Days out from the Casa Theodora in Corsica's Balagne region
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There are plenty interesting historic towns and villages to
visit within half an hour’s drive of the hotel, in addition to some beautiful
sandy beaches lapped by crystal clear water. The Casa Theodora has parasols and
beach towels available for guest’s use and can provide picnics. The hotel also has details of self-drive wine
tasting routes and artisan routes in the area and walking trails though
Spend a day relaxing on the beach. Our favourite was the
mile-long golden crescent of sand at Algajola where there is plenty of free
parking. In return for some drinks at
their beachside bar, we parked at the Hotel Beau Rivage and also used their
sunbeds on our one lazy afternoon on the beach. The more adventurous might enjoy a visit to the
white sandy beaches and green lagoon of Ostriconi, parking on the cliff-top and
scrambling down one of the trails.
Explore the coast on the delightful little train that runs
between Calvi and L’Ile Rousse, calling in at Algajola and other charming
coastal villages along the route.
Visit the Parc de Saleccia botanical gardens located off the
N197 to the east of L’Ile Rousse. The moment I had stepped off the plane at
Calvi airport, I had been overwhelmed by the heady aroma of the island’s maquis:
the flowering bushes and herbs, including wild myrtle, juniper, rock rose, rosemary
and thyme, that carpet the mountain slopes. I spent a magical hour or so meandering the
pathways through the gardens, learning about Corsica’s various trees and
plants. The adult entrance fee of 9 euros includes the loan of a laminated map
with suggested routes.
Take a drive along the D81 as it snakes its way through the
mountainous Desert des Agriates towards the fishing village of St Florent.
Thanks to my regular stops to wander along the paths and take photos, and
crawling along several miles behind a fleet of camper vans, we eventually
turned back before reaching our destination, but I understand St Florent is
worth a visit.
Spend a day meandering through the port of Calvi, a 30
minute drive away. It is a pleasant town to stroll around with rows of
restaurants and shops lining the streets above the harbour and a three mile
crescent-shaped sandy beach. I climbed the winding cobbled streets up to the
citadel for magnificent views across the bay. Two cruise ships were docked
outside the harbour when I visited and it was interesting watching the
passengers being ferried to and fro in strange rectangular vessels. The harbour
contains an interesting mixture of old fishing boats, yachts and shiny new
Take a boat trip with the Colombo Line to the Scandola
Nature Reserve further south, an area inaccessible by land, and on to Capo
Rosso, the Sanguinaires Islands and Ajaccio. Boats leave from Calvi harbour for
one-day and half-day trips.
North of Calvi, along the N197 lies L’Ile Rousse, a pretty
port reminiscent of the French Riviera, with plenty of restaurants, bars and
The N197 also leads to Corte, Corsica’s original capital
city 73k and 1 ¼ hour drive from the hotel.
Bastia on the east coast is 83k and 1 ½ hour drive away. Drivers are advised to keep to the main roads
for long journeys – what appear to be short cuts on maps, invariably prove to
be slow routes that twist and turn along hairpin bends through amazing scenery.
Visiting the village of Sant’Antonini, poised on a summit
1467 feet above sea level. Villagers
from the surrounding valleys used to take refuge here when Saracen pirate ships
appeared on the horizon. On the day I visited, I was tempted by the wine
tasting on offer but needed a clear head to drive on to neighbouring Pigna – a
very pretty town full of artisan shops, narrow stepped passage ways and houses
with blue painted wooden shutters. The village has regular musical performances
in summer. I was able to park easily at both villages for a 2 euro parking fee.
Take a hike. Routes are generally clearly signposted with
wooden posts and dashes of yellow or blue paint on the rocks along the route. However,
if you plan to do some serious hiking in Corsica, I recommend purchasing an OS
map of the area before you fly (though some were on sale at Calvi Airport) and
bringing walking poles as the paths can be steep and slippery with loose
stones. The hotel has several leaflets of nearby routes that can be copied for
guests and Julie can recommend English-speaking mountain guides. The area south
of Muro is home to some of the most challenging stretches of the GR20 trail
where climbing ropes and ladders are provided for hikers’ use.
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Simpson Travel
You may also find interesting:• Casa Theodora - a delightful boutique hotel in Corsica’s Balagne Region
• Top tips for travelling in and around Corsica’s Northern region
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