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Aero Trip Report: Corsica

 

That’s the official debut for Trip Report on our website. As Aeroobservator.com is trying to develop, We believe it’s a good idea to share with you some feelings about our travel experiences. In October 2019, we had the opportunity to visit (in our opinion) the island slightly less popular and underestimated among travelers – Corsica. Let me convince you that this is a nice place to spend your holidays.

Corsica

Corsica is a French island with very strong Italian roots. The Isle is lying down on the Mediterranean sea. It’s placed in such a good, central position of Europe that from most of the big cities, you can get there by no longer than 2 hours flight. The island belongs to small ones. But without bothering you about the number of its inhabitants, I would like to move on to how does it happened that we get there.

Why there?

Many times we’ve done only sketchy research about the places we were going to. There is something special about the spontaneous exploration and acquiring knowledge about the places by being there. That’s usually an “aeroobservator” way of travel. Now it was no different. We’ve heard a legend that this island was created on the last day of the world creation. When God (or whoever was responsible for that) could not invent anything new, he decided to put all the wonders invented so far on this piece of land. As a result of this creative invention, Corsica became an island overfilled by mountains, forests, lakes and beautiful beaches. We decided to check this by ourselves.

How to get there?

In Corsica, you’ll find four small international airports. The busiest Ajaccio (AJA) and then Bastia Poretta (BIA), Calvi (CLY) and Figari (FSC). We’ve prepared for you a table of airlines and cities to which they operate. Of course frequencies of these flights depends on the season. We get there by Eurowings flight EW436 from Cologne (CGN).

Flight

Our flight took off on time. Airbus A319 with registration D-AKNU was very clean and tidy. For a 14-year-old plane, the cabin looked very well maintained. We were welcomed and later on serviced by the very kind crew. WIFI connection was available onboard which is rather unusual for low-cost carriers. Thanks to that we were able to e.g. tracks our flight on the smartphone. As our journey took place in the middle of October, the loading factor was low. Both ways. After arrival at Corsica, we went through passport control which took quite a long but still reasonable time.  During the flight back we encountered a storm (close to the Alps) which was seen from the windows, but my camera was not able to catch it while the lights in the cabin were turned on…so basically I wouldn’t even have to mention it here.

On the way to our aircraft D-AKNU

Visit in the cockpit

As an employee of Lufthansa Group, I’ve had this privilege to visit the cockpit during our approach to Bastia Poretta Airport. After very strict personal verification, the dreams come true. Landing from this perspective looked quite easy…but I am sure it’s not! That was something really special for me, first that kind of experience and I would like to repeat it.

View from the cockpit A319

Bienvenue en Corse!

Which means Welcome to Corsica! There are so many things that I would like to say about this island, and I hope I will be able to convey the most interesting and important ones. First of all, we had some worries about communication with the local community (they are speaking French and Italian). But in 99% of cases “locals” were understanding the English language and with a little help of gestures, it was easy to get information from them. Our usual way of exploring new places is simple: rent a car, set a home base and drive around. We did exactly the same in Corsica.

Car

We took our car from a local/french company called ADA. Their personnel was speaking English and there were no problems at any stage of rental. We took Renault Capture and were satisfied with our choice. The car performed well both in the narrow city streets and in the hilly terrain inside the island. Taking into account the fact that prices in ADA rental were lower than in all popular ones like Hertz or Avis, we strongly recommend this choice.

ADA Car Rental counter at Bastia Poretta airport
Our lovely Renault Capture

Home Base

That’s an important choice. Dependable on what you care about. Nature or rather close to the city? Whole place or separate room? We were looking for a place which would be a good starting point for trips around the island, being simultaneously close to beaches and public life. We found this lovely apartment close to the Bastia city center on Airbnb and knew that we want to spend there our Corsica week. Contact with the host was very good, we were warmly welcomed in a very well equipped apartment. Thanks to that we could feel relaxed right after arrival.

View from our balcony

What to see?!

Bastia

The cleanliness of the streets and the whole city, in general, was impeccable. It looks like the locals care about their place. People were kind and quite open contrary to the opinions about them. We felt there safe for the whole stay so the impressions were very positive. We found that the best beaches are alongside Route de la Lagune. To drink good local beer you should visit Black Beards Taverne. For shopping choose Rue Cesar Campinchi and Boulevard Paoli, and when it comes to meals, it’s best to go around Port de Bastia and Place du Marche. You can find there a lot of atmospheric restaurants. As for European standards, the prices are rather high (good dinner starts from 20-25 euro) but that’s normal for such a tourist place.

Port de Bastia

Cap Corse

The northern part of the island, surrounded by narrow and winding roads right on the rocky slopes. Along with Route 1 in Iceland, that’s the most beautiful road we’ve ever traveled. Therefore just get lost. Stopping on wild beaches scattered along the road strongly recommended. The picture from that place is at the top of this article.

Corte

We get there accidentally and we discovered it this city on the spot. A nice piece of history is out there. Starting from the fact that its unofficial place of creation of the first constitution worldwide to the birthplace of Joseph Bonaparte, the eldest brother of the French Emperor Napoleon I. On top of that, there are beautiful views from the Citadel which is placed on one of the many hills around. We recommend to stop there for a cup of coffee and take a deep breath of air full of past ages.

Citadel in Corte

Ajaccio

One of many small parks along Ajaccio promenade

Capital of Corsica, the center of culture and most important events on the island. Birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte and you can feel that on almost every corner in the city center. Of course, that’s undoubtedly the biggest attraction of Ajaccio but even if someone would cut out Napoleon, there is a lot of things to fall in love within this town. Beautiful promenade, good food, nice weather and a lot…really a lot of paradise beaches around like Plage de Porticcio, Plage de Mare E Sole or Stagnone Beach.

Rough sea at one of the black Corsica beaches

Corsica Interior

The interior is mostly very rocky. While traveling by car you go up and down all the way through. Beautiful roads at the top of hills or in deep, claustrophobic canyons make you impressed. The changing landscape resembles different types of mountains seen in different places in Europe. What makes that place very unique. It’s definitely trekking paradise. In our opinion absolute MUST SEE for people seeking adventure. The highest point is Monte Cinto 2706 m. Exploring this part of the island, it’s easy to find Corsica mascots – Wild Pigs. They are very friendly and hungry:)

Island mascots – WIld Pigs

Rocky interior

A bit of Avgeeks stuff

While visiting Corsica we couldn’t miss some AvGeek flavors. We’ve visited Bastia Porretta Saint Exupéry Aeroclub where the very friendly team welcomed us warmly and showed their place. We talked a bit about their history and daily work. It looked like their organization works well, they own 3 aircraft (AT3 R110, Piper PA28 Warrior and Arrow) which at that time were in a good external condition so sightseeing flights that they offering would be not the worst idea. While being there, we were eager to take a picture of a local delicacy – Air Corsica – let’s say, their “national” carrier. Due to decreased air traffic in October, we had to spend good hours to take a picture of their aircraft in action. Aware that if we miss our shot…we’ll have to wait quite long for another chance, we took this unfortunately poor picture.

Air Corsica A320
View on the aeroclub hangar

Summary

We totally recommend visiting Corsica! Despite the middle of October, the weather was still good for bathing in the sea and together with decreased tourist traffic, it will give you an interesting option for early Autumn rest. Due to limited time, we skipped some cities like Calvi or Bonifacio but we’ve heard that they are worth to see as well. There are many beautiful places in the world, and we rarely say that we would like to return somewhere but Corsica made such a good impression on us that it’s on the return list.

We hope that you found this Corsica Trip Report interesting and informative. In case of any arising question, you can contact us directly, through social media or comments. Leave your opinion if you would like to see more trip reports on this website! So far that’s all. Stay tuned!

Aeroobservator

 

 

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