Price

All flights. All transport, meals and accommodation in Sardinia and Corsica. Services of your leaders. Please note: drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature including travel insurance, are not included.


In Sardinia we have an entire week at the Agriturismo Su Massaiu. Set atop a low hill and surrounded by orchards this lovely little hotel has views up to the Giara and is close to the famous Nuraghe of Barumini. Almonds and Olives populate Su Massaiu’s orchards and the farm is well-known for its organic produce that includes lavender, melons, lentils, vegetables and the precious Turri Saffron. The pleasant rooms are set around a wide courtyard in which there is a swimming pool. Each room has its own verandah entrance. Moving to Corsica we’ll have a night in a hotel near the southern tip of the island before moving to Ajaccio and a night in the Hotel Stella di Mare situated in a lovely spot on the Parata Peninsula with pleasant gardens right by the sea. Next we’ve four nights in the central mountains in the magnificent scenery of the Gorges du Restonica. Our hotel, the very comfortable Dominique-Colonna, is set in a well-wooded stretch of the gorge and right by the rushing river, a very lovely setting indeed. We finish the holiday with two nights at the Prea Gianca sited on a clifftop on the outskirts of Bonifacio with views out over the Mediterranean towards Sardinia. This hotel prides itself on its gastronomic approach, the restaurant featuring a range of local and French cuisine
focussing on local produced ingredients. The recently refurbished rooms are very comfortable and there’s a swimming pool to enjoy if the weather’s warm enough! All rooms on this holiday have en suite WCs and showers/baths.


Very easy. Always at a relaxed pace and never more than two or three miles in any one day, ideally suited to flower photographers.


UK direct flights are from London Gatwick to Cagliari, returning via Nice from Figari to London Heathrow*, Gatwick, Luton, Birmingham*. Other indirect routes from regional UK Airports* are available.
*These routes may incur a supplement.


Variable but mostly clear and sunny with daytime temperatures between 12°C and 25°C. Rain is likely at some point and is occasionally prolonged.

Tour Combinations

It is possible to join either just the Corsica or the Sardinia parts of the tour.

How to Book

Contact us to check if there is availability for the number of places you require. Click on the ‘Book this Tour’ button on this page to be taken to the online booking form or contact us and we will send one to you which you can complete and send back to us. You will receive confirmation of your place, and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. This will contain up-to-date health information.

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