From the moment we arrived at Bastia airport we were cosseted by the Marmot team, which was just as well because everything that followed was so hard. Huge thanks to Merv, Penny and Sam for their their constant encouragement and support.
The Raid Corsica is a fabulous cycling route created by the Parisian Audax club (also responsible for Paris-Brest-Paris!), circumnavigating Corsica, the “Isle of Beauty”. A mountainous and geographically diverse Mediterranean island with coastlines lapped by inviting azure seas, its terrain is varied: flatland marshes, the ‘Desert des Agriates’, high granite peaks on every skyline and a huge National Park covering over a third of the island. It has a complex history and influences from Italy (cuisine and architecture) and France (language and politics) are evident.
Corsica has a holiday feel to it but this road cycling challenge is comparable to the other raids of a similar length (Pyrenean and Alpine), making it a favourite with clients. There are fewer big cols but you will not be disappointed by climbs such as the Vergio (1477m) and Sorba, Verde and Bavella all at over 1200m. Distances are a little longer than on other Marmot Raids, with an average daily route of 161km.
For over a decade now we have been supporting cyclists in achieving their goals. We are passionate about our product being the best it can be and the expertise and experience of our team really shows. We provide two highly customised support vans per group and our guides are attentive and energetic. We know that this is not just a cycling challenge – it is also a holiday, so we keep it fun. It is also about your goals and aspirations and we pride ourselves on our individual customer focus from your first enquiry to the last moment of your holiday.
If you want to visit Corsica but do not want to do a Raid challenge, then you may want to try the Classic Cols of Corsica, which is great for mixed ability groups where you have the option to take on optional extras on top of the classic route if you want more of a challenge that day.
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.
We also wrote a blog on Raids (21/03/19) which gives a thorough run down on the history and format of a Raid – you can check it out here.
It is important to us that you book a holiday that’s right for you, so do download and read the Trip Notes for all you need on how this holiday works, food, accommodation & travel…
For the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, check www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Departure Dates & Prices
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 transfers from Bastia airport to the start hotel.
Full travel advice and transfer information (essential reading before booking your flights/ferry) can be found in our Trip Notes.
Meet your guides, assemble bikes and have a welcome briefing and great dinner in a Bastia harbour-front restaurant.
Day 1: Bastia to Calvi (192km with 2370m ascent)
Early start to head around the Cap Corse on a stunning coast road with spectacular views. Undulate to St Florent for a well earned lunch at around the 100km mark before traversing the arid ‘desert des Agriates’. You then deviate inland on a quiet and undulating backroad with views of the granite mountains meeting the azure sea and your destination of Calvi below you.
Day 2: Calvi to Calacuccia (160km with 2860m ascent)
Today you head to the other side of Mt Cinto, a rugged and snowcapped peak, rising up to 2700m just over 20km from Calvi. There are some steep ascents thanks to Les Calanches: a landscape of spikes and spires towering above the deep blue waters. The 11km ‘nip’ up to Pina for a carnet stamp will be memorable but you still have the highest road pass in Corsica, the Col de Vergio (1477m), to climb before rolling down to the mountain hamlet of Calacuccia for the night.
Day 3: Calacuccia to Santa-Maria-Siché (133km with 2700m ascent)
A great route exploring the forests and gorges of the southern uplands. Corte, the historic capital town, is good for a coffee stop but you have 5 cols to get under your belt today, including the Col de Sorba (1311m). The ‘one dog village’ of Santa-Maria-Siché is our destination for a warm welcome from the hotel.
Day 4: Santa-Maria-Siché to Sartène (158km with 2540m ascent)
Nip up to the mountain village of Bastelica first thing for a stamp and a coffee before the reality check of heading into Ajaccio, the modern capital of Corsica. There is a busy stretch on a main road to get your stamp but you will soon be back on the coast road, linking one deserted beach to another. Our destination is Sartène with its pirate history, fortunately now a very pleasant and typically Corsican town.
Day 5: Sartène to Aléria (188km with 2430m ascent)
You’ll get great tarmac, beautiful views and historic destinations today – everything you could possibly want from a cycling holiday! Get your carnet stamped in Bonifacio on the southern tip of the island before you head inland for the Col de Bavella (1218m). A fabulous descent follows down to sea level before a rare, flat 35km to Aléria.
Day 6: Aléria to Bastia (136km with 2060m ascent)
A bit flatter to begin with and to warm you up, but you are not finished with the hills yet. The beautiful route is well worth the effort – picturesque villages and terraced hillsides with a few cheeky climbs! Eventually, you drop back to the coast and join a sandy spur for the final run into Bastia, past the hilltop citadel and before descending to the hotel where it all began only 6 days ago. Now it’s time to celebrate!
Day 7: Travel Back
We offer included transfers from Bastia to Bastia airport/ferry terminal.
Full travel advice and transfer timings (essential reading before booking your flights) can be found in our Trip Notes.