The West coast of Corsica, from Ajaccio to Calvi

Reading time: 5 minutes

OUR TRIP: 5 days on site: 2-6 July 2020

HOW TO GET THERE? On foot, by bike, in a van or by car with the ferry companies that run daily crossings to the various ports of Corsica. The best known are Corsica Ferries and Corsica Linea. Several airlines also exist if you have less time.

WHY GO THERE? To take in the sights of the Piana creeks, to find peace and quiet in the Fangu Delta and to taste the delicious products of the sea and, more generally, of Corsican gastronomy!

ACCESSIBILITY: Find all our addresses on our Mapstr map!

You are probably wondering why our new article is about Corsica in the middle of a world tour!

As you know, the health crisis has led us to review our travel plans. We took advantage of the weeks of confinement to work on a new itinerary, in France. Our idea is still the same: to share our adventures, discoveries, activities and good addresses but this time, close to home!

Corsica is our first destination. We don't know the Isle of Beauty at all and decide to spend 5 weeks there, which will give us a good idea of the wonders it contains!

This first article takes you to the north-west coast of the island between Ajaccio and Calvi.

Let's go!

calanque de piana corse
The Calanches of Piana

Stage 1: Ajaccio

What better way to arrive on an island than by boat... We take the ferry from Toulon with Corsica Ferries early in the morning towards Ajaccio where we spend a day.

We leave to discover the old town after a snack not far from our hotel on the Cours Napoléon. At the end of the day, we head for the Genoese tower of La Parata to admire our first sunset on the Sanguinaires islands... The stay starts well, even very well! Take a picnic with you to make the most of it. We saw several places a little out of the way that you might like! 

iles sanguinaires corse
Sunset on the Sanguinaires islands

Before leaving for our second stage, we stock up on fruit at the market and we resist as best we can to all the delicatessen and cheeses which are making us look... after all, it's only 10 am!

It is on these same stalls that we become aware of the impact of this health crisis. We are almost alone and we hear the market gardeners regretting the endless queues in front of their stalls, which are usual at this time of year.

Ibis Styles Ajaccio Napoléon: A new hotel with a refined style, a stone's throw from the old town and the port. Accessibility : 4,5/5

Bistrot Canaille: For its sunny terrace in the heart of the city and its tapas. Accessibility: 2/5

Sofitel Porticcio: A fantastic setting at the tip of Porticcio. At sunset, a breathtaking view of the bay of Ajaccio and the Sanguinaires islands in the distance. Accessibility: 4/5

Stage 2: Porto (1h40 drive)

Fresh fruit in hand, we set off for Porto, an hour and 40 minutes' drive away, via the coast. You'll see that we'll talk more often in time than in kilometres in our articles. In just two days, no less than three Corsicans have told us that on the island you count in time and not in kilometres, on narrow and winding roads sometimes in bad condition. Without hesitation, we comply with the custom!

On the way, we stop to have a look at the Liamone beach: white sand as far as the eye can see! It's not where we'll take our first bath, but the setting leaves us dreaming...

plage corse
The Liamone beach

We cross Cargèse without lingering too much to go and link the hairpin bends and reach the Saliccio belvedere. It overlooks the village of Piana and the tip of Capo Rosso. What to say in front of so much beauty... at 360°!

Capo Rosso from the Saliccio lookout

On distingue les calanches de Piana au cœur de la montagne mais on se garde la surprise pour après. On préfère regarder droit vers le cap et sa tour génoise. On distingue un sentier qui permet d’y accéder. Malheureusement, il n’est pas très praticable en fauteuil. On le savait avant de partir : la Corse n’est pas connue pour la facilité de ses sentiers… #GR20 !

For the most courageous among you, we advise you to make the walk early in the morning or at the end of the day to avoid the strong heat and take plenty of water. Think of your headlamp if you go for the sunset, the path is tortuous around the tower.

Without giving up, we go back to the main road. After a short break in Piana, we set off again through the maze of calanches. The red granite blazes before our astonished eyes and the deep blue sea only enhances the landscape. The Isle of Beauty lives up to its name!

We only pass two cars and a few pedestrians coming from Piana. You should know that in the "classic" season it is almost impossible to stop on the road...

calanque piana
In the heart of the calanches

On termine ce coucher de soleil sur la terrasse du restaurant U Pescadore dans la marina de Porto, un régal !

Faire étape à Porto sans faire une sortie en mer serait un sacrilège. On embarque sur l’un des bateaux hybrides de Nave Va pour explorer les calanches, le Capo Rosso, le port de Girolata et la réserve naturelle de la Scandola. Une après-midi riche en découvertes !

The cliffs fall steeply into the sea and form here and there caves with more or less recognisable shapes: depending on your imagination, you can see Corsica, Sardinia...

Cliffs and caves in the Bay of Porto

After a short stop on the beach of Girolata, we head for the Scandola reserve. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983. The last people to set foot there were resistance fighters during the Second World War. Hiding in the heart of the maquis, they recovered weapons left by the submarine Casabianca on otherwise inaccessible banks.

We come back to enjoy the sunset on the Calanches road. We can't get enough of it!

Sunset on the calanches

Si vous avez le temps, faites un tour dans les terres. Le village d’Evisa est considéré comme l’un des plus typiques de Corse. Malheureusement pour nous, nous y étions encore trop tôt dans la saison pour que la vie y ait repris son cours. Sur le chemin du retour, n’hésitez pas à faire trempette dans l’une des nombreuses piscines naturelles des gorges de la Spelunca. L’eau y est fraiche et transparente (mais malheureusement inaccessible en fauteuil, bien que le pont qui traverse les gorges offre une jolie vue sur la rivière) !

Hotel Kallisté: Ideally located next to the port, we loved the balcony of our room to watch the sunset. Accessibility: 3/5

U Pescadore: At the edge of the beach, taste good fresh fish. The wait can be a bit long for service. Accessibility: 3.5/5

Nave Va: A boat trip in the calanques of Piana and the Scandola nature reserve accompanied by a very nice crew. Price: 38€/person for half a day. Accessibility: 5/5 (including toilets on board the boat)

Gorges de la Spelunca: translucent natural pools, a dream! Accessibility : 0/5

Stage 3: Galeria (1h30 drive)

Before going to Calvi, we make a diversion to Galéria. We leave Southern Corsica and enter Upper Corsica for the first time. Here we come for the reserve of the Fangu Delta. The best way to discover it: a canoe trip!

Two pieces of good news once on board: it is impossible to tip over and only the person sitting in the back has to row. The lucky person sitting in the front can take photos and videos without fear of getting wet.

tortue nénuphars corse
Cistude turtles among the water lilies

Keep your eyes open, cistude turtles like to sunbathe on wooden trunks!

The exit lasts one hour and is done in absolute silence so as not to disturb the local inhabitants.

To recover from our efforts, we enjoy a lobster roll and an artisanal beer at the Cabane du Pêcheur on the beach in Galéria.

La Cabane du Pêcheur: We love this environmentally conscious restaurant: all the dishes are recyclable or compostable, the fishing is local and responsible and the food is delicious! Accessibility: 5/5

Canoeing in the Fangu Delta: A trip to the heart of the fauna. To get there, follow this GPS point, it's the nearest parking. If you are in a wheelchair, give them a call and they will tell you where to park right behind their hut.
Price: 6€/person. Accessibility: the team will be happy to help you access the canoe.

It is now time to go to Calvi to discover the Balagne and its picturesque villages.

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