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It is not easy to see all of the highlights in Corsica in less than three weeks and just to see the most important places and sights is a challenge in two weeks so it is easier to focus on selected highlights for shorter visits.
We also detail a three week tour that could also be the basis of a two week 'action packed' tour if you want to fit as much as possible in to your Corsica trip...
Why did we select these itineraries?
Below we suggest itineraries for visits of one, two or three weeks. The goal is to enable you to get the most out of your visit to Corsica while also allowing time to explore the countryside, towns and villages and to spend some time on one or two of the amazing beaches. As you will see, we also have detailed travel guides for almost all the places mentioned.
You will notice that for shorter visits we don't suggest including the northern parts of Corsica such as Calvi, Cap Corse and Bastia. Not that we think there is anything wrong with these places, as you will see if you read our in-depth guides, but we think they are nice rather than exceptional, whereas some of the places further south are more impressive and more typical of the best that Corsica has to offer.
The trips also allow time for leisure activities: if you prefer to keep moving to see as much as possible, consider completing the three week tour below in two weeks.
We start all tours at Ajaccio, although they are easily altered to start elsewhere. Note that there is a fast, if not always beautiful, road along the entire east coast if Corsica so you can get from Bastia in the north to Porto-Vecchio or Bonifacio in the south in less than three hours.
Corsica tour 1: one week, scenery and mountains
Although you will still see one or two beaches, the main attraction of this tour is the chance to see the stunning coast of western Corsica and also to explore the mountains around Corte.
Day 1: Arrive in Ajaccio, drive to Porto if arrive in the morning, otherwise stay overnight in Ajaccio and drive to Porto in the morning
Days 2-4: Porto, with a drive and walk through the calanche de Piana, a boat trip to Scandola nature reserve, a visit to Piana and the beaches, visit to the panorama at Capo Rosso and a walk in the Spelunca Gorges between Eva and Otisa.
The drive between Porto and Corte is very scenic, one of the attractions of this tour. As well as passing through the Foret d'Aitone and mountain scenery you are likely to see wild pigs, goats and cows walking (and probably sleeping) in the road so drive slowly around the corners!
Corsica tour 2: one week, beaches and Bonifacio
You might be able to squeeze in a trip to the mountains but your focus with this tour is to see some of the amazing beaches in Corsica, rated among the most lovely in Europe
Day 1: Arrive in Ajaccio, drive to Porto-Vecchio if arrive in the morning, otherwise stay overnight in Ajaccio and drive to Porto-Vecchio in the morning
Days 2-6: Bonifacio / Porto-Vecchio, the two towns are quite close together so stay in one of the resorts or hotels along the coast near Palombaggia or Santa-Giulia beach. Five days to explore the beaches near Porto-Vecchio as well as beaches closer to Bonifacio such as Rondinara and the Sperone beaches as well as the towns of Bonifacio and Porto-Vecchio. A boat trip to the Iles-Lavezzi and a drive to the Col de Bavella are also suggested.
Corsica tour 3: two weeks
You can combine the two trips above to give a varied two week visit which includes some of the best scenery in Corsica, followed by a few days exploring the lovely beaches
The main challenge is that the 'scenery and mountains' tour is north of Ajaccio, and the 'beaches and Bonifacio' tour is to the south of Corsica, so there is about four hours drive between them. There are two main options for the drive:
- straight through the mountains in the centre of Corsica, a slow journey but very picturesque;
- drive back to the west coast and follow near the coast, which will also allow you to visit Sartene (a very traditional Corsican town) and the amazing prehistoric statues at Filitosa.
Corsica tour 4: three weeks
If you have three weeks to explore Corsica you will want to tour the whole island including the north. It would be possible to complete this tour in two weeks but you would miss the chance to relax and unwind, and might go home more tired than when you arrived, but you will have seen a lot of lovely places!
Day 1: Arrive in Ajaccio
... drive inland through the mountains to...
...follow the very scenic route from north of Corte to...
Days 5-8: Porto, with a drive and walk through the calanche de Piana, a boat trip to Scandola nature reserve, a visit to Piana and the beaches, a visit to the panorama at Capo Rosso and a walk in the Spelunca Gorges between Eva and Otisa.
...follow the scenic coast road from Porto to Calvi, or the coast road from Porto to Galeria then the main road to Calvi (this part of the coast road is in less good condition than the part from Porto to Galeria)...
Days 8-10: Calvi, with a visit to l'Île-Rousse. There is a small train along the coast between the two towns. Time permitting you can explore some villages of the Balagne region such as Sant-Antonino and Pigna.
...stop for a stroll on Ostriconi beach (near Ogliastro, 12 kilometres north-east of l'Ile-Rousse) before drive across the Desert des Agriates and Nebbio region. Have a look around Saint-Florent on the way to...
Days 11-14: Bastia, with a day to explore Cap Corse with its small ports and beaches such as Erbalunga, Barcaggio in north Cap Corse and Centuri as well as a day to explore Bastia town and visit the village of Borgo
...travel south along the coast of east Corsica via Aleria to...
Days 15-18: Porto-Vecchio and Bonifacio with a walk along one or more of the Porto-Vecchio beaches such as Palombaggia and Santa-Giulia, visit the Sperone beaches near Bonifacio and a trip to the Col de Bavella, as well as a boat trip to the Iles Lavezzi