Cycling Corsica: Pure Pleasureby Jessie Beyer - Monday, May 15, 2017
Tour Leader Top Three
Of all the places in the world our Tour Leader Jo Kent has bicycle toured (and there are a lot of them), she still calls Corsica to be one of her favorite cycling destinations, and – fortunately for us – her favorite tour to lead. When asked to describe ExperiencePlus!’s bicycle tour in Corsica she summed it up in three words: pure cycling pleasure.
“Corsica has phenomenal roads that lead to endless pleasures: beaches, mountains, the wonderful and exotic aroma of the maquis (local wild shrubland), fiadone (delicious Corsican cheescake), and Pietra (chestnut beer).”
Corsica is a unique patchwork of Mediterranean cultures and phenomenal cuisine (it is still part of France after all ). The diverse, stunning geography not only creates a scenic ride, but is entwined with history which mixes, mashes, and at times conflicts, with a unique and fiercely independent people. Corsica has a local dialect that is based on Latin but incorporates a mix of French, Arabic, Italian and 16th century Genoese dialect.
Jo’s Top Three(ish) Favorite Cycling Days in Corsica
Day 3: cycling down the west side of Cap Corse.
Absolutely stunning scenery with viewing out on the turquoise sea and secluded little coves and fishing ports.
On the 3rd day of cycling on our tour in Corsica is one of the most spectacular bicycle rides in the Mediterranean basin. We suggest an early start as you will likely want to stop often for photographs and take a swim during your lunch stop. The route follows a chain of Genoese watchtowers, built along the coast in the late Medieval period to provide the local villagers early warning of impending attack by pirates. The ride continues south along the west side of the Cap Corse to our hotel in the ancient Roman town of St. Florent.
Day 6 & 7: biking across the island.
Steady climbs through the Maquis followed by superb twisting descents through the chestnut forests.
Days 6 and 7 take you to Corsica’s interior. These are the “mountain days” on this trip and we encourage folks to take their time and enjoy the extraordinary wildflowers. After climbing over the pass of Saint Colombano you’ll enjoy a wonderful glide down the Navaccia River to Ponte Leccia, named for the 17th-century Genoese bridge still in use. Another steady climb is rewarded with a beautiful descent through chestnut forests as you head into one of Corsica’s most interesting regions, the Castagniccia. At the end of the day you’ll descend towards the coast to Aléria, one of the principal Roman trading towns and capital of Roman Corsica by 170 B.C.
Day 8: optional ride to the Col de Bavella.
Stunning mountain scenery reminiscent of Yosemite National Park.
This rates as one of Jo’s top 3 day rides anywhere. The 15 kilometer descent to Porto Vecchio is about as much fun as you can have on a bike!