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 yet.
This site is regularly updated but if you spot some errors or would like to add information about how to access Corsica, please feel free to contact us. 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, it is the most important airport in terms of number of passengers carried (approximately 1.1mln in 2010). Airport information website in English: ajaccioairport.com
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, it is the second largest airport of the island in terms of number of passengers carried (approximately 1mln in 2010). Airport information website in English: bastiaairport.com
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 with approximately 430,000 passengers carried in 2010. 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. Airport information website in English: figariairport.com
Calvi – Ste Catherine airport, is the smallest airport of the island with apprximately 270,000 passengers carried in 2010. It hosts mostly national flights from Marseille, Nice and Paris during the year and hosts some charter flights from Switzerland and Germany in summer. Airport information website in English: calviairport.com
All year round, it is relatively easy to find a direct flights from the following destinations:
Bruxelles – in Belgium with a bi-weeekly Ryanair flight to Figari airport.
From end of April to early October, it gets suddenly much easier to access the island 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):
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.
A quick view of main destinations and ferry companies serving them:
|Ajaccio||Toulon||Corsica Ferries, SNCM|
|Ajaccio||Nice||Corsica Ferries, SNCM|
|Bastia||Nice||Corsica Ferries SNCM|
|Bastia||Toulon||Corsica Ferries, SNCM|
|Bastia||Genova – Italy||Moby Lines|
|Bastia||Livorno – Italy||Moby Lines, Corsica Ferries|
|Bastia||Piombino – Italy||Corsica Ferries|
|Bastia||Savona – Italy||Corsica Ferries|
|Calvi||Nice||Corsica Ferries, SNCM|
|Calvi||Savona – Italy||Corsica Ferries|
|Ille Rousse||Toulon||Corsica Ferries|
|Ile Rousse||Nice||Corsica Ferries, SNCM|
|Ile Rousse||Savona – Italy||Corsica Ferries|
|Porto Vecchio||Marseille||SNCM, CMN|
If you want to compare the various ferry line prices, Directferries can be a good tool.
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!
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 laze 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.
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 restaurant 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.
Train – Although Corsican trains are more famous for the Ajaccio-Bastia day travel and its pictorious scenery, it is possible to travel to many cities by train and stop over multiple small localities. Frequency remains limited so plan in advance. For timetables and destinations, check the french site: http://www.train-corse.com/
Coach & Buses – Bus and coaches will also get you through the island with destinations and frequency of travels relatively similar to that of trains. For more information, check (in English): http://www.corsicabus.org/