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Cycling Corsica - The Island of Beauty
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Bicycle Tours in France: Cycling Corsica - The Island of Beauty

From the sea, Corsica appears as a large piece of Alpine Europe floating on a bed of cobalt blue. In fact, Corsica is geologically more closely related to the Alps than it is to its larger neighbor to the south, the Italian island of Sardinia. But culturally and linguistically this birthplace of Napoleon is all Mediterranean. Palm-lined streets bustle with colorful marketplaces and French, the island's official language since 1768, mingles with a variety of exotic dialects brought here from northern Africa, Italy, and the rest of the Mediterranean basin. An island of beauty, Corsica is also an island of delightful surprises for the touring cyclist.

Italy's Sardinia island is a short ferry ride away so do both tours and save $400.

Day 1: Arrive Bastia, Corsica

Highlights: Historic capital of Corsica, sidewalk café, gourmet introductory dinner

Bright blue and white fishing boats and sidewalk café await you today as our tour begins near Bastia, Corsica's historic capital and its most picturesque city. We recommend arriving a day early to soak in the charms of this centuries-old Mediterranean seaport. We'll fit you with a bicycle this afternoon so you can explore town, and then reconvene this evening for a traditional French gourmet dinner together.

Lodging: L'Alivi

Day 2: Bicycle to Rogliano

Highlights: Scenic cycling in Corsica's panhandle, Genoese history and settlements

After breakfast you'll head north on an easy ride along the east side of Cap Corse, Corsica's panhandle. You'll want to stop for a snack or coffee in Erbalunga to see its Genoese coastal tower before a lunch stop in the tiny port of Santa Severa. Stop for ice cream or a swim in Macinaggio before heading inland to our hotel. Dinner is together. Distance: 38 km (24 miles).

Lodging: U Sant'Agnellu

Day 3: Bicycle to St. Florent

Highlights: Scenic cycling on Cap Corse, Mediterranean beaches

Today's ride is one of the most spectacular bicycle rides in the Mediterranean basin. We suggest an early start as you'll want to stop often for photographs. You can even take a swim during your lunch stop. Our 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. We'll continue south along the west side of the Cap Corse to our hotel right on the water, located in the ancient Roman town of St. Florent. Distance: 68 km (42 miles).

Lodging: Hotel Dolce Notte

Day 4: Rest day in St. Florent

Highlights: 11th-century Pisan cathedrals, enchanting bay of St. Florent with nearby beaches and aquatic activities

A visit to our first 11th-century Pisan cathedral begins our day. Pisa ruled Corsica unchallenged until 1133 A.D. when the pope divided the island between Pisa and rival Genoa. Our optional ride continues on to the most famous Pisan cathedral in Corsica as we wind our way through hilltop villages and river gorges. We'll have dinner together this evening. Distance: 0 - 54 km (0 - 33 miles).

Lodging: Hotel Dolce Notte

Day 5: Bicycle to L'Ile Rousse

Highlights: Beautiful coastal landscape with breathtaking vistas and Mediterranean beaches

You'll head across the unique Désert des Agriate today. This stony landscape that was once rich with wheat fields is unlike any area on the island and offers some beautiful panoramas. After soaking up the views you'll coast down to the beach for a refreshing swim if you wish. Our efforts today will be rewarded as we explore the coastal town of L'Ile Rousse with its charming center and beach. And if that's not enough, we'll watch the sun drop into the sea. Distance: 44 km (27 miles)

Lodging: L'Escale Côté Sud

Day 6: Bicycle to Piedicroce

Highlights: Coastal to mountain scenery, spectacular wildflowers in season, Genoese history

You'll head into Corsica's interior today. This is the main "mountain day" on the tour, so take your time and enjoy the extraordinary wildflowers. 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. You'll then have a steady long climb to be rewarded with a beautiful descent through chestnut forests as we head into one of Corsica's most interesting regions, the Castagniccia. Dinner together. Distance: 79 km (49 miles).

Lodging: La Refuge

Day 7: Bicycle to Aléria

Highlights: Downhill ride to the coast, ancient capital of Roman Corsica

Continuing east today, you'll have a few short hills before enjoying a wonderful downhill ride to the coast. Our destination, Aléria, was one of the principal Roman trading towns and capital of Roman Corsica by 170 B.C. Dinner together tonight. Distance: 68 km (42 miles)

Lodging: L'Empereur

Day 8: Bicycle to Sainte Lucie

Highlights: Vineyards, orchards and coastal scenery, beachfront hotel

Vineyards and orchards mark the route today as you follow the coast through pine forests. If we have time this afternoon we'll enjoy a swim or just relax at the beach. Dinner is together tonight. Distance: 71 km (44 miles).

Lodging: Res. U Paesolu

Day 9: Rest day in Sainte Lucie

Highlights: Visit Pinarello's charming little port or relax at the beach

Today is a rest day so you can either take a leisurely stroll down to the beach at Pinarello, go for a swim in the clear blue waters of the bay or unwind by the hotel's swimming pool. Pinarello beach is one of the many beautiful beaches to the north of Porto-Vecchio. The sea is azure blue, and the 1.2 km long, narrow sweeping beach has soft white sand, is backed by dramatic mountains and overlooked by a Genoese watchtower. Pinarello has a pretty little port and plenty of opportunities for refreshments and water sports. For those of you who want more cycling, we'll offer a beautiful loop ride into the countryside. Dinner on your own. Distance: your choice.

Day 10: Bicycle to Bonifacio

Highlights: Visit Porto Vecchio and the Seaside fortress of Bonifacio

This morning we'll ride through Porto Vecchio a well know seaside resort, bounded on the west by the relief of Ospedale and to the east by the Tyrrhenian Sea. We will then continue onto Bonifacio at the southern tip of Corsica. This magnificent village perched on limestone cliffs was the prize possession of both the Pisans and Genoese who fought over it for over 150 years. You'll have time to explore this fortress town before we celebrate our final dinner together this evening. Distance: 66 km (41 miles).

Lodging: H. Sole Mare

Day 11: Tour ends in Bonifacio, Corsica

Highlights: Bon Voyage!

Our tour ends this morning after breakfast. Sardinia is just a few miles across the Strait of Bonifacio, so maybe you plan to explore more of the Mediterranean. Whatever your plans, bon voyage!
  • Highlights
    Mountain scenery, Extraordinary coastal scenery, French and Mediterranean food, Picturesque villages, Beautiful Pisan and Genoese churches, Fabulous beaches, Impressive watchtowers along the coast
  • Includes
    "The Usual" plus... Use of a quality 27-30 speed bicycle; 11 days, 10 nights accommodation, 7 dinners with wine, all breakfasts, van support, 2 to 3 bilingual tour leaders
  • Countries
    France
  • Begin/End
    Bastia/Bonifacio
  • Arrive/Depart
    Bastia-Poretta Int'l Airport (BIA) / Figari Sud Corse (FSC), 22 km from Bonifacio (There are also ferry options available)
  • Total Distance
    493 km (304 miles) + optional extra miles
  • Daily Distance
    Average per day 62 km (38 miles)
  • What to Expect
    Palm-lined streets, colorful markets, cobalt blue seas, rich chestnut forests and towering mountains - home to a very unique population.
  • Rating
    301
    Moderate coastal rides at the beginning and end of the tour. A few days have hilly or mountainous terrain with a couple climbs of 5 to 10 miles.
  • Notes
  • Terms
Dates Price Single
Supplement*
Notes Next
Step
May 07 - 17, 2014 $4695 $650 Confirmed. Book It
Sep 16 - 26, 2014 $4695 $650 Just Two Spaces Left Book It
*We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the single supplement rate. This fee will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available this fee will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.
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Click on the "pins" for details about each day's highlights.

Map Key

Green pinStart
Yellow pinCity (on route)
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Other city dotCity (not part of route, provided for reference)
Would love to do it again and again. The leaders were incredible
Kelly D., Ft Collins, CO
Loved Corsica. Jonathan and Stephane were wonderful. Already looking forward to the next trip.
David A., Colorado Springs, CO
What was your favorite experience on this trip? Swimming in the Mediterranean Sea 7 out of 10 days. The bike trip was great and I look forward to doing another one.
Jim M., Coquitlam, BC
The opportunities to swim was a real plus. The rides were challenging without being exhausting. The scenery was typical of travel brochures, the weather was ideal for cycling.
Charles B., Mississauga, Ontario
Corsica was really magical. It has everything, lush forests, desert, beaches, mountains. I would love to go back .
Susan A., Colorado Springs, CO
Keep doing the same things because it is great! All of your leaders have been exceptional.
Ole L., Fort Worth, TX
The riding was superb. The group was excellent. You have great people and a great format.
Peter M., Auckland, NZ
It was amazing to do Corsica and Sardinia back to back. The riding in Corsica is second to none with its wild beauty and then to do Sardinia where even the mountains seem polished. There is such a contrast in these two islands that are so close together. This trip was without a doubt at the top of our list as the most fabulous trips we have done, which now number 17 in Europe.
Sharon M., Vancouver, BC, Canada
The trip was wonderful in all ways!
Elaine M., Pittsford, NY
It was simply the best trip ever. I don't think it can be matched.
Kathleen D., Tucson, AZ
You do a great job of service, support and fun. Thanks so much for another great trip! We love going places with you!
Leslie M., Fort Collins, CO
The meals were all excellent, and the ride around Cap Corse was out of this world. I couldn't recommend this trip more. It was wonderful, a great way to see new places, make some friends, get physical activity and enjoy all the food and wine, too.
Jane C., Lucca, Italy
Each guide excelled in a different area which made their team work unbeatable. Working in the tourism industry I sometimes think I look at things even more critically & yet the overall tour was superb - this was my first time using ExperiencePlus but would definitely do so again...[My favorite parts were] Cycling through the mountains (despite the climbs!) Hotels overlooking the sea - so we could leave our balcony doors open and sleep to the sound of the waves. Someone to take care of the daily stuff - meals/luggage/hotels so we could relax and simply enjoy the day... ExperiencePlus came highly recommended to me, and delivered its promises. Overall a fabulous vacation.
Deleyse L.
Hercules, CA
Many great experiences, of course. Optional day ride for a day at the beach on the east coast of Corsica was a treat. The final meal in Bonifacio was excellent, the town striking. Everything was enjoyable from my point of view.
John G.
Scottsdale, AZ
Our guides were fabulous! The arrows were the best - no bickering about which turn to make - really made the routes go smoothly.
Gerry L.
Belvedere, CA
The routes chosen had beauty. We loved buying food along the way and choosing a picnic site. It was a very nice group of people. The guides were wonderful...We are very happy with your tours. This was our fifth and if we remain healthy we plan to take five more. It's not about the bike for us. We merely use the bike for the unique experience of seeing a country from a different point of view.
Robert B.
Lancaster, PA
I hope you can always find such great people to lead your tours, as it is they (and the arrows) that keep us coming back. We are seriously entertaining the possibility of Expedition Plus for 2008...
June W.
Saint Paul, MN