This Corsica road trip isn’t your average adventure. If you like to live the high life, but also love nature and getting out into the wild, this four-day itinerary will knock your socks off… they’ll need a wash after four days on the road anyway. 😉
The trip involves two of the island’s best hotels as well as a night camping on a dream beach where the sunset will blow your mind. Mixing creature comforts with ‘roughing it’ in some of the most beautiful, breathtaking spots you’ll ever set your eyes on.
Pictures don’t do this place justice. Seeing is believing. Watch the video from this experience below, then read on for a complete lowdown of this trip.
Corsica Road Trip Video ►
Ideally, you want longer than four days to explore Corsica as there is just so much to feast your eyes on, but if you want to get a quick taste of the island, this trip will whet your appetite for sure and give you a good reason to come back again. This itinerary can also act as a base to build your own road trip from.
Quick article navigation
Click the links below to go directly to each section of the Corsica road trip itinerary.
- Corsica road trip video
- Corsica facts
- Getting to Corsica
- Day 1 ~ Bastia to Bonifacio
- Night 1 ~ Hotel Version Maquis
- Day 1 road map
- Day 2 ~ Bonifacio to Ajaccio
- Night 2 ~ Camping at ‘A Marina’
- Day 2 road map
- Day 3 ~ Near Ajaccio to Calvi
- Night 3 ~ Hotel la Villa in Calvi
- Day 3 road map
- Day 4 ~ Calvi to Bastia
- Day 4 road map
- Book your Corsica Road Trip
- Soundtrack to this adventure
- Coordinates: 42.0396° N, 9.0129° E
- Area: 8,680 km²
- Elevation: 2,706 m
- Population: 322,120 (Jan 1, 2013)
- Capital: Ajaccio
- More facts: Wikipedia page ⓘ
Getting to Corsica
The best way to start your Corsica Road Trip is by ferry from Nice. Take the night ferry. That way you can book your very own little cabin and wake up in the port of Bastia early in the morning ready to drive off the ferry and start putting in the kilometres.
Ferry costs depend on dates, the number of passengers, cabin type, car model and destination port, but you can expect to fork out in the region of €300 to €600 for two adults on a return journey with your car, a private cabin and food vouchers. Take a ‘Luxury Cabin’ for a bit of extra space and comfort, and if you’re lucky you’ll get your own little balcony.
To cruise from Nice to Bastia takes between 5 and 8 hours depending on the service you choose. You can also go from Toulon or Savona in Italy.
- Start your journey here: Search your ferry
Otherwise, fly to Corsica and hire a car when you get there. But this means you can’t take as much ‘stuff’ with you on the first leg of the journey. No road trip is complete without a car full of goodies, half of which you end up not using. 😉
Day 1 ~ Bastia to Bonifacio (via Bavella and Porto Vecchio)
Although very pretty, the east coast of Corsica is not as epic as the south, west and north aspects, but the road is much more direct so it serves as a great route to travel up and down the island quickly. For this Corsica road trip, we use the east coast as the entry point to get down south in double quick time.
When you roll off the ferry in Bastia, take the coastal road (follow the T20 then T10) towards Bonifacio for approx. 2 hours. Just next to Sari-Solenzara is where you’ll head up into the mountains on the D286 to see Bavella. This mountain range is one of the most beautiful and impressive in Europe. If you have time, go for a hike in this area. The trails and surrounding views are amongst the finest you’ll ever experience.
From Bavella, you’ll head back towards the coast and down to Porto Vecchio for your first taste of a Corsican seaside town.
The meandering route is peppered with so many breathtaking views you’ll struggle to keep your eyes on the road. Stop for a stretch and some snaps at Lac de l’Ospedale on the D368 road. Swimming is ‘interdit’ as they say in French (not allowed), but it’s a nice spot for a break from driving none the less.
Porto Vecchio is your next major stop. This east facing town is a treat to wander around, grab a snack and a Pietra (local Corsican beer) or a glass of Corsican wine. If you are following this itinerary in terms of timings, you won’t have much time to spend exploring the town, but you’ll have an hour or so for a wander around and mingle with the ‘Portivechjacciu’ (locals). Check out the old town and its little boutique shops.
By this time you’ll be itching for a dip in the sea. Plage de Rondinara is well worth the ten-minute drive off route. It has a tropical feel, dreamy white sand, turquoise water and a cool beach club called Chez Ange.
For dinner (and after you’ve checked in to the hotel below), head into Bonifacio. This is one of the highlights of the island and is peppered with nice restaurants and bars (L’an faim is a good choice for food ~ call them and book a table on 00 33 4 95 73 09 10).
Either before or after dinner, head up to Citadelle de Bonifacio. It’s a hilltop fortress with eagle eye views down on the old town and surrounding harbour where little fishing boats rub up against the fenders of visiting superyachts.
After a long day of adventure and exploring, you’ll be ready to settle into your home for the evening. You won’t be disappointed.
Night 1 ~ Hotel Version Maquis near Bonifacio
After a day of exploring from mountains to sea, you’ll arrive at this little paradise in the rolling hills behind Bonifacio. It’s like arriving at your very own home amongst beautiful nature. Everything feels right. The location, design, comfort and peace. Boutique bliss.
Good to know
- 4-star Boutique chic hotel. ★★★★
- 10 bedrooms or suites to choose from.
- Infinity pool with infinite views.
- Tasty breakfast served at the poolside.
- No restaurant for evening meals at the hotel.
- Staff leave at 20:00 so arrive before that.
- Prices €160 to €500 per room, per night.
What we think
The photos make Hotel Version Marquis look like a place you’d definitely want to stay, but the reality is so much better than the pictures can even do justice to. See this hotel featured here: Corsica road trip video.
As you roll up in your car, you instantly get a warm feel for the private, nature-centric location in the hills. Somehow the hotel design blends well with the colours and feel of the surrounding countryside, having minimal impact on the beautiful landscape which it was built upon.
The excitement doesn’t stop in the hotel lobby. When you turn the key in your room door and swing it open, you’ll smile with happiness. This sleek, comfortable space is equipped with all the luxuries you’d expect from a boutique hotel. Tastefully done.
The infinity pool is where the true pleasure lies. Something feels strange about the water spilling over the edge and disturbing the peace as you dive in and swim towards the infinite view, but it’s a nice touch. At the pool’s edge, gazing out to the mountains you just explored, you’ll forget you even had a job!
The hotel is actually a 17-minute drive from the centre of Bonifacio. There isn’t a restaurant at the hotel, so your best bet is to jump back in the car and head into town for dinner in one of the harbour-side restaurants. As mentioned above, L’an faim is a good choice.
What they say
“In the heart of the Bonifacio maquis, with the sea for the horizon, this 4-star boutique hotel with 10 suites offers you peace and privacy. Steeped in the fragrance of the maquis, wood and stone, this unique place, both chic and distinctive, will welcome you as if you were at home.”
Book a room at Hotel Version Maquis
Day 1 road map
Day 2 ~ Bonifacio to just north of Ajaccio
Day two you’ll wake up in the beautiful Hotel Version Marquis, open the curtains and watch the sun rising over the east coast. Today you’re not driving too far so you have time for a chilled breakfast by the pool, catch some morning rays and have one last dip in the infinity pool before it’s time to hit the tarmac and get back to exploring the island.
If you didn’t get the chance to visit Bonifacio the night before, make sure you head there on the morning of day two. It’s too good to miss.
The west cost is a kingdom of incredible beaches, unforgettable coves and roads you’d expect to see on Top Gear. Which way to look? Left to the sea and white sandy beaches more like the Caribbean than anywhere else in Europe? Right to the mountains so tall, it’s hard to believe you’re on an island in the middle of the Med? Even the most travelled of voyagers will be in awe on this journey.
There are plenty of stop worthy places on this leg of the journey. You’ll be spoilt for choice. One place you should drop in on is Plage d’Argent which is 2 to 3 hours drive from Bonifacio depending which of the two routes you take (coastal or slightly inland). Both routes are fun to drive. The coastal road is a little longer.
If you took the tip of having a chilled morning by the hotel pool, by the time you get to Plage d’Argent it’ll be time for a spot of lunch. Pizzas and salads are good at the beach club and will set you up for an afternoon of exploring Ajaccio. Have a dip and cool down at Plage d’Argent before you set off again. This beach is good for snorkelling around the sporadically placed rocks in the sea.
Mid-afternoon, jump back in the car and take the 40-minute drive to the capital of Corsica. Ajaccio is the largest settlement on the island and definitely the most lively. Even if you’re enjoying the wilderness, it’s worth briefly breaking the peace and quiet for a wander round the streets where Napoléon Bonaparte was born in 1769.
Night two’s home from home is 40 minutes drive north of the capital. A big change from the luxury of Hotel Version Marquis, but the perfect way to get close to the nature of the island. There’s something special about mixing boutique hotels with camping. Especially when you’re pitching your tent beside such an epic beach. Prepare for one of the best sunsets you’ve seen in a long time. ☀
Night 2 ~ Camping at ‘A Marina’ in Golfe de La Liscia
This campsite is so close to the sea you can hear the gentle waves washing up on the beach. A come down from the night before in terms of facilities, but it’s the perfect layover in prep for day three of your Corsican adventure. Watch the video below to get a taste.
Good to know
- Campsite leads directly to the beach.
- Hot showers available.
- Pizzeria restaurant.
- On-site shop selling essentials.
- Wi-Fi (but you won’t need that, right)?
- Playground, table tennis and baby football for big kids (and your children).
If camping’s not your bag, check out Hotel le Weekend just west of Ajaccio, it’s a 4-star hotel built right on the beach, has a top restaurant and a nice pool.
Day 2 road map
Day 3 ~ Just north of Ajaccio to Calvi
Unless you’ve got a good eye mask and pair of ear plugs, chances are you’ll be up early, but that’s not a bad thing. The early bird catches the… breaking waves. From time to time you get a pretty good swell in Golfe de La Liscia. Don your swimmers and make the most of it. If you’re into fitness, this beach is a top place for a morning workout before you get back on the road.
Day three of this Corsica road trip takes you through some of the island’s most incredible landscapes. Buckle up, it’s going to be one hell of a ride. Head towards Piana. This quaint little village is where the Calanques (coastal inlets) really get started and the scenery changes. Before you descend into paradise, take some time to have a coffee and a wander around the village. It’s a sleepy place surrounded by outstanding natural beauty.
Recharged and loaded up on caffeine, you’re ready to start the descent. Navigate around the inspiring mountains on some of the best roads you’ll have ever driven. It’s not easy to keep your eyes on the road, it’s so stunning up there! Watch the Corsica road trip video to get an idea of what’s it’s like driving this route.
20 minutes drive down the hill you’ll arrive at Porto. A tiny village with a few lunch spots and home to various boat trip operators. Weather permitting, this is where you can take a boat into the Scandola nature reserve for a glimpse of its sheer beauty and breathtaking geographical features. Otherwise, you could drive a little further up the coast and hike into the nature reserve.
The road on the last leg of the journey is super windy and great fun to drive. The closer you get to Calvi, the more the road opens out and you can really eat up the kilometres. The scenery changes again, becoming more barren in places, but equally impressive. Now you’ll catch sight of the big old mountains on the north side of the island, including the highest, Monte Cinto. Rising up to 2706m above sea level, she’s an impressive sight to see.
After 1 hour and 40 minutes of leaving Porto, you’ll arrive in Calvi (let’s say two hours to account for nature calling and photo stops). According to legend, Christopher Columbus supposedly came from Calvi. From one explorer to another, now it’s your turn. It’s a great place to wander around and has a handful of good bars and restaurants. Head up to the old town for good views across the bay.
Night three’s layover is another boutique treat and has a Michelin star restaurant to boot.
Night 3 ~ Hotel la Villa in Calvi
What better way to spend your last night in Corsica than at a 5-star luxury hotel which also has a Michelin star restaurant and a beautiful swimming pool overlooking historical Calvi? Hotel La Villa has it all. You’ve earned it.
Good to know
- 5-star luxury hotel above Calvi. ★★★★★
- Choose a room, suite or villa.
- Two outdoor pools and one indoor.
- Spa, massage, fitness centre and hairdresser.
- Tennis court for the Federer in you.
- 25-minute walk from Calvi’s centre.
- Breakfast served on the terrace.
- Michilen star* gourment restaurant.
- Prices €260 to €3200 per room/suite/villa, per night.
What we think
At Hotel La Villa you’ll feel every single one of its five stars. You won’t spend much time indoors, the pool area is so good. Chill out on a sunlounger, order a bottle of bubbles and soak up that Corsica sun. To get a feel for the hotel and Calvi, check out the Corsica road trip video.
When staying at Hotel La Villa, you have to go into Calvi for an explore, but perhaps not for dinner. The best place to eat is on your doorstep. La Table by Head Chef Laurent Renard has to be the best way to celebrate the last night of such an amazing journey.
The rooms ooze luxury. Even the feel of the high-end carpets under your feet doesn’t go un-noticed. Everyone loves nice bathroom products, even more so when you find out they are Nuxe products. Don your white robe, slippers and settle in for the night.
What they say
“Welcome to Hotel La Villa. Enjoy our hospitality as we welcome you into this unique place where the diversity of landscapes and outstanding nature is out of this world. Discover the secrets of the Corsican soul and why we are so proud of our identity.”
Book a room at Hotel la Villa
Day 3 road map
Day 4 – Calvi to Bastia
Today is a sad day. It’s the last leg of your Corsica road trip and time to head back to Bastia to catch the ferry back to Nice. But don’t get the blues just yet, you’ve still got time to explore the north coast and Cap Corse.
Book the night ferry back so you get a full day of fun on the last leg of the journey. Bastia is under 2 hours drive from Calvi, but if you take your time and head around Cap Corse first, it’ll take more like 5 to 6 hours.
The north coast feels much more rugged and barren than the other aspects, but equally beautiful. Saint-Florent is just 1 hour 25 minutes drive out of Calvi and is one of the main towns on the north coast. Stop here and scope it out before you tackle Cap Corse.
There are numerous picturesque beaches and coves to explore on this journey, as well as some pretty little villages like Nonza. Just follow your nose and stop where you feel like it. You can’t really go wrong.
Leave some time to stroll around Bastia before you roll back on the ferry. First appearances of this place are a bit shabby. But behind the battered old exterior is a charming fishing town with plenty of character.
Day 4 road map
We hope you enjoy this outstanding adventure as much as we did. Let us know about your own Corsica road trip in the comments below.
Book your Corsica Road Trip
- Corsica Ferries from Nice to Bastia: Search your ferry
To book the rest of the trip (Hotel Version Marquis, Camping at ‘A Marina’ and Hotel La Villa), send us a message below. Be sure to add the number of travellers and the dates you want to book for.
Otherwise, if you’d prefer a slightly different itinerary, let us know and we’ll tailor-make a trip for you.
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