Wednesday, June 20, 2007


More on that West Coast Road

The road works on the west coast road between Calvi and Porto are finished. We did the journey on 10th June, and it took us just one and a half hours from the Airport junction outside Calvi on the N197 to the outskirts of Porto.

The road is much improved – wider, safer, all in all much better for the motorist. However, in the general scheme of things I don’t think the improvements will make a great deal of difference for most tourists, and here’s why.

We were on our way to Bonifacio in the deep south of the island. Going via the west coast took us from 9.30 in the morning to 4.50 that evening. We took an hour for lunch and half an hour for a coffee break, so that’s four hours and 50 minutes travelling time. And yes, we were pretty tired when we arrived. It still takes an age getting through the Calanques de Piana (despite there being very little traffic – God knows how long it would have taken had there been the July procession of camper vans). The road south of Piana, through Cargese, Sagone, Ajaccio, Propriano and Sartene is driveable and pleasant but it is still very twisty and takes a good deal longer than the road in the east.

So when we came back on the 12th June, we went via Porto Vecchio, Solenzara, Ghisonaccia and Aleria. After Aleria we turned west and our final leg took in Corte and Ponte Leccia where we joined the Balanina on its way to Ile Rousse and back to Calvi. The times? We left Bonifacio at 11 a.m. and were back in Calvi at 3 p.m.! This also includes half an hour for lunch at Le Banana’s between Aleria and Corte. So the way back took us just three and a half hours.

So there’s still no contest, despite the road-widening. If you’re staying in Calvi and want to visit Porto, Cargese or Piana, it’s worth going via the much improved west coast road, but if you’re heading for Bonifacio and the Lavezzi Islands (of which more later), don’t even think about it – go via the east coast.

By the way we saw some sparrows in Bonifacio (yes, I’m sure) and they seem to be doing OK. No news yet on any gobemouche fledglings.

Hi Derekthered
I am travelling to Corsica for the first time tomorrow. As a treat, my husband booked Les Roches Rouges for a few nights. I was very excited as it looks so gorgeous. Then I started hearing about the drive we had to undertake to get there - torturous, frightening, best-avoided were some of the terms used. However after reading this posting, to which I was directed by Tripadvisor, I am feeling much calmer. Although I'm sure it won't be the most stress-free few hours of our lives, (we are driving from Ile Rousse), you've made it sound quite bearable! We'll just take it nice and steady and have a lovely destination in wait. However, we'll take the ferry out from Ajaccio so we don't have to repeat the process.
Thank you very much for this information, it is most appreciated.
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