8 days/7 nights
Start any date between March 15 and June 15 and September 1 and October 31
Drives: 36 to 92 km daily (22.5 to 57.5 mi) with options to add more
You’ll find some of the drives are quite an adventure, following narrow, curving mountain roads; previous experience driving in Europe is necessary
On most days there are at least two walks and usually there are options for those who want more challenging hikes, as well as pleasant strolls through villages
Classic Accommodation: US$1600
Luxe Accommodation: US$2280
(Suppl. in July & August:
Single suppl. classic: US$520
Single suppl. Luxe: US$770
If you travel in July and August, please book early to avoid disappointment
- 7 nights hotels
- All breakfasts and 2 dinners
- Detailed route instructions and map
- PLEASE NOTE THAT CAR RENTAL IS NOT INCLUDED
You start in Corte, on the eastern coast of Corsica almost on the northern tip of the island.
You can fly into Poretta Airport, located 20 km (13 miles) south of Bastia and pick up your rental car at the airport.
You can also fly to Nice, pick up your rental car at the Nice Airport, and take the ferry from Nice to Bastia.
Reservations for the car ferry must be made in advance.
Corsica Drive & Stroll 8 Days
Corsica is an unspoiled island of deep gorges, cool pine forests, ancient hamlets perched on hillsides, and dazzling beaches—all in an area only one-fifth the size of Switzerland. It’s a walker’s paradise, crisscrossed by ancient footpaths and mule tracks. And at the end of the trail you’ll discover tiny villages where people speak an Italian dialect all their own, for this is France with an Italian flavour. Travel slowly and savour this unique blend of cultures.
For those arriving by plane, drive from Poretta Airport near Bastia to Corte. A tiny fortified town founded in 1419, Corte is home to Corsica’s only university. Stroll along the cobbled streets of the old town to visit the citadel and the Musée de la Corse, which offers an excellent introduction to Corsican traditions as well as history. Spend the night at a country inn on the edge of the Restonica Valley.
Walk from Corte into the Gorges du Tavignano, following an old mule track along the steep sides of the gorge to cross a suspension bridge that takes you into pine woods (5 hours or longer/515 m elevation gain). Drive along a steep narrow road into the Vallée de la Restonica, carved out by the Restonica River that rises high in the mountains and climb to the Lac du Melu (2 hours or longer/341 m elevation gain). Head for the Col de Vizzavona and climb to the ruins of an old Genoese fortress, then follow forest trail to the Cascades des Anglais, named for the English tourists who used to flock here (1 hour or longer /100m elevation gain). Total driving possible today is 102 km. Spend a second night in Corte.
Leave Corte and head north along twisting mountain roads to the peaceful mountain village of Evisa, which is famous for its chestnuts. Today you’ll cross over the highest pass in Corsica. Along the way, pause to walk through the woods to the Bergeries de Radule, stone huts and animal enclosures open to anyone who needs shelter (1.5 hours/100 m elevation gain). You can do three walks today. Climb to the Bocca au Saltu, a pass situated at 1250 m and enter beautiful, rugged backcountry ( 1 hour and 45 minutes or longer/295 m elevation gain). At Evisa, climb through chestnut and pine woods to La Belvèdére, an overlook with a gorgeous view ( 2.5 hours 260 m elevation gain).
Though short, only 36 km, today’s drive takes you through some of the most spectacular scenery on the island. Head into the Spelunca gorge (1 hour/100 m elevation gain). Then wind your way through the ochre pinnacles of the Calanche, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Climb to the Chateau Fort, a rocky platform overlooking the Golfe de Porto (40 minutes/110 m elevation gain) and head into chestnut woods to the Chemin des Muletiers, and old mule track (shorter version 1 hour/50 m elevation gain or longer 2.5 hours 400 m elevation gain). Today’s destination is Piana, one of France’s official Plus Beaux Villages. If you arrive early, you can also head to the beach.
Enjoy more walks or time on the beach before you depart. Take your time today to stop and enjoy the views as you follow the coastline as it twists and turns for 92 km to Calvi, which the locals claim is the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. Walk to the Tour de Turghiu, an old Genoese tower from which there are spectacular views of the ocean (3 hours/ 520 m elevation gain). Follow a trail to Girolata, an old fishing village that can be reached only on foot or by boat (3 hour/ 430 m elevation gain). Don’t forget to save time to explore Calvi, especially the 15th-century Citadel, where narrow alleyways and staircases lead to fascinating old buildings and imposing ramparts.
Spending a second night in Calvi means you have all kinds of choices today. Walk through town and up to the isolated chapel of Notre Dame de la Serra (2 hours/235 m elevation gain). A second walk takes you along the coast to the Revellata Peninsula (2 hours/100 m elevation gain). Explore the Balagna, the fertile area around Calvi on a drive of 56 km. Follow the Route des Artisans, dotted with craft villages, such as Pigna, known for musical instruments and craft boxes, and Lumio, famous for artisans working in steel and bronze. Or, if you want something more strenuous, drive to the Bonifatu (21 km) fromwhere you can hike into the mountains to the Refuge de Carrozzu. (4.5 hours/780 m elevation gain)
Today’s drive to Saint Florent is 66 km long and takes you to L’Ile Rousse, a pleasant beach resort, and through the Désert de Agriates, once a rich agricultural area, now stony and desolated. From Saint Florent head out for the walk along the coast to the Tour de Mortella, the impressive remains of a watch tower built by the Genoese around 1620. Then drive to the Patrimonio Menhir, which, it is believed, dates to the 9th-century B.C. (12 km from Saint Florent and back).
Departure from Corsica. Drive from Saint Florent to Poretta Airport near Bastia (31 km). If possible detour to visit the fascinating Romanesque church at Murato. You can also drive to the ferry terminal in Calvi or Bastia and sail to Nice.