Many have heard of the fine sandy beaches of the Corsican coast. But for Peter Lintner, the fascination of the island lies in its mountains, passes and gorges. His travel report with the HYMER ML-T 570 shows why four-wheel drive is a good idea even on the “island of beauty”.
The Corsica adventure starts for us on one of these late summer evenings, where you'd like to sit on the terrace with a glass of wine until dawn. This time, however, the wine stays in the cellar. Because just 8 hours later we have to be in Livorno, almost 700 kilometers away, in order to reach the ferry that is due to leave us in time for Corsica.
As is well known, it doesn't wait for anyone. Especially not for German hobby campers. So, off to the slopes and past all the beautiful places that would be worth their own short trip: Innsbruck, Verona, Modena, Bologna and Florence - on a starry Italian night we simply leave them behind.;
We head for the port of Livorno in the ML-T 570, after almost 7 hours of driving we even have time for a fresh espresso before boarding the ferry, the missed opportunities have long been forgotten. On the four-hour crossing to Bastia there is only anticipation of our dream island. Oh, and a little nap to catch up on last night's sleep.
So we reach Corsica rested, but with a growling stomach. That's why we head south, where our first stop is logically the Géant Casino supermarket. Covered with delicious Corsican food, the next culinary highlight is waiting for us.
The coastal road leads us to the Étang D`Urbino - the well-known "shell beach" just before Ghisonaccia. There you will find a restaurant that not only impresses with its freshly harvested mussels from its own farm production, but also has a beautiful terrace with a lagoon view. The perfect ambience for our delicious seafood! Exactly what we hoped for when we left our own terrace a little wistful the night before.
The next day we continue our journey into the Vecchio valley. In addition to the fantastic swimming pools, the many narrow bridges are an absolute highlight of every Corsica trip. A particularly impressive sights can be admired, for example, at the Pont de Nocera (Venaco).
The vegetation in Corsica also behaves according to the saying "paddle instead of spill". From April to September, the island is green to the fullest. Anyone who has experienced this natural spectacle will never ask again why Corsica has earned the nickname "Island of Beauty"!
For us we continue via Corte towards Scala di Santa Regina. And for the first time away from the well-known beaches and bays, towards the hills, mountains and valleys that we yearn to discover.
The broad high valley, closed on three sides, can be reached from the Gulf of Porto and from the east through the spectacular Scala di Santa Regina. From Corte you drive on the newly built T20 towards Ponte-Leccia / Bastia to Francardo and there turn onto the D84 towards Calacuccia / Golf from Porto. The variant on the D13 to Castirla is nicer but more time-consuming. Both routes meet shortly before the bridge over the Golo, in Ponte Castirla.
After crossing the Golo Bridge, drive west on the D84 for about 5 km until you reach the Scala di Santa Regina. The Golo has eaten deep into the rock and you can see great Tafoni formations. The road twists through the gorge, often so narrow that two motorhomes have a hard time crossing. You have to be most careful, particularly on the partially overhanging rocks - and on the fast moving Corsican.
Due to the narrow roadway and sparce parking facilities, many tourists are content to simply drive through the gorge. But a stop or even a hike is highly recommended! When you have to concentrate on the traffic, you can hardly see the beauty of this gorge.
The D84 continues towards the village of Calacuccia, the main town of the Niolo. We then drive along the reservoir of the same name towards Albertacce. Here a narrow road leads up to the mountain village of Calasima.
This road ends in a small parking lot, which in spring is the starting point for driving on a subsequent torrent. The rapid whitewater stretch is covered by kayak and is very demanding. You either end the stream tour at the Golo bridge on the D84 or paddle further into the Calacuccia reservoir.
A moment is waiting for us, which I am looking forward to all the time: I can finally really test the power of the ML-T 570! With the all-wheel drive switched on, it goes over a very bumpy roadway lined with deep furrows and holes until we reach a wonderful plateau. There you can expect a breathtaking view down to the Calacuccia reservoir, which is framed by the magnificent mountain backdrop. Almost indescribably beautiful and in any case unattainable without all-wheel drive. Our choice has already paid off in full.
With this feeling of euphoria we continue the journey towards Valdu Niellu. It is likend to the Black Forest and is one of the most extensive forest areas on the island. Its tall trees line the mountain road winding through the forest until you reach the Poppaghjia Forest House. The ideal starting point for a hike to Lake Nino.
But we have other plans and continue to follow the winding road over the “Cole de Verghio” pass down to Evisa and Porto to marvel at the sunset on the west coast.
Now, to our perfect luck, only one thing is missing: a good glass of Corsican red wine. And we definitely want to enjoy this with a view of the very famous Capo Rosso. So the next day we continue straight towards Plage d'Arone. On a small road that winds along the coast, we come on an off-road path and thus a lot closer to our destination. On the ridge not only the Capo Rosso and our long-awaited glass of Corsican wine awaits us, but a wonderful view of a bay worth seeing. We stay in front of our HYMER until the very last sunbeam is defeated by the darkness of the night.
The next morning of our tour begins just as beautifully as the last evening comes to an end. Because once again, the all-wheel drive of the ML-T 570 is able to demonstrate its full capabilities. The highlight: a viewpoint that gives us a unique view of the Gulf of Porto.
Along the west coast we leave the towns of Cargese, Sagone, Signa and Tiuccia behind us and head towards Ajaccio - the main city of Corsica. Instead of surrendering to the hustle and bustle of the tourist stronghold, we decide to stop in Propriano. Anyone who is here should definitely visit the "Chez Antonie" campsite. It impresses with a fantastic location with direct access to the sea and a bakery that supplies hungry campers with fresh French pastries and baguettes at 08:00 in the morning.
For us, this is the ideal prerequisite for implementing another project: a fresh air breakfast on the beach. And so we set off for the “Plage de Capu Laurosu”, equiped with fresh pastries. Once there, the awning is extended in no time and the breakfast table is set. Freshly brewed coffee and a wonderful view of the blue sea make this very special start to the day perfect.
To savor the extensive breakfast, we get our inflatable standup boards from the spacious garage of the ML-T 570 all-wheel drive and paddle out to sea for a few hours before heading for Sartène in the late afternoon to catch the last rays of sunshine of the day.
As the holiday season fades, we quickly start to tick off another destination of our trip: the Golfe de la Revellata just before Calvi. In this bay you will find the turquoise sea so typical of Corsica. And we definitely want to see that up close. We go down to the sea via an unpaved gravel track, which can definitely only be managed thanks to our all-wheel drive.
Deep furrows and holes that are flushed out by the rainwater demand a lot from our ML-T 570 4x4. But the ground clearance of the camper pays off once again and the undercarriage always works reliably at every steep incline.
After this grueling trip through the grounds, we drive up towards “Notre Dame de la Serra”.
A vantage point with a direct sea view proves to be the ideal place for a dinner, which we prepare together in the spacious kitchen compartment of the ML-T 570. And so the day ends as it began: this time with a delicious meal high above the beach.
Then comes what is inevitable: The last day on the island is approaching. Since we had so much fun stand up paddling the day before, we decided to go to “Camping A Stella”. An idyllic campsite that allows you to park on the front row - and thus directly by the sea.
We plunge into the water one last time before we say goodbye to one of the most beautiful sunsets of the entire trip.