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Report 2028: Two Travellers on Corsica

By Doug Phillips from Canada, Spring 2012

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Page 4 of 14: Around Cap Corse - Wednesday October 3

photo by Doug Phillips

Cap Corse

Very warm day with bright sunshine.

We walked back down to the port area in Bastia after breakfast at the hotel, picked up our car at Europcar - a brown Peugot 308 - then headed over to Saint Florent and the start of a west-to-east journey around Cap Corse. The trip is reputed to be hair-raisingly stressful in places, but itís not so bad - I've had scarier drives in the Vercors, for instance. However, there is evidence of recent and on-going road improvements, so perhaps the driving experience is somewhat tamer than in years past.

The main road around Cap Corse is the D80. At one point, and for reasons left unmentioned, we drove several kilometers on the D33, much narrower and less busy then the D80. The main traffic impediment we encountered on the D33 was a herd of mountain goats on either side of and in the middle of the road. We stopped several times for photos, twice for a break and three times for wine purchases. Our first stop was at Nonza, on the west side, where we had a drink in the small village inundated with German tourists. Our second stop, for a late lunch, was at the very pleasant seaside village of Macinaggio, at the top of our journey around Cap Corse.

There are many wine producers in the area around Patrimonio and Saint Florent, at the start of our journey. We stopped at one - Domaine Gentile, recommended in one of our guide books. Our other two wine stops were at Clos Nicrosi, which produces some unique and popular white wines and Domaine Pieretti for a sample of their excellent red wines. Both of the latter two producers are within a few kilometers of Macinaggio.

Many people recommend a west-to-west transit of Cap Corse because you will always be driving on the inside, away from the steep drop-offs, but I would recommend it for another reason. The scenery on the western side is much more dramatic and spectacular than on the east. Also, the west is much less-developed and more interesting. Our trip around Cap Corse took six hours, with no beach time - a reasonable time to allot, if a visit to Corsica is in your future. We saw some people putting on hiking shoes at one stop-off for a short climb to the top of a hill, and we saw a very few people on some of the black beaches below, but there really aren't a lot of places to stop for an extended period of time on a day trip like ours in early October.

In the evening, we walked down from our hotel over to the Vieux Port area and the marina ringed by restaurants. We stopped at Trattoria al dente, a small restaurant with a good rating on Trip Advisor - had an enjoyable time.

One thing about Corsica that we had both noticed - it's more difficult for non-French speakers to communicate than on the mainland - and I am sure that Corsicans would not be pleased with my commenting on how French they are.

Next: Into the Balagne

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