Our Corsica Travel Essentials lays out the essential information you need to help planning your trip to one of the most popular destinations on the southeastern Mediterranean coast of France. With glittering bays, dense forests, stunning coastlines and pink cliffs, Corsica is an excellent holiday opportunity. From snorkelling to hiking, you can’t run out of adventures on this vibrant island.

Experience traditions that span centuries, explore cobbled streets and participate in the thriving art and music scene. The locals are proud of their history, which you'll see in the island’s ancient architecture and cultural performances. Ride horseback through scenic villages or jump on a boat to explore the coasts. With Corsica’s warm climate, you're in for an excellent summer getaway.

  • What are the main towns and villages in Corsica?

    What are the main towns and villages in Corsica?

    Corsica is a French island in the Mediterranean Sea, set between France and Italy. It lies right north of Sardinia and covers an area of over 8,700 sq km. Corsica is famous for its pristine beaches and rugged mountains that are home to the world-class G20 hiking trail. The Mediterranean climate makes Corsica a pleasant place to visit from May to October. The 2 largest cities are Ajaccio on the southwest coast and Bastia on the northeast of the island. The island is served by 4 airports and 2 ferry ports.


    The birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte, Ajaccio is the capital city of Corsica and the largest settlement on the island with a population of over 70,000. It has an international airport and a ferry pier. Ajaccio is one of the main commercial and administrative centres of the island with notable shopping streets and supermarkets. Island hopping to the Îles Sanguinaires, relaxing on the beach and visiting museums are among the best things to do in Ajaccio.


    Porto-Vecchio near the southeastern tip of Corsica is famed for the 16th-century Genoa citadel that dominates the port town. A good choice of pristine beaches, such as Palombaggia, is a short distance away. The old town’s maze of streets is filled with quaint eateries and shops. Due to the attractiveness of Porto-Vecchio, its population often multiplies by 5 in summer.


    Bastia, near Cape Corse in the northeast of the island, is the 2nd most populated city in Corsica. It is also one of the principal ports of the island and a prime commercial centre. The city is famous for its historical buildings, white-sand beaches and rugged, mountainous terrain. The capital city of Haute-Corse, Bastia is also renowned for the wines produced in the region with the local grape varieties Nielluccio, Sciaccarello and Vermentino.


    Founded in the 13th century, Calvi on the northwest coast of the island is, according to legend, the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. Like in most large towns in Corsica, the Genoese left here a fortified citadel. It offers a charming old-town feel filled with quaint restaurants and shops as well as splendid views over the city and the sea. Flights to and from Calvi are served by Calvi Sainte-Catherine Airport while ferries come and go at Xavier Colonna Port.

  • When is the best time to travel to Corsica?

    When is the best time to travel to Corsica?
    • Corsica typically enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate with warm summers and rainy winters.
    • Average temperatures are generally around 13°C in winter and 27°C in summer.
    • The rainiest months of the year are October and November, with an average of 8 rainy days per month. December to April have a similar number of rainy days, but significantly less actual rainfall.
    • The best time to go to Corisca is between April and September, when the sunny weather is best suited to leisurely activities like touring, hiking and diving.
  • Corsica basics

    Corsica basics
    • Primary languages: French, Corsu
    • Plug types: C, and E
    • Electricity: 220-240 V
    • Currency: Euro (€)
    • International dialing code: +33
    • Emergency telephone number: 112
  • How to get to my hotel in Corsica?

    How to get to my hotel in Corsica?

    Ajaccio Napoleon Bonaparte Airport

    Ajaccio Napoleon Bonaparte Airport (AJA) serves the city of Ajaccio – the capital of Corsica – and the southern end of the island. It’s right on the coast, about 5 km east of the city centre.

    Getting to Ajaccio: You can take the bus from the airport to the bus station in Ajaccio. Buses operate every hour and take about 30 minutes to complete a trip. Taxis and car hire services are available at the arrivals hall. It takes about 15 minutes to drive into the city.

    Bastia-Poretta Airport

    Bastia-Poretta Airport (BIA) is the main airport serving the Upper Corsica department. It’s about 17 km southeast of Bastia, near Lucciana.

    Getting to Bastia: There’s a shuttle bus that runs from the airport to Bastia train station in the city centre. It takes around 25 minutes. There are also taxis available from in front of the arrival terminal. The journey should take about 30 to 35 minutes. Car rental agencies are also available.

    Calvi Sainte-Catherine Airport

    Calvi Sainte-Catherine Airport (CLY) is a small airport in the province of Calvi. It’s located 6 km southeast of Calvi, in the Haute-Corse department.

    Getting to Calvi: There’s no public transportation available between the airport and the city of Calvi. The best way to transfer to and from the airport is by hiring a car from one of the companies at the airport. It would also be easy to find taxis in front of the airport’s arrival hall. 

    Figari Sud Corse Airport

    Figari Sud Corse Airport (FSC) is located 3 km from the village of Figari, 25 km from Porto-Vecchio and 21 km from Bonifacio.

    Getting to Bonifacio: Taxis are available at the airport. However, you can also get to the city much cheaper with Uber. While the bus service from the airport to Bonifacio no longer exists, you can still get to Bonifacio from a bus in Porto-Vecchio. Buses operate year-round from Monday to Saturday, with 2 to 4 roundtrips a day.

    photo by patrick janicek (CC BY 2.0) modified

  • How to get around Corsica?

    How to get around Corsica?

    Corsica has many sights you simply can’t miss. Fortunately, there is more than 1 way to see them all. Public transport only connects larger towns and cities, so many visitors choose to rent a bike or scooter to visit the island's more remote destinations. Some also prefer exploring the island on foot.

  • Rented vehicle

    Rented vehicle

    A rented car is one of the best ways to get around Corsica. Just note that roads are narrow and winding.

    • You can rent a car at the airport, town centres, and even ferry wharves.
    • Drive on the right-hand side of the road.
    • An International Driving Permit will suffice, but Europeans need a license from their own country.
    • Road signs and locations are written in French and Corsu.
    • There are many speed bumps in the villages, with a 30 km/h speed limit.
  • Train


    The Chemins de Fer de la Corse is the only rail network on the island. While taking the train offers limited options, it’s still worth the ride as it runs across the saw-toothed mountains between Bastia and Ajaccio.

    • The rail network comprises 16 stations overall.
    • There are 6 trips between Bastia and Ajaccio from Monday to Friday. Each takes almost 4 hours.
    • There are 2 trains every day for trips between Bastia and Calvi, which takes about 3 hours.
    • Similarly, there are 2 available trains between Ajaccio and Calvi, which takes 4.5 hours.
    • No advanced booking is required. Just buy your ticket at the station and board the train.
    • Purchase a Pass Libertà for unlimited train trips for 7 days.

    photo by Didier Duforest (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

  • Bus


    Corsica has a comprehensive bus network, formed by a few different companies, but there’s only 1 bus per day for most routes. There are no buses on Sundays.

    • There are 5 main bus routes, with each trip lasting 1 to 3 hours.
    • Bus timetables are rather difficult to find. Ask at local tourist offices and bus companies or check websites on Corsica’s bus routes.
    • Minibuses cover mountain villages, while large coaches travel between the major cities along main roads.
    • Bus fares are similar to the equivalent train fares.

    photo by Snoopy 31 (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

  • What are the main annual events in Corsica?

    What are the main annual events in Corsica?

    Calvi on the Rocks

    • What: An eclectic summer music festival, Calvi on the Rocks is popular for its showcase of electronic music talent.
    • When: Early July
    • Where: Various venues in Calvi, but especially Calvi Beach

    Ajaccio Fête le Printemps

    • What: Experience an array of activities showcasing the history and heritage of Ajaccio. Take the opportunity to explore ancient architecture and meet local artisans.
    • When: Late April
    • Where: Ajaccio

    Fêtes Napoléoniennes

    • What: Corsica pays homage to Napoleon with Fêtes Napoléoniennes. Locals celebrate the French statesman’s birthday with a display of fireworks, military-themed parades, and street performances and attractions.
    • When: 15 August
    • Where: Ajaccio

    Festival de Musique d’Erbalunga

    • What: 3 nights of open-air pop music concerts in a centuries-old village.
    • When: August
    • Where: Erbalunga

    photo by Steve Hedin (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified