Corsica for a holiday

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  • Corsica for a holiday
  • Premier Icon Stoner
    Subscriber

    After watching Le Tour go through Corse this year and thinking it looked jolly lovely Mrs Stoner and I though we might try and spend a week there this summer. She will have her road bike, I will have either my CX or SS MTB, and we will have two boys who love the sea.

    Anyone got any tips on areas to look at. We will be arriving by ferry from Nice so into Bastia (NE) or Ajaccio (SW). I like using HomeAway to rent houses/villas so am looking for location ideas where we can find nice coastal parts with some kind of beach (not necessarily sandy) and also ride out the back into the hills.

    Premier Icon The Wrong Trousers
    Subscriber

    Have been to Corsica twice, to walk the GR20 path. Absolutely love the place. Was particularly taken by Port Vecchio in the South East and Bonifacio. Lots of fantastic mountain scenery inland, very rugged terrain and quite high too. We were there in June and there was loads of snow still high up in the hills. There’s a mountain railway that you can use to get around the island, starts from Ajaccio and runs to Calvi and Bastia. Calvi looks interesting too. Would highly recommend the place.

    globalti
    Member

    Been to Calvi twice, stayed in Regina hotel on the edge of town, within 10 minutes of some nice restaurants. The second time we went we hired a car, which enlarged our area but not by much because the roads are so narrow and twisty that it takes ages to drive anywhere.

    Interestingly the Corsican cuisine has almost no fish; it’s not a fishing culture, it’s a mountain culture so lots of pork and chestnut dishes, even the beer is brewed from chestnuts.

    We asked if we could join the Corsican mafia and the Foreign Legion but for some reason neither organisaton was keen to have us.

    I spent a couple of weeks mooching around Corsica this September, mostly in the north, using the train, buses and hiking to get around.

    I spent a couple of days in the the Cap Corse(the peninsular sticking up in the north) where I saw quite a few cycle tourers doing the coastal road. There’s some nice remote sandy beaches up there but the coastal path around the tip can be closed if the winds are strong (as it was when I was there).

    Calvi is more Riviera in style, beautiful sandy beaches around a large bay with mountains in the background but busy, touristy and more expensive. I liked Porto on the west coast – there’s a great mountain/coastal road to get there from Calvi and Porto is in a beautiful setting with the Scandola headland and the Capu d’Orto mountain behind it. There were a few german roadies in the campsite there as you can head around the Calanche coastal road, down to isolated pebbly beaches, or inland into the hills.

    Corte is the main mountain town in the centre of the island and has a great feel to the place – lots of locals hanging out in the cafes – and is handy for places like the Restonica Valley. I hired a hybrid bike there one day and rode around some of the mountain villages to the east – roads were empty. If I was going back with a road bike I’d like to do the D84 road from Evisa over the Col de Vergio (there’s a tiny ski station at the top with a hotel and campsite) and down the other side – took it on a minibus and the views were great – a proper windy road with wild pigs round every corner!
    I saw at least one mtb company in Corte advertising off-road guiding around Evisa so that area could be worth checking out.

    I didn’t get any further south so can’t comment on that part of the island. Oh and in the middle of summer it’s going to be hot, hot, hot!!

    Some photos here:

    Corsica 045 Spelunca Ota by , on Flickr

    thebrowndog
    Member

    Lovely place, great people. Expensive. I remember paying London prices for groceries.

    Premier Icon geoffj
    Subscriber

    Great memories of taking a RIB across to Bonifacio from Santa Theresa on Sardinia.
    Lovely bit of the world.

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Subscriber

    cheers guys. Some v useful pointers there.

    Thinking about it, I may just take my CX (for more general use and our return to some trails in Florac for our second week) and if I do some guided rather than IGN map DIY stuff I can hire a bike. I wonder if they have 29ers in Corse? 🙂

    hainey
    Member

    We were there in June and watched the first stage of the tour.

    Spent 6 days running the GR20 before a few days in Bastia letting the feet recover and watch the tour.

    Stunning Island, one of the most beautiful places. Slightly pricey but not really any different from the South of France. We did the ferry Nica to Calvi.

    mogrim
    Member

    Spent 6 days running the GR20 before a few days in Bastia letting the feet recover and watch the tour

    You mentioned that on the other thread you started, hainey, and it sounded great – how did you organise it?

    hainey
    Member

    To be honest it wasn’t too difficult to organise. We used the GR20 guidebook for most of the planning, knowing that we wanted to run it in 6 days, it was a matter of taking the 15 stages and fitting them into 6 days, trying to level the distance whilst taking into account the terrain challenges. Then just booking the huts along the way. We travelled light (5kg packs + water).

    Logistics wise we drove down, took the ferry and left the car at the start. Then hired a car to collect the car afterwards. Was a little bit of a pain to organise that bit but worked out ok.

    hainey
    Member

    It should be noted there was just 3 of us, many more people and the organisation would have been a lot harder.

    Corsica is an amazing island and you should definitly explore some of the inner mountain areas rather than just sticking to the coast.

    Buzzard
    Member

    Ive done 2 holidays in Corsica and cannot recommend it enough. We took the ferry from Nice to Bastia on both. I would say my favourite is a small place called Algajola between Calvi and L’lle Rousse. Lovely beaches but small and easy cycling up into the mountains from there. Great ride from Algajola towards Calvi then into the montains towards Calenzana and the around to Cateri before climbing up to lookout over Belgodere. Corte is lovely too but its a failry tough cycle up there from Algajola as I found out.

    jonah tonto
    Member

    i spent a month at the ajjaccio end of the island in may. have a mate living out there so we had a hilux to muck about with and as anywhere some local knowledge goes a long way. As mentioned above its very very beautiful, remote and unspoiled but very expensive.
    all the beaches were good, but if you can, get up into the high mountains

    i wish i had taken my full sus (i didnt have a bike and my mate just had a crappy old hardrock for me to borrow) the island is littered with natural, singletrack made by the wild boar and my mate was more than willing to uplift me in the truck

    i would recommend one of the ‘via ferrata’ – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7Haak-O8r8

    brush up on your french
    oh, and the locals are all mental

    Bimbler
    Member

    Lovely place, great people

    A friend of mine lives there and would strongly disagree with the latter.

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