Corsica ferries are available from French harbor cities Marseille, Toulon and Nice, as well as from Italian ports of Savona, Genoa, and Livorno.
All in all, destinations available from European mainland to the island of Corsica include:
- L’ille Rousse,
- Porto Vecchio, and
Shortest (and cheapest) of these routes, with a journey time of about 4 hours, connects…
- Nice (France) to Calvi and
- Livorno (Italy) to Bastia.
PHOTO: Toulon’s harbor terminal, with ‘Corsica Ferries – Sardinia Ferries‘ ships in the background. The ferry to the right is “Mega Express 4” (cruising the route Toulon-Ile Rousse), and the ferry to the left being “Mega Express 2” (Toulon-Ajaccio).
PHOTO: Within Toulon’s harbor, next to the terminals, you can find the pictured ticket office for Corsica Ferries, selling tickets to the company’s ferries. You can also purchase tickets from the harbor terminal itself, at least to the Corsica Ferries routes, with ticket counters opening 2 hours before the ferry’s departure.
PHOTO: Corsica Ferries’ “Mega Express 2”. The company, which operates many types of ferries, has been in operation since 1967, and it is the market leader in routes between European ports and Corsica/Sardinia…with over million annual passengers.
PHOTO: From Toulon’s idyllic harbor, you can find several good restaurants and trattorias, where you can dine before the trip. A little to the left of the center in the picture is Stade Mayol, Toulon’s main sports stadium.
PHOTO: A wonderful frame for the city of Toulon is provided by Mont Faron. You can visit the mountain peak (at 584 meters / 1,916 feet) with the Telepherique-Faron cable car service (www.telepherique-faron.com).
PHOTO: Most of the ferries to Corsica make the journey overnight, but there are also daytime trips available. One of the advantages of traveling through daytime is that you’ll get the best views to the French riviera coast and the coastal islands.
PHOTO: You can tour the Corsica Ferries ships freely, including its observation and sun decks…and there are also several restaurants and a play area for children.
PHOTO: Mega Express 2 ferry in nighttime lighting at the harbor of Ajaccio.
PHOTO: Ajaccio is a very compact city, and you can quickly get from the harbor terminal to most of the central hotels. The picture above was taken from Relais Mercure Ajaccio.
Ferries to Corsica are available from 4 ferry companies:
- Corsica Ferries – Sardinia Ferries (www.corsica-ferries.co.uk),
- SNCM (www.sncm.fr),
- La Méridionale (CMN) (www.lameridionale.fr), and
- Moby (www.mobycorse.com).
You can also further continue from Corsica to Sardinia (Italy) with a ferry.
The town of Bonifacio, on the southern tip of Corsica, has a daily ferry connection between Bonifacio and Santa Teresa di Gallura in Sardinia.
A bus journey between Ajaccio-Bonifacio takes about three hours, and from Santa Teresa di Gallura, you can travel further to, say, Olbia, with a bus, taking two hours one way.
In Santa Terera di Gallura, however, you should note that there is noticket sales. Instead, you have to purchase the bus tickets from the nearby ‘Tabaccheria‘.
There are also seasonal routes between Sardinian ports of Porto Torres, Sta Teresa di Gallura, and Palau to Propriano, Bonifacio, and Porto Vecchio on the Corsican side.
From Porto-Vecchio, you can also travel (seasonally) to Naples on the mainland Italy, using Medmar (www.medmargroup.it) ferries…but these departures, when they are available, take place only once a week, and the journey takes 18 hours.
Of the ferry companies, Corsica Ferries – Sardiania Ferries, with routes from French ports to Corsica and Sardinia, is a reliable operator, and provides a helpful English version of their official website.
If you take an overnight Corsica – Sardinia Ferries connection between the mainland and Corsica, it is a good idea to get a cabin.
When arriving at Ajaccio, the cabins (according to the official policy) have to be available for cleaning crews 30 minutes before arrival to the harbor.
Corsica Sardinia Ferries operates a total of 11 ferries, all featuring several bars, restaurants, and lounges.
The ferries also have shops selling, for example, perfumes, jewelry, sunglasses, and other products useful for travelers.
Many of the ships also have a play area for children.
The prices for the cruises to Corsica are seasonal, and also depend on if you have a car with you, and how many persons are traveling.
This is why you should always check the current prices from the official website, which is also helpful in learning about the available options for dining in the ferries.
For most ferry-lines, you can purchase the tickets to the ships directly online, but an alternative is to purchase a ticket from the harbor.
For example, the Toulon harbor ticket sales open daily two hours before the first ferry departure.
Within Corsica, there is very efficient public transportation system for moving from one town to another, including an idyllic train route (popular with tourists) and a wide network of buses.