M a p s & Geography of Corsica

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Where is Corsica?

Corsica is in the Tyrrhenian Sea in the westernMediterranean, 160 kms south-west of the French Riviera and 82 kms westof the coast of Tuscany, on the same latitude as Rome. Put crudely,Corsica is in the armpit of Italy. It lies 14 kms to the north ofSardinia.


There are many different kinds of mapavailable. If you want to start basic, the CorsicanTourism Agency produces a mini-map that folds to credit cardsize. Or you can download a Mapof Corsicaright here from Corsica Isula!

However here are a few maps that are easilyobtained. You can see details and order them direct by clicking ontheir titles. The basic standby is of course the good old yellowMichelin - it's regularly updated, of course; it's cheap and availablein newsagents all over Corsica.

The AA have issued a road map of Corsica.

An alternative is the IGN map of Corsica,which is more detailed. The IGN maps 73 (north) and 74 (south) are at1cm = 1km and then it's the Top 100 series (1cm = 1km) & Top 25series (1cm = 250m), which is probably as detailed as you'll ever need.These are available at newsagents and supermarkets in Corsica.

There are alternatives you mightwant to try. One is the Corsica Insight Travel Map,which is laminated. Another is the new Rough Guides map Corsica: thisone is made of rip-proof, waterproof Polyart paper, durable enough tosurvive a dip in the sea.Yet another is the Corsica B &B Road Map,which has relief and street plans for the major towns.

Of course there are rudimentary maps in the Guidebooks listed below. Thegazetteers or lists of place names in the latter are very handy whenplanning or touring.

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The Geography of Corsica.

Corsica is mountainous and its highest point isMonte Cintu at 2710 m. It has twenty other mountains of over twothousand metres and the average altitude is 560m. Corsicahas the highest mountains and the most rivers of any Mediterraneanisland. The mountains run roughly northwest to south east. The east was traditionally known as 'over here' orthe 'land of the commons' and the west as 'over there' or 'the land ofthe lords'. It is no wonder that the island is often known as themountain in the sea.

Corsica is about 180 kms by 80 kms. The coast is1000 kilometres (300 are beach) long and has amazing cliffs, long sandybeaches and many hidden coves. It is almost certainly the least'spoiled' coastline of France. By comparison with the built up coastsof mainland France, Corsica's are relatively unspoiled and jealouslyguarded. Over a fifth now belong to the Conservatoire duLittoral. The French Coast Law (loi littoral)has come too late to save the Riviera, but is stoutly defended inCorsica, though there have been some infringements. The law is designedto permit free access to the sea for all. The coast is defined by allland that is touched by the sea, including in storms. Free access overland should be available within 500 metres of any point and thereshould be free longitudinal access by foot round the entire coast. Thelaw also protects 'sensitive areas' such as dunes, lagoons, wetlands,woody coastal zones or those which are habitats of protected species.It also has an objective of organised urbanisation, such that theprinciples of the law are respected.

Over 80% of the land is 'natural' - forest, maquisand rock. Less than 15% is agricultural and less than 2% is'artificial' - urban, built or roads. The extensive forest areas andlittle exploited and over 70 per cent are in private hands. Landtransport is counted in time, rather than distance. Only Ajaccio andBastia have populations of much more than 10 thousand and 80% of thepopulation lives in these two towns.

chi ha da viaggià,guardi u tempu - those who need to travel watch the time

The weather is Mediterranean - surprise, surprise.But winters can be cold and there's generally snow on the highest peaksuntil June when the ambient temperature is in the mid-20s. The averagetemperatures are: January to March - 14; April - June - 21; July toSeptember - 27; and October to December - 18. There's an annual averageof 7½ hours of sun a day. If you want moredetailed Corsican weather information and a forecast for Corsica go tothe page on Corsica's Climate& Weather.

write to:  mac @ corsica-isula.com

 Managed in association with Corsica Holiday with a little help from Will Keyser