Corsica - On The Road

Sep 11, 2013

Over the years we have grown so fond of road trips and we most definitely have what they call love for the road. This time was no different as we finally got to the day we had been waiting for- the day to explore the West Coast towards north! We kissed Ajaccio goodbye (and its endless traffic jam along the only boulevard that takes you through it) and got on the coastal road that'd take us through all three gulfs; SagonePorto and Girolata. This route is incredibly scenic but also extremely time-consuming as it twists and turns pretty much all the way. But we were in no rush driving through secluded mountain villages, wondering the rocky cliffs and pillars rising out of the translucent sea, and every now and then having savage white sand beaches on the other side and rugged mountains on the other. Now that's the Corsica we all been hearing about! The landscape and the richness of nature is indeed pretty impressive and particularly versatile on this Mediterranean island.

The driver (& a passionate map reader) 
First glimpse of the Gulf of Sagone 
Gorgeous beaches at the Gulf of Sagone

Although it's hard to pick favourites out of this scenic route, one of the highlights must’ve been  Calanche de Piana over in the gulf of Porto- massive reddish limestone formations with the azure sea as a backdrop! Absolutely breath-taking. 

Views right after village of Piana
Road down to sea-level 
Calanche of Piana 
Impressive road through Calanches
Famous little heart shaped rock formation
Taking in the views
Somewhere along the way
Lunch break at the Bussaglia beach 

After passing the exciting passage of the Calanches we got really hungry and decided to pull a little picnic at the beach of Bussaglia. The thing about this beach is that it's located right beneath the red cliffs  and we could see the road we had taken from below (good that I didn't realise the height of that cliff before!). The sea on this side was actually pretty strong and it was nice to watch the waves smashing against the cliffs over and over...

Cool lounge 
Majestic Calanches rising out of the sea

Another great viewpoint was later at the Col de la Croix overlooking the Girolata and the Scandola nature reserve (UNESCO World Heritage Site).

Overlooking Gulf of Girolata & Scandola
The beginning of Desert des Agriates

After good six hours on the road we passed Calvi in north but we still had about an hour drive to our destination- Saint Florent. We followed (yet again) a small and winding road through the Desert des Agriates, which, by the way, also is a pretty stunning drive around the sunset! That night we walked around the little harbor strip of St. Florent and had some yummy seafood dinner to crown the long but oh so spectacular day…

Views down to St. Florent from the Desert des Agriates


On the road:
Gulf of Porto (Calanche of Piana, Gulf of Girolata, Scandola Nature Reserve)


Still need to do:
Go Hike
It really is a must-do in Corsica if you're in any way into outdoors and walking. Corsica is the most mountainous Mediterranean island and offers really good and scenic trails, both high peaks- and easier 'landscape' walks. Unfortunately we didn’t have time for it this time, but we’ll be back with our hiking gear for sure!

Did you know that Tour de France came to Corsica for the first time ever this year as they toured for the 100th time? (On this very road we took!)


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