Corsica Transportation

Your main Corsica transportation questions are going to be about how to get to the island in the first place and how you'll be getting around Corsica once you arrive. There is regular boat service to the island on ferries from several seaports on the mainland of Italy and France and from the island of Sardinia. A number of European airlines to Corsica fly into the two main airports at Bastia and Ajaccio and to the two minor airports of Calvi and Figari (which serves Porto Vecchio and Bonifacio).

The largest percentage of vacations here are spent on some of the island's 600 miles of beautiful beaches. The only transport in Corsica that the majority of these tourists are concerned with are the transfers to their beach hotels and back to the airport at the end of their holidays. Much of this airport transport in Corsica can easy be arranged in advance with the hotels or included as features in vacation packages. However, within the last couple decades, visitors have begun to discover the stunning and picturesque mountains in the island's interior, and more are choosing the scenic trains in Corsica to experience this scenic beauty.

The narrow gauge trains in Corsica are affectionately known by the locals as U Trinighellu—the "trembler." Once you've ridden on it, you will see why. It operates almost like a tram, stopping at rural villages in the mountains, and occasionally for sheep or goats. It travels over ravines, along sheer cliffs punctuated by sparkling waterfalls, and over the dizzying Vecchio Viaduct, built by the same French architect who designed the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The trains have been operating since 1888.

These trains in Corsica will stop for you in little mountain villages or along secluded beaches if you've let the operator know you want to disembark. The rail line cuts right through the island's interior, between Bastia, Ajaccio, and Porte Vecchio. There is slow, infrequent Corsica bus service along the same routes, as well as between various other towns and villages. The bus service requires even more patience and flexibility than the trains do. Both methods of transportation are used by backpackers and hikers looking to get to the next trail head and by sightseers looking for a thrilling ride.

By far, the best Corsica transportation for flexibility and independent exploration is a rental vehicle. There are major international car rental companies at both the Ajaccio and Bastia airports. You can also find reliable companies in the airport towns of Calvi and Figari. There are also several companies that rent motorcycles, scooters, and bicycles. If you are driving yourself, even on a bicycle, you should familiarize yourself with the rules of the road and be prepared for twisting, turning mountain roads, and some slow, careful driving.

You can only count on really reliable taxi transport in Corsica in the largest towns. Even those may need to be arranged in advance, and they are apt to be shared minivans that do not depart until full, and they stop along the way to pick people up or drop them off.

Yet another common form for transportation here are boats. Some visitors never sleep on land at all, and their primary form of Corsica transportation occurs on a boat. Sailing cruises along the beautiful coastline are quite popular, and you can charter crewed or bareboat yachts for the adventure. Many of these cruises also offer scuba diving.

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