The ultimate 14-day Corsica road trip

the ultimate 14 day Corsica road trip

Breathtaking mountain landscapes, azure blue bays, picturesque villages, and an abundance of culinary delights. In this blog post, I’ll take you on a captivating 14-day road trip through the beautiful island of Corsica.

This breathtaking French island in the Mediterranean is often overlooked compared to other popular holiday destinations. But make no mistake, behind its modest appearance lies a true paradise, hence the nickname ‘Île de Beauté’ (Island of Beauty). This was exactly what appealed to us. Alongside Jan, I explored the island by car over two weeks, curious about the hidden treasures Corsica has to offer.

So, get ready for a journey of discoveries, where every turn in the road reveals a new adventure, and every stop provides an opportunity to experience the authentic charm of Corsica.

Disclaimer: This blog post contains interesting affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something through my recommendations, I receive a small reward. The best part? It doesn’t cost you anything extra and it helps my blog continue to grow. A win-win situation, so thank you!

Île de Beauté

An important question that is likely on everyone’s mind is, why is Corsica called the ‘Île de Beauté’ (Island of Beauty)? Well, this nickname reflects the breathtaking diversity of the island, ranging from the most enchanting Mediterranean beaches and dramatic coastal landscapes to majestic mountains, green valleys, and picturesque villages.

Cap Corse, Corsica

Thus, the coastline of Corsica contains idyllic beaches featuring azure blue water, surrounded by granite rock formations and cliffs. The island’s interior provides an impressive contrast with its mountainous terrain, where the Corsican mountain range with its sharp peaks and lush forests captures attention.

Much like its landscape, Corsica reflects a rich history dating back to times long past. Scattered across the entire island, traces can be found of various dominions and historical events. Think of notable landmarks such as the historic Corte, the Genoese towers along the coast, and the medieval charm of Bonifacio. Even remote locations breathe history and authenticity, especially in the small, charming villages where age-old traditions and culture have been preserved.

Whether you prefer lounging on sun-drenched beaches, embarking on explorations of adventurous places, or delving into the rich cultural heritage of picturesque villages and historical sites, Corsica caters to every taste. The island’s versatility makes it a unique destination where nature, adventure, and culture harmoniously come together, offering an unforgettable experience.

Best time to travel for a road trip through Corsica

During low season

The best time to embark on a 14-day road trip through Corsica is undoubtedly the shoulder seasons, namely spring (April, May, and June) and fall (September and October). During these periods, temperatures are generally mild, ranging from 15°C to 25°C, ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking and exploring the island’s natural beauty. Traveling during the shoulder seasons allows you to take advantage of lower prices for flights, car rentals, accommodations, and even some attractions. Additionally, roads are less congested, and there is more available parking at places you’d like to visit. These parking areas often incur charges only during the peak season. We visited at the end of May and enjoyed beautiful sunny days with occasional local thunderstorms.

During high season

Certainly, you can plan this Corsica road trip during the summer months as well. During this time, you have a higher chance of experiencing warm and sunny weather, but given the erratic and unpredictable weather conditions in the mountains, this is by no means a certainty. Keep in mind that July and August fall right in the middle of the tourist high season. This means that prices for flights, car rentals and accommodations are significantly higher. Additionally, there is more traffic on the island, making travel less smooth in busier areas. Moreover, there is less parking available at iconic landmarks or popular beaches, requiring you to arrive very early to secure a spot, and often, you will need to pay for it as well.

How to travel to Corisca?

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Traveling to an island in the Mediterranean may sound a bit challenging, but it certainly isn’t! Corsica is easily accessible through various means, so accessibility should not be an excuse not to visit this beautiful island.

By plane

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

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

From Brussels South Airport, you can fly to these destinations with Air Corsica. Upon arrival at the airport, you can pick up your rental car to start your road trip around Corsica.

Tip: Book a rental car before you embark on your journey. I always opt for Sunny Cars. The significant advantage of renting a car with Sunny Cars is that all insurances are already included in the price. This way, you won’t be faced with unpleasant surprises in the form of extra costs when picking up your car.

By ferry

Prefer to embark on your Corsica road trip with your own car? This is certainly possible. You can take the ferry from various ports in France (Marseille, Nice, Toulon) and Italy (Livorno, Savona) to Corsica. There are several ferry companies available, including Corsica Ferries, La Méridionale, and Moby Lines, which sail to the main ferry ports on Corsica (Ajaccio, Bastia, Calvi, and L’Île-Rousse). The duration of the ferry journey depends on the departure port and can range from a few hours to multi-day trips.

Want to learn more about driving in Corsica, finding accommodations, currency matters on the island, and other crucial details for planning your vacation? You’ll find all my tips in my blog post ‘10 Corsica travel tips you need to know before you go’

The ultimate 14-day Corsica road trip

Based on my personal experiences, I have put together an itinerary that can assist you in planning your road trip through Corsica. You can follow this route entirely, but, of course, you have the freedom to make adjustments based on your own preferences.

For this extensive road trip, I recommend allocating a minimum of 14 days. This way, you will have sufficient time to explore all the places on this itinerary.

 

Discover the peninsula Cape Corse

The first region you will explore on this Corsica road trip is Cape Corse. This is a beautiful peninsula that extends like an outstretched finger into the Mediterranean Sea, located in the northern part of Corsica.

Known for its impressive cliffs, charming villages, and untouched nature, Cape Corse is a must-visit destination for those seeking to experience the authentic charm of Corsica.

This region is characterized by a dramatic landscape, with steep cliffs rising from the azure blue sea and picturesque coves hidden among the rocks. The winding coastal roads lead you through picturesque villages where time seems to have stood still.

Cape Corse is not only a feast for the eyes due to its natural beauty but also houses historical landmarks such as ancient Genoese towers standing along the coastline as silent witnesses to a rich past.

The best things to do in Cape Corse, Corsica

Opt for accommodation with a convenient location so that you can effortlessly explore the nearby surroundings. I can already recommend Hôtel Pineto in Biguglia, Hôtel Casa Mea in Bastia, Hôtel La Dimora & Spa in Saint Florent, and Aethos Corsica, located between Saint Florent and Bastia.

Day 1: Bastia and wine route in Patrimonio
Explore the historic port city of Bastia

Start your first day in Corsica with a visit to the historic port city of Bastia, the second-largest city on the island and the main gateway for ferries from France and Italy.

Explore the historic center with narrow streets, old buildings, and churches dating back to the 14th-century Genoese rule. The Saint-Jean-Baptiste Cathedral is a baroque masterpiece with beautiful frescoes and offers a panoramic view of the city and the harbor.

Eglise saint Jean Baptise Bastia, Cape Corse, Corsica
Bastia, Cape Corse, Corsica
Bastia, Cape Corse, Corsica
Bastia, Cape Corse, Corsica

Stroll along the Vieux Port, the old port which is the beating heart of the city. Enjoy picturesque promenades along the water, surrounded by colorful houses and numerous restaurants and cafes. The lively Place Saint-Nicolas, a vibrant square, is a meeting point for both locals and tourists.

Bastia, Cape Corse, Corsica
Bastia, Cape Corse, Corsica
Bastia, Cape Corse, Corsica
Bastia, Cape Corse, Corsica

Have lunch at one of the many charming dining establishments and savor the local cuisine that blends Mediterranean influences with unique Corsican flavors.

Bastia, Cape Corse, Corsica
Bastia, Cape Corse, Corsica
The wine route of Patrimonio

Love drinking wine? Then the wine route of Patrimonio is a great afternoon activity. This route spans rolling hills, lush vineyards, and historic villages, providing you with a unique opportunity to explore Corsica’s rich wine culture.

Patrimonio, Cap Corse, Corsica

During this route, you have the opportunity to visit various wineries and cellars, where you can not only enjoy delightful wines but also learn about the production process and the history of winemaking in this area. The hospitable wine producers are eager to share their passion for wine and their knowledge of the unique terroir of Patrimonio. Some renowned domains you can visit include Domaine Leccia, Domaine Orenga de Gaffroy and Domaine Arena

As you travel along the wine route, you can relish breathtaking landscapes with vineyards extending to the Mediterranean Sea. Col de Teghime offers the most impressive view. Along the way, discover the charming village of Patrimonio with its idyllic streets and stone houses. Don’t forget to make a stop at the delightful Libertalia Bistro Tropical, a cozy outdoor restaurant.

Col de Teghime, Cap Corse, Corsica
Day 2: Road trip around Cape Corse

The best way to explore the Cape Corse peninsula is through the Route du Cap. This scenic drive encircles the entire peninsula, allowing you to experience the unique character of both the east and west sides of Cape Corsica.

The west coast of Cape Corse will impress you with its wild, rugged beauty and authentic fishing culture, while the east coast will enchant you with its gentler landscape, picturesque villages, and winemaking traditions.

Cape Corse, Corsica
Cape Corse, Corsica

Must-see attractions on this day trip include

Erbalunga

Erbalunga, once the main port of Corsica, is now a charming fishing village. The old harbor with the Genoese tower, Torra d’Erbalunga, is definitely the eye-catcher.

Erbalunga, Cape Corse, Corsica

The cobblestone streets invite you to stroll along charming cafes and boutiques, making the historic center the ideal place to experience the local culture. Erbalunga is also known for excellent restaurants serving delicious Corsican dishes, including fresh fish, local cheeses, and charcuterie.

Erbalunga, Cape Corse, Corsica
Erbalunga, Cape Corse, Corsica
Erbalunga, Cape Corse, Corsica
Finocchiarola Islands

The Finocchiarola Islands are a remarkable attraction, even though together they are only 3 hectares in size. The trio, consisting of Terra, Mezzana, and the most prominent Finocchiarola with an ancient Genoese tower. These islands serve as a bird reserve, with the rare Audouin’s Gull nesting there between March and August. The Finocchiarola Islands are accessible on foot from Tamarone Beach via the beautiful trail sentier des douaniers. After a 20-30 minute walk with breathtaking coastal views, you will reach the beach of this natural reserve.

Finocchiarola islands, Cap Corse, Corsica
Moulin Mattei  

At the very tip of Cap Corse in Ersa stands the iconic white windmill Moulin Mattei. Although it is currently not accessible to visitors, the 10-15 minute climb to the windmill offers breathtaking views of the Tuscan islands and the Italian coast. From here, the enchanting fishing village of Centuri captures attention, with its lively harbor where fresh fish, lobster, and langoustines are brought in daily for delicious local dishes.

Moulin Mattei, Cap Corse, Corsica
Moulin Mattei, Cap Corse, Corsica
Moulin Mattei, Cap Corse, Corsica
The hidden palaces of Pino

Along the route, you will also come across the picturesque mountain village of Pino. This charming town, surrounded by lush oak forests, has a rich medieval history. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the majority of its residents emigrated to America, a setback from which Pino never fully recovered. Nevertheless, this sense of abandonment adds to its allure. In the oak forests, you will still find abandoned houses and impressive villas, called palazzi, funded by American emigrants and now sadly vacant. Pino also houses the abandoned Couvent Saint François convent and the impressive Genoese Tower Scalo at the small port.

Pino, Cape Corse, Corsica
Nonza and its black beach

Nonza is known for its breathtaking perch atop a rock, with traces dating back to prehistory. Thanks to this strategic position, the village could spot pirates from afar. At Nonza, you’ll find a remarkably dark gray-black beach. The beach owes its unusual color to waste rock from a 1950s asbestos factory nearby. Although it may not be the coziest beach for sunbathing, it is stunning to behold. You can reach the beach only on foot via a steep staircase.

Plage Nonza, Cape Corse, Corsica

After this impressive day trip, you can relax on one of the delightful terraces in the harbor of Saint-Florent.

More tips on what to do in Cap Corse can be found in my blog post
‘The most beautiful sights in Cape Corse’

Admire the most beautiful villages in Balagne

After Cap Corse, continue your road trip to the northwest of Corsica. There lies the beautiful green region of Balagne, nestled between the Mediterranean Sea and mountains. Stretching between Calvi and L’Île Rousse, it forms a semi-circle around the base of the Monte Cinto massif. Balagne, also known as the garden of Corsica, is renowned for its fertile soil, olive and vineyards, and historic towns. In recent times, the region has attracted artists, craftsmen, and ecological farmers who continue Corsican traditions here. In the villages located in the green hills of Balagne, you can still witness the production of local specialties using age-old methods.

11 prachtige stadjes in Balagne Corsica

Highly recommended accommodations in this region include Campo Di Fiori in Calvi, Casa Legna near Pigna, Hôtel Restaurant Villa Joséphine in L’Île-Rousse, and Hotel A Piattatella in Monticello.

Day 3: From Cap Corse to Balagne

On this day, you’ll travel from Cap Corse to Balagne. It’s not very far, as you can reach L’île Rousse from Bastia in just an hour and a half by car. Along this route, you have the opportunity to make some stops at the most beautiful beaches. So, make sure to have your swimwear ready in the car.

Plage de Saleccia and Plage de Lotu

On the route from Cap Corse to Balagne, you will pass through the nature reserve of Désert des Agriates. Contrary to what the name suggests, it is not a traditional desert with sand dunes but rather an extensive, rugged plain covered with maquis, low shrubs, and rocky formations. This area is a true paradise for nature lovers and adventurers, featuring two of Corsica’s most beautiful beaches, Plage de Saleccia and Plage de Lotu. These beaches are known for their fine white sand and crystal-clear turquoise water. They are only accessible via hiking trails, by boat, or with a jeep, which ads to the pristine charm of the area.

Plage de Saleccia, Corsica

Along the main road, there are facilities that offer jeep tours to these beaches, but you can also choose to do this excursion later. Head directly to Calvi and book one of the various tours to these tropical beaches through GetYourGuide from there.

Plage de l’Ostriconi

Not in the mood for a jeep excursion? Opt for a day of water fun at the beautiful Plage de l’Ostriconi. This golden sandy beach, surrounded by clear water and lush vegetation, is known for its unspoiled character. The beach is accessible by car, but from the parking lot, it’s about a 15-minute walk through the greenery, which is an experience in itself.

Plage de l'Ostriconi, Corsica

Once you arrive at the expansive beach, it’s easy to find a peaceful spot. Because the beach is less known, there are fewer tourists, mainly local visitors. Keep in mind that there are no facilities such as a bar, restaurant, or toilets, so be sure to bring plenty of drinks, snacks, and sun protection.

Plage de l'Ostriconi, Corsica

After a day of water fun, depending on where you are staying, you can head to the center of L’Île Rousse or Calvi to indulge in the local culinary delights.

Day 4: Explore the most beautiful villages of Balagne via the Craftsmen Route

In Balagne, there are numerous craftsmen, including artists and farmers, who open their workshops to the public. Through the Craftsmen Route or Strada di l’Artigiani you’ll pass by workshops located in some of the most beautiful villages in Balagne. Since you can’t visit all the villages in one day, here are some of my personal favorites. For the complete route and more information, it’s best to check out my blog on the most beautiful villages in Balagne.

Calvi 

The first place on my list is a bit of an exception. Calvi is not exactly a small village but rather a vibrant coastal town. The highlight is the impressive historic citadel where you can wander through a maze of narrow alleyways. Additionally, you have a breathtaking view of the sea and the harbor. Furthermore, there are numerous cozy eateries where you can taste the local cuisine and artisanal boutiques where you can pick up some charming souvenirs. This is a fantastic starting point for a route through the inland of Balagne.  

Calvi, Corsica
Calvi, Corsica
Calvi, Corsica
Lumio 

The next village is the picturesque Lumio, located along the coastal road from Calvi to L’Île Rousse. Lumio offers a perfect blend of hillside tranquility and coastal splendor. The charming village, with narrow cobbled streets and old stone houses, provides breathtaking views of the Gulf of Calvi.

Lumio, Balgane, Corsica

From the central square, you can take a stroll to the abandoned village of Occi, with ruins where you can enjoy a magnificent view. For beach relaxation, follow the route to Plage de l’Arinella, one of Corsica’s most beautiful beaches, with shallow water and a stunning view of the green hills of Balagne.

Occi near Lumio, Balagne, Corsica
Pigna  

The next charming mountain village in line is Pigna. Pigna is especially known for its artists and craftsmen, as the village is home to various craft workshops that you can visit.

The well-preserved, old center of Pigna consists of winding cobbled streets, old stone houses, and brightly blue-painted shutters, creating an enchanting atmosphere. In addition to its rustic charm, you’ll find beautiful panoramas of olive groves.

Pigna, Balagne, corsica
Pigna, Balagne, corsica

Pigna’s cultural heritage resonates in the Centru Culturale di u Pighjolu, a renowned center for Corsican polyphonic singing, hosting live concerts and musical events during the summer.

Sant’Antonino 

Next is Sant’Antonino! This village is situated on a hilltop at an impressive altitude of 500 meters. Sant’Antonino’s history dates back to the 9th century, making it one of the oldest villages in Corsica. Additionally, it is considered one of the most beautiful villages in France.

Sant'Antonino, Corsica
Sant'Antonino, Corsica

Despite its somewhat weathered appearance, the old town exudes a charming atmosphere. The panoramic viewpoint, known as the eagle’s nest of Balagne, provides a spectacular view of the Mediterranean Sea, Monte Grosso, Monte Padru, and the Regino Valley. From the village square, you can take a stroll to the Monastery of Saint Dominic in Corbara.

Sant'Antonino, Corsica
Speloncato 

Another eagle’s nest in Balagne, next to Sant’Antonino, is Speloncato. This village is perched on a rock at an altitude of about 600 meters. The history of Speloncato dates back thousands of years.

The highlight here is undoubtedly the panoramic view from the Cima district, accessible via winding alleys. From the highest point where a feudal castle once stood, you can enjoy a breathtaking view over the Reginu Valley to the sea, overlooking Petra Tafunata in the west.

Speloncato, Balagne, Corsica
Montemaggiore 

Another gem surrounded by the green hills of Balagne is Montemaggiore. This beautiful village is located a bit more to the west. Montemaggiore is especially known for its olive production. You can still visit the old olive mill U Fragnu, where olive oil is still produced. In July, the annual olive fair ‘Fiera di l’Alivu’ takes place here, which is truly a unique experience.

Here too, you have several spectacular views of the surrounding landscape dotted with olive groves and surrounded by impressive peaks.

Montemaggiore, Balagne, Corsica

Do you want to discover more beautiful spots in this region? Be sure to read my blog post about the most beautiful villages in Balagne.

Marvel at the beautiful landscapes in the Gulf of Porto

After Balagne, you travel to the west of the island, taking a few days to explore the enchanted Gulf of Porto. This region is located within the Regional Natural Park of Corsica and offers spectacular sights such as the protected Scandola Nature Reserve and the impressive Calanques de Piana with red cliffs towering up to 900 meters.

Furthermore, the Gulf of Porto is characterized by beautiful coastlines, rugged cliffs, and green hills, making it ideal for adventurers and nature enthusiasts. You will also discover some of Corsica’s most beautiful beaches surrounded by authentic coastal and mountain towns.

Prepare for magical sunsets, where you can enjoy a true spectacle as the sun bathes the granite rocks in golden-orange hues!

De mooiste bezienswaardigheden langs de Golf van Girolata, Corisca

Looking for an exceptional stay in the area? Definitely check out L’Aiglon in Serriera, Hôtel Capo Rosso near Piana, and VILLA FLAKA Boutique Hôtel in Cargèse.

DAY 5: From Balagne to the Gulf of Porto

On this day, you will travel to the Gulf of Porto. The travel time from Calvi to Piana is approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes, but in reality it may take much longer. Prepare for a few hours of winding along narrow roads and impressive cliffs! Take your time to enjoy the spectacular views, and don’t drive too fast, as you may encounter many animals along the way.

West Corsica
The Calanques of Piana

The final stretch of the route between Porto and Piana runs right through the Calanques de Piana. These are a spectacular series of red granite rock formations that extend over an area of about 2 kilometers. They have been formed by the erosion of the rocks over millions of years. Wind, water, and other natural forces have carved the red granite cliffs into unique and bizarre shapes. This is very impressive to see, and that’s why they are also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

For me, this was one of the most beautiful drives I have ever taken. So, be prepared for many WOW-moments. Of course, along the road, there are designated areas where you can briefly park to explore the most beautiful spots up close or take stunning photos.

Les Chalanches De Piana, Corsica
Les Chalanches De Piana, Corsica
Les Chalanches De Piana, Corsica

For the adventurous souls, there is an immediate hiking opportunity here. Starting from the main road, there are various hiking trails, including one to Château Fort. The starting point for this hike is at Tête du Chien, a rock formation where you can also park your car. Follow the yellow trail, which takes only twenty minutes, and be rewarded with breathtaking views over the Gulf of Porto. An alternative route starts at Chalet des Roches Bleues, near the statue of Mary. A steep path uphill takes you to the old mule track between Piana and Ota, where impressive views will leave you amazed.

Piana  

Take a break in the picturesque town of Piana. Get lost in the narrow streets of the village, admire the traditional houses with their red roofs, and enjoy the warm hospitality of the local people and their pets. Yes, you heard it right! In Piana, the pets of the residents roam freely, so don’t be surprised if you are suddenly greeted by a friendly dog or cat during your stroll.

Piana, Corsica
Piana, Corsica
Piana, Corsica
Piana, Corsica

Here, you can find many restaurants where you can enjoy delicious meals. One of my favorites was Le Joséphine, an open-air restaurant with a stunning view over the Gulf of Porto. This restaurant is pretty popular, so make sure to book in advance if you plan to dine here during sunset.

Plage Ficaghjola 
plage Ficaghjola, Corsica

In Piana, you’ll discover one of Corsica’s hidden gems: Plage Ficaghjola, a beautiful beach surrounded by impressive red granite rocks of the Calanques de Piana. The beach is not easily accessible, but you can drive by car along a winding road to a parking area and then take a short walk to this enchanting bay with crystal-clear turquoise water. An idyllic spot to relax after your drive from Balagne.

plage Ficaghjola, Corsica
plage Ficaghjola, Corsica
plage Ficaghjola, Corsica
Day 6: Explore the Scandola Nature Reserve and the fishing village of Girolata
The Scandola Nature Reserve

The Scandola Nature Reserve is a breathtaking piece of unspoiled nature, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. This reserve encompasses a stunning coastline along the Gulf of Porto, featuring imposing red cliffs rising from the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

Scandola Corsica

The area harbors diverse flora and fauna, including rare plant species and various bird species such as the osprey and the rare monk seal. If you’re lucky, you may spot them there.

Scandola Corsica

In this nature reserve, efforts are made to harmonize environmental conservation and tourism. As a result, the park is protected, and you can only admire it from the sea. You can choose from various boat tours via GetYourGuide, departing daily from the port of Porto. There are numerous options, such as combining your trip to the Scandola Nature Reserve with a visit to Girolata or a detour along the Calanques de Piana.

The fishing village of Girolata

During your Corsican journey, a visit to the authentic fishing village of Girolata is a must. Situated in the heart of the Scandola Nature Reserve, the only access is by boat or on foot through the hiking trail Sentier de Facteur. This approximately 10-kilometer route, starting at Col de Croix, follows the path of former mail carriers to Girolata. It offers beautiful views, secluded beaches, and a good workout, with some challenging climbs. Choose appropriate footwear and bring an ample supply of water.

Sentier de Facteur Corsica
Sentier de Facteur Corsica
Sentier de Facteur Corsica
Gulf of Girolata, Corsica

Once in Girolata, you can relax on the beach, where local cows keep you company, or indulge in a local lunch at a nearby restaurant before continuing your hike. Although Plage de Girolata may not be the most beautiful beach in Corsica, it exudes an authentic charm.

Girolata, Corsica
Girolata, Corsica
Girolata, Corsica
Girolata, Corsica
Day 7: Hike along the Gorges de Spelunca
Gorges de Spelunca 

A few kilometers inland from the coastal town of Porto are the enchanted mountain villages of Ota and Evisa. Between these two mountain villages lies the renowned Spelunca Gorge, offering a beautiful hiking experience.

If you park your car beyond Ota at the bridge over the D124, you can immediately experience the most beautiful part of the Gorges de Spelunca. It’s a 40-minute walk to Pont de Zaglia. This well-marked route offers stunning views and swimming opportunities along the Porto River. The path winds through forests and along steep rock walls, with some elevation changes, but it is certainly manageable for children. From Pont de Zaglia, you can choose to return or continue your hike through the scrubland forest to Evisa. If you’d like to walk the entire old mule track between Ota and Evisa, it will take you about 3 hours one way.

Gorges de Spelunca, Corsica
Gorges de Spelunca, Corsica
Relaxing on the beach at Plage de Porto or Plage d’Arone

If you want to relax on the beach after the hike, you have two options:

Plage de Porto 

The nearest beach is Plage de Porto, an expansive pebble beach that provides the perfect setting for an afternoon of water fun. Here, you can enjoy a stunning view of the majestic red granite cliffs in the surroundings.

Another highlight is the robust Genoese tower proudly standing atop the rocks and overlooking the beach. This square tower, constructed in the 16th century, has recently been renovated and is now open to visitors. Climb the tower for a splendid panoramic view of the Gulf of Porto.

Plage de Porto, Corsica

With ample parking and various facilities for food and drinks, Plage de Porto is an ideal place to relax.

Plage d’Arone 

An alternative option is the more southern Plage d’Arone, an enchanting sandy beach accessible via an adventurous mountain road with breathtaking views of the Gulf of Porto and Capo Rosso.

Plage d’Arone is known for its crystal-clear water and pristine scenery, surrounded by lush hills and untamed nature. Therefore, it is an ideal spot for those seeking tranquility and nature enthusiasts.

Plage d'Arone, Corsica

Near the beach, you’ll find various facilities, including restaurants and bars. Moreover, you can enjoy various water activities such as kayaking, jet skiing, windsurfing, and snorkeling. Parking is available for a fee at the restaurants and bars, but be aware that during the peak season, it can be crowded, and finding a parking spot may be challenging.

Want to discover more of this region? Be sure to read my blog post about the best things to do along the Gulf of Porto.

From beautiful beaches to impressive mountain peaks in Southern Corsica

After a stay at the beautiful Gulf of Porto, you venture further south on the island. There, you’ll find prominent cities like Ajaccio, Bonifacio, and Porto-Vecchio, as well as the impressive Bavella massif and the most breathtaking beaches on the island.

Southern Corsica guarantees an engaging exploration with a great diversity of landscapes. Lush green hills meet rugged mountains, while enchanting bays and pristine beaches adorn the coastline. This varied environment, combined with beautiful cities and charming villages, makes Southern Corsica a special and unforgettable destination.

De mooiste bezienswaardigheden in Zuid-Corsica

Also, keep in mind that the East and West coasts of Southern Corsica are quite a distance apart. Due to the mountainous inland terrain, you need to either drive around the coastline or navigate through the impressive rocks. To minimize travel time, it is advisable to opt for two separate stays in both parts. Choose a 2-night stay on the Southwest coast, perhaps at A’mare Corsica. Additionally, I recommend booking 4 nights around Porto-Vecchio, where you should definitely consider Domaine de Casanghjulina for an unforgettable experience.

If you prefer a single 6-night stay, I would suggest a centrally located accommodation around Bonifacio. Options include Hôtel Version Maquis Santa Manza or Hôtel & Spa Version Maquis Citadelle.

Day 8: Explore the capital Ajaccio

From the Gulf of Porto to Ajaccio, it’s approximately a one-and-a-half-hour drive. Along the way, you’ll pass by Cargèse, a picturesque town with whitewashed houses and breathtaking vistas. Feel free to make a brief stop here if you need a break.

Ajaccio, the capital of Corsica, enchants with its beautiful location on the Gulf of Ajaccio. Enjoy spectacular views of the azure blue sea and explore various points of interest.

Ajaccio Corsica
Ajaccio Corsica
Ajaccio Corsica

The city is divided into two parts. The historical center includes a citadel, a lively harbor, and charming alleys, while the more recent part is characterized by chic boulevards with Parisian allure and beautiful 19th-century houses.

Ajaccio is especially known as the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte, a fact that is evident everywhere. From statues in squares to souvenirs in shops, the city breathes imperial references. You can also visit the ancestral home of Napoleon, Maison Bonaparte.

Are you an art enthusiast? Then, pay a visit to the Musée des Beaux Arts in Palais Fesch. There, you will find an impressive collection of Italian masters from the 14th-18th centuries, surpassed only by the Louvre.

Explore the narrow streets of the historic center, visit the Citadel for a strategic view, and admire the impressive cathedral with a blend of Baroque and neoclassical architecture, where Napoleon was baptized.

DAY 9: Travel back in time and discover traces of history in Filitosa and Sarène
Filitosa

Travel back to prehistory in South Corsica, where various archaeological sites reveal traces of bygone times. Filitosa is considered the most beautiful, and I can definitely confirm this.

Filitosa Corsica
Filitosa Corsica
Filitosa Corsica
Filitosa Corsica

The site, located on an expansive hilly domain amid granite rocks and wild olive trees, offers a dreamy landscape. The highlight is the prehistoric stone statues and menhirs from the Neolithic and Bronze Age. These statues range from human figures to animals and are scattered across the estate. As you follow the walking route, you’ll see them all

Filitosa Corsica
Filitosa Corsica
Filitosa Corsica
Filitosa Corsica

According to research, a megalithic people once lived here, creating statues of defeated enemies for the decoration of hero graves. The Torréens, who drove them away, are said to have used these statues as revenge, repurposing them as building material. While the story is not entirely certain, one thing is for sure: a visit to Filitosa is truly worthwhile!

Filitosa Corsica
Filitosa Corsica
Plage de Cupabia

Take a break between your visits to Filitosa and Sartène at one of Corsica’s most beautiful beaches, Plage de Cupabia.

Plage de Cupabia, Corsica

This secluded yet spacious sandy beach, surrounded by mountains and dense vegetation, offers tranquility and privacy. The crystal-clear water invites you to cool off and is perfect for snorkeling or diving. Besides, the surroundings are also excellent for beautiful walks.

Plage de Cupabia, Corsica

The beach is easily accessible by car, and there is parking available. On weekends and during the peak season when it is busier, parking may become more challenging. Last but not least, there is also a beach bar for refreshing drinks and snacks.

Sartène

If you want to experience the real Corsica, a visit to Sartène is a must on your Corsica road trip. This town is known as “the most Corsican of all Corsican cities” and boasts a strong cultural identity reflected in its festivals, music, and traditional crafts.

Sartène’s historic city center, with narrow alleyways, old churches, and houses with carved granite facades, transports you back in time. The central square, Place de la Liberation, is the bustling heart of the city and also the location of the annual “Catenacciu” ritual, a deeply rooted religious procession symbolizing the crucifixion of Jesus.

Sartène, Corsica

Nearby, you’ll find prehistoric sites in Cauria and Palaggiu, featuring dolmens, menhirs, and stone statues. Sartène also hosts a Prehistoric Museum showcasing artifacts excavated in the area, providing insight into the lives of early inhabitants.

Moreover, Sartène is renowned for its local wine production, especially the characteristic red wine of the region. If you’re a wine enthusiast, be sure to visit some nearby vineyards to experience the unique flavors of the area.

Surrounded by stunning landscapes, including the impressive mountains of Alta Rocca and nearby beaches, Sartène offers a perfect blend of culture and nature.

Day 10: Explore the most iconic city of Corsica, Bonifacio
Discover Bonifacio

Today we say goodbye to the stunning West Coast of Corsica and head towards the East Coast. On this route, we certainly cannot miss the most iconic landmark of Corsica, namely Bonifacio. This city is famous because it’s built on cliffs of white limestone. Bonifacio is also referred to as the Gibraltar of Corsica because it is the southernmost point of the island.

Bonifacio, Corsica

It goes without saying that Bonifacio attracts many visitors, so my main tip is to arrive here as early as possible (before 10 am) to easily find a parking space.

In Bonifacio, the city unfolds in two parts: the lively lower town by the port and the old upper town in the citadel, accessible via a steep climb. The view from the upper town, with narrow medieval streets, boutiques, and restaurants, is the reward for the effort.

Bonifacio, Corsica
Bonifacio, Corsica
Bonifacio, Corsica
Bonifacio, Corsica

A must-see is the impressive “Escalier du Roi d’Aragon,” a beautifully carved stairway to the sea dating back to the 13th century and surrounded by legends and stories about its origin.

Escalier du Roi d'Aragon, Bonifacio, Corsica

Ohter highlights include the phenomenal view over the city and the Strait of Bonifacio from Mount Saint Roch, where, in good weather, you can see the island of Sardinia.

Bonifacio, Corsica
Bonifacio, Corsica
What to do near Bonifacio?

Can’t get enough of these phenomenal views? Then you can combine a visit to Bonifacio with the 8 km long cliff walk to Capu Pertusato, where you can enjoy panoramic vistas.

Need some relaxation after your visit to Bonifacio? Head to the beach! Some of Corsica’s most beautiful beaches in the area include Plage de la Tonnara and Petit Sperone.

Day 11: Stroll through Porto-Vecchio and seek refreshment in the natural springs of Vallée du Cavu
Take a morning stroll through Porto-Vecchio

Meanwhile, you have arrived on the East Coast of Corsica. You can immediately notice, with the well-maintained roads, the buildings, and the various supermarkets along the way, that this part of Corsica is more adapted to tourists than the other regions on the island. But that doesn’t mean that it is less pleasant to stay here.

Start your day with a morning stroll through Porto-Vecchio, which literally means “old port.” With a history dating back to Roman times, the historic center offers breathtaking panoramas of the sea and the harbor. Wander through narrow cobblestone streets past local boutiques, bars, and restaurants, enjoy the lively atmosphere in charming squares, and admire charming pastel-colored houses. Discover historical landmarks such as the 16th-century Genoese citadel. Furthermore, If you want to learn more about this charming town, consider opting for a guided walking tour.

Porto Vecchio, Corsica
Porto Vecchio, Corsica
Porto Vecchio, Corsica
Porto Vecchio, Corsica

The marina, dotted with colorful boats, contributes to the Mediterranean allure of the city. Along the coastline, restaurants, boutiques, and cafes invite you to sample local dishes and artisanal products.

Porto Vecchio, Corsica
Seek refreshment at the natural springs in Vallée du Cavu

Looking for an adventurous yet refreshing outing for both young and old? Then the natural springs in Vallée du Cavu  are the place to be. Various hiking trails, ranging in difficulty, lead to natural springs where you can enjoy a refreshing swim and even canyoning.

Natural springs, Vallée du Cavu, Corsica
Natural springs, Vallée du Cavu, Corsica

The starting point at A Tyroliana Park offers paid parking facilities. From here, the most popular spot at the Les 3 Piscines restaurant is accessible via an unpaved path. During the high season, there is a free shuttle service for those who need it.

If you enjoy some climbing and scrambling, you can opt for a slightly more adventurous hiking trail along the rocks along the river. This way, you can discover the most beautiful and secluded spots to take a break and go for a swim. Approximately in the middle of the hiking trail, you reach Pont de Marion, which spans the valley and the river with its three arches. Here, you cross over and return on the other side of the bank through the woods. This looped hiking route along the springs is about 2.9 km.

Natural springs, Vallée du Cavu, Corsica
Natural springs, Vallée du Cavu, Corsica
Day 12: Explore the impressive peaks at Col de Bavella

Discover the mountainous interior of South Corsica today at Col de Bavella, a breathtaking mountain pass at an altitude of approximately 1,218 meters. Enjoy spectacular views of sharp granite peaks, including the famous Aiguilles de Bavella, which dramatically pierce the sky. This destination is beloved by adventurous travelers and nature enthusiasts for its numerous hiking trails, including the renowned GR20.

Col de Bavella, Corsica

Parking can be found for a fee at the Col de Bavella parking lot, the starting point for most hiking trails. Be prepared for unpredictable weather and bring a rain jacket, sweater, plenty of water, and snacks. Good hiking boots are essential. For beginners, you can opt for the shorter hiking route to the Trou de la Bombe (6.3 kilometers), an impressive hole of 8 meters in a rock ridge.

For adventure seekers, there is a challenging 11-kilometer long hiking trail  through the high mountains. The first part involves a steep ascent, followed by a descent using chains. Along the way, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views. The return journey takes the GR20, a slightly easier path along waterfalls and lush greenery. Despite unfavorable weather with heavy rainstorms, making the hike more challenging than expected, it was undeniably one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever experienced.

Col de Bavella, Corsica
Col de Bavella, Corsica
DAG 13: beach day 

After a day of hiking in the mountains, you’ve certainly earned some relaxation. And what better way to unwind than with a day of blissful relaxation at the beach. If you’re still near Porto-Vecchio, you’re in luck! This area is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Corsica, so you have plenty of choices. To spare you from decision fatigue, let me narrow it down to my top 3 favorite beaches.

Plage Sant Giulia

Plage Santa Giulia, recognized by UNESCO, ranks among the best beaches in Corsica. With its clear turquoise waters, fine white sand, and rocks along the coast, it resembles the Seychelles.

Plage Santa Guilia, Corsica
Plage Santa Guilia, Corsica

Along the beach, you’ll find numerous trendy beach bars and clubs with photogenic cabanas, comfortable sunbeds, and cocktail service. Make sure to arrive early, as these spots are popular.

Are you a fan of water sports? Then I have good news. Here, you can enjoy one of the best sailing and windsurfing schools, with lessons available in English and German, as well as water skiing and diving lessons. You can also rent a boat to explore the other bays nearby.

The beach is accessible by car, with ample parking available. On busy days, additional parking spaces are available for 5 euros for the entire day.

Plage de Palombaggia  

Plage de Palombaggia, known as the most beautiful beach in Corsica, enchants with golden sand, azure blue water, red rocks, and majestic pine trees. Enjoy the cooling breeze on warm days in this stunning setting with a view of the magnificent Îles Cerbicale.

Plage de Palombaggia 

Plage de Palombaggia is easily accessible by car, and there is ample free parking available on the north side of the beach. However, during the high season, finding a parking space in the middle of the day can be impossible. So, try to arrive as early as possible. To alleviate this issue, you can also use the bus to reach this beach during the summer.

In addition, Plage de Palombaggia offers numerous facilities such as cafes, restaurants, sports clubs, and hotels.

Plage Pinarellu  

Surrounded by tall mountains, picturesque villages, and dense forests, you can find the beautiful sandy beach of Plage Pinarellu in a extensive bay.

Plage Pinarellu, Corsica

The beach features both lively and tranquil areas, allowing you to enjoy privacy and silence. You can relax in an untouched environment by heading further south, while heading north provides access to numerous facilities. Here, you get the best of both worlds.

The beach is accessible by car. You can park for free along the road and reach the most pristine part of Plage Pinarellu via a short walk through the forest.

Want to explore more of Southern Corsica? Be sure to read my blog post about the best things to do in Southern Corsica.

Corte 

From the south, you head back towards the north, but not without a visit to Corte. Despite Corsica’s fame for its breathtaking coastline, a rugged yet spectacular mountain landscape dominates most of the island. For those eager to explore these impressive mountains, centrally located Corte is the ideal base.

Beautiful accommodation options in Corte include Hôtel de la Restonica, Dominique Colonna, Maison San Giovanni and kyrn flor.

Day 14: Visit the Citadel of Corte

End your journey with a visit to Corte, the former capital of Corsica. The city is renowned for its imposing citadel, towering high above the town, providing panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

When you’re here, a visit to the Citadel is a must. The citadel has a rich history dating back to the Middle Ages and played a significant role in the military strategies of the region. Moreover, the citadel offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and countryside, making it not only a crucial military stronghold but also an impressive architectural masterpiece. Today, you can still wander through the ancient corridors and uncover the history of Corsica. It also houses museums and exhibitions that provide a deeper insight into the rich culture and history of this beautiful island.

Corte Corisca
Corte Corisca
Corte Corisca

The charming old town center hosts quaint squares, restaurants, and artisanal shops, making Corte an indispensable destination if you want to experience the authentic charm of Corsica.

Corte Corisca
Corte Corisca
Corte Corisca
Corte Corisca

The surrounding mountains and valleys also make Corte a popular base for hikers and nature enthusiasts, with the impressive Gorges de la Restonica nearby. So, you can spend much more than just one day here.

This 14-day road trip of the enchanting island of Corsica was a fantastic experience. The wide variety of stunning landscapes that this small island offers, combined with its rich culture and authentic charm, is simply fantastic. One thing we can all agree on is that Corsica has something for everyone! Hopefully, my Corsica itinerary and tips can convince you to explore this wonderful island and help you plan an unforgettable journey.

Would a road trip through Corsica be something for you? Let me know in the comments below.

Want to read more about Corsica?

Thank you for reading!

Yours truly,

Sarah

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The ultimate 14 day Corsica road trip
The ultimate 14 day Corsica road trip

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2 thoughts on “The ultimate 14-day Corsica road trip

  1. TRACEY STEWART says:

    Hi Sarah

    I have reviewed you tour and we are very keen to follow 14 day Itinerary. Can you provide the number of nights in the locations you stayed and the hotels you used. With two separate stays in both parts 2 night stay south west coasts and east coast. We are a party of 4 would you recommend car hire or scooter we are travelling in the beginning of October.

    kind regards

    • Sarah De Gheselle says:

      Hi Tracey,

      All the info about how many nights per region, the accommodations and where to rent a car is in the blog post. Have a great trip!

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