Taking a Corsica ferry is quite a simple undertaking. Even if you fly to Corsica, it is possible to take a Corsica ferry from one place to another on the island. But even though there are four airports and many regularly scheduled flights, getting to Corsica by ferry is how the largest percentage of visitors arrive on the island in the first place. There are several regularly scheduled ferries to Corsica from the nearby Italian island of Sardinia as well as from mainland Italy and mainland France.
The ferry to Corsica from Sardinia takes only about one to two hours, depending on port of embarkation and debarkation. There is a ferry to Corsica from Sardinia to Ajaccio, Propriano, Bonifacio, and Porto Vecchio. The route to Bonifacio is through the scenic waters of the strait referred to as the Bouches (Mouths) de Bonifacio. These are internationally protected waters that are scenic and provide some of the best scuba diving in the region. You will also find one of the most exclusive Corsica hotels in this body of water. The luxurious Cavallo is set on its own small private island and boasts a marina for those guests who arrive in their own yachts.
Other ferries to Corsica arrive from mainland France and Italy. The ports in France include Marseille, Nice, and Toulon; in Italy, they include Civitavecchia (the port for Rome), Livorno, and Naples. These crossings take between four and eight hours, depending both on the port and your preference. Some ships are faster than others, and some are overnight. A daytime crossing is quite beautiful, and views as you approach your Corsican seaport can be breathtaking. All the major seaports have massive Genoese fortress citadels guarding the harbors, and cruising in under their protective gaze is quite an experience. The citadels at Calvi and Bonifacio are both particularly impressive.
It is also possible to choose an overnight Corsica ferry on which you can book a cruise ship type cabin in order to get a good night’s sleep and awake refreshed on arrival. This is a good idea if the seaport in which you are arriving is not your final destination. Although the island is small, it is covered with mountains. Whether your transportation is a car rental or an arranged transfer, the drive to your final destination will often be on narrow, twisting mountain roads. If you’re doing the driving, you will want to be alert. If you’re not driving, you will want to be awake enough to admire the beautiful scenery.
The kinds of ferries to Corsica vary, but all of the ships are built to ocean going standards, with comparable crew, training, facilities, and amenities. While generally not as deluxe or geared towards long vacations as the major cruise lines, many treat these just like cruises. The ships generally have bars and restaurants, shops and children’s play areas, swimming pools and fitness centers. Some ships have onboard entertainment. Cabins are generally simple, but comfortable and more than adequate for an overnight. Most ships also offer “armchair” accommodation in areas with comfortable reclining armchairs set up in rows like theater seating, which is about as comfortable as a business class overnight flight. Your ferry to Corsica is also apt to have the facilities for transporting cars and other vehicles, so you arrive on the island already equipped with your own transportation.