Here are a few tips to help you plan your travel to Corsica and to get around the island without fuss during your stay.

Flying to Corsica

Corsica is now within easy reach of many European Capital cities. Several low cost airlines also now offer cheap flights from France, Belgium, Germany or the UK, mostly from April to October (although Ryanair has started an all-year flight from Brussels to Figari). However, ferry from the french or italian coast remain the most popular access as of now. Four cities currently have an airport that host commercial flights:

Ajaccio – Napoleon Bonaparte airport (formerly known and still often called Campo dell’Oro) located on the south west coast of the island, 5km from Ajaccio city centre.

Bastia – Poretta airport, located on the other side of the island from Ajaccio (i.e. top of the North east coast), approximately 16 km south of Basta city centre.

Figari – sud corse airport is located at the extreme south of the island, 20km west of Porto-Vecchio and 15km north of Bonifacio. It is a much smaller airport than those of Ajaccio and Bastia. CCM airlines and charter/low costs XL Airways operates flights from mainland France and Ryanair has opened flights from Brussels and London. Whether those Ryanair lines will be maintained and how frequently remains fairly uncertain so check on the Ryanair site for the latest accurate information.

Calvi – Ste Catherine airport, is the smallest airport of the island. It hosts mostly national flights from Marseille, Nice and Paris during the year and hosts some charter flights from Switzerland and Germany in summer.

All year round, it is relatively easy to find a direct flight from the following destinations: Main capital cities in France – (Paris, Lyon, Lille, Strasbourg, Marseille, Nice…) usually through Air France or Air Corsica (formerly known as “Corsair” or “CCM” ) and Bruxelles, in Belgium, with a bi-weekly Ryanair flight to Figari airport.

From end of April to early October, it gets suddenly much easier to access the island from lots more cities in Europe, with either a lot of charter flights from multiple destinations across Europe. Generally, the main destination from which you will find affordable direct flights to Corsica will be (over and above the all year round locations above): London – United Kingdom (direct flights with Easyjet from London to both Ajaccio and Bastia and from Manchester and Bristol to Bastia and from London to Figari with Ryanair) Geneva and Basel – Switzerland (direct flights to Ajaccio from Basel and Geneva and to Bastia from Geneva with Easyjet again) Amsterdam – The Netherlands (direct flight from Amsterdam to Ajaccio with Transavia)

Driving + sailing

The most commonly used access route to Corsica is via ferries. They sail from France and Italy and take about 4 to 6 hours to reach the island. A few years ago, Italian ferries were cheaper and it would be worth going to Livorno or Genoa to take your ferry, if you were traveling on a budget. However, prices now seem to have very much evened out so focus on picking the nearest driving destination to your home to choose your port of departure and ferry company.

For a full view of the main destinations and ferry companies serving them, you can visit the link in reference at the bottom.

If you drive through France to reach your departure ports, you will be driving on well maintained highways; but bear in mind that this comes at a cost (approximately 110 euros from Lille to Marseille) and a speedy arrival is not guaranteed if you travel in July or August, during French school holidays (especially week-ends, avoid early or mid-August at all costs) or during some of many bank holiday week-ends. So pick your dates wisely!

Getting around Corsica

It is for a good reason that over 80% of tourists in Corsica travel by car. Firstly, the best of Corsica is probably its scenery and simply driving around is a treat. You want to be able to stop over whenever you find a nice spot to take a picture, picnic or simply lazing around without a crowd. The size of the island makes it so that you can also afford, in most times, to stay “spontaneous”, change your mind about where to stay on the night, decide on a small village that you just discovered and where some locals just offered you a lovely “chambre d’hote”, etc… However, the transport infrastructure, trains and buses, has tremendously improved and will now enable you to not only get to and from the 4-5 main coastal cities or Corte but also discover some of the smaller villages. Here are more information 

Car and motorbike – roads can be winding at times but the infrastructure has massively improved over the past 10 years with many “Route Nationale” (the main axis in Corsica) seeing reduction in travel time of 10 to sometime 30% through cutting of turns and widening of the roads. Booked early enough, internet rentals can offer very competitive prices. Because the winding roads prove to be fun on a motorbike and taking over is easier than with a car, the island is also popular with bikers. Many hotels and restaurants also accommodate specifically for them. It is also quite easy to rent out motorcycles in towns or airports. Corsica Moto Evasion has a site in English with rates and choice of several type of machines.