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France

Corsica - The Beautiful Isle

Guided Road Cycling Holiday

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

8 days

Prices from

£1,740 P.P.
France

Corsica - The Beautiful Isle

Guided Road Cycling Holiday

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

8 days

Prices from

£1,740 P.P.
BOOK NOW
One of our most popular road cycling holidays in France visits Corsica; known to the ancient Greeks as 'Kalliste' - the most beautiful - and referred to as 'The Beautiful Isle' by generations of travellers ever since, Corsica is one of the most diverse places in Europe.
Our place to place tour around the north of this Mediterranean gem takes in the very best of the many delights that this special island has to offer. Beginning and ending in the bustling historic city of Bastia on the eastern coast of the island, our tour is a fascinating combination of quiet coastal roads, rustic hillside villages and deserted coves. Cycling in Corsica you'll also experience some of the most spectacular mountain riding you could ever wish for. 
We begin by riding around Cap Corse, the island’s stunningly beautiful and sparsely populated northern peninsular. From here we ride through the mountainous Desert des Agriates and passing numerous olive groves, vineyards and mountain villages, we follow the famous Route des Artisans to the chic coastal town of Calvi with its marina, perfectly preserved citadel and pastel coloured houses.
Beyond Calvi we head to the tiny and peaceful resort village of Porto along a road which is regarded by many as the most stunning coastal route in Europe. From Porto we head back inland, climbing over the island’s highest mountain pass before dropping down to the old capital of Corte.
We'll spend our final day riding through the chestnut forests of the Castagniccia, arriving in Bastia for one last evening of fine Corsican food and wine. An unforgettable week of riding in a destination so near, yet so dramatically different.
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Holiday Highlights

  • One of the most dramatic coastal rides in Europe
  • The descent through the Scala di Sta Regina between the Col de Vergio and Corte
  • Chestnut beers all round in Corte, the ancient and rustic mountain capital
  • Mouthwatering local cuisine, charcuterie and cheeses
  • The Castagniccia – Corsica’s most unspoiled region of chestnut forest, wild boar and traditional rural villages

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I will remember it for a very long time! Planning, organisation, food and hotels, absolutely everything was spot on and you made it a very special break for me.

Gordon, Lake District

Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival: Bastia Airport
Non Riding Day

Today we get our first glimpse of ‘The Beautiful Isle’ of Corsica as we arrive at Aéroport de Bastia – Poretta, just a few km south from the historic city of Bastia. Corsica is comprised of 2 departments, ‘Corse du Sud’ in the south and ‘Haute Corse’ in the north. Bastia is the modern day capital of the northern region; a relatively small city with a bustling port and beautifully picturesque harbour.

Upon arrival we will assemble the bikes and while there is no official guided riding scheduled for today, depending on arrival times, there may be an opportunity for a quick spin.

Alternatively you may wish to explore the city on foot. We’ll dine together in one of Bastia’s many excellent restaurants and perhaps enjoy a bottle or two of Pietra, the local chestnut flavoured beer.

Day 2
Bastia to St Florent
66 Miles / 106 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,300 Metres Approx.

After breakfast we saddle up and head out for our first day of Corsican riding. Leaving the hustle and bustle of the city we head out on a stunningly beautiful coastal road. The main part of the day will be spent riding around the ‘Cap Corse‘, the island’s largest and most prominent peninsular.

Beyond Bastia the road rolls gently through small settlements and pretty fishing villages and the coastline is peppered with numerous Genoese towers in varying states of disrepair. If we’re blessed with a clear day we will enjoy views of neighbouring islands Elba and Monte Cristo to the east.

We’ll regroup for coffee in the village of Maccinaggio close to the tip of the peninsular before we begin the first and most significant climb of the day. It’s not a major climb by anyone’s standards, topping out at just over 350m, but we’ll wait until we’re over it before preparing lunch. The afternoon will be spent exploring the coastline further as we head south down the western side of the cape. The western coast is more dramatic than the east and the riding is a little more challenging although the final stage flattens out again and takes us through Corsica’s prime wine growing region and delivers us to St Florent where we can rest up and sample the local specialty of sparkling Muscat.

Day 3
St Florent to Calvi
65 Miles / 106 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,325 Metres Approx.

We leave the coast behind us for a while this morning as we climb out of St Florent and continue southwards into a region unlike anywhere else on the island; Le Désert des Agriates. The region is named after the Corsican word agriates which means ‘cultivated plot’ or ‘garden‘. Staring out across the parched orange landscape it is difficult to imagine that the inhabitants of Cap Corse would once brave the rugged coastline by boat in order to climb the hills to tend their crops amongst the wild maquis and rocky outcrops.

We drop down rapidly out of Les Agriates, cross the national road and then continue on very minor mountain roads which lead us through numerous tiny artisan villages. After lunch we continue along the Route des Artisans, stopping for coffee in the tiny village of Belvedere, high in the hills above the town of Ile Rouse (_Red Island_). Finally we arrive in the glitzy resort town of Calvi where we’ll dine in the old town in the shadows of the ancient citadel.

Day 4
Calvi to Porto
50 Miles / 94 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,330 Metres Approx.

Leaving Calvi we’ll begin an unforgettable ride along a route which is widely recognised amongst cyclists as one of the most beautiful coastal routes in Europe. The first stage undulates along a rugged coastline of tiny beaches and turquoise coves. The surface might not be the smoothest we’ll encounter this week but the views do more than compensate and will take your mind off the odd lump or two! The road improves as the morning progresses and by the time we reach our coffee stop we’ll be cruising along. A beautiful 11km climb (Col de Palmarella) follows, taking us to a stunning viewpoint 400m above the coastline.

Dropping down from the summit, we’ll have lunch before pushing on through numerous coastal villages. Again the views are breathtaking as we approach the tiny, eucalyptus flanked town of Porto where we stay for the next 2 nights.

Day 5
Porto Loop Ride (optional rest day)
60 Miles / 96 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: 1,350 Metres Approx.

Today offers various options depending on preferences and energy levels. The first is to simply relax and enjoy Porto. There is a small beach and harbour and numerous cafes, bars and restaurants in which to while away the hours. It is also possible to take a sightseeing boat trip along the coastline for a unique view of the Golfe de Porto. We recommend however that everyone takes a morning ride, climbing out of the bay to the village of Piana. The road rises through the World Heritage ‘Callanche de Piana’ – fantastic natural granite sculptures which must be seen to be believed.

It’s possible to retire in the village of Piana, take a coffee and return to Porto for the afternoon, whereas those hungry for more riding can press on around the coast before heading inland to experience one of the island’s toughest and most challenging climbs. “What goes up must come down” and an incredible descent through the dramatic Spelunca Gorge follows as we return to Porto.

Day 6
Porto to Corte
50 Miles / 94 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,875 Metres Approx.

This is the big day! Dropping back down from Piana to Porto just after breakfast may be exhilarating but it will burn few calories! The fun starts once we arrive back in Porto and we begin our ascent of Corsica’s highest paved road. The Col de Vergio is 1,471m above sea level and while that may not be the highest mountain summit in the world it must be remembered that we will be riding from sea level. The vast majority of the climb is gentle so everyone will be able to enjoy the awesome views of the Spelunca Gorge and savour the experience.

A coffee stop in Evisa, two thirds of the way up, is possible (probable!) and will allow us to re-group before tackling the final and more challenging stage through the often-misty pine forest. A descent through the pines takes us to lunch after which we will continue downwards through the Scale de Santa Regina. If nothing else will make you want to return to Corsica, the descent through this magnificent gorge which runs alongside the Golo River, Corsica’s longest, will do so! As exciting as it is beautiful it’s the most fun you can have with your pants on! One final re-grouping at the bottom of the gorge before the last 11km (approximately 6 uphill and 5 downhill) sees us arriving in Corte, Corsica’s fantastically rustic ancient capital city.

Day 7
Corte to Lucciana
65 Miles /106 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,525 Metres Approx.

Our last day on the bikes today as we head back to the eastern coast to complete our circuit. The stage is not the longest on our tour but with its dragon tooth profile it is one of the toughest so we’ll try to make an early departure. It is also one of the most beautiful stages and takes us deep into ‘The Castagniccia‘, the island’s sparsely populated chestnut forest – a region rarely visited by tourists and one which seems to have been untouched by modern life. The spider web network of roads in the Castagniccia can be difficult to navigate and weather conditions will dictate how far we venture into the forest. Regardless of this the options available to us will guarantee a beautiful finale as we make our way to Lucciana on the coast, 20km south of Bastia.

Day 8
Departure: Bastia Airport
Non Riding Day
  • Meals: Breakfast

Our final Corsican breakfast had to come, and with tired legs and great memories we take a transfer back to the airport for our flights home.

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The Cycling

Terrain

Our route concentrates mainly on minor roads and quiet country lanes and includes everything from gently rolling hills to significant mountain ascents. Generally speaking the route is moderately challenging with enjoyable and manageable climbs featuring most days. Road surfaces are generally good however there are occasional sections of rough tarmac and badly weathered surfaces. The entire route is however suitable standard road bikes with 700×23-25c tyres.

Gradients on climbs are generally moderate, manageable and enjoyable. There are however occasions when the gradients increase and the climbs become more challenging. These steeper climbs are relatively short and are therefore still achievable by most enthusiastic road cyclists.

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Road Cycling Grade

1
2
3
4
5
Grade 3 : Moderate

45-60 miles / 70-95 kms per day

For riders with experience, good fitness & a decent level of skill

Some features that may be experienced more frequently in a higher grade tour

Most days include a couple of significant climbs

Some long days & some steep to very steep sections

Not for beginners

Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!

For more information about our grading system click here.

Is this suitable for you?

You’re definitely not a novice rider, you’re fit, you ride regularly at weekends, sometimes staying on the bike for much of the day, you love your bike! You also enjoy a challenge and if you haven’t already done so you’re keen to attempt a semi-serious to serious mountain pass or two. You’re as comfortable with the prospect of descending from the top of a col as you are with the idea of climbing it and you’re confident that you have the skills to do so safely. You’re not necessarily a “racer” but you can crank up the pace a little when it’s necessary and you don’t mind forgoing a coffee stop if the schedule demands it occasionally. You probably own and use clipless pedals. You have good control of your bike and can take a drink from a water bottle without having to unclip and put your feet on the ground. Whilst you find a full day in the saddle fulfilling you’re not obsessed and as much as you are looking forward to the riding on your holiday, you’re also looking forward to a little local culture and cuisine. Grade 3 would be a good option for you.

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The holiday was absolutely brilliant – all the staff were excellent and became friends, the group was fantastic and friends for life have been made! Nothing could be faulted.

Phil, Hampshire

Dates & Prices

*

Late Availability

We want you to know which holidays are coming up soon, so you don’t miss out! If a trip has this symbol beside it, it means you don’t have long to snap up your place.

Private Departures

Private Departures

Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.

Start Date
End Date
Duration
Price p.p.
Start Date
* 23/05/2021
Guaranteed
Return Date
30/05/2021
Duration
8 days
Price
£1,740.00
Start Date
19/09/2021
Return Date
26/09/2021
Duration
8 days
Price
£1,740.00

Whats Included Tick

A) Hotel accommodation (shared twin rooms)

B) Meals as per the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

C) Full tour service including Skedaddle guides

D) Unless stated, at least one leader qualified in first aid

E) Support vehicle and luggage transfers

F) Airport transfer on scheduled arrival day from Bastia Airport (BIA)

G) Airport transfer on scheduled departure day to Bastia Airport (BIA)

What's not Included Cross

A) Bike hire (available if required)

B) Flights and charges for travelling with your bike (if applicable)

C) Meals not stated in the itinerary

D) Travel insurance

E) Single room (available if required)

F) Personal clothing and equipment

G) Personal expenditure (souvenirs, bar bills, hotel facilities etc)

H) Entrance to museums and other attractions en route

I) Airport transfers on days other than the scheduled arrival / departure days

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The Essentials

Travel Options

Group airport transfers are included in the cost of your holiday and both the arrival into Bastia airport (BIA) and return transfer from Bastia airport will be co-ordinated with the group flight schedule. Please note – If you make travel arrangements that fall outside of the scheduled transfer windows, there may be an additional charge for individual transfers.

We will provide you with details of suitable flight/arrival/departure schedules as flight timetables become available. Please check with us before making any travel arrangements, to make sure we have reached the minimum number required to guarantee your holiday and to ensure your arrangements fit with our scheduled transfers.

Accommodation

Accommodation (shared twin or double rooms) will usually be en suite in 2 and 3 star hotels, chambre d‘hôtes and local auberges. Our accommodation has all been hand-picked and chosen for their room and service quality, as well as their food quality and of course Corsican charm.

Bike Hire

If you don’t own a suitable bike or would prefer to avoid bringing your own we have bikes available to hire. These bikes are typically Scott Solace or alternative brand equivalent, great bikes with good quality components. If you do decide to hire we can include a helmet and all necessary spares for the trip. Please request helmets when booking. The bikes come with flat pedals as standard, so if you prefer to ride with clipless pedals please bring your own pedals along with you.

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