Renting a car from Bastia airport (BIA) is the best way to explore the beautiful island of Corsica.
Here’s our complete guide to car hire at Bastia Poretta airport, covering:
- access to car rental companies from terminals,
- what type of car to choose,
- best rental agencies and reviews,
- advice on cost reduction,
- rules and regulations,
- driving tips,
We’ve tried to list everything you might need to know to enjoy a worry-free car rental experience.
Rent a car at Bastia Poretta airport – what you need to know
Bastia airport (BIA) – quick introduction
Here are some essentials to know:
- Bastia airport is quite small, with just one terminal.
- It lies to the south of Bastia
- It takes 30 minutes by car to reach the center of Bastia
- It takes 40min by car to reach Saint-Florent from the airport.
- It may be called: BIA, or Bastia Poretta Airport
- Car rental offices are mainly located in the terminal.
- And then you have to cross the parking lot to get to the cars.
- Everything is always well signposted to find the car rentals.
Rent a car in Corsica – the essentials
If you don’t want to read the whole article with the step-by-step guide to renting a car in Ajaccio, and Corsica, here’s a summary of our top tips:
- Book early to get the best prices and choice of cars (there are few automatic cars in France) – see available cars
- Size of the car
Do not rent a car that is too large. There are some narrower roads, especially in the old villages. Plus, it’s easier to park and less stressful when crossing with a bus on mountain roads.
- Size of the car
Avoid renting a car with the smallest engine. It will be able to go anywhere, but the ride will be a bit more comfortable with more power.
No tolls in Corsica
- Always check the car when you arrive and take photos of everything you see (don’t forget the roof and the underside of the bumper).
- Please note that some rental companies have converted a large part of their fleet to electric vehicles. Be sure to check the conditions when you rent. Many hotels now have terminals, but they’re not available everywhere.
The platform we personally use
We always compare prices immediately at Discovercars.com.
It is one of the most highly rated comparison sites by customers.
We find great deals and we find the platform super easy to use because we can filter according to our criteria.
Plus, they offer a convenient coverage option at a great price that will cover you in case of damage to the exterior of the car. And we had the opportunity to test it: a chip on the windshield. There were no difficulties and the repayment went very smoothly.
Is it difficult to drive in Corsica? Is it safe?
Corsica is composed of mountains, cliffs and old villages. So it’s not the easiest place to drive.
However, it’s not as dramatic as some people write.
The main roads are generally in good condition with one lane in each direction. And when there’s a steep descent, there are guard rails…
Some roads are narrower, even very narrow, so you just have to take your time, slow down and even stop to let others pass.
And in town, park the car and explore on foot!
You can read horror stories on the Internet. But remember, the hundreds of thousands of people who had no problems didn’t write about it on the Internet!
We’ve included a short video on driving in Corsica, in our driving articles at the bottom of the article.
#1 to 3 – Access to car rentals in Bastia
Tip 1 – Car rental companies at Bastia airport
At Bastia airport, you’ll find many of the classic brands, almost all of which are available through the Discovercars.com platform:
- Enterprise Rentacar
Around the airport, you can also find more local or low-cost brands (with the risks that entails). Some offer to take the car to the airport.
Tip 2 – Don’t leave the terminal to find the rental offices
The offices of most car rental companies are in the terminal. Even if you see large rental areas on the other side of the parking lot, don’t move too fast!
Follow the signs and you can’t miss them.
Then, to pick up your rental car, you just have to cross parking lot 1. All brands are clearly marked.
Tip 3 – Returning the car at Bastia airport
As the airport is very small, it’s not difficult. Signs clearly indicate where to return the car, and you won’t have to waste any time getting it back – it’s pretty straightforward. Don’t plan to arrive an hour early!
Please note that there is more than one return zone, so be sure to choose the zone of your car rental company!
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#4 to 6 – How to rent a car in Bastia – requirements
Tip 4 – Permits to rent a car in Bastia and Corsica
It’s always best to have your International Driving Permit with you when traveling outside the country.
This way, you’ll never have to wonder.
However, you should know that in order to be allowed to drive in France (for a short stay), you can use a standard international driving license. This permit includes :
- a license number,
- a photograph,
- a validity date,
- and is written in Latin letters,
EU citizens can use their EU license.
A valid U.S. license works.
A valid Canadian permit is required.
A valid British license works.
Tip 5 – Additional age requirements / years of driving experience
The official driving age in France / Corsica is 18.
However, most car rental agencies in Corsica
- will require 21 years of age
- will require you to have held a license in your home country for a year or more,
- may add a fee if you are under 25 years of age,
- may add fees if you are over a certain age.
On the Discovercars.com platform, you can enter your age, to see any limitations of available rental cars and any additional fees.
Tip 6 – A credit card that can handle expense deductions
Don’t forget that, unless you’ve decided to take out comprehensive insurance directly with the rental company, you’ll be asked for your credit card to hold a charge, i.e. a deposit.
This amount is blocked on your account via your credit card (and released upon return without damage). Since it is added to the payment, you may reach your credit card’s daily/weekly or monthly protection limit.
So be prepared! Your options are as follows:
- Use another credit card for hold fees,
- Contact your bank before you travel to change your limits,
- Purchase comprehensive insurance with a deductible of 0.
On the Discovercars.com platform:
- Once you have opened an option, you can click on Rental Terms, and you will see the amount of the security deposit.
- And if that’s a problem for you, you can pre-select the amount you’re willing to block as a security deposit in the filters
#7 to 11 – What type of rental car should I choose?
Tip 7 – Car size/power recommendations
I know it depends on how many people are traveling and how much luggage you are taking.
But here are a few things to keep in mind when traveling to Corsica:
- There are many mountain roads
As a result, it’s more comfortable to have enough power. I recommend not to choose the smallest engine
- There are narrow roads in the villages and sometimes in the mountains
That’s why I recommend choosing a car that’s not too big, to reduce the stress of certain situations.
Tip 8 – Transmission type – manual or automatic
Most of the cars for rent in Corsica have a manual transmission.
Rental companies have automatic cars, but they are often more expensive. And there are fewer of them, so book early.
On Discovercars.com, you can use the “Automatic transmission” filter on the left, if this is a must-have for you.
Tip 9 – Is it worth having a 4×4?
No. There is a lot to see on the paved roads.
A 4×4 can be useful for some off-the-beaten-track beaches and the Agriates desert.
And be aware that even if you have a 4×4, the insurance protection associated with the rental probably doesn’t cover use of the car off paved roads.
This is common in many countries. Read the fine print.
Tip 10 – Consider vehicles with sleeping facilities
Another idea is to rent a vehicle in which you can sleep.
Overall, this could save you money compared to booking additional accommodation.
- Unauthorized camping is prohibited on the coast, in protected natural sites and within the perimeter of classified historical monuments.
- For local regulations, it depends on the local authorities
- There are camping sites around Corsica
- I would avoid renting a large motorhome, as it could become difficult on some roads.
USE OUR GUIDE TO PLAN A
DREAM TRIP TO Corsica
All the information you need for your trip:
- 7 maps that make planning easier
- 130+ pre-selected locations
- Practical advice
- + 220 photos to help you choose
Tip 11 – Managing your electric rental car in Corsica
Don’t be surprised when you get there, some car rental companies in Corsica (mainly Hertz and Sixt, but it happens with others) indicate that you can have a gasoline car or an electric one. You can’t choose.
And the fact is, for category A and B cars, these rental companies have a fleet of mostly electric cars. The probability of having an electric car when you arrive in Corsica is quite high.
But don’t panic!
It’s true that they switched over their cars before the number of recharging stations was hyper-developed. But since then, the installations have progressed.
You just need to plan your trips a little.
Here are our tips for managing your car’s range:
- For a less stressful trip, choose hotels with charging stations in their parking lots, so you can leave every morning with peace of mind.
- Make sure the car comes with a fast charging cable if possible.
- If this isn’t possible, load one of the apps that list charging stations and their availability – they’ll tell you where the stations are and what type they are. And as you approach, you can check if they are free.
ChargeMap and ABRP (A Better Route Planner) are the most used in Europe.
Manage your autonomy
- These cars have a range of around 380km, and Corsica isn’t huge, so you shouldn’t be driving 800km a day… Or you won’t see much of Corsica…
For example, between Ajaccio and Bonifacio, there are 130km – between Bastia and Calvi, there are 112km.
- Don’t be afraid of mountain climbs. During the ascent, the autonomy figure will drop very quickly, and you may be afraid of reaching zero. But soon you will be on the downhill, and there the car consumes almost nothing and even recharges a little. Autonomy therefore remains more or less the same. To make you less afraid, plan less than 250km in a day.
- Please note that the pre-payment card offered by the rental company does not work with all terminals. We do not recommend it. Better to pay at each pump and be more free.
- Limit your use of air conditioning to extend the distance you can travel. Anyway, we don’t drive fast in Corsica, so open the windows!
THINGS TO DO AROUND ajaccio
Discover all our articles on the region:
- Best things to do in Ajaccio
- Where to stay in Ajaccio
- Luxury hotels in Ajaccio
- Seaside Hotels
- Visit the Palais Fesch (coming soon)
- Visit the Maison Bonaparte (coming soon)
- Best excursions from Ajaccio (coming soon)
- Ajaccio’s most beautiful beaches (coming soon)
- Discover the Sanguinaires Islands (coming soon)
- Rent a car at Ajaccio airport
#12 to 18 – Best car rental agencies in Bastia – reviews
Tip 12 – Cost of car rental in Corsica
To give you an idea, based on Discovercars.com data, prices are around :
- There are wide variations throughout the year – Average prices range from 40 to 80 USD per day
- The cheapest prices are usually for when you travel in January / February
It’s very easy to compare prices online on platforms – but if you’re comparing between sites, don’t forget to check for any hidden charges.
Tip 13 – Things to consider when choosing your car rental company
- First of all, of course, the company must have the type of car you need.
- Then check out the cancellation charges – at Discovercars.com, cancellations are free.
- Mileage allowance – depending on what you’re planning, take a look at the unlimited mileage or daily mileage allowance.
- Pick-up location – some companies require a shuttle to get to the rental location.
Tip 14 – Top-rated car rental companies in Corsica
On the Discovercars.com platform, each rental company has a 10-point rating. It’s an average of ratings given by real customers – don’t forget that on Tripadvisor or Google, for example, anyone can write a review even if they haven’t used the company. On the search page, you can select only the best rated :
Some of the top rated car rental companies in Corsica are :
Tip 15 – How to save money – cheap car hire in Bastia
If keeping the cost down is your main concern, you should :
- Book early
- Return the car to where you picked it up
- Reserve a smaller car
- Pay attention to pick-up and drop-off times – Car rental is generally charged per 24-hour period.
- Choose a rental with no cancellation or with limited cancellation
- If you’re renting for 6 days, check the price for 7 days – sometimes companies have a discount for week-long rentals.
- Book with limited mileage
Tip 16 – Check opening hours
If you pick up your car at the airport, the companies are normally open as long as flights are arriving.
However, if you rent a car in a city, especially a small one, opening hours will be shorter (especially at weekends). This may mean that you will have to rent for an extra day if you cannot drop off the car.
Tip 17 – Car rental scams in Corsica
To my knowledge, there are no specific scams in Corsica.
As in most countries, if the price is very very low, then there must be conditions and tricks behind it.
And some companies do try to charge more for damages. My advice is to always take the time to check the car and take pictures when picking up and returning.
Most companies warn you that they may charge you for cleaning if you bring in a dirty car. Read the official conditions and they should indicate that “normal” cleaning is included. So a little sand shouldn’t be a problem, but not too much!
In summer, some tired employees of the tourism industry tend to be less charming. Make sure you check all the details of your return ticket and agree with them before you sign: agree on the state of the fuel level, agree on the state of cleaning (show the rental conditions if you have a disagreement with any of them).
Tip 18 – Be careful if you take a ferry
Don’t take your rental car to mainland France, Italy or Sardinia.
Car rental companies do not usually allow this. And if they do, the costs will be enormous.
HOW TO GET TO Corsica
Option 1: by ferry
Option 2: by plane
#19 to 20 – Understanding insurance
Tip 19 – Choose the type of insurance you need + requirements in Corsica
here are many levels of insurance. And their wording is often not very clear.
Here is a high-level overview of the different types of insurance – which are not really insurance, but waivers to limit your liability:
- Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) – limits the customer’s liability during the rental period and sets the maximum amount the customer will pay in case of damage.
- Theft Protection (TP) – limits your liability to the deductible/excess amount of the vehicle in the event of theft of the car (proof required is a police report and the car keys). TP is often included in the price of the car rental.
- Third Party Liability ( TPL) – covers personal and property damage to other people’s cars and property and even medical expenses. They have different limits.
- and many others…
The compulsory insurance in Corsica, and in France, is the civil liability insurance. It is included in the price of the rental car.
Tip 20 – 4 ways to take out additional insurance
- Option without insurance – apart from the compulsory insurance, you don’t need to take out any additional insurance. Just be aware that in the event of an incident, you may be liable for the full amount of your deposit.
- Option 1 – Use your credit card insurance/ or your own car insurance
Many credit cards offer some sort of rental car coverage. They all differ.
Similarly, your personal auto insurance may also cover you when you rent a car.
You must read all the fine print to understand what is and is not covered.
- Option 2 – Subscribe when you reserve your rental car
When you book your rental car, you normally have the opportunity to select the insurance you want. Most of the time, the offers are better than at the counter (I once saw 3 times less).
On direct sites, you get the dealer’s insurance, but on platforms, you get special insurance created by the platform.
For example, on Discovercars.com, they have their own “Full Coverage Waiver” insurance option.
Personally, this is what I used. I know I may already be covered by my credit card and everything else, but this seems like the easiest, most direct route in case of a problem. Personal feeling.
- Option 3 – Car rental
This is the most expensive option, but if you’ve never done it before, you may want to buy it when you pay.
- Option 4 – Travel insurance
Take out travel insurance that includes comprehensive car rental coverage with one of the classic insurance companies.
PLAN YOUR TRIP TO Corsica
#21 to 23 – Extras
Tip 21 – Do I need a GPS?
To navigate, you may consider renting a GPS.
- Option 1 – Bring your own GPS
This is my preferred option. I know exactly how it works, and I can enter all my destinations in advance, which saves me a lot of time.
- Option 2 – Use your phone
If you have a phone, remember that roaming charges abroad can be very high.
However, you can download a map in advance, when you’re connected to wifi, so you can navigate without spending any money.
Don’t forget your phone’s charger and holder to keep it comfortable!
- Option 3 – Take the GPS with you
I do not recommend it. I think it’s a last resort if you don’t have your own or a good phone. I still find it very expensive.
Tip 22 – Additional driver costs
Decide in advance whether or not you’ll need more than one driver.
If so, keep this in mind when comparing rental offers between companies.
Some companies offer deals with an extra driver for free.
On the Discovercars.com platform, if offers exist, it can be selected on the filters :
Tip 23 – Rules concerning child safety seats in Corsica
Children under 10 must be seated in a special seat at the rear of the car.
#24 to 31 – How to collect and return the car to avoid problems
Tip 24 – Check your vehicle when you pick it up
For a hassle-free exchange with the car rental company, we recommend that you perform a thorough check of the car before leaving the parking lot.
Sometimes this is done with an agent. Sometimes they simply give you a form with the condition of the car before you rent it. Sometimes they don’t tell you anything…
Make sure all dents and scratches are noted, if not, make sure they’re added.
What’s more, for peace of mind, you can take photos before you leave (as in all countries).
Things to look for:
- Check the entire exterior of the car for dents and scratches.
- Don’t forget to check the roof !!!! It’s often forgotten, but it may be checked on your return.
- Don’t forget the underside of the bumper
- And don’t forget the rear-view mirrors
- Check for interior damage
- Check tire condition
- Check the condition of the wing (mud wing above the wheels)
- Check that the spare tire is in place and in good condition
- Check that fuel level and mileage correspond to the file
Tip 25 – Check that all mandatory equipment is in the car
In France / Corsica, the following equipment must be available in the car:
- Warning triangle
- Reflective vest or jacket for at least 1 person
- Spare wheel (recommended – but not mandatory)
Tip 26 – Toll management
There are no tolls in Corsica.
Tip 27 – What to do in the event of a fine or ticket (speeding / parking)
You are responsible for any traffic tickets or fines you receive during the rental period.
If you are notified immediately, you may pay at the police station or online as indicated.
But be aware that it can take up to 3 months before a fine is reported to the car’s owner (the rental company). In this case, they will send you a proof and charge you for it, and may add an administrative fee for handling the fine.
Tip 28 – What to do if there’s a problem with the car?
Don’t lose your rental agreement.
On this page, you will find the steps to take if you have a problem with your car.
Most use a breakdown assistance service, and the number will be indicated on the contract.
You can then contact the rental company to see how to replace the car.
Tip 29 – Don’t forget to manage your tank
More and more companies now have a system where you have to return the car with the same level of fuel (not full to full, but identical to identical).
It’s very annoying, but it’s easier for them to manage.
Therefore, you need to understand how much the car consumes and how many kilometers/miles you have left to go, if you don’t want to waste money.
Tip 30 – returning the car
For peace of mind, try to drop off the car during opening hours so that all checks can be carried out and validated.
If this is not possible, take photos of the car before leaving it.
It’s true that you can read horror stories on the Internet about car rental in Corsica.
However, bear in mind that the thousands and thousands of people who have no problems do not write that everything went well with their rental…
So don’t be stressed. If you have taken a reputable company, that you respect the rules, everything should go well.
Tip 31 – What to do if you damage the car
If your rental car is damaged, the first thing to do is contact the car rental agency.
- If your rental only has basic insurance, you’ll have to cover damage up to your deductible.
- If you have taken out comprehensive coverage with the rental agency, check with them and the damage should be covered.
- If you purchased with Discovercars.com, contact them and provide all information (within 28 days of the car drop off). They will reimburse you for the fees and costs associated with the damage, if warranted.
- If you use your own insurance, contact them and provide all information. They will reimburse you for the costs of the damage, if justified.
#32 to 36 – Get ready to drive in Corsica
Here is an overview of the main things you need to know.
You can learn more about driving in Corsica in our article.
Tip 32 – Understanding the rules
- Driving is on the right side of the road
- French rules apply
- Seat belts are mandatory for all
- The blood alcohol level is 0.05%.
- The speed limits are well indicated in the red circle. Most of the time, you don’t really need them because you can’t really drive fast on these winding roads.
- Most villages have a 30km/h limit and many (far too many) speed bumps.
- In France, if a crossroads has no sign or indication, you give way to the person coming from your right.
- Traffic on the traffic circle has priority
- The use of the horn is only permitted in cases of immediate danger (although the French tend to forget this rule).
Tip 33 – Watch videos
To familiarize yourself with driving, you can watch videos of people doing road trips in Corsica.
Here’s my little video to give you an idea of what it looks like:
Tip 34 – Be aware of potential hazards
The main danger on the roads of Corsica is the animals. You can turn and find yourself with a cow, a pig, a goat or a donkey in the middle.
I’m not kidding, they’re everywhere, even on the main roads where you’d least expect them.
So don’t drive too fast.
Tip 35 – Plan your route
Adventure can be fun.
But if you want to see several locations on your road trip, it’s best to plan ahead to balance your days and book accommodation.
USE OUR GUIDE TO PLAN A
DREAM TRIP TO Corsica
All the information you need for your trip:
- 7 maps that make planning easier
- 130+ pre-selected locations
- Practical advice
- + 220 photos to help you choose
Tip 36 – What to do in the event of an accident?
If people are injured or there is a conflict, the emergency number in France is 112. The best order of action is as follows:
- contact emergency services
- contact the police
- contact your rental company