Corsica Cap Corse

Corsica: the French region with more than a touch of Italian


Mystic menhirs; ancient cave dwellings; uncrowded walking; small cities with imposing citadels and welcoming restaurants; excellent, typical Kudu hotels; food from rustic to fine and good metropolitan and local wine: Corsica presents a perfect 11-day excursion for Kudus, both new and experienced. With two dates in 2023, we have showcased spring flowers and autumn colours on this island of Napoleon and friendly people (definitely not your standard Parisian indifference).

Ruled by Carthaginians; Greeks; Romans; Lombards; a Pope; Pisans; the Genoese from 1284 to 1768; a Bank; a German King; the French; the British (twice) and finally the French again, this island of polyglot people and polychrome churches opens up its charms to the discerning Kudu and enthrals the easy walker.

It is said that the name derives from the ancient Greek for the island of the Sirens, as in the Odyssey and few can resist Corsica’s siren call.

Direct flights from London facilitate an easy journey to Bastia. Roads are winding, but wide and our walking will suit every taste.

DAY 1
L, D included
                                                                                                             
After a mid-morning arrival in Bastia airport, we visit the nearby Lucciana church, a former cathedral with its 11C nave still intact. We take a walking tour of the picturesque historic centre of Bastia, Corsica’s principal port sat on a bedrock of granite, the rock which typifies the north of the island. Bastia was the first city in Europe to eject the Axis troops of Germany and the Vichy French Government in September 1943. A twenty-minute drive along the coast brings us to our small but perfectly accoutred hotel in Erbalunga. We enjoy dinner in its renowned restaurant.

DAY 2
B, L, D included
We drive (1 hr) to enjoy a morning’s walk along the Sentier des Douaniers with views to Elba, the site of Napoleon’s first exile, passing an isolated church before descending into a charming seaside village for lunch. We continue our exploration of the villages of the famous Cap Corse, stopping for perhaps an ice cream at a small harbour before returning to our hotel mid-afternoon to rest before dinner at a local establishment.

DAY 3
B, L, D included
An hour’s drive takes us up to the Nebbio area and the Pisan church of San Michele de Murato with green and white stone and a jewelled interior. We walk a circular route in the surroundings, enjoying a Kudu picnic along the way. We visit the chic seaside village of St. Florent as we journey to Calvi, yet another claimant to be the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. Here we stay for two nights in an hotel resting below the town’s famous citadel. Our evening sees us dining at the fashionable harbour with seafood a speciality and an opportunity to sample one of the many local wines.

DAY 4
B, L, D included
This morning we walk on La Revellata peninsula where the lighthouse has guided mariners away from the rocky north-western coastline of Corsica since 1844. We return to Calvi and explore its Citadel, strolling round its battlements and, with luck, gaining entry to the exquisite Baroque cathedral of St. Jean-Baptiste. It was during the bombardment of Calvi’s Citadel in 1794 that Nelson sustained the loss of his eye. We have our apéro on a sunset sailing trip of the Gulf of Calvi before dinner ashore. Calvi is the home of a major French Foreign Legion base, so be prepared for tall tales of unsavoury characters who have hidden their identity and previous misdeeds since the Legion was founded in 1831.

DAY 5
B, L, D included
In the morning, we walk to discover the enchanting villages of the Balagne, the mountainous inland area surrounding Calvi. Later, after a short drive to Ile Rousse (literally the pink island), we explore the delightful Parc de Saliccia, a showcase for Corsican endemic and exotic plants and flowers in seven landscaped hectares, with a rather good ‘caff’ attached. Finally, we leave the coast and drive (1 hr) to Corte, scenically set at the confluence of the Restonica and Tavignano rivers. Our hotel for two nights has a riverside location in the Restonica valley.

DAY 6
B, L, D included
An early start sees us walking in the Gorge of Restonica, protected as a Grand Site de France and part of the National Park of Corsica. Rocky paths indicate the need for stout shoes and walking poles as we witness the gushing waters running through this natural defile. In the afternoon, we drive (40 mins) further into the interior along the N193, the main road connecting Bastia and Ajaccio, for a visit to the hamlet of Vizzavona. Centred around its railway station, it has developed as a walking hub roughly halfway on the notoriously difficult marked walking route known as the GR20. After our particularly English walk (to the Cascade des Anglais), we return to our hotel past an iconic railway viaduct (often incorrectly attributed to Gustave Eiffel) and enjoy a robust Corsican dinner.

DAY 7
B, L, D included
We start our 2-hour Tavignano river valley walk near the ancient hill fortress of Corte, established 2000 years ago. Here the 18C independence movement led by Pasquale Paoli had its finest moment with the establishment of the capital of a free Corsican republic with its own libertarian constitution. The town also is home to Corsica’s only university founded by Paoli in 1765, closed in 1769 and re-founded by François Mitterand in 1981. An hour’s drive takes us to the Étang de Diane, a privately-owned coastal lagoon, and our lunch of Moules frites featuring mussels farmed in the lagoon. Nearby Aléria was founded by ancient Greeks in the 6C BC and was once the capital of Corsica. We visit the hilltop archaeological site and the adjacent museum, before driving (1.5 hrs) inland to the Alta Rocca and our clifftop eyrie in the village of Zonza, our haven for 3 nights.

DAY 8
B, L, D included
We walk through sun-dappled woods, cross a river and traverse several valleys to explore the Pianu de Levie, comprising two atmospheric archaeological sites, one dating from the Bronze Age and a more recent one from the Middle Ages. Free-standing menhirs are etched with the swords and arms of the ancient Torrean race, who invaded the island in the Bronze Age, building stone towers and castles over 3,000 years ago. In the afternoon, we visit the renovated Museum of the Alta Rocca in Levie, with displays tracing the history of Corsica over 8,000 years.

DAY 9
B, L, D included
We drive some 30 minutes to the village of l’Ospedale, named after the hospital situated there in Roman times, and the l’Ospedale Forest, where we walk the Sentier des Tafoni and learn how the cavities formed in the rock by erosion helped man to survive in this inhospitable environment. Our afternoon walk starts from the Col de Bavella at 1200 metres, where the paths intersect the aforementioned GR20, the toughest hiking trail in Europe. Our circular walk (1 hr) displays the ‘needles of Bavella’ in all their glory. Our evening repast sees us graze in a modern bistro situated in a stone-built building with an open fire and excellent wines.

DAY 10
B, L, D included
We drive (1 hr) to Sarténe, a town with an historic tradition of vendetta and feudal battles, now hopefully becalmed. Onwards we travel to a beachside walk and picnic before we explore Bonifacio, the setting for the Maupassant short story “Vendetta”, and the southernmost point of France with Italian Sardinia some 8 miles away. We take a boat trip along the limestone coast encountering ‘Napoleon’s hat’ and the King of Aragon’s stairway of 189 steps, hand dug by his troops in one night (possibly). Our final night sees Kudus rest their heads in a luxury hotel with dining facilities to match the beautiful gardens where staff pick the herbs for that evening’s feast.

DAY 11
B included
Our visit to Corsica concludes with an early morning transfer to the airport for flights home.

May 2023
Trip Price, per person sharing:
£3,890.25 until 12th February 2023
£3,990 
after 12th February 2023
https://www.kudutravel.com/faq#discounts
 
£600 deposit per person
£950 double for single room supplement
 
October 2023
Trip Price, per person sharing:
£3,690.75 until 29th December 2022
£3,790.50 until 29th March 2023
£3,890.25 until 29th June 2023
£3,990 
after 29th June 2023
https://www.kudutravel.com/faq#discounts
 
£600 deposit per person
£950 double for single room supplement
 

Please note that the single use supplement is imposed by the hotels and not by Kudu Travel. If you are willing to share but no other suitable guest books on the trip, we regret that the supplement will be payable. We shall endeavour to obtain double rooms for single occupancy whenever possible.

Price Includes

  • Accommodation for Days 1 through 11, on a twin shared basis
  • Meals with wine and beer at dinners and restaurant lunches, as listed in the daily notation
  • Land and sea transportation as described, except during free periods
  • Entrance and sightseeing fees as described, except during free periods
  • Gratuities for restaurant and hotel staff and the driver (appreciation for your Kudu tour leader is entirely at your discretion)
 
Price does not Include

  • Flights to and from Bastia airport
  • Trip cancellation, medical or other insurance
  • Immunisations, prescriptions or other medical requirements
  • Passport, visa and health documentation
  • Personal expenses (laundry, alcohol, besides wine and beer with group lunches and dinners, free time activities, etc.)
  • Transport and transfer of excess baggage
  • France departure tax, if any

VALUE FOR MONEY - SO MUCH IS INCLUDED

On Kudu trips, you will only need money for postcards, presents to take home, the odd G & T or an irresistible ice cream. Festival and opera tickets, museum and gallery entrances, National Park fees, all meals (with a very few exceptions specified in individual itineraries), wine with lunch and dinner, access to specialist books carried by the guides, gratuities for porters and hotel and restaurant staff, boat rides, train trips, internal flights, wine tastings, 4WDs with drivers, the services of skilled local guides and trackers etc are ALL INCLUDED in the cost of your holiday. 

We are confident that, like previous very satisfied guests, you will discover that our tours give you excellent value for money.

  • 2 nights in Erbalunga, in a 4 star hotel

  • 2 nights in Calvi, in a 3 star hotel

  • 2 nights near Corte, in an unclassified elegant riverside hotel

  • 3 nights in Zonza, in a 3 star hotel

  • 1 night near Bonifacio, in a 4 star Lodge de Charme

Visa and Health Requirements 

Visitors from the UK, EU, USA, Australia and Canada currently require a valid passport, but not a visa, for entry to France. If you are a national of any other country, please check visa regulations with your nearest Embassy of France.

Normally, there are no specific and compulsory health requirements for entry to France.
You may also wish to check the advice given to travellers by the Department of Health and the FCO.      

Insurance
It is essential, and a condition of booking, that you protect yourself with a suitable travel insurance policy as soon as you book a trip. Follow this link for a quote for a policy available to UK residents.

If you are already insured or a non-UK resident, please inform us of your policy at the time of booking.

Size of party
This trip will run with a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 14 guests.