Getting around Corsica
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.
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 min||131 km, 1 hr 5 min||164 km, 2 hr 16 min||80 km, 1 hr 7 min||143 km, 2 hr||69 km, 58 min|
|Bastia||147 km, 2 hr 4 min||170 km, 2 hr 23 min||90 km, 1 hr 15 min||68 km, 57 min||143 km, 2 hr||205 km, 2 hr 51 min|
|Bonifacio||131 km, 1 hr 5 min||170 km, 2 hr 23 min||229 km, 3 hr 11 min||145 km, 2 hr 1 min||29 km, 26 min||62 km, 52 min|
|Calvi||164 km, 2 hr 16 min||90 km, 1 hr 15 min||229 km, 3 hr 11 min||84 km, 1 hr 9 min||206 km, 2 hr 47 min||221 km, 3 hr 3 min|
|Corte||80 km, 1 hr 7 min||68 km, 57 min||145 km, 2 hr 1 min||84 km, 1 hr 9 min||118 km, 1 hr 38 min||137 km, 1 hr 54 min|
|Porto-Vecchio||143 km, 2 hr||143 km, 2 hr||29 km, 26 min||206 km, 2 hr 47 min||118 km, 1 hr 38 min||72 km, 1 hr|
|Propriano||69 km, 58 min||205 km, 2 hr 51 min||62 km, 52 min||221 km, 3 hr 3 min||137 km, 1 hr 54 min||72 km, 1 hr|
To explore detailed driving directions, use an on-line route planner, e.g. theAA.com (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.
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.
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.
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 CorsicaBus.org 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
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