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12 Point Guide to Corsica

jetsonxjetsonx Posts: 84
edited October 2008 in Tour & expedition
Notes from Corsica
================

Tour of South Corsica late-September 2008

I choose Corsica as a direct result of positive feedback from this forum.

Here are some notes.

1) Corsica is indeed as beautiful as everyone makes it out to be...There are few places
in Europe where you can be cycle with mountains on one side and the sea on the other.

2) Apart from the East Coast of the Island - Expect to climb alot. Some steep climbs followed by some spectacular descents.

3) Route National roads have a surpising amount of traffic on them for such a small island. I would hate to cycle on them during July or August. The traffic in all towns was constant from 8am until 8pm at night. How can a small island accomodate so many cars!

4) Roadsigns always seemed to have the distance wrong (always longer)- which for route planning purposes was kinda annoying.

5) Yes, some of the beaches are like out of a Bounty Ad.

6) There are only about 8-10 proper bike shops on the whole Island and most of these are in Adjaccio and Bastia. So make sure you bring those spare parts.

7) 80 % of the Route National Roads are well-surfaced.

8 ) Most of the campsites I came across had "Ferme" written on the gate or just 3 or 4 lonely looking caravans. Remember it was only late Sept.

9) Hotels average at around 65 Euro a night. 3-course Meals average at around 20 Euros . The Auberges in the countryside - served spectacular food.

10) High Quaity Well Stocked supermarkets in almost every decent sized town.

11) Daytime temperatues on average were 22 C - very cycle friendly weather - even in the middle of the day.

12) Propriano and Sartene proved to be the most pleasant towns. Adjaccio proved rather bland and dull. I got the impression Bonifacio and Porte Vecchio had sold out to tourism.

Overall - a nice trip. Not ideal for a first-time cycle-tourer but the island with short distances between towns makes it ideal for "short-day" and "long-day" touring.


Notes

Accomodation-wise of particular note was Auberge Coralli (near the southern tip)for nice accomodation and excellent food. Hotel Imperial (Adjaccio) proved to an excellent bike-friendly hotel that had exceptionally pleasant staff and nice rooms.

(Was very suprised to see a large amount of illegal road-side dumping on some parts of the island. Anybody know the background to this presumed problem?)
"Knowing and not doing are equal to not knowing at all."
- Unknown

Posts

  • PingucpPingucp Posts: 4,991
    13) Watch out for goats on the descents :)
  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    Point 13 would be 'If you stick to the coast road then you'll miss out on the best parts'.

    Point 14 would be 'Avoid the Routes Nationales like the plague'. At their best they are dull but pleasant and at their worst they are dull and deeply unpleasant. The one thing you can say in their favour is that they attract all of the traffic and leave the other roads nice and quiet.

    Point 15 would be 'You found a road sign that hadn't been painted out because it was in French, or blasted by a shotgun? (OK that was a joke).

    Point 16 would be 'Don't expect to find a bike shop open on a Sunday or a Monday. Pray there's a brand of InterSport nearby'. (That's bitter experience speaking).

    Point 17 would be 'Keep your eyes open for 'Milans Royals' (Red Kites)'.

    Point 18 - look out for the 'gites d'étape' 35 euros for bed and breakfast - often in wild and remote places.

    I'm surprised at what you say about camping sites - I've been three times in May and it was very rare to find a campsite that wasn't open.

    And as for Bastia, are you mad? The old town round the citadelle is wild and anarchic and really quite special. Very definitely not touristified.
  • jetsonxjetsonx Posts: 84
    The reason I picked the RN's was - I did not want to by pedalling around the inner hills of Corsica at 8pm at night in the dark looking for a Gite D'etape - plus those inland roads looked particulary vicious from my Michelin map.

    Bastia?? I said "Bonifacio"!.
    But on that note, i agree with you many natives did say that "Bastia" was the real capital and one of the most authenthic(Corsican town).


    ps: so what happened your bike on a Saturday?- Murphy's Law does state that when in France your bike will always break down late Saturday afternoon when the only bike shop in the town has had its "ouvert" just turned around.
    "Knowing and not doing are equal to not knowing at all."
    - Unknown
  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    jetsonx wrote:
    The reason I picked the RN's was - I did not want to by pedalling around the inner hills of Corsica at 8pm at night in the dark looking for a Gite D'etape - plus those inland roads looked particulary vicious from my Michelin map.

    Bastia?? I said "Bonifacio"!.
    But on that note, i agree with you many natives did say that "Bastia" was the real capital and one of the most authenthic(Corsican town).

    ps: so what happened your bike on a Saturday?- Murphy's Law does state that when in France your bike will always break down late Saturday afternoon when the only bike shop in the town has had its "ouvert" just turned around.

    Whoops yes you did say Bonifacio. D'Oh! (It was late at night).

    On the subject of maps - I think it is worth paying for the more detailed maps and carrying the extra weight. (Though I make a lot of use of the poste restante services to send stuff to myself).

    There are very few roads inland that involve really steep climbs - the roads are very well graded, usually following valley sides, so it's a matter of spinning away.

    My little disaster story started with a bike pump that developed a fault which meant I couldn't inflate my tyres properly, and ended up getting loads of punctures and running out of tubes and patches. I ended up getting a taxi driver to take me to InterSport in Ajaccio. Ironically, they sold me a pump (one of those jobbies with a srotating head) that developed the same fault.
  • xiliosxilios Posts: 170
    Thanx for the post. We are thinking of touring Corsica and Sardinia next spring so we're looking for all the information we could get.
    If you have any favorite links on the islands please share :)
  • PingucpPingucp Posts: 4,991
    xilios wrote:
    If you have any favorite links on the islands please share :)

    Pictures of our 2006 trip
  • Out of high season (July and August), Sardinia will be even emptier of tourists than Corsica, as Italians only seem to holiday then, and there are few non-Italian tourists.
  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    edited October 2008
    xilios (and anyone else interested)

    The best/most useful sites tend to be in French. Here's three I'd particularly recommmend:

    This is a very good guide to places to stay and places to eat:

    http://www.hebergement-corse.com/b_n_b_guide_corse.html

    This is a site called Bienvenue à la ferme (welcome to the farm) which has listings of farms offering chambres d'hôtes, camping etc. Every place I have stayed has been excellent (though that doesn't necessarily mean cheap).

    http://www.bienvenuealaferme-corse.com/ ... n_id1.html

    Another site well worth checking out is this one:

    http://www.corsica-terroirs.com/

    maintained by another farmers' organisation. They produce a series of leaflets (downloadable as pdfs) about 'les routes des sens authentiques'. These give information about places to stay/eat, as well as places you can buy local produce and places of interest.

    (And as for Sardinia, you have to check out the Nuraghe - especially the complex at Burrumini, the more modern, and completely mad, murals in Orgosolo, and the wonderful dunes and beach at Piscinas.
  • xiliosxilios Posts: 170
    We've also heard that the islands can be a bit expensive. Can anyone give us some clue and/or tips on how much we can expect to pay for say camping and basic foods (super market prices).
    Even though we like to check out a local restaurant and a B&B once in a while we mostly travel self supported.
  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    xilios wrote:
    We've also heard that the islands can be a bit expensive. Can anyone give us some clue and/or tips on how much we can expect to pay for say camping and basic foods (super market prices).
    Even though we like to check out a local restaurant and a B&B once in a while we mostly travel self supported.

    Campsites generally charge less than 10 euros. (I think the cheapest was less than 5). I don't remember food prices being desperately out of line with elsewhere. IIRC I was able to buy a picnic lunch (bread, pate or cheese, a fruit juice and some fruit) for 5€ or so.

    Beer is a different matter - about 3 or 4 euros for a bottle of Pietra in a bar or cafe. But you simply cannot leave Corsica without trying a Pietra. Ditto homemade Limoncello in Sardinia.
  • xilios - Did you see this log?...

    http://www.tourvelo.org/corse.html
    It's an uphill climb to the bottom
  • xiliosxilios Posts: 170
    Thanks for all the tips and links.
    Cant wait for spring :D
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