In some way, Corsica is France, officially, but be prepared to some surprises! In “civilised countries” you can pay with a credit card in shops, restaurants, hotels. . . . but not here in most cases.
We are in a Mediterranean country, in an island where old traditions like cheating the tax office, not declaring revenue, getting as much as possible from the state, government, but giving back as less as possible is a sort of a local custom, a national(ist) activity. . . .
In Corsica, even in cities, credit cards are rarely accepted, and you only can pay with cash and the storekeepers, restaurant owners, hotel managers explain that credit cards are too expensive and complicated to manage, there is too much paperwork, etc. . . Well, they do not want there is a trace of transactions, just work with cash, and there is no discussion. . .
So, be warned, take along cash and don’t do like me who was believing I was “at home” and finally had to pay a restaurant at the petrol station (the restaurant guy had an “agreement” with the station, which, owned by a company from the “continent” accepted credit cards.
You have to take along a minimal amount of cash when you go to Corsica, specially in the countryside where are no ATM’s.
The Pine Processionary is not only unpleasant when you touch it with your fingers, as it can cause severe irritation to the skin, but it is a major pest in the pine forests and it can even “shave” huge areas of forests.
It is not a VT meet you see on picture 1 (Virtual Thaumetopea meet), these little animals you see gathering here on a rock, before undertaking a trip on a new victim, it is a real meeting of Thaumetopea pityocampa, biological name of the Pine Processionary, a moth whose larvae a more than an ordinary pest in the pine forests. On the second picture you can see the dead dry trees in the valley, but on the ridges, on some places the work of the processionary looks like a disaster (picture 3) too! You have a closer look on what these beasts can do on picture 4, no one leaf is left.
The larvae don’t look bad, or even nice (picture 5), but beware, as written above, they are also dangerous to human and animals, don’t play with them; the forestry services fight by many means against these animals, and the winner is not always the one who has the technology. . . !
Driving in Corsica is a bit of a challenge. On one hand you have a lot of those winding James Bond movie roads with a lot of curves on the coast. If you leave the main roads, some roads become so tiny that hardly one car can pass through. Many roads also have those nasty holes. So, in the countryside it also happens very often that you can only go with 30 km/hour and not faster. And of course there are a lot of straying animals on the roads, from dogs to goats and wild pigs. So be careful!
It's not so much a warning, more of a tip. First and foremost, go with speaking French, the basic's of ordering food is easy enough to get by and some English is spoken. If you encounter someone that doesn't speak English and your French isn't good enough if you know Italian then that is the third option.
Here's the tricky part ask before-hand whether they speak Italian or not. Example - I was buying Ice cream and the guy started speaking to me in Italian so I replied in Italian and then he followed up with something that wasn't Italian or French to the best of my knowledge. It dawned on me later that he was speaking Corse which is the language of the Island and a mixture of Italian/French and Latin.
Corsica is very hot in the summer. Be sure to pack sunscreen and water. Also, have a good map and have some way of translating signs because you can get very confused, especially if you do not know French. But, many speak Italian and Corsican is similar to Italian so you are okay if you have a basic understanding of Italian or Spanish.
When camping anywhere on Corsica (Especially near Ghisonaccia), dont leave your valuables in your tent! I did, & i lost 700 quid´s worth of stuff... Access into campsites is pretty easy. The police will give you a report for insurance purposes, but don´t expect to see your stuff again.
Do take warm clothes if you are going to the mountains,they can get chilly.Wear good walking shoes and do not wear shorts because of the thorny vegetation.In the towns pickpockets and purse snatchers are at work and watch out for car thieves.Be careful of fires if camping.Cover your head if walking in the mountains,you will still burn.
Make sure you drink a lot (I mean water of course although the wine is very good ;-) if your there in the summer. It's very hot and you'll need a lot of liquid.
If your at the beach all day a parasol is a good investment to be able to escape the sun for a while.
corsica can be stormy... nothing comparing to carribean, but still really annoying... in the pics one of the strangest storm I was caught by.. (and one of my best mistake as skipper)... tha boat is the fantastic Ilaria a 1965 boat... we were going from chiavari to sardinia so on the quiet side of corsica. A huge thunderstorm was preparing just behind us... as soon as I told the crew; 'don't worry... thw wind is going towards the storm: we're on the good side' the wind shifted by 180° and become quite strong (some 55 knots)... after a little while the wind calmed down an huges pieces of ices were falling from the sky... it was the perfect storm you just neded a glass and a bottle of pastis. wait a while for the ice. pour the pastis then wait a minut to have enough water with your pastis. The only care was to repair your head
Where Terrorism is concerned, Corsica can be compared to Northern Ireland. There are problems because many people want Corsica to be independent. Over the years, it has been ruled by France and Italy but for many, they want their own rule. As a result, there is a lot of graffitti in Corsica and also terrorist attacks. However, after living there for 3 months, I can honestly say I didn't see any problems. All I saw was graffitti on every available wall, a few strikes and reports in Newspapers. Don't let terrorism put you off visiting this lovely island.
Like anywhere, tourists are the targets of thieves. In the busy towns, pick-pockets and purse-snatchers are often at work but surprisingly, theft also occurs in the quieter, rural areas and even on almost empty beaches, so be careful.
Corsica has a big problem with drunk drivers. I noticed in Corte that men, in particular, don't see anything wrong with driving after a night out. It's very dangerous, obviously for those in the car, but also for people walking along the streets. Just be careful.
At the Cap Corse while enjoying the views mind your step and don't step in the little "signs of presence of various goats and sheeps":)
This is the toilet at Bocagnano train station! I think the picture says it all really.
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