Corsica

After an amazing summer in London, we flew to our favourite French island so far.

 

Corsica, home to the most incredible French food, the cutest little villages, and the most beautiful natural scenery; sandy gold beaches, wide lakes, and impressively tall mountains. 

Can you believe, the last time I had seen water this crystal clear and blue, I was on a Caribbean island - What more could we ask for?!

 

Thinking back to our time here last year, we could tell this trip in paradise would be filled with as many sports and activities as possible. Previously, we had so much fun jet skiing, and had set off by ourself to explore the caves along Bonifacio.  They were like nothing we had ever seen before, and you would never have guessed just how tremendously deep they were until swimming through the mouth of the cavern. I knew that it was going to be almost impossible to top the experiences we had last year, but we were determined to give it a good go!

 

 

Wild cows on our way to Zonza, corsica, France

The Journey...

 

On the 30th of July 2018,  we flew from  Gatwick airport in London to Figari, a tiny little French  airport in the middle of nowhere. Our flight was only two hours,  and we were so excited to arrive and make the most of every day.

 

We had become experienced holiday makers, and we knew that during the summer time Corsica would be swarming with tourists, and flight prices were off the scale expensive. The secret to the best trip's with as little expenses as possible - is to book the flight tickets  and accommodation in January .

 

When travelling around Corsica , a vehicle is definitely necessary.

You can always hire a car or scooter at the airport which is  super helpful!

The main roads are in good condition and it is easy enough  to drive around the island. However, for those looking to go off Roading, there are no guarantees! Another benefit of not going during tourist season - is parking. Its rarely very expensive, but during the quieter months, finding a parking space quickly is a lot less stressful.  No one want's to spend their time fuelled with road rage, especially when they are exploring beautiful locations.

 

My all time favourite months to visit Corsica, are June and September. The average 30 degree heat we were having day to day was absolutely heavenly, and the 20 degree evenings were perfect for sitting outside in the warm breeze and moonlight. With the tourist's gone, the small independent shops opening again, and of course...the kids back at school - Our trip was tranquil, and authentically French.

Accommodation

We hired a car and drove 40minutes to st Cyprien where we had booked our accommodation.  We rented a little house I found online, which was the perfect mixture of cosy and spacious. It had a lovely double bedroom, with a terrace to admire our view and a barbecue to keep the summer feeling alive.  Luckily, we  had air conditioning to save us from baking in the heat - but were also an amazing 3 minute walk from the beach when we wanted to embrace it! 

 

We couldn't believe how wonderfully peaceful this place was, and we where so grateful to have found ourselves nestled in the heart of a small village with everything we could possibly have needed.  There was a bakery, a butcher, a little shopping centre, and even a boat rental! The people here live a slow life, relaxed and quiet most of the year. It was so good to be able to slow down our busy lifestyle, and be able to take as long as we could to breathe in the fresh scent of pinewood, and feast our eyes on the scenery. As much as we love the fast paced excitement of jet skiing,  taking a quiet little stroll was equally as wonderful.

Road trip

We knew our trip wouldn't feel quite right without hiring a bike for our road trip, however we didn't anticipate quite how limited our choices would be!

we ended up hiring a Honda 700 Transalp for the day  - and although it was most definitely not our first choice - we made the best of it.

 

 

 

It was unbelievably heavy, and lacked a lot of the power we are used to - not to mention the partially flat tyres! We couldn't believe how much it made us miss our own bikes. But for now we were tourists, and it served it's purpose very well. Especially the top box that we managed to fill with everything we needed - including beach things of course ;) . Free of any extra baggage and weight, we could focus on the marvellous beauty of riding through the mountains. When we got near the highest points, the panoramic views of the sea where completely breath taking, and left us quite speechless and filled with gratitude. On our travels we were careful not to disturb any of the natural surroundings or any animals occupying the land. You best be careful not to run into any of the wild cows - you know what they say - 'mess with the bull, you get the horns!'

 

(I can not stress enough how important it is to make sure you check the bikes you are hiring before speeding off. I know it's exciting, and having to inspect beforehand is the last thing you are going to want to do on holiday - but it's important to think of both yours and others safety before all the fun can begin.)

 

The goal was to visit all south Corsica in a day! During our time In Corsica we chose to navigate ourselves around without using a Sat-nav. As soon as we checked out the maps before we left, we knew we were in for an adventure - with not many roads or signs to stick to - we used it as a good opportunity to explore. For those who rely on mobile phone navigation, you'd better learn the art of map reading; without signal or data in the mountains, a map will be your new unexpected best friend.

 

On the French roads we would advise you get yourself informed prior to riding - regarding the French road regulations. If you need some assistance, take a look at some of these helpful websites.

 

https://about-france.com/highway-code.htm

- Motorcycling in France

https://www.drive-france.com/faqs/motorcycling-france/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Road map 1 - The day trip.

This road map is perfect for a family day trip, those who are not as confident on their bikes, or those who are travelling by car. A perfect way to explore multiple places on a time limit and take in as much beauty as you can all in one day! Take a look at the road map plan above, to get an idea of how far you would be travelling. 

 

10.00 am : Departure From porto Vecchio

11.30 am : Zonza stopping at "barrage de l’ospedale"

12pm : Levie

12.30pm : St lucie de tallano

3pm : Propriano

4pm : Sartene

5pm : Figari

5.45pm : bonifacio

8pm : Porto vecchio

 

 

 

As you can see, if you ride this circuit once it would take only around 4 hours. Luckily the individual places were very small too, and so we had time to visit each place properly. we spent most of our time in Bonifacio - visiting all the little local shops, hanging out by the port, and soaking up the good weather!

We then had Lunch in st Lucie de Tallano, which was delicious! However, I must let you in on a secret. The best lunch spot by far, would have been Propriano - it is filled with hundreds of restaurants to choose from, and their seafood selection is to die for.

 

When riding between Sartene and Bonifacio, be sure to ride slowly and take regular stops. You will be greeted by some of the most stunning views in the world, you will definitely need several moments to catch your breath. Which reminds me...do NOT forget to pack some water.

 

Road map 2 - 12 days road trip - 700Miles

This exciting journey is an absolute must for avoid 'road-trippers'. This could take you as long as you wanted it to, all depending on where you stop off and how long you decide to stay in each town. You may prefer the atmosphere/ food/ beaches in particular towns on your way, and choose to stay there a few extra nights. If you think you're quite the explorer, this road map could be the way to go.

 

Also remember that riding summer time can be tough - up to 40 degrees - wearing bike equipment can be a nightmare - also going to the beach you must remember that the sand if going all over your gears and will definitely need a deep cleaning. 

 

Choose carefully your accommodation as well, if at night you want to go out make sure it is in the centre of a city as there is no taxi or bus to take you home after a few drinks  - when you ride you are not drinking right ?! Plus it will save you from carrying your gears all night! 

 

It has been slit into  maps below, so you can see exactly how far each chunk of the trip will take via car journey.

 

 

Starting in Bastia, you will stop off at:

 

-Centuri-Port (55km)

-Nonza (tour)

-Saint Florent

-Oletta

-San Michele

-Borgo

-Ponte-Leccia 

-Corte                                   (145km) Spend 1 day in this area 

 

Visit NiNo Lac - from Corte D18 - mountain ride through D18 ( mountain pass "col d'Ominata")

 

Calacuccia via D84 -Stop at the "Maison forestiere" POPPAGHIA - Popular Hike trial. 

Lac is at 730m altitude or 4.30h / 88km  without breaks . 

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

On the road again: 

 

-Venaco

-Col de Morello

-Vezzani

-Defile D'le Inzecca,

-Ghisoni

-Col De Verde

Zicavo

-Aullene - LUNCH 

 

-Quenza Zonza

-Barrage de L'ospedale

-Col de Punticella,

Porto Vecchio   - 180km  -  3NIGHTS so 2 days  to visit and enjoy the cities around like Bonifacio, Palombagia beach is gorgeous. 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-Sartene

-Propriano

-Ajaccio  - 141km - 2 night at Porticcio 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

-Sagone

-Cargese, Piana

-Porto

-Osani

-Galeria

-Calvi - 3 nights 

All by the coast 176km 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

BOAT from calvi:

-Ille Rousse

-Desert Des Agriates

-Saint Florent

-Patrimonio

-Col de Teghime

and finally back to Bastia. - 92 km 

 

Going through calacuccia what definitely the best decision, increasing our miles but definitely worth it! 

total for us 708miles ! 

 

Enjoy the trip!

In 7 days you can ...

  • Walk through the mountains from st cyprien to solenzara and had a bath in the basin formed by the river.   
  •  We eat, eat and eat some more!
  • Bike road trip around south Corsica.
  • Horse riding in the maki and on the beach crossing salines in st Lucie de porto vecchio.
  • Boat from st Cyprien to porto Vecchio.
  • Beach everyday!
  • Artisanal Night market in St Cyprien.

 

     Auberge U Fuconu - wild boar casserole

 Local food

 

The Corsican cuisine is the traditional cuisine of the island based and inspired by tasty mediterranean products - and all grown locally!

Corsica is filled with tourists during the summer and they often get tricked into buying expensive ‘local food’ which is in fact from abroad. So be careful that what you're buying is truly locally sourced.

For example, We found a little shop in porto Vecchio, ran by a family selling beautiful local produce.

Check out their website :

www.lorriu.fr

 

 

Some of our fav specialities to bring back home

 

-Myrthe confiture (jam myrtle)
-Chataigne (chestnut) jam, cakes, biscuits 
-Saucisson corse (smoked sausage)
-Jambon corse ( dry and smoked ham)
-Fromages corses : (cheese) brocciu, carre corse and many more.
-Vinaigre de miel ( honey vinegar)
-Canistrelli : very popular corsican biscuits
-Pietra: Corsican beer made with chestnut

 

 

 

 

 

Corsican dishes:

-Civet de sanglier (Wild boar casserole) 

-Veau aux Olives (veal with olives)

-Agneau Corse (Corsican lamb)

 

Some great places ... 

 

Restaurant:

=>Auberge U Fuconu

Tivarello, 20224 Figari

 

=>Best place for Ice creams, Huge and very tasty:

Le glacier du port 4 quai pascal paoli 20137 porto vecchio

Give the chestnut one a try.

 

I don't know about you, but on  holiday we literally live off cheese, delicatessen, ice cream  and wine !

 

Leisure:

=>Horse Ridding: Ranch villata, ferrulajolo, 20144 Zonza

=>Bike rental: corse moto service, avenue de bastia, 20137 porto vecchio

 

Beaches :

In Corsica, the water is insanely clear and turquoise blue - even when you are in the middle of the sea, it truly feels like being on a tropical island.

My Top 3:

1. Santa Giulia and its beautiful white sand. Shout out to the snack on the beach and their Mediterranean sandwich: the pan bagnat

2. Palombaggia

3. st cyprien

Last sunrise of our trip on St cyprien beach 

That's it for now, we cannot get enough of this island! Our trip was absolutely packed with fun, and next time we visit we will have just as many new adventures, Corsica has so much to offer. We could have hired the bike for longer and visited even more of the island, or done more water sports and hired a quad - but there are only so many activities you can fit into one week,and we were exhausted! until next time Corsica!

Write a comment

Comments: 0