10 Corsica travel tips you need to know before you go

10 corsica travel tips you need to know before you go

Are you planning a trip to the beautiful island of Corsica soon? Then it’s important to prepare your trip as well as possible. Before you leave fully packed, there are a few things you should know. Although Corsica is a small island, there is so much to see and experience. To get the best out of your trip, I collected the most important Corsica travel tips here. I’m happy to help you plan an unforgettable trip on this impressive island.

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Corsica is often referred to as ‘Île de beauté’, which literally means ‘Island of Beauty’. After our road trip through Corsica, I can only confirm this. This island consists of a very varied and breathtaking natural landscape. From vast beaches and hidden bays with turquoise water to rugged mountains with impressive rock formations, dense forests and picturesque valleys. It offers an excellent environment for nature lovers and active travelers who love outdoor activities, but also for travelers who are looking for peace and quiet.

I also noticed that, although Corsica is a popular destination among tourists, it has managed to retain its authentic character and charm. The smaller villages and less explored regions of the island offer a more tranquil and intimate experience, allowing you to connect with the local culture and way of life.

Corsica’s combination of natural beauty, outdoor activities, rich history and authentic experiences make it a bucket list holiday destination. Are you looking for adventure, relaxation, culture or a mix of all three? Then Corisca is the place to be.

Because Corisca has so much to offer as a destination, my most important advice is to prepare your trip well. I don’t mean to say that you have to plan everything in detail, but definitely the most important things. Below you will find 10 Corsica travel tips that will help you plan an unforgettable trip.

10 Corsica travel tips you need to know before you go

1. How to travel to Corsica?

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Traveling to an island in the Mediterranean sea may sound a bit difficult, but it certainly isn’t! Corsica is easily accessible and this in various ways. So accessibility can’t be an excuse to not visit this beautiful island.

The easiest and of course the most time-saving way to reach Corsica is by plane. Did you know that small island has no fewer than 4 airports?

  • Ajaccio Napoleon Bonaparte Airport (AJA)
  • Bastia–Poretta Airport (BIA)
  • Calvi Sainte Catherine Airport (CLY)
  • Figari Sud-Corse Airport (FSC)

Depending on where you depart from, you can fly to different destinations on the island. Also from Belgium, some airlines offer flights to Corsica from different airports. We flew with Air Corsica from Charleroi (Brussels South) to Bastia-Poretta Airport in barely 1h45.

But the great accessibility of Corsica is also due to the ferries that depart from various ports in France (Marseille, Nice, Toulon) and Italy (Livorno, Savona). You can sail with several ferry companies, including Corsica Ferries, La Méridionale and Moby Lines, to the main ferry ports in Corsica (Ajaccio, Bastia, Calvi and L’Île-Rousse). The duration of the ferry journey depends on the port of departure and can vary from a few hours to several days.

These ferries make it perfectly possible to travel to Corisca from Belgium by public transport. You can travel from Belgium by train to one of the ferry ports in France or Italy and then continue to Corsica by ferry. But you can also opt for the famous budget bus services such as Flixbus and Eurolines.

This is also very good news for the avid road trippers among us. These ferries make it possible to travel to Corsica by car, van or camper. Get ready for a wonderful journey across the Mediterranean Sea.

So you see, there are plenty of options to travel to Corsica. When planning your trip, it is important to weigh all the pros and cons of each transport method. Be sure to consider factors such as convenience, time, cost and personal preference when choosing how to travel to Corsica.

2. How to get around on Corsica

In Corsica, you can use public transport to travel to the bigger cities and villages. There is a good train connection in the north and west of the island and in the south you can rely on an extensive bus network.

I didn’t use public transport  in Corsica myself. But when I do, I use google maps to plan my route. Always check the timetable in advance and include some extra time in your itinerary. Please note that during peak tourist season, services may be more limited or changes may occur.

Renting a car in Corsica is the most popular option to explore Corsica at your own pace. I can only recommend this because it also takes you to those beautiful, lesser-known places that can’t be easily reached by public transport. And a bonus is that you can stop whenever you want to take a picture of the breathtaking scenery along the way. To rent a car, I always opt for Sunny Cars. The big advantage of renting a car at Sunny Cars is that all insurance policies are already included in the price. So you will not be faced with unpleasant surprises in the form of extra costs when you pick up your car. Below I share more tips about driving in Corsica.

rent a car in Corsica through Sunny cars

Corsica is known as one of the most beautiful hiking islands. There are numerous hiking trails and even long-distance hiking trails, so you can definitely explore the island while hiking. The most famous trail is the GR20, considered one of the most challenging and rewarding hiking trails in Europe. Via this trail you can hike from the north to the south of the island or vice versa in about 2 weeks. But you can also map out your own route based on existing hiking trails in the area you want to discover.

Aiguilles de Bavella Corsica

Does this sound like something for you? Then definitely prepare yourself very well. The upcoming Corsica travel tips can certainly come in handy if you decide to explore the island on foot.

3. Driving a car in Corsica

If you choose to discover Corsica by car, a rental car or your own vehicle, then this you need to read this. Since I went on a 14-day road trip through Corisca with my fiancee, I consider myself a bit of an expert in this area.

Driving in Corsica is an exhilarating experience where you will be treated to phenomenal landscapes. As you navigate the island’s roads, you’ll come across beautiful routes that wind through picturesque valleys, traverse dramatic cliffs, and offer breathtaking views at every turn.

calanques de piana Corsica

Corsica’s varied landscape means that driving here requires both skill and attention. The mountainous roads are winding and narrow, often with steep inclines and sharp hairpin bends. The reward is worth it though, as these roads lead you to secluded beaches, hidden coves and enchanting hilltop towns that showcase the island’s rich culture and history.

Of course there are also main roads such as the T20 and T10 that connect the major cities and offer smoother driving conditions. Please note that there may be increased traffic on these popular routes during the busy summer months.

I should definitely mention here that the driving style of the locals is somewhat different from that of the cautious tourist. Often the locals know the roads like the back of their hand and drive in the middle of the narrow, winding lanes so they can go faster. Therefore, be extra careful, because a local driver can suddenly tear out of the next turn into your lane. And don’t be rushed by hasty drivers who stick close to you. Safety first!

Besides those local drivers you also need to watch out for animals. Yes, animals! It is not uncommon to see cows, pigs and goats along the road and that they sometimes even block the road.

West Corsica

Another factor to consider during your Corsica road trip is parking. When you drive somewhere, it’s best to find out where you can park in advance. During high season it can sometimes be difficult to find parking in certain locations.

Finally, perhaps a logical consequence of all these points above, always calculate a little more time for your travel time than what your GPS or Google Maps calculates.

In short, driving in Corsica is a real adventure that combines the thrill of the open road with the unparalleled beauty of the Mediterranean. Every kilometer driven in Corsica is an opportunity to discover something extraordinary. So buckle up and let yourself be taken on an unforgettable journey through this enchanting piece of paradise.

4. When is the best time to travel to Corsica

Corsica’s natural beauty and rich culture make it a captivating destination to explore all year round. But do you want to get the best out of your Corsica trip? Then it is best to choose a certain period based on your preferences and activities that you plan to undertake during your trip.

Summer

Summer (July and August) is the peak tourist season in Corsica as the weather is warm and sunny, making it ideal for beach activities and outdoor activities. Temperatures range from 25°C to 30°C and the sea is pleasantly warm for swimming. However, keep in mind that this is the busiest time and popular tourist areas can be crowded. Be sure to book your accommodations in advance if you want to travel to Corisca during this period.

Spring and Autumn

During the intermediate seasons spring (April, May and June) and autumn (September and October) you will find the ideal balance between pleasant weather and fewer crowds. Spring brings blooming wildflowers and lush green landscapes, while in fall you can enjoy the beautiful colors of the leaves changing. Temperatures are generally mild, ranging from 15°C to 25°C, perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking and exploring the island’s natural beauty. Prices for accommodations and flights are usually lower compared to the summer season. We were there at the end of May and enjoyed beautiful sunny days with the occasional local thunderstorm.

Plage de Santa Giulia Corsica

Winter

Winter (November-March) in Corsica is considered the low season, with cooler temperatures ranging from 10°C to 15°C. Although the island receives fewer tourists during this period, it can still be an excellent time if you like a quieter atmosphere and want to explore the historical and cultural sights of Corsica. Please note that some tourist facilities and sights may have reduced opening hours or closures during this period. In the mountainous areas it can snow, providing opportunities for winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding.

5. The erratic climate of Corsica

Above I gave a brief overview of what you can expect during the different seasons, but on top of that you have to take into account the erratic and often unpredictable weather conditions in Corsica.

The coastal areas of Corsica enjoy a typical Mediterranean climate, with warm summers and humid winters. This does not apply to the mountains. Due to the large differences in altitude, the temperatures are different than on the coast. Even during the summer you can find snow there. You also have a much higher chance of sudden and severe thunderstorms.

Corte Corsica

If you plan to spend some time in the mountains or do some hiking, be sure to bring a waterproof raincoat, long pants and a sweater besides the necessary equipment you need for hiking.

You also have to take into account that Corsica is an island, so there’s always wind to a greater or lesser extent. This can be wonderfully cooling during the warm periods, but in the evening it can cool down quite quickly. So always take a sweater with you.

6. Book an accommodation in Corsica

Corsica is a popular tourist destination. In the summer months, the charming coastal towns with beautiful beaches attract many sunbathers. During the spring and autumn, adventurous travelers will find what they are looking for in the mountains. In short, if you want to find the best accommodations within your budget and at your desired location(s), start searching and booking your accommodations as early as possible.

We traveled there at the end of May. A month before our trip we decided to plan our Corsica road trip and book accommodations at strategic places to be able to visit as much as possible. Unfortunately, we found out that many were already fully booked, so as a result we couldn’t always book a stay at the locations we initially had in mind.

I know I’m repeating myself, but book your stay or different stays as early as possible. We usually do this on booking.com. On the one hand because you can see all accommodations and their locations via this website with the map widget. This way you can search more specifically for an accommodation at the right location.

On the other hand, you can also set the filter ‘free cancellation’ to see all accommodations where you can cancel free of charge up to a certain period before your stay. This is definitely something we pay attention to when planning a road trip. Usually we choose accommodations that we can cancel up to the day before arrival. This way we have a little bit more freedom to shift in our travel itinerary if necessary.

Below you can already take a look at the different accommodations at your dream locations in Corsica.


Booking.com

7. Paying and tipping in Corsica

First of all, I would like to mention that Corsica is part of France. This means that Corsica also uses French prices and is generally more expensive compared to other Mediterranean countries, especially in terms of accommodation and restaurant visits.

Another important thing to keep in mind is to make sure you always have cash. Although it is impossible to imagine today’s society without electronic payment, it may happen that you can’t pay by card in some facilities in Corsica, such as smaller shops or local restaurants.

In Corsica, tipping is generally not required or expected in the same way as in some other countries. It is customary to leave a small tip as a token of appreciation for good service if you are satisfied. But restaurants are an exception on this rule. There it’s common to leave a tip. This is usually around 10% of the total bill. If a service charge is already included in the bill, an extra tip may not be necessary, but you can still leave a small amount.

Ultimately, tipping is optional and it is entirely your decision whether or not to tip and choose the amount according to your personal satisfaction with the service received.

8. Wifi/ 4g in Corsica 

Just like the weather in Corsica, the 4G connection is erratic. You don’t always have a good connection at several locations, especially in the mountains, which might make sense. But also in various places along the coast 4G connection can suddenly be disconnected.

If you go on a road trip in Corsica, you often need 4G to consult your GPS, other apps, or even to work once in a while. If you use the internet a lot while you travel, make sure that you choose a stay where WIFI is offered. Unfortunately, we didn’t take this into account, so we occasionally had to do without internet. Decent WIFI connections are not always self-evident here. So check whether this is stated in the description of your accommodation.

9. Food you need to try in Corsica

The food in Corsica is a delicious reflection of the island’s unique blend of French and Italian influences, combined with its own local traditions and ingredients.

Corsican cuisine is known for hearty and rustic flavours, with an emphasis on fresh, seasonal and locally sourced ingredients.

Here are some specialties of Corsican cuisine that you should definitely try:

  • Charcuterie and Cheese:  Corsica is known for its charcuterie, especially its cured meat. The traditional Corsican charcuterie specialties are lonzu (pork loin), prisuttu (cured ham), coppa (cured pork shoulder) and figatellu (pork liver sausage). This meat is often made from free-range pigs that are fed with acorns, which gives them a distinct flavour. In addition to meat, traditional cheeses are also a real delicacy in Corsica. Be sure to taste brocciu, a soft and creamy cheese made from sheep’s or goat’s milk. Still room for dessert? Then try fiadone, a delicious Corsican cheesecake made with brocciu cheese, lemon zest and eggs.

 

  • Seafood and fish: Due to its coastal location, Corsica offers a wide variety of fresh seafood and fish dishes. Local specialties include lobster, sea bream, sea bass, langoustines and prawns. These are often prepared without to many extra’s to allow the natural flavors to shine through.

 

  • Wild game:  The mountainous area of ​​Corsica offers many opportunities for hunting. That’s why game meat plays a major role in the island’s cuisine. Wild boar, venison and hare are often eaten in traditional dishes such as rich stews or roasted with aromatic herbs.

 

  • Honey and chestnuts: The natural landscape of Corsica is rich in wild flowers and chestnut trees, resulting in high-quality honey and chestnut products. Corsican honey comes in a variety of flavors, such as maquis honey, which is derived from bees feeding on the island’s aromatic herbs and flowers. Chestnuts are used in both sweet and savory dishes, including soups, breads and desserts. One of chesnut specialties is polenta. This traditional polenta is made from chestnut flour and has a distinctly nutty flavour.

 

  • Local wines: Corsica has a long history of winemaking and the island produces an extensive range of exceptional wines. The Corsican wines are made from indigenous grape varieties such as Niellucciu and Sciaccarellu for red and Vermentinu or muscat for white. These delicious wines are an excellent addition to the island’s cuisine.

10. Discover traces from the past on the island

Corsica has a rich, but very eventful history. This goes all the way back to the Stone Age when the first settlements arose here. Since then, Corsica has been suppressed by various rulers, each of whom left their mark which you can still experience here today. Therefore, immerse yourself as much as possible in the fascinating, historical heritage of the island.

Corsica is dotted with impressive historical sites that give a glimpse of the past. You can find many traces of the Stone age. On of the most impressive sites is Filitosa. It’s known for its prehistoric megalithic structures and is considered one of the most important prehistoric sites in Corsica.

filitosa Corsica
filitosa Corsica

Stroll through the charming streets of Corsica’s historical towns and villages to experience the island’s architectural and cultural heritage. Visit the old town of Bonifacio, with its narrow cobbled streets and old buildings. Explore the fortified citadel of Calvi and stroll through the medieval district of Ajaccio. Take a trip to Sartène, known as the ‘most Corsican town in Corsica’, with its traditional stone houses and a strong sense of Corsican identity.

Bonifacio Corsica
Bonifacio
Calvi Corsica
Calvi

Admire the Genoese towers that were erected along the coastline during Genoese rule to protect Corsica from pirates.

Porto Corsica

Corsica also has several museums and exhibitions dedicated to history and culture. The Corsican Museum in Corte offers an insight into the island’s history, traditions and identity. The Museum of the Bonaparte Residence in Ajaccio showcases Napoleon Bonaparte’s childhood home and exhibits about his life and legacy. In addition, several small museums on the island delve into specific aspects of Corsican history, such as Corsican crafts, rural life and the liberation of Corsica during World War II.

Musée de la Corse Corte
Musée de la Corse Corte
Musée de la Corse Corte
Musée de la Corse Corte

You can also immerse yourself in the rich history of the island by celebrating. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Corsica celebrates age-old traditions through lively festivals and events. The most famours are Rencontres Polyphoniques de Calvi, where the musical heritage of the island is highlighted and Fiera di u Vinu, a wine festival in Luri, celebrating Corsican viticulture and traditions.

There is no doubt about whether traveling to Corsica is worthwhile. It’s a wonderful holiday destination that has something to offer for everyone, but good preparation is a must. I hope these Corsica travel tips will help you to make the necessary preparations so that you can make the most of your time on this amazing island.

Which Corsica travel tips did you find most helpful? Let me know in the comments below.

Do you want to read more about Corsica?

Thank you for reading!

Yours truly,

Sarah

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10 useful travel tips for Corsica

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