Planning a road trip in Corsica doesn’t need to be overwhelming or headache inducing. Road trips are an exciting part of life, allowing you to explore and do new things. The right itinerary for Corsican trip will ensure that you are set up to enjoy your vacation without stressing about how you will spend your days.
Why Road trip in Corsica?
Corsica is the fourth-largest French island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is known for its easy vibe that is perfect for both European weekend break as well as an ideal honeymoon destination. There are many reasons you should visit Corsica. Here are the top reasons Corsica should be on the top of your travel list.
- Corsica’s capital city, Ajaccio, is the birthplace of Napoleon. The Bonaparte House, which was Napoleon’s family home, is now a national museum.
- Corsican cuisine benefits from the influence of both France and Italy.
- Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea and so the water is warm and great to enjoy in many different ways. Sailing, sea kayaking, surfing, diving, water skiing, and jet skiing are great ways to spend a day.
- Bonifacio is a city that is unique and beautiful. The city of Bonifacio is divided into two parts. Vielle Ville is where most people live and is located on the harbor side. Haute Ville is set within a clifftop citadel from the 9th century, with narrow streets and shady squares.
- There are many beach options on the island of Corsica, guaranteeing everyone can find one they love.
- The Regional National Park of Corsica covers Two-thirds of the Island of Corsica. Some footpaths will take you from coast to coast. Part of the park is made up of the Scandola Nature Reserve, which has been designated a World Heritage Site.
- Locally produced wines are a great choice to accompany authentic Corsica meals.
- The original capital of Corsica was the city of Bastia. While it is no longer the capital, it is an upbeat place with many Baroque-style churches. Bastia is often chosen as a starting point for a holiday in Corsica as it is ideal for those traveling by ferry.
Getting to Corsica
There are two different ways to access the island of Corsica. The first is by air, and the second is by ferry.
Air: There are four airports on the island of Corsica. The two largest airports are Ajaccio, located at the islands southwestern coast, and Bastia, which is located on the northeastern coast. There are no direct flights from the US to Corsica, so many Americans choose to fly to Paris before catching a connecting flight to Corsica. Air France and Air Corsica offer flights from most major French cities year-round. During the summer months, budget airlines offer additional flights from numerous European cities.
Ferry: If you would rather travel to the island by ferry, several lines offer year-round service from Marseille, Nice, and Toulon. There are also summer routes that are provided from several Italian ports.
If you are going to be in Corsica for a weekend, it is ideal to stay close to your arrival city to make the most of your time. There are different itinerary options based on which city you are going to arrive into.
Two days in Bastia
Day one: On your first day, plan to visit:
- St. Nicholas Square, the city’s main square
- Napoleon Street, and its oratories
- The market to buy local products
- The Church of St. John the Baptist, and its two bell towers
- The Old Port
- One of Bastia’s many beaches
Day two: On your second day, you should explore the city’s surroundings by taking a road trip in the Cap Course, North of Bastia.
Two days in Ajaccio
Day One: One your first day, plan to visit:
- The Imperial Chapel
- The National Museum of the Bonaparte House
- The Ajaccio Cathedral
- One of Ajaccio’s beaches
- At sunset, book a boat trip to the Sanguinaires islands
Day Two: On day two, book a boat trip to visit the Scandola Nature Reserve.
Two Days in Calvi
Day One: One your first day, plan to attend:
- The old town and its many shops
- The Citadel with beautiful views of the city
- The port, for lunch on the terrace
- Calvi beach which is a long white sand beach with fantastic turquoise waters.
Day Two: One day two, plan a road trip to discover the perched villages of Balagne.
Two Days in Porto Vecchio
Day One: One your first day, plan to visit the Citadel or upper city. While you are here, visit the Fortress of the Standard and discover the King of Aragon’s Staircase.
Day Two: On day two, visit the Lavezzi Islands to see heavenly coves and turquoise waters.
A three-day trip to Corsica offers a little more flexibility in your itinerary then a two-day trip. However, it is still recommended that you choose a city and visit its surroundings.
Three Days in Bastia
Day One: On your first day in Bastia, take time to explore the city.
Day Two: On your second day in Bastia, drive to Saint-Florent and take the shuttle to the Agriates Desert. The Agriates desert is home to two beaches, the Saleccia and Lotu.
Day Three: On the third day of your trip, take a road trip to Cap Course to explore the city’s surroundings.
Three Days in Ajaccio
Day One: On your first day in Ajaccio, take a morning walk around the city to explore the local culture. In the afternoon, take a twenty-five-minute drive to Parata Peninsula to see the islands’ most magnificent views.
Day Two: On your second day, take a boat trip to the Scandola Nature Reserve, the Calanques de Piana, and Girolata. While exploring their World Heritage Sites, you will discover magnificent natural landscapes.
Day Three: On your third day, admire the city and cliffs of Bonifacio from the sea. The boat cruise to Bonifacio also includes four hours to walk around the city and explore.
Three Days in Porto-Vecchio
Day One: Take day one to discover some of the most beautiful beaches in Rondinara, Santa Giulia, or Palombaggia. While driving to these beaches, you will be able to explore some of the surrounding landscapes.
Day Two: On day two, drive to the Cavu valley. The Cavu valley will allow you to swim in natural swimming pools, walk through the forest, and climb in an adventure park.
Day Three: On your third day, take a boat trip from the Marina of Porto-Vecchio to the Lavezzi Islands.
Three Days in Calvi
Day One: One your first day in Calvi, spend the day discovering the city on foot. For the evening, book a cruise to the Relellata Peninsula for the most fantastic sunset view.
Day Two: One your second day, drive to the perched villages of Blanagne and then to the Forest of Bonifatu. This will give you a great day of hiking, followed by a refreshing swim in a river.
Day Three: On your third day, walk to the Revellata Peninsula. While on the peninsula, you can swim at Alga beach or in one of the many small coves. In the afternoon, hike up to the Notre-Dame-de-la-Serra to see the most fantastic view over Calvi bay.
When you decide to spend five days on the island of Corsica, you can see a lot more than the two and three-day trips. When you plan a five-day trip, you will want to start in either Bastia or Ajaccio.
Five Days starting in Bastia:
Day one: On your first day, take time to stroll through the city of Bastia. Explore the Terra Vecchia and Terra Nova districts and discover the local treasures. End your first day at one of the nearby beaches.
Days two and three: Spend two days in Cap Course. On the first day in Cap Course hike, the East Coast on the customs officers’ path from Macinaggio to Barcaggio. On your second day, drive along the West Coast and discover the beautiful scenery. End your day with a night spent in Saint-Florent.
Day Four: From Saint-Florent, take a boat to the Agriatese Desert. While you are here, you can spend a relaxing day swimming and sunbathing on the beaches of Saleccia and Lotu.
Day Five: Spend your fifth day discovering Corte. Here you can find the Citadel, the Musee de la Corse, and the Cours Paoli.
Five Days starting in Ajaccio:
If you choose to keep Ajaccio as your home base, you can use this itinerary:
Day One: Take your first day to walk around Ajaccio and explore the old town. Spend the afternoon discovering the Sanguinaires Islands.
Day Two: Spend your second day taking a boat trip to the Scandola Nature Reserve.
Day Three: Spend the day relaxing at one of the many beaches near Portoccio. You can also enjoy a wide range of water activities such as kayaking.
Day Four: Take a mini cruise to Bonifacio and spend the day visiting the Citadel.
Day Five: On your last day, you can spend the day at the beach relaxing. If you are a thrill-seeker, give canyoning a try.
Seven Day Itinerary
A seven-day trip to Corsica is the best way to get the most out of your journey. There are three different ways you can spend your seven days in Corsica. The three options are to stay in the Northern Part of the island, the Southern part of the island, or see the whole island.
For this one-week trip around Northern Corsica, it is best to arrive in Bastia.
Day one: Start your trip to Corsica with a hike in Cap Course. Drive from Bastia to Macinaggio. Walk the coastal path from Macinaggio to Barcaggio. Once you arrive in Barcaggio, you can take a shuttle boat back to Macinaggio, where you will spend the night.
Day two: Spend your second day driving down the west coast of Cap Corse to the city of Saint-Florent. Some of the stops to make on this drive include:
- The Mattei Mill Viewpoint
- The Port of Centuri
- The Village of Morsigilia
- The small town of Pino
- The Village of Nonza
Once you arrive in Saint-Florent, spend the afternoon and evening walking through the narrow streets and at Roya Beach. Spend the night in Saint-Florent.
Day three: On your third day, take the shuttle boat from the Port of Saint-Florent to the Agriates Desert. Spend most of your day here and then take the boat back to Saint-Florent, where you will drive to the city of Calvi. Spend the night in Calvi.
Day four: Spend the morning of your fourth day walking up to the Citadel of Calvi. After you see the Citadel, walk to Calvi’s lower town, and explore the local shops and restaurants. After lunch, drive thirty minutes from Calvi to enjoy a hike in the forest of Bonifatu. Spend a second night in Calvi.
Day five: On the morning of day five, drive two hours to the Village of Porto. Once you arrive, take a cruise through the Scandola Nature Preserve and the Calanques de Piana. Spend the night in Porto.
Day six: From Porto, you are going to drive to Corte. On the way to Corte, enjoy these things to do:
- A hike in the forest of Aitone
- A walk to discover Nino Lake
- A swim at the Radule Waterfalls
Once you arrive in Corte, spend the rest of the day exploring the city on foot and spend the night in Corte.
Day seven: Spend the morning driving back to Bastia from Corte. Once you arrive in Bastia, you can discover the local attractions before you depart for home.
For this one-week trip around southern Corsica, it is highly advised to arrive in Ajaccio. You can either rent a car and get across on the ferry or arrive by plane and rent a car on the island.
Day one: Spend the first half of your first day walking around Ajaccio’s city center and discover the points of interest. You can drive twenty-five minutes to the Parata Peninsula and discover the Sanguinaires Islands archipelago for the afternoon. Spend your first night in Ajaccio.
Day two: Take the coastal road and drive from Ajaccio to Bonifacio. On this drive, take the following rest stops:
– Porticcio. Here are three beautiful beaches you can stop in and enjoy a swim before getting back on the road.
– Propriano: In Propriano, there are many seaside restaurants and bars, making it an excellent stop for a lunch break. After lunch, explore Campomoro Bay, where you can take a hike around the Cape.
– Village of Sartene: The Village of Sartene is a great place to walk along the paved alleys and check out the stone houses.
– Casa di Roccapina Viewpoint: Shortly before arriving in Bonifacio, the Casa di Roccapina Viewpoint allows you to admire a large rock shaped like a lion overlooking the beach of Roccapina.
Finally, spend the night in Bonifacio.
Day three: Spend the third day exploring the city of Bonifacio. You can also follow the coastal path that will take you to Trois Pointes Beach, or Petit Sperone Beach. If you are willing to walk a little further, you can also discover Grand Sperone Beach. Spend the second night in Bonifacio.
Day four: On your fourth day in Corsica, take a boat to the Lavezzi Islands. While you are on the islands, you can walk around the entire island and explore the panoramic views. After your day on the Lavezzi Islands, you will enjoy a guided cruise with commentary on your way back to Bonifacio. Spend a final night in Bonifacio.
Day five: Start your fifth day with a short drive to Porto-Vecchio and spend the day on one of the beautiful beaches in the area. Finish your day with a walk in the narrow streets of Porto-Vecchio. Top it off with a meal in the old town or on the Marina. Spend the night in Porto-Vecchio.
Day six: Spend your sixth day exploring the Ospedale and the Bavella Pass. Leave Porto-Vecchio and drive towards Zonza. On the drive, you will experience amazing views and a lot of opportunities for hikes. You can hike to Corsica’s largest waterfall, the Piscia Di Gallu, a two-hour round-trip hike. You can also hike to the Trou de la Bombe, which is a two-and-a-half-hour hike. Spend the night in the Village of Zonza.
Day seven: Start your morning doing the Bellava Pass Hike, about ten minutes from Zonza. Once you are finished, start your drive back to Ajaccio, stopping wherever you want.
Whole Island Visit:
If you would prefer to spend your seven days exploring the entire island, this is the recommended route to take. You can spend each day exploring the local attractions around each city and town.
Day one: Bastia, Erbalunga, Pietracorbara, and Macinaggio
Day two: Pino, Desert of Agriates, Saleccia beach, and Calvi
Day three: Porto, Scandola Reserve, Calanques de Piana, and Ajaccio
Day four: Sanguinaires Islands
Day five: Propriano, Roccapina Beach, Bonifacio, and Lavezzi Islands
Day six: Rondinara Bay, Palonbaggia Beach, Porto-Vecchio, and Zonza
Day seven: Aiguilles de Bavella, Purcaraccia Hike, and Back to Bastia
As you can see, there are many different ways you can explore the Island of Corsica on a road trip. There is no right or wrong way to see the island. The main consideration should always be how long you have to visit, and what kind of trip you want to take and select the itinerary that best suits your wants and desired activity levels.
Whatever you decide, enjoy your Road Trip in Corsica!
Recommended reading: 7 Best Hikes in Corsica: Hiking in Corsica – a planning guide