Calvi to Porto – The Mediterranean Ride

Calvi to Porto – The Mediterranean Ride

Corsica cycling

Cycling through all shades of Granite

Calvi coastline

As soon as we leave Calvi we are along a stunning coastal road backed up by white and pink huge granite boulders.
Below us small coves where sailing boats look like floating on a turquoise sea. After ten km we are tempted to climb to the Montserrat sanctuary…it’s just an idea, after 50 meters we forget about it, it’s a short but at least 20% gradient climb. Well done, we need energy to face the following 25 km…it reminds the Paris Roubaix, just immersed on the deep green of Corsican Maquis.

Cycling Corsica

Galeria black beach

The bad stretch of road ends just before Galeria, a neat village that deserves a detour, at least because we are not going to find anything to eat before Porto. Few houses, some small hotels and restaurant watching a peaceful black beach.
Back on main road we cross the bridge over Fango river, stopping right at the center of it to admire the almost alpine mountains in the distance. For the avid riders, there’s a 15 km out and back along the river arriving at the foot of the mountains.

Climb to Col di Palmerella

Now it gets tough, we have the long yet gradual climb to the Col of Palmarella, actually very long climb 🙂 Well, at the top we rest with the view of Girolata and the bay of Scandola. Landscape is made out of an intense red granite embracing a very deep and blue sea. From now on it’s mostly a never ending gentle downhill. If there’s a place to experience the silence of Corsica may be it’s right along this stretch of road, it almost wraps you up with a feeling of immensity.

Corse jambon

Arrival to Porto

After crossing the two small villages of Curzo and Partinello just before Porto, the road has become an asphalt strip carved on the cliffs above a moving ocean. Very close to Porto, down there we spot the iconic quadrangular Genoan tower, patrolling the far horizon. The sunset from here is really something, a reason itself for the trip.

Corsica cycling

Another great day along The Mediterranean Ride, our epic journey across Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily.

Saint Florent to Calvi – The Mediterranean Ride

Saint Florent to Calvi – The Mediterranean Ride

Agriates

From the silence of the desert to the fascinating Calvi

The Agriates desert

As soon as you leave Saint Florent there’s the Silence.
A 16000 square hectares desert just for us and our breath, calm and at a pace along this very gradual climb. Granite and Maquis, the Corsican shrub, design and give a distinctive perfume to a meditative landscape characterized by rugged rock formations.

Climb to Belgodere

We hit the coastline for few km, then we go back inland climbing towards Belgodere. This is a steeper climb than the one across the desert, yet enjoyable thanks to the views like from a terrace over the valley on right hand side. On the plateau we’ll cross some very small villages, beautifully built with local granite, the goal is avoiding as much as possible the traffic before Calvi, so we challenge ourselves along the last short climb of the day achieving the village of Muro.

Corsica Villages

Views and arrival to Calvi

From Muro we enjoy a gorgeous view over the bay of Calvi and its surroundings mountains. Watch out, there’s a fast downhill with steep hairpins. We get back to main road about three km before Calvi city center. There’s a bit of traffic, but no worries because the road has good shoulders for bikes. Calvi it’s always lively, it’s my favourite Corsican town..even if they pretend Columbus was from here. During spring the views over the snowed mountains it’s stunning.
Have a walk at the Citadelle and along the marina, if you want to experience a good Corsican meal book a table at “U Fanale”

Calvi Corsica

Another great day along The Mediterranean Ride, our epic journey across Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily.

Bastia to Saint Florent, Corsica Stage – The Mediterranean Ride

Bastia to Saint Florent, Corsica Stage – The Mediterranean Ride

“Well begun is half done”

Small village
The most beautiful ring on The Finger

East coast – Swinging on the sea

We leave Bastia along the d80, the ocean is on right and we are immersed in a landscape that smells Mediterranean.
There are some car going and coming back from Bastia, but they pass us easily.
The first village is the elegant Erbalunga, we’d like a coffee, a good excuse to stop and watch locals doing the market shopping…better don’t stop too long, we still have “few” km in front of us.
The ride becomes more and more relaxing, here and there some gently climbs, never above 80 meters asl, giving us some postcards views.

The Pass – A taste of forthcoming climbs

After 28 km of coastal road we head inland in Santa Severa, with a little bit of respect for those close mountains, because we don’t exactly understand how much we’ll have to struggle. The d180 road is a nice surprise, gently sneaking its way up the slopes without climbing too much.
Few km and it looks like we are in another region, surrounded by imposing oaks and chestnuts trees. Last effort and we get the Santa Lucia pass at 400 meters above sea level, with its solitary church playing hide and seek just after the pass.
We think “from now on it’s all downhill!”
We’ve just forget we are in Corsica, one of those places where, after a climb, there’s always another one…

Corsica west coast

West Coast – Like being in a movie

I thought I’ve been cycling in incredible places. Then I arrived here.
The most scenic, unique, dramatic landscape opens up in front of you.
An intricate work of small mountain roads decorating luxuriant and steep mountains sloping into the sea. Some small village rise like a gem from this remote and absolute beauty. You ask yourself how they could live here…but you’d love to stay here, at least for a while.
It’s a continuous enchantment, a spell that in Nonza hypnotizes you with the aerial view of its infinite black beach, with a turquoise and powerful ocean breaking on it.
On the last few km of the coastline the cliffs change into a long golden beach, a short ride across the vineyards of the Patrimonio and we reach Saint Florent. What a day!

Saint Florent

May be this stage has too much beauty for a single day. Will we find better than that on our The Mediterranean Ride ?
I’m confident, at the end of the day we are cycling in Kallistè, the island of Beauty.