Why go to Corsica? Corsica is a mountain that protrudes from the sea with some authority; several peaks exceed 2000 meters of height. The island is covered by maquis, a pungent combo of lavender myrtle and heather, as well as pine and chestnut forests. It has everything, from pristeen beaches to a fascinating cultural interior.
How big is corsica? Corsica is about 133 miles north/south by 50 miles, for a total land area of 3,352 square miles.
There are just over a quarter of a million people residing on Corsica and a good percentage of those live in the two largest cities of Ajaccio and Bastia, which have international airports. Corsica is populated much less densly than its neighboring land masses, so a vacation should take into account the many nature reserves and wildlife areas, as well as the beaches of Corsica.
There seems to be a "go with the flow" attitude on Corsica, as if the modern ideal of authoritarian control hasn't penetrated the maquis:
People value emotions of other people and animals rather than being materialistic and if you follow how the Corsican shepherds follow the sheep herd rather than directing them with particular tracks, you will understand. -- Corsica Insula, Interesting Facts
Corsica Map with Transportation Routes
Map of Corsica
The map shows the train lines, the GR20 long distance trail, and to the right you'll see all the ways you can arrive by ferry.
Getting to Corsica: Ferry Tickets
The form below will show the ferry ports and destinations. For example, If you want to go from Sardinia to Corsica, select "Sardinia" in the first drop-down box. The 14 km ferry ride is the shortest way to Sardinia from Bonifacio, so select Bonifacio-Santa Teresa di Gallura in the second. Both are beautiful destinations.
Getting Around and to Corsica
You'll either come to Corsica by air or ferry, unless you're lucky enough to own your own boat. International airports in Corsica are found near Ajaccio and Bastia, while smaller ones exist near Calvi, Figari, and Propriano.
Distances and Estimated Driving Times in Corsica
- Bastia - Ajaccio: 153 km, around 2 hours driving time
- Bastia - Bonifacio: 171 km, 2.5 hours
- Bastia - Calvi: 92 km, <2 hours
- Bastia - Corte: 70 km, 1 hour
- Ajaccio - Bonifacio: 132 km, >2 hours
- Ajaccio - Corte: 80 km, 1 1/4 hours
The Train in Corsica: Chemins de fer de Course
You can take the Tourist train around Corsica; it stops at many places of interest to the tourist. Chemins de fer de Course has information. You can purchase a Pass Liberta and travel wherever you want for a week on the trains for 50 euro. The interest here isn't just quaint towns, there are nature preserves and the like you can visit from the train.
The GR20 Long Distance Trail in Corsica
You can cross Corsica on foot if you like. Be aware, it's a very tough kink in the mountains. In addition to the 100 mile long GR20 long distance trail in red on our map, there are many shorter trails in Corsica to trek on. see Hiking on the GR20 in Corsica for detailed information for walking the big trail of Corsica.
You can reach Calenzana by bus from Calvi. The trail takes nearly 100 hours to complete; there are villages and refuges at decent intervals along the way.
The Towns of Corsica
Ajaccio, Napoleon's hometown and Corsica's capital, is a good place to start your vacation. Head for the port, the old village, and the markets. Lots of places, including the National Museum of the Bonaparte Residence in Corsica are closed on Monday.
Corte is where the cultural fanatics will want to head; traditionally people on the islands of Corsica or Sardinia harbor a distrust of the sea and the invaders and pirates who use it, so the inland is where the "real" population has a chance to show its stuff. Above all, eat here, especially if you've come outside the high season, when wild game shows up on the table.
Folks who like the sea will appreciate the riviera-like Calvi for its seaside, if not its citadel. If you're going on to Sardinia, just 14 km away, you might head over to Bonifacio, with its spectacularly situated fortress. The ferry approach to Bonifacio, with its limestone cliffs, is stunning.
Sartene was founded in the 16th century, and is the most typical of Corsican towns. Sartene is where you start if you're interested in Corsica's prehistory; the Musee Departemental de Prehistoire Corse is found in the town's old prison. 16 miles northwest of Sartene is Filitosa, the site of Corsica's biggest group of megalithic statues (open June-August).
Other Resources for Travel to Corsica
An itinerary that includes the island of Sardinia is easy to put together and will introduce you to a relatively unexplored part of western Europe. By ferry, the coast of France and the region of Provene is easily accessible.
If you've never taken a ferry before, you might wish to read an account of taking the night ferry to Sardinia.
Enjoy your trip to Corsica.