Classic Cols of Corsica


  • Ride and explore the stunning island of Corsica: coastal roads, mountains, quiet roads and historic towns
  • Flexible itinerary to suit mixed ability groups with optional extras for those looking for a challenge
  • Classic Cols Challenge route with up to 2800m ascent per day
  • Optional rest day with plenty of non-cycling options
  • Comfortable and friendly 2 – 3* hotels with local cuisine geared to cyclists
  • Excellent support from 2 customised support vans and 2 experienced, proactive guides focused on making your holiday the best it can be

Days on the bike

6 days

The trip was fabulous and made by the awesome support. As feedback I would say that the small things and attention to detail really made a big difference...the cut up melon and oranges, bags in rooms with keys in doors, assistance with bikes, supportive comments to see if people were ok etc., cereals at breakfast, good snacks, excellent detail to the routes (GPS and paper).

H Gray


Corsica is a stunning island to explore on 2 wheels. It offers all the ‘essential’ ingredients for a fabulous cycling holiday: mountains, coastal roads, historic ports and towns, sunshine and warm, scented breezes.  Add a splash of Corsican culture and it is hard to go wrong!  This flexible road cycling holiday showcases Corsica’s highlights perfectly with far reaching sea views, peaceful roads, beautiful climbs and of course, excellent support from two Marmot guides and vans.

We have designed the Classic route so that, taken steadily, it is manageable and enjoyable for healthy cyclists, regardless of experience in the mountains. However, this holiday also offers a fantastic challenge to those wanting to push themselves further: each day there are ‘optional extra’ loops and climbs, increasing the possible daily distance to around 130km/day with between 2000 to 2800m of climbing per day on the Challenge route.

It is important to us that you book the correct holiday, so do download and read the Trip Notes for all you need on how this holiday works, food, accommodation & travel…

If you are a fit cyclist who has already done a Raid challenge, then you may also be interested in our Raid Corsica.

In case you’re wondering “What’s the difference between Sardinia and Corsica?” (something we’re often asked), we posted a blog to answer this question (in two parts, in fact, there was a lot to say!). It’s a great read and we hope it helps you decide which of these Mediterranean isles is best for you and your two wheels. You can read Part I & Part II by following these links.

For the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, check

Departure Dates & Prices

Single Room Supplement
27th Sep - 4th Oct
Single Room Sup. £280.00

We are pleased to offer some tempting discounts on the basic trip cost (not including extras such as single rooms or bike hire):

  • Book & pay your deposit more than 6 months in advance of the start of your holiday for our 5% Early Bookers discount
  • Be rewarded for your loyalty by receiving a 10% discount from your 3rd Marmot trip onwards
  • Get a group of 10+ people together for a 10% Group discount

Please note that there is a maximum 10% discount on any holiday.



Day 0: Travel Out

We offer included airport transfers at scheduled times from Ajaccio Airport (AJA)  to our start hotel overlooking the Golfe d’Ajaccio (30mins).

Full travel advice and airport transfer timings (essential reading before booking your flights) can be found in our Trip Notes.

Meet your guides, assemble bikes and for those of you on early flights, there is the option of going for a warm-up ride in the hills behind the hotel (climb to 550m for some spectacular views) or relax on the beach and enjoy the cafés!  Get together in the evening for a trip briefing and a good dinner.

(ride profile)

Day 1: Ajaccio to Zonza

You start your Corsica adventure undulating down the coastline to Propriano for a coffee in the idyllic harbour. The first climb up the Col de Mela (717m) is relatively gentle, followed by undulations through fantastic rural scenery to the mountain hamlet of Zonza. Here you can head to the hotel swimming pool or continue (up) to the beautiful Col de Bavella (1218m), a Mecca for rock climbers and walkers taking on sections of the GR20. Some of you might even be tempted to continue to the Col de Larone (600m), so you can take on the Col de Bavella (1218m) from the steep side.

Classic route: Col de Mela to Zonza [91km with 1600m ascent] (ride profile)
Challenge route: Col de Mela + Col de Bavella with Zonza [109km and 2000m ascent] (ride profile)
Optional extra: Col de Bavella North [adds 24km and 800m ascent]

Day 2: Zonza to Aléria

Today you explore the mountainous interior of the island on an amazing road, linking remote unspoilt villages – expect to see more pigs than people today!  We all set off over the Col de La Vaccia (1194m) and the Col de Verde (1289m) to Ghisoni. Here, those on the Classic route continue to descend down the spectacular gorge of the Orbu river to our hotel in the town of Aléria with its Roman ruins (worth a visit!).

Those on the Challenge route will head upwards from Ghisoni through the forest to the Col de Sorba (1311m). You can then enjoy an incredible descent on a new road to Vivario, before heading over the remote and very pleasant Col d’Erbajo (910m) and descending to the hotel.

Classic route: Vaccia + Verde [119km with 1300m ascent] (ride profile)
Challenge route: Vaccia + Verde + Sorba + Erbajo [151km with 2300m ascent] (ride profile)

Day 3: Aléria to St Florent

With the rising sun on your back, you leave the coastal plane and head gently up the Tavignano valley through an ever-changing landscape to the town of Corte, once the capital of Corsica and hosting an imposing citadel. From here you pass over the Col di San Quilico (560m) to the town of Ponte Leccia where you head off the beaten track on a narrow road that climbs, with some big views, to the Col de Bigorno (885m). The descent takes you to the port of St Florent, where we stay for 2 nights.  As always, there are options for making the ride harder. First thing in the morning you can detour to the church of Piedicorte-di-Gaggio (730m) before descending to Corte. Then you have the options of adding in the Col de Ominanda (653m) and the Col de Croce d’Arbitro (664m) before joining the Classic Route over the Col de Bigorno (885m)

Classic route: San Quilico + Bigorno [124km with 1400m ascent] (ride profile)
Challenge route: Piedicorte-di-Gaggio + Ominanda + Croce d’Arbitro + Bigorno [144km with 2400m ascent] (ride profile)

Day 4: Tour of Cap Corse

St Florent is an idyllic Corsican town so anyone wanting a day on 2 feet as opposed to 2 wheels could enjoy a spot of exploring and taking advantage of the hotel pool.  That said, cycling around Cap Corse is one of the highlights of the week!  We do the loop anti-clockwise, so get the climb up the Col de Teghime (552m) done first thing in the morning. After the descent to Bastia, you join a spectacular road that undulates its way along the coast linking sheltered coves for 30km to the fishing village of Macinaggio. You then cross over the Col de la Serra (365m) to the west coast. This side of the peninsula is dramatically different and the road stays high, linking hilltop villages and commanding great views.

Yet again there are options involving crisscrossing the peninsula two more times, over the Col de Notre Dame des Graces (368m) and the Col de Santa Lucia (381m)

Classic route: Teghime + Serra [129km with 1300m ascent] (ride profile)
Challenge route: Teghime + Serra + ND des Graces + St Lucia [154km with 2000m ascent] (ride profile)

Day 5: St Florent to Calvi

Leaving St Florent this morning, you climb through the geological chaos of the Désert des Agriates – another strikingly different landscape. After a fantastic descent you head inland once more, on a very narrow road taking you through the isolated hamlet of Novella and up to the Col de San-Colombano (694m). The final part is on the old ‘main road’, which traverses the mountainside with big views of the coast to the north.

After lunching in Belgodère, join a ‘balcony road’ that winds its way around the mountainside linking remote villages, while remaining fairly flat for 25km! Eventually, you descend to the historic town of Calvi, hopefully in time to explore the citadel and enjoy the sandy beach.

For challenge routers: Today’s first optional extra takes you in search of an even more spectacular view from the Col de Bataille (1096m), where there is a great restaurant for lunch. At the end of the day, the route can also be extended by continuing along the ‘balcony road’ a bit further to Calenzana.

Easier route: Petraiolu + balcony road [89km with 900m ascent]
Classic route: Petraiolu + San-Colombano [104km with 1300m ascent] [ride profile]

Challenge route: Petraiolu + Bataille + Col de Salvi + Bocca Di Neraghia [137km with 2300m ascent] (ride profile)

Day 6: Calvi to Orcino

Regardless of which route you choose, you will enjoy a fabulous last day on the bike today. Head off around the stunning NW coast road, which despite the fairly rough surface, is a highlight. It leads you into the Col de Palmarella (408m), which commands a great view along the rugged western coastline.

In the village of Porto it’s decision time: 1) continue on this spectacular road past the famous red cliffs of Piana to the Col de Lava (491m) OR 2) leave the coast and head for the highest road pass on the island – the Col de Vergio (1477m). Both options lead you down to our seafront hotel overlooking the Golfe de la Liscia.

All that is left to do is enjoy a celebratory dinner and final glass of Pietra beer from our beach restaurant as the sun sets over the horizon. Happy Days!

Easier route: Lift to Galéria, Palmarella + Lava  [101km and 1300m ascent]
Classic route: Palmarella + Lava [137km with 1600m ascent] (ride profile)
Challenge route: Palmarella + Vergio  + Sevi [168km with 2600m ascent] (ride profile)

Day 7: Travel Back

We offer included airport transfers back to Ajaccio AJA Airport at specified times. On some departures we also offer transfers at an extra cost from Bastia or Figari airports, please enquire if interested.

We are also able to drop you at Ajaccio Port for any ferry crossing.

Full travel advice and airport transfer timings (essential reading before booking your flights) can be found in our Trip Notes.