If you’re planning a road trip in Europe, Corsica should undoubtedly be on your list. Known as the ‘Isle of Beauty’, this French island offers breathtaking landscapes, stunning beaches, and a captivating history that make it an excellent destination for a road trip. Whether you’re after scenic drives, historical sites, or just a touch of adventure, Corsica delivers in spades. Before you hit the road, however, there are a few essential things to know about driving in Corsica. From navigating winding roads to understanding local customs, this guide has got you covered.
Get Familiar with the Road Network
Corsica is relatively compact, but don’t be fooled – its mountainous terrain means driving can take longer than expected. The island is crisscrossed by two main roads: the RT20, which runs from Bastia to Ajaccio, and the RT10, stretching from Bastia to Bonifacio along the coast. Remember, the coastal roads offer magnificent views but can be winding and narrow.
Respect the Speed Limits
Like the rest of France, Corsica has stringent speed limits. The maximum speed on most regional roads is 90km/h (56mph), but this can drop to 50km/h (31mph) in towns and villages. Be especially cautious on mountain roads, where tight bends and sudden drops can be challenging.
Beware of Livestock
It’s not uncommon to come across cows, goats, or pigs on the road, especially in rural areas. Always be on the lookout and reduce your speed if you see animals ahead.
Renting a Car? Opt for a Smaller Model
Corsican roads, especially in older towns, can be quite narrow. A smaller car is not only easier to drive but also to park. Consider renting a compact model to make your journey smoother.
Fill Up When You Can
While there are plenty of petrol stations in larger towns, they can be few and far between in the countryside. It’s a good idea to keep your tank at least half full just in case.
Embrace the Scenic Routes
Some of Corsica’s best treasures are off the beaten path. Routes like the D81 on the west coast, or the D84 through the central mountains, offer mesmerizing views and hidden gems waiting to be discovered.
Local Etiquette Matters
Corsicans are proud of their heritage. A friendly wave to fellow drivers on narrow roads, or a polite ‘Bonjour’ when you enter a shop, can make all the difference in how you’re received.
Invest in a Good Map or GPS
While many popular destinations are well-signposted, having a reliable map or GPS is essential, especially if you’re keen to explore less-traveled areas.
Take Regular Breaks
The beauty of Corsica is that there’s always a picturesque spot to take a break. Whether it’s a sandy beach, a mountain vista, or a charming village café, make sure to pause and soak in the views.
Stay Overnight in Different Locations
To truly appreciate the diverse beauty of Corsica, consider staying in multiple locations. From the bustling ports of Bastia and Ajaccio to the serene beauty of towns like Calvi or Corte, each place offers a unique experience.
Explore the Local Cuisine
A road trip in Corsica isn’t complete without indulging in the local gastronomy. Try delicacies like “fiadone” (a type of cheesecake) or “charcuterie Corse” (Corsican sausages and hams). The island also boasts excellent wines and cheeses that are a must-try!
Respect the Environment
Corsica’s natural beauty is its greatest treasure. When stopping for breaks, ensure you don’t leave any litter behind and be mindful of local flora and fauna.
Driving in Corsica is an experience like no other. With its rugged mountains, azure waters, and rich history, the island offers countless memories waiting to be made. So, buckle up, respect the road rules, and let the magic of Corsica enchant you.