Renting a car in Corsica is the best way to explore this beautiful country.
Here is my complete guide on how to rent a car in Corsica, covering :
- which type of car is best,
- advice on the best rental companies and cost reduction,
- insurance recommendations,
- the essential points to avoid any scam,
- rules and regulations,
We have tried to list everything you might need to know to enjoy a worry-free Corsica car rental experience.
Renting a car in Corsica – Summary
Do you need a car in Corsica?
It depends on the type of vacation you want.
If you just want a beach vacation, then a rental car is probably not useful.
But if you want to be able to :
- Enjoy some of the hidden gems
- Visit a place early, before the crowd, like the beach of Palombaggia or the calanques de Piana.
- Be flexible to adapt to the weather
- Take a road trip around the whole island (which is bigger than you can imagine)
Then renting a car is the best option.
Here are some places you can discover with your car:
Essential tips for renting a car in Corsica – according to our personal experiences
If you don’t want to read the whole article with the step-by-step for renting a car in Corsica, here is a summary of our main tips:
- Do not rent a car that is too large. There are some narrower roads, especially in the old villages. In addition, it’s easier to park and less stressful when crossing with a bus on mountain roads.
- 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.
- Book early to get the best prices and choice of cars. It is an island where the supply of cars is limited.
- Always check the car when you arrive and take pictures of everything you see (don’t forget the roof and under the bumper).
- Beware, some rental companies have switched a large part of their fleet to electric cars. Check out the conditions when renting, and see our section on managing an electric car in Corsica
Is it difficult to drive in Corsica? Is it dangerous?
Corsica is composed of mountains, cliffs and old villages. So it’s not the easiest place to drive.
However, it is not as dramatic as some people write.
The main roads are generally in good condition with one lane in each direction. And when there is a steep descent, there are safeguards…
Some roads are narrower, you just have to take your time, slow down a bit.
You can read horror stories on the Internet. But remember, the hundreds of thousands of people who have had no problems have not written about it on the Internet!
The platform we personally use
We always compare prices immediately at Discovercars.com.
It is one of the highest rated comparison sites in the market.
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.
See their current car rental offers in Corsica.
#1 to 3 – How to rent a car in Corsica – required elements
Tip 1 – Permits to rent a car in Corsica
It is always best to have your international driver’s license 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 is a permit that 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 2 – Additional age requirements / years of driving
The official driving age in France / Corsica is 18 years old.
However, most car rental agencies in Corsica
- will ask to be 21 years old
- will require that you have been licensed in your home country for one 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 #3 – A credit card that can handle holdback
Keep in mind that unless you have decided to purchase comprehensive insurance directly from the rental company, you will 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). Because it is in addition to the payment, you may reach your daily/weekly or monthly credit card coverage 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
#4 & 5 – Car rental in Corsica – when and where
Tip #4 – Best time of year
Corsica is a very popular destination, especially in summer.
So, if you want to have a choice of vehicle types and good prices, it is best to rent your car as soon as possible.
You will not find any last minute offers in summer. As soon as you have chosen your dates, book the car!
Tip 5 – When and Where
You can rent cars in Corsican airports, in the main cities and in the ferry ports.
You don’t really need a car to explore the cities of Ajaccio / Bastia, so you can finish your rental before heading into town.
The biggest car rental centers in Corsica are:
- Ajaccio airport – see the car rental offers
- Bastia airport – see the car rental offers
- Figari Airport – see the car rental offers
- City of Ajaccio – see the car rental offers
- City of Bastia – see the car rental offers
But you can find all ports and airports on the comparison platform.
HOW TO GET TO Corsica
Option 1: by ferry
Departure from France and Italy
- See all ferry options in our article
- Compare schedules, prices and availability directly
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.
#6 to 10 – What type of car to choose?
Tip 6 – Recommendations for car size / power
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
Therefore, it is 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
Therefore, I recommend choosing a car that is not too big, to reduce the stress of certain situations.
Tip 7 – 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.
At Discovercars.com you can use the “Automatic Transmission” filter on the left, if this is a must have for you.
Tip 8 – Is it worth having a 4WD?
No. There is a lot to see on the paved roads.
A 4WD can be useful for some beaches off the beaten track and the Agriates desert.
And be aware that even if you have a 4WD, the insurance coverage associated with the rental probably doesn’t cover the use of the car off the paved roads.
This is common in many countries. Read the fine print.
Tip 9 – 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.
#10 to 11 – Managing an electric rental car in Corsica
Tip 10 – Be aware and don’t panic
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 arriving in Corsica is quite high.
But don’t panic!
It is true that they switched their cars before the park of charging stations was hyper developed. But since then, the installations have progressed.
You just need to plan your trips a little.
Tip #11 – Plan the management of your electric car
Here are our tips for managing your car’s range:
- For a less stressful trip, choose hotels that have charging stations in their parking lots, so you leave every morning with peace of mind.
- Make sure the car comes with a fast charging cable if possible.
- If this is not possible, load one of the apps that list charging stations and their availability – they tell you the location of the stations and their types. 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 about 380km, Corsica is not huge, you should not do 800km per day… Or you will not see much of Corsica…
For example between Ajaccio and Bonifacio, there are 130km – between Bastia and Calvi, there are 112km
- Don’t be afraid when you go up the mountain. 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. The autonomy 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 renter 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
We’re going back to Corsica in a few months, and will be looking at this even more closely.
DREAM TRIP TO Corsica
- 7 maps that make planning easier
- 130+ pre-selected locations
- Practical advice
- + 220 photos to help you choose
#12 to 18 – The best car rental companies in Corsica
Tip 12 – Cost of renting a car 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 fees.
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
- Next, look at the cancellation fees – at Discovercars.com, cancellation is free.
- Mileage allowance – depending on what you plan, take a look at the unlimited mileage or daily mileage allowance.
- Location of the pickup – some companies require a shuttle to get to the rental location.
Tip 14 – The best rated car rental companies in Corsica
On the Discovercars.com platform , each rental company has a 10 point rating. It is an average of the ratings given by real customers – Remember that on Tripadvisor or Google for example, anyone can write a review even if they have not 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 rental in Corsica
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 usually charged in 24-hour periods
- Choose a rental with no cancellation or with limited cancellation
- If you are 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 Hours of Operation
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, the opening hours will be shorter (especially on 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
There is no specific scam in Corsica, to my knowledge.
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 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. Be sure to check all the details of your return ticket and agree with them before signing: Agree on the condition of the gas level, agree on the cleaning condition (show the rental conditions if you have a disagreement with any of them).
Tip #18 – Be careful if you take a ferry
Do not 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.
#19 to 21 – Understanding Insurance
Tip 19 – Choose the types 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 Buy Extra Insurance
- No insurance option – apart from the mandatory insurance, you do not need to take out any additional insurance. Just be aware that in the event of an incident, you may be responsible for your entire deposit.
- Option 1 – Use your credit card insurance/ or your own auto 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. The offers are most of the time better than at the counter (I saw 3 times less, once).
On the direct sites, you get the dealer’s insurance, but on the 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 – At the car rental
This is the most expensive option, but if you’ve never done it before, you may want to purchase it at checkout.
- Option 4 – Travel Insurance
Purchase travel insurance that includes comprehensive car rental insurance from one of the traditional insurance companies.
Tip #21 – Consider Roadside Assistance
Technically, it is not insurance, but it is offered at the same time, if it is not already included in your contract.
Coverage requirements vary, but normally include:
- Loss or damage of car keys
- Keys locked inside the car
- Flat tire
- Rental car not starting
- Car running out of fuel
If you’re in a country you’re not familiar with, traveling alone and aren’t good at changing tires, this can be a great option.
This is a service you can get at the counter when you get the car.
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#22 to 24 – Extras
Tip #22 – 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 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, keep in mind that roaming charges abroad can be very high.
However, you can download a map in advance, when you are connected to the wifi, so you can navigate without spending money.
Don’t forget your phone charger and holder to keep it comfortable!
- Option 3 – Take the GPS as well
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 #23 – Additional Driver Fee
Decide in advance whether or not you will need more than one driver.
If this is the case, 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 :
Advice 24 – Rules concerning child safety seats in Corsica
Children under 10 years of age must be seated in a special seat in the back of the car.
PLAN YOUR TRIP TO Corsica
#25 to 32 – How to pick up and drop off the car
Tip #25 – Check your vehicle at pickup
For a hassle-free exchange with the car rental company, I 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 the rental. Sometimes they don’t tell you anything…
Make sure all dents and scratches are noted, if not, make sure they add them.
In addition, to have peace of mind, you can take pictures before leaving (as in all countries).
Things to watch:
- Check the entire exterior of the car for dents and scratches.
- Don’t forget to check the roof!!! It is often forgotten, but it may be checked when you return.
- Don’t forget the underside of the bumper
- And don’t forget the back of the mirrors
- Check the interior for damage
- Check the condition of the tires
- Check the condition of the wing (mud wing above the wheels)
- Check that the spare tire is in place and in good condition
- Verify that the fuel level and mileage match the record
Tip #26 – Make sure the 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 required)
Tip 27 – Toll Management
There are no tolls in Corsica.
Tip #28 – What to do if you get 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 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 29 – What to do if there is 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 #30 – 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 same to same).
It’s very annoying, but it’s more manageable for them.
Therefore, you need to understand how much the car consumes and how many kilometers/miles you have left, if you don’t want to waste money.
Tip #31 – Return the car
For peace of mind, try to drop off the car during business hours so that all checks can be completed and validated.
If this is not possible, take pictures of the car before you leave it.
It is true that you can read horror stories on the Internet about car rental in Corsica.
However, keep 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 #32 – What to do if you damage the car
If your rental car is damaged, the first thing to do is to contact the car rental agency.
- If your rental only has basic insurance, you will be responsible for covering damages up to your deductible.
- If you have full 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 fees and costs associated with the damage, if they are justified.
33 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 #33 – Understand 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 it because you can’t really drive fast on these winding roads.
- Most villages have a 30km/h limit and many (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 allowed in case of immediate danger (although the French tend to forget this rule)
Tip #34 – Watch videos
To familiarize yourself with driving, you can watch videos of people doing road trips in Corsica.
Here is my little video to give you an idea of what it looks like:
Tip #35 – Know the 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 are everywhere, even on the main roads where you don’t expect them.
So don’t drive too fast.
Tip #36 – Plan Your Route
It can be fun to go on an adventure.
But if you want to see several locations during your road trip, it is better to plan ahead to balance your days and book accommodations.
DREAM TRIP TO Corsica
- 7 maps that make planning easier
- 130+ pre-selected locations
- Practical advice
- + 220 photos to help you choose
Tip #37 – What to do in case of an accident
If people are injured or if 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