WE TOOK THE "LITTLE TRAIN" from Bastia to Calvi. The train out of Bastia was one crowded SRO car with diesel fumes streaming in through the windows. In other words, an unforgettable travel experience. Didn't get to see much of the little towns we stopped at along the coast but what we saw was pretty boring. Once we changed trains and headed over the mountains it was a whole different world. Spectacular scenery, tiny towns tucked into the mountainside, beautiful Mediterranean coastal villages.
A great way of getting around on Corsica is to rent a scooter. You have the freedom of travel and can stop along the way in all the beautiful places you pass by. The coastal roads are really beautiful and there are some really nice beaches along the way.
The only drawback was a big deposit but the rental firm was really nice and helped with everything.
Just don't forget to bring sunglasses and sun lotion to protect yourself from the sun and insects. Bring water bottles along as it get's really hot, there are small springs along the roads where you can refill them.
When you arrive by foot in the Niolu region, be prepared to leave it by the same means or to pay a big amount of money to a taxi driver.
I red in the web about buses and bus schedules and understood there were buses serving Calacuccia and the surroundings. . . . . This is old story!
The picture of the bus stop tells it! You see that since years, the schedule plate has not been painted, the tree grew through, . . . well, it seems that in fact the buses linking the high Niolu to the “civilisation” operate only in summer, from July to September!; you have to walk back or take a taxi, which I did. You have to call (or ask at your hotel/hostel to call one), and if there is one available, as they also make sorts of public transportation, ambulance for people living in remote places, etc. . . , you will be lucky! I asked for a taxi, and found one available three hours later! The fare for the trip from Calacuccia to Corte, in the picturesque Golo Valley was 55 Euros.
Buses: Transports Mordiconi: Télephone : 04 95 48 00 04
Taxi: Taxi Etienne: 06 09 40 61 09, or 04 95 48 08 17
Except if you are an exceptional swimmer, there are two ways to reach an island: plane or boat.
The ferry boat from Marseille to Bastia is one of the easiest and most popular ways to go on the “Île de Beauté”.
There are several companies which travel from France to Corsica (Corsica Ferries, SNCM, . . . ) I took SNCM, as the cross over is during the night, so we could sleep during our trip and begin the day in fit condition in Bastia.
There are several different classes on the ferry, from seats in a room to luxury cabins; I chose a 4 berth cabin with shower (We were three, and I paid for three (189.12 Euros, including breakfast and taxes), the price is per passenger, not the cabin), and we slept very well on go and return trip.
The “Pascal Paoli” (picture 1) is a big ferry and on board is a small casino, a restaurant, a bar. . . . ; We had a drink and dinner; I don’t know if the boys woke up during the night and went secretly to the casino. . .
A narrow track railway links the northern city of Bastia to the southern city of Ajaccio, running across the mountains and with short secondary lines.
If you go for starting a trek or for sightseeing in some place, the train is very convenient, as it really runs in the mountains and there are stations in the interior like at Corte, or even crosses the famous GR20 (at Vizzavona).
The main lines are from Bastia to Ajaccio and from Bastia to Calvi, in, the North.
The website gives information on prices and schedules; I paid 7.1 Euros from Bastia to Corte.
CFC (Chemins de Fer de Corse) runs also some bus lines departing from some train stations to isolated villages, but not that many. . . . sometimes you may need to hire a taxi if you want to reach some places, or. . . . walk!
Travelling by train is always enjoyable, and in Corsica the landscapes are beautiful, like here (picture 1) this valley with a ruined “Genovese bridge”; locals use the train, and some are a pleasure to look at (picture 2).
The CFC employees are very kind and helpful, as they suggested me to leave our backpacks in their room while we had a short tour in Bastia before taking off with the train.
On picture 3 is the station in Corte; it shows Corsica is not always sunny. . . and on picture 4 is the station in Bastia. Another young local on picture 5.
For hikers and trekkers a convenient transportation means to reach the mountains where the hiking trails begin.
Roads signs have generally French and Corsican names on them ... but for strange (!?)reasons, French names are often not readable because strikethroughed...
So, you'd better get familiar with Corsican names. Here the main list I used to be sure not to get lost:
Porto Vecchio Purtivechju
St Florent San Fiurenzu
L'Ile Rousse Isula rossa
I let you discover the other ones on your way through Corsica
Parking is hard to find in St Florent but we found we could always find a space in the area around the citadel. Easiest access was by heading up the hill from the square and turning left at the sign for the Citadel. Easy 5 minute walk back down into town.
There are no low-budget airlines serving the island, yet, so most people still arrive by ferry. Major ports on the mainland are Marseille and Nice in France, as well as Genova and La Spezia in Italy. Major ports on Corsica are Bastia, Ajaccio and ile Rousse.
There are also ferries to/from Sardegna between Bonifacio and S. Teresa. It's only a short hop between the two, so a good and probably the cheapest option would be to take a budget airline flight to Olbia or Alghero on Sardegna and take the ferry onwards to Corsica.
Cycling is a fantastic way to see the island. But you should take into consideration that Corsica is very mountainous and there's hardly any flat terrain, except for some parts along the East coast. I would also recommend to avoid July and August for two reasons. First, it can be incredibly hot and there's not much shade and second, most of roads on the island are narrow, winding and potholed, so I imagine that with all the tourist traffic in high season, cycling is not a very pleasant experience.
Corsica being an island in the Mediteranean you have to go there by plane or by ferry; we chose for the last option.
There are several ferry lines but we chose the ferry from LIVORNO in Italy: the Corsica Ferries.
This ride took us 4 hours to reach Corsica and once we were there we had our own car to tour the Island to our hearts' contents.
If you are not planning to rent a car (which would be best so you could drive around and stop when you like the view or the perfect secluded beach where you could be alone as well as the amazing hidden spots you can get from the mountain),
However if you wish to see the island without a car you can walk in Bastia, take a train to the other side of the island Ajaccio or Calvi for a day or more. There are a few bus-shuttle organised but they leave early morning…
Without a car
- by train from central Bastia, you can go to CALVI (on the beach, west coast) see pics on
- by train you can also reach Ajaccio, South of the island (where Napoleon was born, check the official web site
after 4 hours of a slow but amazing views of the heart of the mountains, crossing bridges high up in the mountain and going through the base of rocky ones, check all the beautiful pics on http://www.francevuedutrain.net/Photos/Trains/FRANCE_VUE_DU_TRAIN/CORSE/PONTE-LECCIA_AJACCIO/PONTE-LECCIA_AJACCIO.html
This company http://www.giraschi-voyages.com/ organise tours of the island by bus.
This web site: http://www.calvi.aeroport.fr/pages/acces/bus.htm
Gives you a list of phone number to call to book a bus ride from a town to the other and if you call AUTOCARS MARIANI (33) 04 95 65 04 72 THEY ORGANISE DIFFERENT CIRCUITS
Bastia Tourism Office (lots of pics: http://www.bastia-tourisme.com/ )
- by foot, you can visit the streets of Bastia, including LA CITADELLE, LE VIEUX PORT if you want a guided tour you can contact one of this agency:
- BASTIA VILLE D'ART ET D'HISTOIRE
Association COGITOUR :
Tél :33.(0)18.104.22.168.99 / 33.(0)22.214.171.124.35
Fax : 33.(0)126.96.36.199.56
Tél : 33.(0)188.8.131.52.09 / 33.(0)184.108.40.206.57
Fax : 33.(0)220.127.116.11.91
Association VIA CORSICA Eurotourisme:
Tél : 33.(0)18.104.22.168.75 / 33.(0)22.214.171.124.66
Fax : 33.(0)4.95.39.08.27 / 33.(0)4.95.35.04.54
I took a boat from Nice to Bastia. Nice is a great place to visit so don't hesitate, if you want to go to Corsica, to do it from Nice.
8 days later, I took the same boat, but from Ajaccio to Toulon. Loved it too. Don't hesitate there either.
I had a nice time on the ferry out to Corsica, met fun people and even bothersome cabin-masters and waiters. The cabin-steward hounded me, trying to convince me to go visit cabins with him. Like I never saw a ship cabin in my life! Well, ok, I never did. But I saw some films, you know! And my mother told me about her cruises. I knew what that guy had in mind. A cabin my eye!
Hire a car ,but be careful of the dangerous roads and mountain roads.Order a car from home if you are going to hire one,it is cheaper.There are trains also which are ok and there are buses and bus tours of the island available.It is ok to bike in the cenrte of the island because traffic is almost non igsistant.Boat trips are great and not too expensive. There are over 400 hotels on Corsica and some camp sites as well.Here is a wonderful sun-set.
From Nice there is a 5 hour ferry to Calvi as well as to other towns like Bastia and Ajaccio. Corsica ferries is the cheapest but the ferry takes longer. They have a lot of discounts for youths, students, etc.
We walked onbaord and therefor was there among the first at made sure we got sun chairs out on the aft sun deck where we spent the entire trip working on our tans, drinking beer and relaxing.
When Visiting Corsica an Excellent way of getting around and even getting to some of the trail-heads is to go by Train !! There is a Good service from Ajaccio to Corte and you can continue on from here to either Calvi or Bastia . The journey is Incredibly scenic, you cross the over the mountains and follow the valleys down to the coast !! -- A Great Way to travel across the island and the prices are quite reasonable !!!!
Fantastic views from every direction, lovely staff, pure relaxation in a beautiful settingmore
Route de San Martino, Pietranera, Corsica, 20200, France
Good for: Couples
Lieu dit Cavallo Morto, Chemin de Finocchio, Bonifacio, 20169, France
Good for: Families