We travelled 9 days with our Defender 90 through the island of Corsica. This was in June 2022. In total we covered around 1000 km, on and off road. We started in Bastia and went crisscross around the island. Doing a couple of greenlaning routes, trying to avoid mass tourism and hike as much as possible.
Livorno – Bastia
– June 2022 -Our initial plan was to go to the Balkans. However, on May 30th 2022 we boarded the ferry from Livorno Italy to Bastia Corsica. And you might wonder how that happened, so we wrote a separate post about ’the story of the newbe overlanders who went to the Balkans but didn’t end up going’. And now without further ado, let’s dive into our adventure on the beautiful Island Corsica.
After spending some days in the Italian Dolomites and Tuscany we prepared for our first ferry crossing with Lewie and the Rover. It was a hot day in Tuscany, and while we were waiting to board we took Lewie out to walk around a bit and let him pee. The crossing is approximately 3,5 hours, which was perfect for our first time.
In the confirmation email was written that mules are mandatory for dogs. We didn’t have one so we went to a pet store last minute to get one. In the end no one asked for it so we didn’t use it, but good to know if you are traveling with dogs.
We booked a pet friendly hut and everything went very smooth. We were glad that we had our own little space to chill and relax and make the crossing as comfortable as possible for Lewie. He did a great job and slept for most of the time.
We left the ferry and drove through Bastia. We were quite happy to have arrived. The air was more humid than in Tuscany and Dolomites. While waiting for the traffic light we got smile and waves from the car waiting next to us. And as we drove up the hills we smiled and thought wow this is going to be so goood. It was cloudy and the higher we got the less we could see. But then.. suddenly we made a turn and the sun was there in all glory. It was a magical sunset with all shades of orange and pink. We stopped the car to take it all in: “Welcome to Corsica”
Before boarding the ferry we searched for a campsite to spend the first night on Corsica. There was one we liked within an hour of the port: Camping A Stella . So we called them to reserve a spot and to let them know our time of arrival. But apparently that is not how it works on Corsica. The woman on the phone said “you want to reserve for tonight, ok no problem” and then she hang up the phone. We looked at each other and wondered if we should call again to confirm. She said no problem so we thought Oke let’s see, it will be fine.. The reception was already closed when we arrived. There were other campers who arrived at the same time. They said to just choose a spot and pay in the morning. Of course all the places on the beach were already taken. So we found a nice spot at the far end of the campsite in the middle of the woods and nobody around us.
The next morning we woke up early, packed up the car and ate a quick yoghurt: ready for our first off road track to a remote beach. On our way to the track we stopped at a bakery. It had just opened 1 minute before we got there and the smell of fresh bread was delicious. It is one of the best holiday feelings for us. To go to a local bakery and buy a selection of bread and pastries.
After getting some food and water we made our way up to the beginning of the track. At first we missed the turn so we had to make a u turn and go back. There was a guy in a pickup truck at the entrance he smiled and waved at us to go in. We saw a sign with ‘dangereux’ and some other French text which we couldn’t understand. But the track was on several blogs and wikiloc so we just went for it. You can find it here. And we were so happy we did. By the way, we don’t have any airco so we drive around with the windows down. And that’s how we noticed the smell of Corsica is amazing. We didn’t figure out where it comes from but the plants and trees smell amazing.
The route was fantastic and we would definitely recommend it to any one visiting Corsica with a 4×4. At the end of the track at Lotu beach we parked the car and couldn’t believe we were the only ones there. This place is absolutely beautiful: white sand and clear water. We had the place to ourselves for about an hour when we noticed a boat arrived dropping off other tourists. There are boat services that come every other hour to drop off and pick up people who want to visit these remote beaches. The last boat left at 5 pm and we had the place to our selves again.
The evening was one of the best of our trip with a beautiful sunset. We cooked some dinner, had a few drinks and then went to sleep.
Saleccia and Lotu beach
Désert des Agriates
We did an offroad route through the desert des Agriates. You can view the route here.
This was one of the most challenging routes we did so far. High clearance and a real 4×4 are a must.
We did the full route and started from the west. After 2 or 3 hours we reached the coast. Here there is a small area where you can park your car.
You see an information board and from here you can hike to the beach. We definitely recommend staying here for a few hours because it is absolutely beautiful.
Not a lot of people risk getting here.
Again white sand and crystal clear water. Lewie loved it here. Swimming, sleeping and if he woke up some more sleeping. Perfect day for a dog.
You can wild camp around the route or at the end point to the beach, however, wild camping is not legal and at your own risk. Please respect nature and take your trash 🙂
We stayed higher up the route at a beautiful spot with amazing views of the coast.
We woke up early to do the last part of the offroad route. Again a lot of stones so we took it easy. Along the way we passed a car in trouble. A local drove into the side of the road and the car got stuck.
We tried to help him but we didn’t have the right equipment. We gave our phone number and tried to find the right equipment. Luckily they already texted us that an Italian defender pulled them out with a winch.
After we restocked food and water at the spar we set our route to the mountains. We wanted to go to the highest peak of Corsica, Monte Cinto (2706 m). We found this camping close the the road that leads to the highest point. Camping Monte Cinto. This is an epic campsite. In the middle of the forest along a mountain river. Perfect place to cool off.
We set up our camp along the river. And spent the rest of the day chilling, eating, swimming in the river (really cold) and playing some cards.
On the morning of day 5 we set off to do a hike. We didn’t do any research but found a couple of trails starting from the camp on Wikiloc. We didn’t have any expectations but this hike is on our top list of best hikes we ever did. Your can find it here. One of the reasons we enjoyed it so much is because we were the only ones on the trail. We only met one guy on the way but he was a trailrunner so he was gone before we blinked.
The trail is quite steep and some level of fitness is required. In our case, Lewie is by far the fittest and leading the pack, then comes Patrick and last is Orla trying to keep up with the rest. It’s really funny sometimes when Orla is a couple of meters behind, Lewie runs back to see if she is ok and trying to keep everyone together.
So we read about the view point at the top and that was our goal for this hike. But after an hour of climbing we came across this beautiful waterfall. The water was crystal clear and very cold but the boys went in for the experience. After spending some time around the waterfall we decided this already was our highlight so we didn’t continue the trail to the top but headed back down for breakfast.
We ordered baguette, croissants and pain au chocolat at the campsite the day before. That was all we could think of when climbing downwards. Perfect end to our morning hike to pick up our fresh bread and pastries. After breakfast we packed up the rover again and left the camp.
We drove a bit around the area up to the ski lifts of Asco and then we went to the other side of the mountain. We did an off road route which was not very hard, it was just a gravel road. Again spectacular views. We were planning to spend the night on that road so we parked the car at a place that we found suitable. We got out and strolled around the road a bit furter upwards. But then we saw a car of the mountain rangers so we thought there goes are wild camping plan… we walked back to our car and chilled for a bit waiting for the ranger to go home. But it was getting dark and he didn’t pass us. We didn’t feel like setting up camp when chances were we had to pack up again. So we drove back down and searched for a campsite.
There was a village party down at the campsite with a nice atmosphere and live music. The advantage was that we could charge our battery which was quite nice as we were below 10%. The night was windy.
The next morning we packed up again. Our plan for the day is to drive back to the west coast again. But first, we wanted to do a short hike with Lewie. There are lot’s of hiking trails in this area so we decided to find a stop on our route to the coast. We started a trail but after about 30 mins of descending we decided to go back up again. Lewie was limping a bit since the other day so we thought it would be better to take it easy and don’t let him jump and climb too much.
The drive to the coast was epic. The scenery is so beautiful. If you are in the area do not miss the D84, you will not regret it!
It was getting very hot as we came closer to the coast. This was the first time we experienced 30+ degrees while driving the Defender. We don’t have airco, thought we wouldn’t need it anyway. But even with the windows down we were melting away. Poor Lewie in the back was also roasting. We arrived at the camp where we would stay the night. The hostess was very kind. And the best thing about this campsite is that they have outdoor showers, exactly what we needed to cool down. The beach is only a couple of minutes walk from the campsite. There was not shade but Lewie could cool down in the water.
The rest of the day we didn’t do much, we couldn’t do much because of the heat.
Even the night was hot, so we decided to pack up and go back to the mountains the next day hoping the temperature would be better.
After a hot and humid night we set off to the mountains again. We asked the campsite owner if we could leave before 7am to escape the heat.
The day before we met a lovely defender owner from Germany on the campsite. He gave us the full tour of his rig, 110 with roof conversion. He recommended a few places he had been the days before. One of those places was a beach further south on the west coast, it was a couple of hours from where we were. When we arrived we immediately looked at each other and thought nope this is not for us. Too touristy. So we turned around and went into the mountains as was our initial plan.
Almost all the routes up into the mountains are beautiful. The landscapes change a lot and it is an absolute joy to drive around. We headed to Zonza. Found a nice campsite with access to a river. The rest of the day we chilled at the river and set up camp.
We started the morning with a dip in the river. Such a lovely way to start the day. After breakfast we set out on another beautiful route: Colle de Bavella. This route – again – has breath taking views. A must on your list when you are visiting Corsica. There are also a lot of hiking trails in this area.
After driving around the area we were looking for a campsite on the east coast. We found one with access to the beach. The hosts were very friendly and drove us around in a golf cart showing all the available spots on the campsite. We chose one close the the entrance to the beach. We met a lovely Dutch couple who spent the last 20 years of their holidays on this campsite. They also had a dog and to him this was a second home, so cute to see.
We chilled and went swimming and then chilled some more. It was very sunny so we used our solar panels to charge our Goal Zero battery. Barbeques were not allowed so we cooked some dinner on our campingaz stove. After dinner we strolled around the area a bit and enjoyed the colors of the sunset. We couldn’t see the sun from there as we were on the east coast.
Our last morning on Corsica. This time we didn’t pack up early but had a nice and slow morning. Lewie had the best morning ever, he woke up, got out of the car, stretched out and then ran off to the beach and jumped into the sea. After his morning swim we chilled at our camp. The Dutch people we met the day before offered to get fresh bread for us. They were so kind and even bought dog snacks for Lewie. After breakfast we slowly packed up and left the campsite around noon. We booked the night ferry from Ajaccio to Toulon so we had a couple of hours left on the island. It was a three hour drive from the east coast to Ajaccio and again amazing scenery to drive trough.
We stopped at a place in the mountains for lunch and to walk around a bit with Lewie before the long ferry journey. The restaurant was very nice, it had a nice terrace and lot’s of local dishes. We cooked ourselves most of the other days so it was nice to try out some local food. The place is called: Le Refuge
After lunch we made our way to the port of Ajaccio. Corsica was amazing, we didn’t expect much because we didn’t prepare this destination at all, but it is definitely one of the wildest and beautiful islands we’ve been.
Thank you for reading if you have come this far! We wrote this blog as a retrospective but found out it is quite hard to do. So next time we will change our strategy on blog post writing hehe. If you have any questions on locations or anything general drop us a DM on Instagram!