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Would appreciate comments on our travel plans

SZ
Covington, KY
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204 posts
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Would appreciate comments on our travel plans

We are traveling in March and plan to drive clockwise around the island from Bastia along the coast during a 10 day period. Any inland trips will be by train or bus since we are not particularly fearless drivers on mountain roads. Many hotels are closed in March so our tentative choices are: Bastia - Hotel Posta Vecchia; Porto Veccchio - Hotel Alcyon; Bonifacio - Roy d'Aragon; Ajaccio - Hotel Kalliste; Calvi - Casa Vecchia. Does anyone know anything about these accomodations? Our decisions were based on information from their web sites and all were located on visit-corsica.com. In addition, about how much is cab fare from the Bastia airport to a location in town on Quai des Martyrs de la Liberation? The web site indicates that it is a 4km distance. Thank you for any input at all.

middle england
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for Leicestershire, Norfolk
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1. Re: Would appreciate comments on our travel plans

Bastia airport is 16km from the town centre. There is a shuttle bus to the town centre. Taxis cost about 35 euros. Why are you going to the town centre in this way? The obvious thing to do would be to pick up a car at the airport.

I have no knowledge of the hotels you quote.

Trips by train or bus are VERY limited on Corsica. The train is only really useful (and well worth the trip) between Bastia, Corte and Ajaccio, and along the coast between Calvi and L'Ille Rousse. Buses are often limited to one or day each day.

The weather in March may be quite variable, so be prepared for cool wet weather.

SZ
Covington, KY
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2. Re: Would appreciate comments on our travel plans

Thanks for the reply. Since we'll be flying for 11 hours over a 24 hour period, I thought that we would be rather wrung out by the time of our arrival in Bastia so I wanted to get to our hotel easily. However, you're right, we should just pick up the rental car at the airport.

middle england
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3. Re: Would appreciate comments on our travel plans

sz, you'll find the road into Bastia town quite reasonable, although it's mainly in suburbs it is wide and straight, quite a rarity in Corsica.

Going south from Bastia, this again is mainly wide and straight (but don't be fooled!)and there are plenty of small resorts to stop at, Moriani Plage, Aleria, Ghisonaccia etc. By the time you reach Porto Vecchio you'll probably be quite confident on the Corsican roads and ready to tackle the less straight and less wide roads! Road signs in Corsica are in French and Corsican and many have had the French obliterated!

So it's useful to know the Corican name of where you are going, although usually the spellings are similar.

Be aware that few people in Corsica speak English, so a few words of French are very useful. Menus in the tourist eating places and hotels are usually in several languages, including English.

Paris, France
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4. Re: Would appreciate comments on our travel plans

We stayed in the Porto Vecchio in Bastia in April 2004 for 5 days. A nice hotel, cleam and fairly comfortable - what you would expect for the price. I also booked after looking at the website and the site was honest about the hotel, it was what I expected. It overlooks the sea and is within walking distance of everywhere, a couple of minutes to the old harbour, but far enough away not to be disturbed by any noise (if that would bother you). There is a very good restaurant between the hotel and the old harbour - sorry I can't remember the name- but it is in a basement - you go down a few stairs to enter, but you can see it from windows outside which look down into it - it is more expensive than the other restaurants (but still not too expensive), we ate there a couple of times and found it was very good food, service etc.

As for buses and trains, we had also planned on taking the bus and train out to different places while we were there - but the buses were obviously geared to local people coming into Bastia to shop - i.e., one bus in from the outlying places in the morning and one bus out in early afternoon - this may be different in the tourist season on July and August but I think would be the same in March. Trains ran a little more frequently but were still not very good for tourists wanting to see something of the island - so if it may be helpful if you can check this out before you go. We went by ferry so I can't give any information about the airport.

Sorry I can't tell you more, but hope this is helpful

SZ
Covington, KY
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5. Re: Would appreciate comments on our travel plans

The primary train trip we're interested in is from Ajaccio to Corte. Will it be possible to get there and back in one day? The other one we would like is Calvi to Ponte Leccia, I believe. We're not against driving in the mountains but how much will March weather complicate it? Is snow or ice a problem?

middle england
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6. Re: Would appreciate comments on our travel plans

The two trips you wish to do are different, because there is plenty to see and do in Corte, but very little in Ponte Leccia, unless you are interested in supermarkets and gas stations!

There are four trains a day between Ajaccio and Corte and return, two in the morning and two in the afternoon, so a day trip is perfectly possible with some time in Corte.

There are only two trains a day between Calvi and Ponte Leccia, and the morning departure is at 06.15! You could do the return trip on the afternoon train with about an hour in Ponte Leccia.

Train times are on www.sncf.com - click on the Union flag to get the English version.

Snow can persist in the high mountains and it obviosly depends on local conditions, so I would seek local advice or stick to the main roads and lower mountain roads.

SZ
Covington, KY
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7. Re: Would appreciate comments on our travel plans

aardvark10,I saw your response to another post where you said to avoid the short cut between St.-Florent and Bastia. How good exactly is the main road? After the east coast of Corsica my daughter will be the primary driver since I literally get dizzy if I am on the outside lane of a road with sheer drops when there is no shoulder. I read somewhere that driving clockwise around Corsica helps somewhat to avoid the lanes with drops. Also, even if Ponte Leccia is not terribly interesting to visit, is the train ride there and back from Calvi still worth it in itself for the vistas?

Thanks

middle england
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8. Re: Would appreciate comments on our travel plans

SZ, the roads in Corsica are really an individual thing, as they affect different people in different ways. Most don't find them too bad, but if you really suffer from vertigo and fear of heights then some of the roads can be scary.

The main road along the east coast is fine. Other main roads are usually not too scary, because although there may be drops at the side they are sometimes guarded and the roads are wide. Most main roads are quite winding. Going clockwise only really applies to Cap Corse, where you will be aginst the hills and not against the drop to the sea.

You might actually be better off driving because you are further away from the drop than the front seat passenger.

What I suggest is that you tackle a mountain road somewhere along the way when you are well used to driving in Corsica. Take it slowly and turn back if you really must. Stick to the main roads whenever you can, even if it makes the journey longer. For example, the shortest way from Ajaccio to Calvi is via the coast, but much the better and quicker route is the main roads via Corte and Ponte Leccia.

The train journey anywhere in Corsica is worth it for the journey itself and the fares are very reasonable - they will usually give you the tourist fare without being asked. Don't worry if the train makes frequent severe stops - herds of animals wander over the line at will! A half day trip from Calvi to Ponte Leccia and return would be well worth it in my opinion, but then I am interested in railways.

By the way, have you booked your Bastia hotel yet. There are hotels at the airport and this would save you the journey into Bastia town and back out again the same way.

Haverhill, United...
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9. Re: Would appreciate comments on our travel plans

The railway on Corsica is currently undergoing rebuilding work in connection with the introduction of new trains, hopefully this will not disrupt your visit.

The Line from Ajaccio to Corte is very spectacular as is the island in general.

SZ
Covington, KY
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10. Re: Would appreciate comments on our travel plans

Thanks everyone, every little bit of info helps. I hate to belabor the point but I really do sometimes suffer from vertigo. However, I'm fine if the road is wide, there's a shoulder or if I'm hugging the mountain side. So, in regards to the Ajaccio-Calvi leg, do you really think someone in my situation is better off taking the Corte-Ponte Leccia route rather than the coast?