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Corsica in May?

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Colorado
posts: 41
reviews: 23
Corsica in May?

Hello,

I'm new here and was excited to see some members are knowledgeable about Corsica, a place I've longed to visit for many years. Here are some questions I have:

1. Would it be worthwhile to go during the first week of May (in terms of weather, accommodation and anything else)? Bear in mind that this might be our only chance to get to Corsica.

2. Would it be worthwhile to spend the 5-7 days of May there?

3. Any recommendations on affordable ways to get there from Amsterdam? So far, it looks like KLM's flight to Nice is most affordable, then we'd need to take a ferry. I could only find flights on KLM & Air France. But a flight from Amsterdam to Corsica would save us time so maybe it's worth paying extra (especially when considering the ferry costs).

4. Any recommendations on car rentals? For example, if we take the ferry from Nice, would it be best to rent in Nice and pay the extra to take a car to Corsica, or would it be better to rent in Corsica?

5. Any hotel recommendations? There will gbe 5 of us, in our 20's, 30's and 50's. We have traveled a lot and are interested in the beach & natural beauty sights (inland okay).

6. I noticed that (some of) the ferries have limited travel in May (don't sail everyday). Which ferry is the fastest and which is most affordable?

7. If you could spend 5-7 nights there in May, what would your itinerary be?

Many thanks for answers to any of the above .

BFun

Calvi - Corsica
posts: 137
reviews: 10
1. Re: Corsica in May?

May is a really nice time to visit, the weather is lovely and there are colourful wild flowers everywhere, and there aren't too many other tourists around. There is plenty to see and do so it would definitely be worth spending a week here. Re flights you could have a look at Transavia.com, I think they fly direct from Amsterdam to Calvi. If you were to come on the ferry then it would make more sense to rent a car in Corsica but do book it in advance as it will be a lot cheaper. If you are interested in staying in Calvi then you might like to take a look at the house we rent out www.corsicanholidays.com which also has other information about the area and how to get here - and we currently have availability in May!! Corsica Ferries tend to be cheaper and faster than SNCM. There are numerous posts on this forum about what to see and do, it partly depends on whether you want to be based in one place and do day trips or if you want to travel around staying at different places. As others have said on previous posts, don't underestimate times and distances around the island, and don't try to cram too much into a short visit.

Eastleigh, United...
posts: 386
reviews: 6
2. Re: Corsica in May?

I can't answer all your questions, but here goes on some of them...

1. Yes absolutely - it's a great time to go. You aren't guaranteed to stay dry but it should be warmish and sunny at least part of the time. Not everywhere will be open, but you'll find plenty of places to stay & eat.

2. Yes - see above.

3. Why Amsterdam? You may be best to think about getting a cheap (OK, not that cheap) flight to France (Paris or Nice) then getting an onward flight to Corsica. There are four international airports in Corsica, and you can get to all of them from France in May. Another possibility is to fly to Pisa or Genoa and get the ferry from Livorno or Savona - an easy train ride in each case.

4. Check with your car rental firm first! You may be barred from taking your car to Corsica. If you fly in to Corsica, you'll be able to book a car in advance to pick up at the airport.

5. Depends wher you want to go on the island!

6. There are three ferry firms serving Corsica - Corsica Ferries, SNCM and Moby Lines (the last from Italy only). There's a ferry matrix on www.corsica-isula.com (travel pages). When you've decided your approximate schedule, the ferries will pick themselves. As you say, not all services operate every day - another reason why, with limited time, you may choose to fly the last leg rather than sail.

7. Here is one suggestion (you'll get several others I'm sure!)...

Fly into Ajaccio, then drive through the mountains to Corte. Spend a night there, then had for the Balagne (Calvi area) for two or three nights, taking in the beaches, mountains and vineyards. If time permits, head up towards Cap Corse for some wild scenery. Head back to Ajaccio for the last night, maybe taking in Napoleon's House. How about that? Bonifacio (deep south) is worth a visit too, but you won't have time to do everything. Enjoy! DTR

Colorado
posts: 41
reviews: 23
3. Re: Corsica in May?

Thanks Casa P & DTR. Do both of you live on Corsica, do you speak Corsu, and can tourists communicate effectively by using French?

Transavia dates from Amsterdam are limited, would cause us to miss 2 days. When I checked flights A'dam-AJA on Air France, they were way too high. I'll check for discounted flights from Paris and Nice.

DTR, thanks for the itinerary in (7).

Is it sometimes warm enough to swim in the sea in May?

BFun

Eastleigh, United...
posts: 386
reviews: 6
4. Re: Corsica in May?

You'll be fine with French - it's the official language, after all and everyone can speak it. If you speak Italian, you may also be able to make yourself understood as the Corsican language is closely linked to the dialect spoken in Tuscany.

No, we live in the UK most of the year though we have an apartment in the Balagne. That's why I'm OK on travel & things to do but pretty much useless on hotels!

Yes, you'll be able to swim in the sea in May (I always do) though it may be too chilly for some. Our next visit is later this month - a little too cold to swim in the sea in March, I'm afraid. DTR

Calvi - Corsica
posts: 137
reviews: 10
5. Re: Corsica in May?

Hi BFun,

In answer to your questions, yes I do live here, I've lived in Calvi for 6 years, and still can't quite believe how lucky I am! I don't speak Corse at all but do speak French, and yes you will have no problems communicating in French.

The sea should be fine to swim in in May, and April too for that matter. I have seen quite a lot of people in the sea over this winter (which has been exceptionally mild) but have to agree with DTR and you won't catch me going in for a month or so yet.

Colorado
posts: 41
reviews: 23
6. Re: Corsica in May?

A few more questions:

1) Have either of you taken the high-speed ferry from Nice? Someone told me it's about a 3-hour trip and would cost about 400 euros round trip for 5 people. Does this sound right (or do you have links where I could check this info)?

2) Some French friends told me that they used a small one-track railway to see the sights from Bastia to Ajaccio (see French text below). Does this railway still exist, have you used it and do you have a link where I can read more?

Pour découvrir en ayant aucun souci, existe une voie ferrée exceptionnelle, qui va d'une côte à une autre: Bastia- Ajaccio. c'est un tout petit train , avec une seule voie, et on peut s'arrêter partout . Il faut se renseigner, si en Mai elle fonctionne

Thanks!

BFun

Calvi - Corsica
posts: 137
reviews: 10
7. Re: Corsica in May?

Hi again,

The fastest ferry from Nice to Calvi is about 2hrs45, if you are talking only about foot passengers then the price you quote sounds very expensive to me. We have links to the ferry companies on the travel page of our website www.corsicanholidays.com, and there is also a link to corsicabus.org which has timetables for the train, which does indeed run from Bastia to Ajaccio all year round. There are lots of posts on this forum about the train journey, which sections are best and so on, so if you do a search you'll find lots of useful info.

Colorado
posts: 41
reviews: 23
8. Re: Corsica in May?

I have a few more questions and appreciate your advice very much!

1) In May, is it necessary to make hotel reservations in advance, or do you think we could just walk in and get 2-3 rooms in most hotels; and if so, would the rates be the same or do you think it's cheaper to reserve in advance?

2) Are hotel and car rental rates fixed rates, or will we be dealing with attempts to overcharge, barter, etc.?

We'll know by next week if this dream trip will materialize for us!

Cheers,

BFun

Calvi - Corsica
posts: 137
reviews: 10
9. Re: Corsica in May?

Hi again!

In answer to your questions,

1) I would think that you would be ok in May, but if you are wanting 3 rooms in the same hotel then if you can I would book ahead. NB May 1st is a holiday and French people tend to take a few days either side, so if you are still thinking of the first week then bear this in mind. Likewise if your trip has moved to the end of the month, it will be busy as it is halfterm. Re prices, I don't know but I don't think you would get it any cheaper in advance in the smaller hotels, but generally hotels who are on booking sites such as venere.com do tend to be cheaper in advance.

2) hotels display their prices so you should have no problem there. Car hire - you really will find it much cheaper to book this in advance, once you're here it is a lot more expensive and I wouldn't imagine there is any haggling to be done.

Hope you will have good news next week!

Ireland
Destination Expert
for Kilkenny
posts: 2,951
reviews: 40
10. Re: Corsica in May?

You asked about the train.

This is something you must do. I did the whole trip each way last year, breaking the journey each way at Corte. It was a really wonderful experience. Not just the scenery, which is spectacular, but the whole travel experience is fascinating. So many different types of people use that train, from well-healed french tourists, very serious walkers, German school tour groups, local people from the area, and, nearer to Bastia, groups of (apparently) fare-dodging schoolgirls. One woman had the whole carriage in hilarious uproar as she continually bobbed up and down out of her seat to take photos. Also it must have some of the bestlooking young train drivers in Europe.

Here is a link for finding out about the train

www.corsica.net/corsica/uk/venir/move/fer.htm

And here is a charming website devoted to the Corsica train, but only in french.

http://www.train-corse.com/

and also chemindefercorse.free.fr/pages/liens_z1.htm