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Corsica, France

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42°18.6′N, 09°09′E
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Local chartlet
Corsica from space, viewed from the east NASA image
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Calvi Bay, Corsica
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Corsica is the fourth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily, Sardinia, and Cyprus). It is located west of Italy, southeast of France, and north of the island of Sardinia. Corsica is 183 kilometres (114 mi) long at longest, 83 kilometres (52 mi) wide at widest, has 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) of coastline, more than 200 beaches, and is very mountainous, with Monte Cinto as the highest peak at 2,706 metres (8,880 ft) and 20 other summits of more than 2,000 metres (6,600 ft). Mountains comprise 2⁄3 of the island, forming a single chain. Forest comprises 1⁄5. Approximately 3,500 km2 (1,400 sq mi) of the total surface area of 8,682 km2 (3,352 sq mi) are dedicated to nature reserves, mainly in the interior.

The island is 90 kilometres (56 mi) from Tuscany in Italy and 170 kilometres (110 mi) from the Côte d'Azur in France. It is separated from Sardinia to the south by the Strait of Bonifacio, a minimum of 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) wide.

Corsica provides a fascinating and very varied cruising ground for yachts, ranging from the superb sweep of the bay of Calvi at the north end of the island, with its marina and numerous mooring buoys, to the awe-inspiring sea cleft and harbour of Bonifacio at the southern end. Other harbours with marina facilities include the capital, Ajaccio and Propriano on the west coast; Porto Vecchio, Solenzara, Campoloro and Bastia on the east coast, and St Florent and L'Ile Rousse on the north coast. In addition, there are numerous delightful anchorages around the island where a yacht can drop the hook overnight in favourable weather. However, a visit to Corsica would be incomplete without a trip inland to the old capital of Corte on the ancient narrow-gauge railway; a bracing walk on the GR20, the long-distance walking route down the mountainous spine of the island; a tour of some of the inland mountain villages of La Castaniccia, the chestnut-producing area around Bastia, and a visit to some of the fascinating megalithic sites dotted around the island.

A circumnavigation of Corsica could be completed in a week if pushed, but three weeks of even a month would allow for a more relaxed itinerary, including several trips inland. Most yachts on circumnavigation go anti-clockwise, as any strong winds (e.g. the mistral) are most likely to come from the NW, and this route minimises the amount of time a yacht is at risk of a heavy beat to weather.

Climate & Weather

Weather conditions are usually benign during the summer, although the north and west coasts of the island are not good places to be if a mistral blows up, as there is a long fetch all the way from the coast of France. Seabreezes are mostly light along the coast, with the exception of the Strait of Bonifacio, where yachts will often encounter winds 2 or 3 Beaufort more than the prevailing breeze. A bracing 4/5 SE will often be experienced as a near-gale 6/7 as you near the Straits.

See also France.


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Local Radio Nets

Also see World Cruiser's Nets.

Approach and Navigation

Any navigation notes here. If this section does not apply remove it.

Check-in facilities (Customs and Immigration)

See France.

Berthing Options

Ports & Popular Stops

The following are the principal ports and anchorages around the coasts of Corsica:

Corsica ports & anchorages
Centuri Anchor Icon.png
St Florent Marina icon.png Anchor Icon.png
Ile Rousse Poe.jpg Sailboat smallest icon.png Anchor Icon.png
Calvi Poe.jpg Marina icon.png Anchor Icon.png
Girolata Sailboat smallest icon.png Anchor Icon.png
Cargese Sailboat smallest icon.png Anchor Icon.png
Ajaccio Poe.jpg Sailboat smallest icon.png Marina icon.png Anchor Icon.png
Porto-Pollo Marina icon.png Anchor Icon.png
Propriano Poe.jpg Sailboat smallest icon.png Marina icon.png Anchor Icon.png
Pianottoli Marina icon.png Anchor Icon.png
Bonifacio Poe.jpg Marina icon.png Anchor Icon.png
Lavezzi Islands Anchor Icon.png
Porto-Vecchio Poe.jpg Marina icon.png Anchor Icon.png
Macinaggio Marina icon.png Anchor Icon.png
Bastia Poe.jpg Sailboat smallest icon.png Marina icon.png Anchor Icon.png
Campoloro Taverna Poe.jpg Marina icon.png
Solenzara Marina icon.png

Key to icons: | Port of entry: Poe.jpg | Harbour: Sailboat smallest icon.png | Marina: Marina icon.png | Anchorage: Anchor Icon.png

Offshore Islands

Yacht Services and Repairs

See individual ports.

Things to do Ashore

See individual ports.

Routes/Passages To/From

List popular passages/routes, timing, etc.

Cruiser's Friends

Submit details/contacts of cruiser's "friends" that can be contacted in advance or on arrival - who can offer information and assistance to our cruising "family".

Forum Discussions

List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)

External Links

References & Publications

See France.

Personal Notes

Personal experiences?

  • June is an excellent month to visit the island, when there is a profusion of Spring flowers but not yet of French and Italian tourists, the marinas are still to fill up, the water is warm enough to swim and the restaurant owners are keen for your custom - Athene of Lymington.

Last Visited & Details Checked (and updated here)

Date of member's visit to this Island & this page's details validated:

This is a useable page of the cruising guide. However, please sail in and help it grow further - add new notes and edit/update the existing information! GRAB THE PAGE AND BUILD IT!.

SailorSmiley.gifContributors to this page

Names: Lighthouse, Athene of Lymington

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