Corsican Adventure 2015 ~ A Photo Journal
Living in Italy six months a year, I keep a bucket list of places I want to visit and each year we try and fit a few trips into our schedule between farmhouse guests. One place I never even thought about visiting was the island of Corsica, but we recently spent an amazing twelve days in Corsica and explored the island from top to bottom. Strangely enough, it was my husband’s cycling group from Naples, Florida who first decided Corsica would be a great place to visit and bike around. This same group rode from Goult, Provence where a friend has a home all the way to our place here in Umbria two years ago and were looking for another challenge. There are eight riders who signed up for this Corsican trip ranging in ages from fifty-two to seventy-five. I wasn’t able to take part in the last biking adventure because we had guests renting our farmhouse at the time, so I was determined to join in the fun on this trip. As well as the cyclists, there were four wives who do not ride (plus my small Yorkie Luca) who headed to Corsica by various means from different countries to take part in the trip. As with any road trip of this type, the cyclists did have a support van following them which kept track of the various riders along the daily routes.
It took us a full day of travel by car and ferry to meet up with our group in Ajaccio. Everyone then had one free day to rest up after their travels and to get their bikes in order before the trip began. I posted a map of our trip below, but we headed from Ajaccio to Bonafacio the first day where we took a boat tour of the amazing white cliffs. I was able to hike the cliffs the next day with a friend before we headed off to the mountains, stopping off in Quenza for two nights. From Quenza we visited the breathtaking Col de Bavella before heading up the coast to Bastia, where the cyclists enjoyed a free day, and from Bastia we explored the Cap Corse on our way to Calvi. The scenery we experienced while driving from one destination to the next was truly breathtaking, and we had to stop often to take photos. We also planned our lunch stops at towns we wanted to explore along the way such as Sartene, Porto Vecchio, Iles Rouches, and Porto. From Calvi we headed down the West coast to Piano, which is a Unesco site, and we were able to take another boat tour to see the amazing red volcanic cliffs on that coast. From Piano, we ended up back in Ajaccio where the cycling trip completed. The cyclists all did an amazing job, traveling almost six hundred miles by bike that included over forty-eight thousand feet of climbing. If you ever climbed a mountain by bike, you will know just how challenging that experience was! Although I was unable to bike, I did fit in a few hikes during the trip. I even spent one morning hiking around Mount Bavella with the ladies which was a hike that is designated as part of the famous GR20 hiking route.
Our friend Jean Heuschen is the cyclist who set up this trip and he did an stupendous job planning the biking routes through the mountains and along the breathtaking coastal roads, booking the hotels (see the details below), and playing the role of fixer for any problems that arose. Although the bike route was at times very challenging for some of the riders, they all did an amazing job completing the ten days of riding. I honestly never expected to enjoy our Corsican adventure as much as I did. I must admit that I went into this trip thinking it would be an interesting island to explore, but one I probably wouldn’t have chosen to visit on my own. The island however, is stunningly beautiful with completely different landscapes from one coast to the next and I would certainly enjoy going back in the future. Being a relatively small island, (it is just 114 miles long and 52 miles across) we were able to really get a good feel of the island after ten days of travel. Having been under both Italian and French authority over the years, the cuisine of Corsica is a sometimes strange mix of both of these countries. Although we had some wonderful seafood meals during our trip, I found that if you are knowledgeable about Italian cuisine, you may find the Corsican options often disappointing as I did. We found it best to choose Corsican specialties such as fresh seafood, grilled meats, and anything that includes their amazing goat and sheep cheeses. Our Corsican adventure is one I’ll always remember, and I highly recommend a trip to this unique island to anyone looking for something different. The people of Corsica rely strongly on their tourist industry, and we found them extremely warm, friendly, and very helpful. It is also a wonderful island for anyone interested in an active vacation, as we saw cyclists, hikers, wind surfers, and motorcyclists everywhere we traveled across the island.
Domaine de la Pointe, Golfe d’Ajaccio,
Ph – +33 4 95 29 40 40
Hotel la Caravelle
Quai Jérôme Comparetti,
20169 Bonifacio, France
Ph – +33 4 95 73 00 03
Right On The Port, Great Views
20122 Quenza, France
Ph – +33 4 95 78 62 53
Small Mountain Hotel, Great Kitchen
Hotel Castel Brando
20222 Brando, France
Ph – +33 4 95 30 10 30
Beautiful Old Restored Hotel, Pool, Walk To The Sea
Hostellerie De L’Abbaye
20260 Calvi, France
Ph – +33 4 95 65 04 27
Restored Old Monestary, Walk Into Town
Hotel Les Roches Rouges
20115 Piana, France
Ph – +33 4 95 27 81 81
Great Views, Needs Restoration
The Red Lines Disply The Route We Took Around Corsica
The Beaches of Ajaccio Next To The Citadelle Completed in 1559
View Of The Iles des Sanguinaires Outside Ajaccio
The Marina At Porto Vecchio
Looking Back At Upper Bonifacio From Our Hike Across The Cliffs
The Gorgeous White Cliffs of Bonifacio
Amazing Views From Our Hike Across The Cliffs Above Bonifacio
The Water Around Corsica Is So Blue And Clear
Everywhere You Drive In Corsica You’ll See Pigs, Cows, Sheep, & Goats Along The Highways
Col de Bavella – The GR20 Route Goes Through Here
The Trou de la Bombe – We Made A Very Energetic Climb From Our Hiking Route To See This Landmark
Climbing Up To The Trou de la Bombe
Views From Our Hike
Mountains Everwhere You Look in Corsica!
Statues At The Base Of The Mountain
The Ladies And I (and Luca) Embarking On Our Hike
The Port At Bastia (One Of My Favorite Cities)
Looking At The Cathedral From The Port In Bastia
The Port In Bastia At Sunset
Typica View Driving The Coast of Corsica
Looking Down At A Town From The Cap Corse
Fishing Village of Centuri Where We Had The Best Lobster Pasta
The Cyclists Day Five, Still Smiling!
The 12 Century Chapel of San Michele de Murato. It Is Said That Angels Built This Chapel In One Night.
Just Another Gorgeous View Of The Rocky Cliffs of Corsica
The Bustling Seaside Town of Calvi
Looking Down At The Marina in Calvi From The Citadelle
Old Town Calvi
The Coast Seen From Calvi
Typical Shop In Calvi Selling Corsican Specialty Products
Red Volcanic Rocks In The Seaside Resort of Porto Where We Took A Boat Tour Of The Calanques de Piana (Granite Rock Formations)
Views From Our Boat Tour Of The Rocks
One Of My Favorite Views Of Corsica We Came Across On Our Drive
Same View, Different Angle!
We Hiked Along This Narrow Road To See The Calanques de Piana – You Can See A Tour Bus Parked Along The Road
The Road We Hiked Along in Piana
Day Ten – Last Day of Riding From Piana to Ajaccio! Thankfully No Major Injuries & Just A Handful Of Flat Tires
Thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures, Deborah!
You are welcome Clem!
Deb: I am so impressed with your log of our trip! You did a tremendous job of photographing sites and the guys and all. Great job!! Now I don’t have to do it…..I’ll just give all my family your email and tell them to enjoy…..
WOW!! What glorious photographs. You guys must have had an absolutely sublime adventure. Thanks for taking us along for the ride.
Thanks Adri, it was an amazing trip.