Corsica 2013 

It was time to take the Land Rover out for a drive again.

Corsica was scheduled - 8 days on the island and back home through the French Alps.               As always, everything was planned at home, incl. different tracks (thanks to www) . As always, things came a little different….

In 12 days we drove (only)  2'720 km , that's Corsica.


Day 1:

HWY to Livorno and ferry to Bastia. Overnight stay on the lovely  Camping La Pietra at Pietracorbara ( D80 north direction Cap Corse).


Day 2:

As a little Appetizer the "Sisco Track" via Saint Jean to the west coast of Cap Corse was planned. Then further on to the Desert des Agirats. We started at Pietracorbara on D80 south, just a few km, then on D32  into the mountains to Sisco where we missed the entrance to the Track.           A little further, D32 mutates into a mountain footpath. Good to have a maneuverable vehicle…. We found the junction to the track on the way back but it was closed with a chain and a sign: "piste fermée". The view was magnificent. We lost 1 hour but it was worth!  So we changed our plan for the first time: D80 round Cap Corse - Plage d'Albo - Nonza - D81 direction "Saleccia Track" for camping. Unfortunately the entire Desert des Agirats was closed due to heavy winds and fire hazard so we had to stay at St. Florent - Camping Kallista.


Day 3:

Because of the strong wind, we decided to round the island in the opposite direction as originally planned. Means east coast first. This is not a bad idea for co-drivers suffering from vertigo ; )  On D81 - D264 to the Etang de Bigulia - N 198 south to the  Camping Riva Bella. A very beautiful site, directly on the beach, far from streets and other noise. The only thing about this site: you might  "leave your hat on" (Joe Cocker).


Day 4:

Track day today ! On the beach as well as inland - N198 to Aléria - south of Aristone on D144 to D444 (track) - howee, the entrance to the track between sea and N198 was restricted to 2.20m height with a barrier (couldn't drive around it ) - think positive - there was more on the daily schedule. N198 south to Favone - D168 - Tagliu Rossu - D168A cascades of Cavu. The entry to the "Fôret Hospedale" was plastered with prohibitive signs and the track along the Cavu river was closed with barriers. The lovely plunge spots were crowded like "Sundays on the beach" -  shit happens! - let's go to Porto Vecchio - Sta Giulia - Rondaria  - Camping La Chiappa. The places around Porto Vecchio are very touristic built up areas.


Day 5:

N198 to Bonifacio - what a nice place! On N196 - D48 - D48A to the "standing stones tour"  - wild boars included. - back via Sartène - Propriano - D157 - D155 to the Plage di Cupabbia - no camping! -  D155 and D55 to the simple but lovely Camping La Vallée Verghia near the beach "Plage de Verghia" - art of corsican food in the evening at the little place on the beach.


Day 6:

D55 - N196 - D3 - D27 - Bastelica - Col de Scalella - N193 - Corte (no dogs at the Citadelle) - rain! - further on to the  Restonica Valley - D623 end of the road at the "Bergerie" and back. We canceled our hike to Lac Melo because of the weather. D18 - D84 - Calacuccia -  Col de Vergiu - Evisa - to Porto,  Camping Funtana a l'Oro.


Day 7:

D81 north along the west coast to Galéria - D351 into the Fango Valley. We hiked from the end of the road to a lovely plunge spot in the river ( about 3 hours). Then D81 - D81B to Calvi. Camping La Pinède - Storm!


Day 8:

Track day today!  N197 - Lumino - D71 - D113 - our location: Track near Lac de Codole   - "sous peine de……" barred to traffic - D83 Ille Rousse - N197 - D81 - 2nd attempt to the Desert des Agirats - the Saleccia track was open cool! One understands La France - today there is more wind than on our first attempt…. We don't talk about Ghignu, we are just happy. Due to the wind, we didn't stay on the beach overnigth (there is a camping at Saleccia) so just a breath and back to St. Florent, Camping Kallista, we know that place.


Day 9:

Our last day on the island. D81direction Casta - D62 San Pietro di Tenda (chasse à la corse) - D162 - D5 - D82 - Défilée de Lancome - N193 - Bastia - D80 - we found a track:  Pietracorbara - Cagnano on D32 ( yes, the mountain footpath from the 2nd day mutates again back to street - track - street)  - D180 Col de Sta Lucia - D80 round Cap Corse from west to east  -a stopover at the butcher's shop at  Macinaggio was planned but the timing was wrong….Camping La Pietra at Pietracorbara.


Day 10: (French Alps)

Bastia - Nizza - Mercantour - Col de la Bonette - D900 east - Col du Vars  (attention! Marmots on the road in the evening ) - Camping La Rochette at Guillestre.


Day 11:

Guillestre - D902 - Combe du Queyras - Col d'Izoard - Briançon - N91 Col du Lautaret - D902 - Col du Galibier - D 1006 - D902 - Col d'Iseran ( Marmots on the road ) - Bourg St. Maurice, Camping Le Reclus


Day 12:

Col du Petit St. Bernard - D1090 - Courmayeur (Italia) - Chamonix Mt. Blanc - D1506 - Col de la Forclaz - Martigny -HWY back home



Roads & Tracks:

We've found the roads at Corsica as often described: narrow, bumpy, no or simple side rails but therefore with breathtaking views to the sea, to the depth of canyons, to the mountains.            One exception is the  N196 along the east coast between Bastia and Bonifacio (appropriate traffic).  The Corsicans are quite excited on the roads but thankfull with a double honk, when one let them pass. 

We found out that many tracks or forrest roads described on the internet, as well as tracks we have seen on site are closed to traffic by barriers, chains stones or signs. We respect these bans because we think that the result in "non respect", contributes to more bans and restricitons.

Saleccia Track:  A Sunday walk for the Landi  - limited suitable for SUV's  ( washed out ) but it is possible to park a Land Rover in an "unconvenient position" on this track…..No, not our's…..

Pietracorbara - Cagnano track from Lapedino: narrow track, SUV suitable, great view. 


Travel season & Weather:

To avoid: July / August. Still now in September many tourists are on the road especially in towns. Nevertheless we always found a spot on campgrounds. Temperatures are nice warm but we had strong winds at this time of the year. 


Flora & Fauna:

It was extremely dry even in the mountains. Therefore fire was strictly forbidden. That means you can leave your BBQ grill at home. The shy wild boars can be seen best while hiking. We could see one on our "standing stone tour".  The corsican black piggies can be seen mainly in the inland - on the roads or in the woods near Bocca de Verghiu. Same for cattle, sheep, goats and horses. Cattle sometimes on the beaches. The animals live in great freedom. 


To see:

Drive round Cap Corse ( from east to west ) . Less tourists, great landscape, adventurous roads, original villages.

Restonica Valley. The very narrow road brings you along the canyon up into a fantastic mountain scenery and to a alpine lodge where you can buy cheese, honey and something to drink. Starting point for different hikes.

Bonifacio pure corsican savoir vivre!


Good hosts:

  • Camping La Pietra in Pietracorbara with a little restaurant
  • Restaurant Mare e Sole on the beach of Verghia, Coti-Chiavari (west coast)

Overall I can say that the campgrounds we stayed on were all nice and clean. In general you have to bring your own toilet paper. There is mostly a little grocery store or a bar/restaurant on the site. Reception was always friendly even though it was end of the season.


Conclusion:

Get to know the island, this was our aim of the trip. More is not possible within 8 days. One needs time at Corsica . Specially on the narrow roads where the average speed is somewhere between  40 - 50 km/h. Next time, and there will be a next time, we would take 2 or 3 places as  initial points for day tours. We also would book a local guide for maybe 1 day off road or track driving. They know where to go. The nice thing about Corsica from our point of view: We get there within  1 day, so less is more but therefore  more frequently….



Travel with dogs:

No problem! Jade was always welcome, even in restaurants. 

Corsica Ferries is somehow specialized on guests with dogs. It's good to have a muzzle in your pocket - just in case. It was written in the general conditions that dogs must wear a muzzle while on board  but we didn't need it. For extra € 28.- we booked a day 2-bed cabin with a window for both trips (from Livorno there was a dog blanket, chewing sticks and dog shampoo in the cabin...) 



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