Best Places To Visit In Corsica
The island of Corsica is located off the southeast coast of mainland France, north of Sardinia.
Corsica has the highest mountains of any mediterranean island and is often nicknamed “Mountain In The Sea”.
Corsica has a unique combination of french and italian influences – in fact the island is geographically closer to Italy than France and was once ruled by Italians.
Corsica was governed by Pisa from the 11th to the 13th centuries, followed by Genoa in 1284; the Genoese built a defence system to protect the coastline, including the watchtowers and citadels that you can still see today.
The Beautiful Island of Corsica
After 25 years of war Corsica declared independence in 1755; but this didn’t last long – Corsica was ceded to France in 1768 and has remained a part of ‘the continent’ since then, except for brief periods between 1794-96 and 1940-43.
Corsica is part of the EU and the currency is the Euro. The official language is french although corsican is also spoken – which sounds more italian than french.
Corsican food is flavoured with herbs from the maquis, the wild, perfumed vegetation that grows on the hillsides. Chestnut also features regularly in the regions’ cuisine, in everything from breads and sauces, to pastries…and beer! The most well known corsican cheese is brocciu, a soft sheeps cheese.
Getting There and Around
The best way to get to Corsica is by plane.
There are four international airports in Corsica: Bastia (Northeast); Calvi (Northwest); Ajaccio (West); and Figari (South).
If you’re flying from the UK, you can get direct flights through Easyjet and ThomsonFly. From the US or Canada, the easiest route would be to fly to France or London and then get a connecting flight.
You can also take the ferry from Nice, Marseille and Toulon – it might be cheaper than flying and is sometimes the only option if you’re travelling out of season (there may be little or no direct flights). If you’re coming from Northern Italy, the ferry will probably be the best bet.
The main ferry companies are Corsica Ferries, SNCM, CMN and Moby. Main departure points from France are Marseille, Toulon and Nice; and Italy – Savona, Genoa and Livorno. The arrival points in Corsica are Bastia, Ile Rousse, Calvi, Ajaccio, Propriano, and Porto Vecchio. The shortest route from France would be Nice to Calvi, taking about 4 hours.
Ferry times vary and do not necessarily run every day so it’s a good idea to check this before you book anything.
The best way to get around the island of Corsica is by car. You can find the major hire car companies at all the airports.
Driving in Corsica is not for the faint hearted. The scenery is outstanding….but roads are narrow, with many hairpin bends and sheer drops. The island of Corsica is mountainous and there are often no opportunities for overtaking; speeds will be slower – estimate speeds of around 40-50kmh, and even down to 25kmh. It is essential to have a good map with you.