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If you thought Mallorca was renowned for great contrasting landscapes, all in a tiny island, then consider Corsica. This island probably has the most astonishingly diverse landscapes in all of Europe.

I would guess that its mountains and beaches are only surpassed by parts of the Dalmatian coast in Croatia and the lochs, mountains and beaches of NW Scotland. Corsica is a worthy contender for the Trio of best ‘sea and mountain’ cycling locations in Europe.

The Most Diverse Landscape in all of Europe.

Corsica

The Route

Corsica is a mountain range in the sea. It is just 183km in length and 83km at its widest point - about twice the size of Mallorca. There are 21 peaks that rise above 2,000m, the highest; Monte Cinto stands at 2,706m, nearly twice as high as the Mallorcian mountain range. There are in excess of 150 cols that can be conquered by road. Truly the Alps in the sea! All of this is compressed into an island that also boasts more than 200 sandy beaches. The scenery is breath-taking.

Road climbs typically average 7% with a maximum gradient of 12%. The rewards are panoramas from the cols which are truly magnificent and well worth a stop for pictures and to take time just to take it all in.

The scenery is so dramatic you may not notice the climbs! We will climb the Col Vergio which at 1,480m is the highest road pass on the island. You'll know when you've arrived at the top –there is a large statue perched on a granite igloo. The descent is particularly exciting, down through the Forêt d'Aitone, one of the best you'll see on the island with its soaring Laricio pines.

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The Itinerary

Day One

Relax at Hostellerie de L’Abbaye

We fly via Nice to Calvi, a delightful port on the north-west coast of Corsica and transfer to a boutique hotel, Hostellerie de L’Abbaye in the town close to the sea. Bikes can be checked that evening.

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Hostellerie de L’Abbaye

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Day Two

Calvi to Piana via

The Calances

Cycling Distance: 57 miles

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Cycling South towards Galleria

We leave Calvi and follow the coast on an undulating road to the village of Galleria by the coast. The coastal landscape becomes increasingly more dramatic as we head south.

Inland to Boccaccio a Croce

After Galleria we head inland climbing our first Col de Pamarella 408m. Just outside Osari is the Boccaccio a Croce, a great viewpoint over the coastline and the Golfe de Porte. To the south you can see our route.

To Piana via The Calances

We will lunch at Osari and then continue via Pastinello to Porto after which follows the highlight of the day, The Calances, a stupendous route through red sandstone sculptured cliffs to Piana where we stay the night in the rustic Hotel les Roches Rouge.

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Hotel les Roches Rouge

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Day Three

Climbing to the Highest

Pass in Corsica

Cycling Distance: 46 miles

Calances and Climbs

The Calances is so great an experience that we retrace our route to Porto so as to savour the Calances again. From sea level we now begin our climb to Passerelle de Pinello 334m , then a downhill and a second strong climb to Evisa 829m.

The Highest Pass in Corsica

A further 12km of climbing brings us to Col de Vergio at 1477m, the highest pass in Corsica. Now we are treated to the great descent to Albertacce and views over Lake Sidossi and the village of Calacuccio. We will stay in the beautiful 3* Hotel L'Acqua-Viva.

3* Hotel L'Acqua-Viva

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Day Four

Spectacular Gorge, Remote Mountain Scenery, Pastoral Countryside and the Desert des Agriates

Cycling Distance: 73 miles

Stunning Gorges and Mountains

We make a further dramatic descent through the Gorge di Santa Regina ( the most spectacular gorge on the island); then a climb through remote wild country and a final descent to our low point at 150m at Ponte Leccia. ·

The Desert des Agriates

After a descent to the main road and dramatic coastal scenery we climb into the Desert des Agriates, a weird landscape of brush and rocks. Then comes the final descent wityh spectacular coastal and mountain views to the coastal resort of St Florent. Our hotel, Auberge Lustincone is 5km out of the town in the countryside near Santa Maria.’

Auberge Lustincone

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Day Five

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Exploring the Cap Corse

Cycling Distance: 62 miles

Exploring the North

Leaving our hotel we head along the coast towards the northern tip of Corsica along the Cap Corse, a finger like peninsular with a mountain spine rising to over 3000ft. Our route follows the west coast of Cap Corse with many coastal views.

Col de Santa Luca

At Pino we head inland to Col de Santa Luca at 381m and then drop to the East Coast of Cap Corse at Santa Severa for lunch. We now turn south along the eastern coastline and once again return to the West Coast.

Final Ride

We retrace the west coastal route to our hotel in the famous wine region of Patrimonio.

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Hotel Auberge Lustincone

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Questions

Who is this ride suited to?

Reasonably proficient road cyclists . You should be able to ride 30 to 35 miles on road in half a day. Suitable for singles, couples and grown up families (youngest 18yrs). All ages welcome.

What's the terrain like?

Good quiet roads along coast and into the mountains. Several moderate hills each day but not steep or sustained, except for one on the 2nd cycling day. Open views most of the way create great distractions from the climbs. Some really long and wonderful downhills.

What's included in the price?

Own road bike ; accommodation; all meals and snacks including picnic lunches; transfers by road; maps and route notes

What's not included?

International Flights to Calvi via Nice and direct back from Bastia, personal insurance, personal incidentals inc. drinks.

Is there a support team?

Yes. This tour is fully escorted with Tour manager, Lead cyclist, cycle maintenance and first aid, provision of picnic lunches.

What's the weather like?

Temperatures generally between 20 and 25 degrees C- but bring warm and waterproof clothing for mountain areas.

What about flights?

Riders to arrange their own flights with bikes. Advice on flights will be provided.

Is there a luggage restriction?

Please refer to your airline for any restrictions.

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Day Six

Transfer to Airport

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Essential Information

Date: June and September

Price: TBC

Duration: 6 Days ( with optional 2 extra days/nights initial free time not in the price)

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Pastoral Landscapes

We have a gentle climb through a pastoral scene and eventually reach a grand viewpoint of the mountains we are leaving and the coast. Lunch is at the pretty Balagne village of Belgodere.

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