Getting around Corsica

Public transport is not good in Corsica, so getting around by car is the best option. Trains offer great views, but they are slow and limited to the three lines. Relying on buses isn't good idea, because routes are scarce and difficult to find.

Public transport is very poor in Corsica, so getting around by car is the best option, either you hire one, have your own, or hitchhike. Railways offer stunning views hidden to road travellers, but the trains are slower and limited to the three lines connecting Ajaccio with Corte, Bastia and Calvi. Getting around Corsica by bus can turn into a nightmare, so try to avoid buses if possible.

By car

Corsican roadsMost Corsican roads hairpin in many switchbacks.

Unless you want to spend a lazy holiday on a beach or beat some Corsica's long-distance trail, go to the island by car or rent one in the airport or harbour, because driving yourself around offers the most flexibility. If you come from afar and you can't afford car hire, try hitchhiking.

On the other hand, don't expect travelling by car in Corsica to be as fast and comfortable as somewhere else. Except few main routes, Corsica's roads are narrow and full of hairpin bends. Be ready for parking problems and traffic jams in towns, especially in high season.

Driving directions, distances and travel times

The following table shows the road distances and approximate driving times between major Corsican towns and cities:

Ajaccio 147 km, 2 hr 4 min131 km, 1 hr 5 min164 km, 2 hr 16 min80 km, 1 hr 7 min143 km, 2 hr69 km, 58 min
Bastia147 km, 2 hr 4 min 170 km, 2 hr 23 min90 km, 1 hr 15 min68 km, 57 min143 km, 2 hr 205 km, 2 hr 51 min
Bonifacio131 km, 1 hr 5 min170 km, 2 hr 23 min 229 km, 3 hr 11 min145 km, 2 hr 1 min29 km, 26 min62 km, 52 min
Calvi164 km, 2 hr 16 min90 km, 1 hr 15 min229 km, 3 hr 11 min 84 km, 1 hr 9 min206 km, 2 hr 47 min221 km, 3 hr 3 min
Corte80 km, 1 hr 7 min68 km, 57 min145 km, 2 hr 1 min84 km, 1 hr 9 min 118 km, 1 hr 38 min137 km, 1 hr 54 min
Porto-Vecchio143 km, 2 hr 143 km, 2 hr 29 km, 26 min206 km, 2 hr 47 min118 km, 1 hr 38 min 72 km, 1 hr
Propriano69 km, 58 min205 km, 2 hr 51 min62 km, 52 min221 km, 3 hr 3 min137 km, 1 hr 54 min72 km, 1 hr  

To explore detailed driving directions, use an on-line route planner, e.g. (Europe planner), RAC, Mappy road guide etc. Don't try to guess driving times just from a map, because there are few roads in the mountains and driving around the western coast is very slow. For instance, the distance between Calvi and Corte as the crow flies is just about 40 km, but you have to drive along 84 km long route via L'lle-Rousse and Ponte-Leccia.

Car rental

A rental car is most convenient and flexible way of getting around Corsica. Hertz, Avis and Europcar have offices at airports and towns across the island, allowing you to collect and return cars in different places. Even if your budget won't allow one week rental (about ?‚¬200), rent a car for at least a couple of days to explore the places inaccessible by the public transport.

When renting a car, chose as small one as possible because of narrow Corsican roads and limited parking place in towns. Most car hire companies require you are at least 21 years old and have held a driving license for more than a year.

By train

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Corsica railways:

  1. Bastia
  2. Ponte-Leccia
  3. Corte
  4. Vizzavona
  5. Ajaccio
  6. Ile-Rousse
  7. Calvi

Corsica's little train called Trinighellu is rather an attraction for tourists than a really convenient and fast vehicle. There are only three narrow gauge lines with a junction in Ponte Leccia. One line connects Ponte Leccia with Bastia, the second one goes south to Ajaccio via Corte and Vizzavona and the third one goes to Calvi along the western coast via Ile Rousse.

The train service is not much frequent, just two to four a day on each line. The journey from Ajaccio to Corte takes 1 hr 40 min, from Corte to Bastia 1 hr 30 min, from Corte to Ill Rouse 1 hr 55 min, from Bastia to Ill Rousse 2 hr 30 min and from Ill Rousse to Calvi 40 minutes. Travelling times in opposite directions may be a little different. See exact timetables and prices in Corsican railways website (in French).

If you want to experience the Corsican trains, watch the video at the end of this page.

By bus

There are many bus companies that operate routes between the main towns, but details of the routes and timetables are difficult to find. Tourist offices in towns should be able to give you information on local bus companies, or visit unofficial yet excellent web site that provides frequently updated bus timetables arranged by the towns of departure and arrival.

The main bus routes include:

  • Bastia to Corte (1hr 30 min) and Ajaccio (3 hours)
  • Bastia to Ill Rousse (1 hr 40 min) and Calvi (2 hr 20 min)
  • Calvi to Porto (2 hr 30 min)
  • Ajaccio to Propriano (2 hr) and Porto Vecchio (3 hr 30 min)
  • Porto Vecchio to Bastia

Train video

Watch the video below to experience the journey by train from Ponte Leccia to Calvi and back (4 min 39 sec; courtesy of Google Video and Corsica Prikbord).

Last modified on Sun, 2013-04-28 17:06