The mountains of Corsica are one of the main reasons why the island is so beautiful.
The landscapes between summits and sea are splendid in all the corners.
Let me tell you more about these mountains and show you some of the most beautiful roads in Corsica to enjoy!
About the Corsican mountains
The Corsican mountain range
Corsica is essentially a giant mountain surrounded by the sea.
Here are some facts about the Corsican mountains:
- It is a mountain range that cuts the island in 2
- The average altitude is 568m
- The mountains are higher in the northern part of the island
- There is evidence that there were once glaciers on these mountains.
- More than 20 rivers cross them, on 1380 km. Corsica therefore has much more water than the other Mediterranean islands.
- You can find about 40 lakes nestled in these mountains.
Mountainous peaks of Corsica
Corsica has at least 120 peaks over 2000m.
Classically, they are separated into 4 blocks:
- Around Monte Cinto, the highest point of Corsica at 2706m (North of the island)
- Around Monte Rotondo, the second highest peak at 2622m (Center of the island)
- Around the Monter Renoso, the third highest peak at 2352m (between Ajaccio and Aleria)
- Around the Monte Incudine at 2134m in the South of the island
Corsican mountains in video
Here is a short video to give you an idea of the Corsican mountains:
Driving in the mountains of Corsica
Driving has the reputation of being difficult in Corsica.
It is true that because of the mountains, there are no straight and easy roads.
They are always winding and never very wide.
But that’s also why the scenery is so amazing at every turn!
But don’t be afraid to drive. Only some roads are really difficult and narrow.
Otherwise, just take your time and enjoy the ride.
Just watch out for the farm animals that roam freely in the mountains.
For more information, see our article on driving in Corsica. It also contains a video to give you an idea of what to expect.
Need to rent a car in Corsica?
- Compare prices on our preferred platform: DiscoverCars – one of the best rated sites.
- Choose a car that is powerful enough (the roads are steep) but compact (some passages are narrow).
- Think of thecomplete insurance (some roads are tortuous and narrow).
- There is a lot of demand, book it early.
The mountains of Corsica: our 5 favorite views
As we said before, you can enjoy magnificent views of the Corsican mountains at every turn. It’s everywhere!
It was not easy to select our favorites. But here are our top 5:
On the way to the Aiguilles de Bavella
It was our favorite view of the Corsican mountains. It focuses on the famous Aiguilles de Bavella in South Corsica (Aiguilles de Bavella in French).
Most people admire them from the pass of Mount Bavella. But our favorite view was at another pass, in the gorges of Solenzara.
These steep peaks are fascinating.
The “Aiguilles” have 7 peaks. The highest point reaches 1855m and is Punta Alta.
Cap Corse – where the Corsican mountains meet the sea
Then, there is the west coast of Cap Corse. One of the most beautiful destinations in Corsica(see our list).
This is where you really realize the expression “mountain in the sea”.
The peninsula is only 10 to 15 km wide. So there is no room to have flat land.
Its mountain range, La Serra, extends 40 km from north to south. The highest point is the Cima di e Follice at 1322m.
This small territory has more than 10 peaks over 1000m!
A winding road follows the entire coastline and offers magnificent views of the mountains and the Gulf of Saint-Florent. See our Guide to Cap Corse.
Pictured here is one of my favorite views along this route.
Gorge of Spelunca
In the gulf of Porto, on the west coast, the stars are the calanques de Piana and the Scandola reserve (for good reason).
However, if you have your own car, be sure to visit the interior of the regions. These red rock walls extend around the Spelunca canyon and the road to Evisa offers some magnificent views including this one (which is not at the official viewpoint).
From the citadel of Calvi
We had a great surprise while visiting the citadel of Calvi.
We went there for the history and architecture. But our favorite part of the tour was the views from the fortification walls.
Especially when looking north towards the beach.
As you can see in the picture above, you can see the Monte Cinto range with very high peaks. On a clear day, you can even see the highest peak in Corsica, Monte Cinto.
For a better view, we recommend visiting in the evening. As you can see from my morning photo, I am almost facing the sun.
From the Agriates desert
And this is probably our second favorite view of the Corsican mountains.
It was taken in the Agriates desert during the hike between the Lotu beach and the Saleccia beach(more pictures here) .
It is a wonderful mix of what Corsica is: Mediterranean scrub vegetation, a white sandy beach with turquoise water, a deep gulf and mountains in the background (these are the mountains of Cap Corse).
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Corte, the mountain town of Corsica
Corte is the central city of Corsica, the mountain city and considered the heart of the island.
It has a long and rich history.
History – the essentials
- Corte is the historical and cultural capital of Corsica
- Its history goes back to antiquity
- When Pascal Paoli declared independence in 1755, Corte was chosen as the capital (until the island was conquered again in 1769)
- Even today, it is the heart of Corsican culture. It is home to a large university.
Although it is located in the middle of the mountains, Corte is very easy to reach.
All the main roads built on the island pass through Corte. The train also passes through Corte.
It is the central point for quick travel from one end to the other.
In the city itself, you can enjoy:
- Walk through the streets of the old town (but wear good shoes because the ground is uneven).
- If you don’t feel like walking up, there is a tourist train that takes you to the museum
- At the top is the Citadel with the Museum dedicated to Corsica and its history. Each room is dedicated to a different part of the Corsican culture. It does not overload you with information. I enjoyed the visit of the museum
- And don’t miss the splendid 360° view from the Belvedere – see next section
The Belvedere of Corte
And this is my favorite part of Corte. Even if you do nothing else, you should stop at Corte to access the Belvedere and enjoy the 360° view.
The combination of the mountains, the old town and the Citadel balanced on the summit is fascinating. It ended up being on my list of the best places to see in Corsica, and also one of the most beautiful cities.
What do you think about it?
Where to sleep in Corte
- The Dominique Colonna Hotel surrounded by Nature with a decor in accordance
– see prices, pictures and availability
- The hotel B&B A Chjusellina for those who seek peace and quiet.
– see prices, pictures and availability
- The Duke of Padua Hotel in the heart of the city
– see prices, pictures and availability
- See the best rated accommodations in Corte
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Most beautiful roads in Corsica
Let’s move on to our favorite roads in Corsica. The best canyons and gorges to drive in Corsica.
As we wrote earlier, it’s beautiful everywhere, at every turn. But we still have some favorites.
Road in the Restonica valley
The Restonica valley is probably one of the most famous gorges in Corsica.
It is located near Corte, and is the starting point for the famous Lake Melo hike.
The 15 km route is beautiful with steep peaks, forests, a river and (depending on the season) patches of snow.
However, before you start driving, you should know that :
- This is one of the most difficult roads in Corsica. The road is narrow with difficult sections where there are no guard rails. If you have any fear of mountain driving, don’t go.
- The last section to the last parking lot is fenced. You have to pay a fee for the day (6 euros) to go to the end.
- Learn more about driving and see more photos and a video in our article on the Restonica Valley.
Route des Gorges de Solenzara
In Southern Corsica, Solenzara is a favorite because it is a great place to cool off on hot summer days. There is plenty of shade with the trees and crystal clear pools of water created by the river.
The road is wide and in good condition. There are several parking lots along the road.
It is an easy road and you can continue to the Bavella pass with incredible views of the Aiguilles de Bavella.
The whole route is fantastic.
Route through the Inzecca Canyon
The canyon of Inzecca is a less known road that crosses the mountains, not far fromAléria.
It’s a short drive just south of Aleria. You can’t stop at many places but just driving between the rock walls is fascinating.
Route from Évorato Porto
And on the west coast of Corsica, you can drive from Porto Ota to the mountain village of Evisa, surrounded by pink and red rock walls.
The roads are not too bad. Just look ahead and take your time if you come across a bus.
Plan your trip to Corsica!
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Planning a road trip in Corsica
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The most beautiful beaches of Corsica
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The most beautiful cities of Corsica
The most beautiful destinations in Corsica
Waterfalls in Corsica
And with the mountains come… the waterfalls !!!!
But before you get too excited, remember that these are fantastic in the spring, when all the snow is melting. But they can be boring in summer when there is not much volume…
Some are famous, others really need to know they are there.
Here are some of them:
Our favorite is the Bridal Veil.
It’s a steep 10-minute climb, but it’s worth it!
Take a look at this 70m high water flow jumping from rock to rock.
Cascade des Anglais
The Cascade des Anglais is the most famous waterfall in Corsica.
However, most people go there in the summer, when the flow is low, especially to enjoy the series of pools created by the river.
But during the other seasons, the water flows quickly and it’s really a series of small stunts.
And the walk through the forest is breathtaking.
Waterfalls of Struccia
For this stunt, you really need to know it’s there.
Lost in the massif of medium mountain of Castagniccia, it falls of 15m in a natural amphitheatre.
The rocks, vegetation and clear water pool create a magical environment.
How to get to Corsica
Option 1: by ferry
Departure from France and Italy – see all options in our article
or directly compare schedules, prices and availability
Advantage: you can take your car
Option 2: by plane
Airports in Bastia, to visit the North, Figari to visit the South, or Ajaccio convenient for all Corsica.
Compare prices and availability ofairline tickets
And then rent a car: see our favorite comparator
If you are traveling in the summer, remember to book early to get the best prices and choices!
Need more help choosing?
See our advice on how to go to Corsica
Corsican villages in the mountains
And the mountains of Corsica are dotted with many charming villages.
The most famous villages are in Balagne, but they are quite low in altitude so they are not included here.
Here we focus on the villages surrounded by mountains.
Here are a few to consider visiting.
The famous one – Bastellica
Bastelica is one of the most famous villages for 2 main reasons:
- It is quite close to Ajaccio and there is even a tourist train which makes the connection in summer…
- It is famous for its cold cuts. There are several stores where you can buy it in town. The pigs grow in the chestnut groves of the surroundings.
Located inland from Porto Ota, the village of Evisa itself is not the most charming (in our opinion).
But its location is fantastic. It is surrounded by the red mountains and offers views of the calanques de Piana in the distance.
We wish we had a picture without the clouds to show you. But you can already guess the magnificence of the environment.
La Castogniccia – Vescovato
The Castagniccia is a medium altitude massif located on the eastern side of Corsica.
Its villages look stark from the outside but have a long history and are fascinating to explore.
Some of them have unique features like the hidden tunnel in Vescovato.
La Castogniccia – Pedicroce
Further up in La Castagniccia is the central village of Pedicroce.
The village itself was not our favorite but it has views of the mountains in all directions which is beautiful.
In addition, it has a large church with impressive paintings.
Important events during the independence of Corsica occurred in the region.
In the south of Corsica is the historical region or Alta Rocca.
It gathers many sites of the prehistory such as Cucuruzzu, Filitosa, Caurai… Where we can find menhirs and dolmens.
Levie is the central village where you can find the museums of the Alta Rocca with pieces found in all these sites.
See our article on the most beautiful villages of Corsica.
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Mountain hiking in Corsica
When you have mountains, you have hiking opportunities…
Corsica is really a huge playground for hikers.
However, with the exception of the Sentier des Douaniers along the coast, most of the hiking trails are not easy due to the mountainous terrain.
And as a general rule, we found that even when it says easy, we would have classified some hiking trails as medium difficulty… especially after the rain when everything is slippery!
The most famous path is the GR20 which allows you to cross the island. It is considered the most difficult long-distance train in Europe.
You can only walk part or all of the trail.
We walked the small portion near the Cascade des Anglais and found things well marked.