Published on: 13 March 2017 | Last updated: 23 December 2019
At a glance
Moderately challenging — although there is only one significant climb (about 400 metres altitude gain).
The last section of the route from Sartène to Bonifacio is on a (former) route nationale, although this was not very busy.
Entirely on surfaced tarmac roads.
The first part of this section of the route takes you to the prehistoric site of Filitosa. From the port town of Propriano it heads through one of the least developed parts of Corsica as the road heads for the atmospheric town of Sartène and from there to Bonifacio on the southern coast on the narrow strait that separates Corsica from Sardegna.
Map and altitude profile
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|Filitosa to Propriano||19 kms|
|Propriano to Campomoro||17 kms|
|Campomoro to Sartène||22 kms|
|Propriano to Sartène (direct)||30 kms|
|Sartène to Bonifacio||50 kms|
When you reach the coach you can turn right and head for Porto Pollo (Porti Proddi). Porto Pollo is a nice place to spend the night, but there are also places to stay in Olmeto. Otherwise, turn left following the signs for Propriano (Prupria). At the next junction, you turn right onto the D157 and over a narrow bridge over the River Taravo. The road continues through meadows in the Taravo flood plain. Next junction turn left if you want to go to Filitosa otherwise continue on the D1 seven towards Propriano
Filitosa is certainly an atmospheric and evocative place: you can see why the peoples who lived here many thousands of years ago would have made this a holy place. The rocks, often in weird shapes, add to the mystery of the site. The stream and the rocks must have made this a natural place to settle. Even if you’re not interested in megalithic statues this is still a lovely place to visit —but you definitely need sensible shoes.
Filitosa is one of a number of megalithic sites on this part of the island, but the others are a lot less easily accessible.
I left my bike outside the ticket office where it’s in full view of the guy selling the tickets. ‘No risk no problem’ said the guy running the café. He was probably right: but I put a lock on the bike anyway.
The site is open from 9:00 to sunset between April and the end of October. Admission is 7€ and the visit takes about an hour. For more information go to: filitosa.fr (fr/en).
The road returns to the coast at the mouth of the Taravo. As you round the bend in the road, look out for the watchtower on the heights above you on the left-hand side.
I rode this section of the route on a Sunday, so it’s hard to judge how busy it would be during the normal week, but given that there’s a main road that connects Propriano with Ajaccio I would have thought that it would be fairly quiet during the week as the local traffic will take the main road. There’s also a narrow bridge with a height restriction means that only smaller trucks can come this way.
The beach at Olmeto is particularly beautiful, with the waves crashing on the rocks it was drop-dead gorgeous.
The road climbs to about 225m altitude before coming to a junction with our old friend the T40. At the bottom of the descent, the road crosses over the Baracci river.
Turn right following the signs for the centre ville. The road brings you practically to the quayside of the port. The lively, slightly chaotic, quayside is full of restaurants and bars. The road takes you past the tourist information office (open only weekdays).
A short climb out of Propriano you come to a roundabout with the main road which then heads downhill back down to sea-level. Just after the T40 crosses over river turn right to leave the main road and follow the signs for Belvedere (Belvidè) and Campomoro (Campumoru). The road skirts around the estuary of the river Le Rizzanese before returning to the coast at the Plage de Portigliolo.
As you enter the territory of the commune of Belvedere-Campomoro the road turns left and starts to climb. On the outskirts of the village of Belvedere, it comes to a junction with the D121 where you turn right and follow the signs for Campomoro. The road surface coming down is generally OK, but there are some dodgy bits. Part-way down there’s a scenic viewpoint.
Campomoro is one of two small villages/resorts on the south-west coast (the other is Tizzano). It’s a small place with a nice sandy beach on a curving bay with the Tour du Campomoro at one end. You couldn’t describe the village as undiscovered but it’s a quiet place to relax especially in the evenings. You could of course head for Tizzano or Sartène instead.
Campomoro to Bonifacio
You need to retrace your steps from Campomoro to Belvedere and at the junction, you continue straight on following the D21. After Belvedere you continue following the D21 as it levels off, and heads inland, passing the village of Grossa. This is a very peaceful, narrow country road.
There are water taps in both Belvedere and Grossa but no other services.
At a couple of points along this route I was lucky enough to see a Red Kite (Milan Royal) circling in the air above me.
By now you probably don’t need the warning, but as you descend from Grossa there are some sections of the road where the surface has been become deformed and needs a little care. As you get further on some sections of the road have been resurfaced. This really is a great road for cycling. There are very few cars around, and this is Corsica at its most peaceful. The road climbs to 354m before you started to descend towards Sartène (Sartè).
The wildness of the road is emphasised by strange rock formations that punctuate maquis. The road passes the hospital, and, a little after the hospital, comes out onto the D48. this is the road that looked at links Sartène and Tizzano.
The D48 soon comes to and end at the junction with the T40. You have the choice here of going to Sartène for turning right and heading directly to Bonifacio. Note that there are very few places to stay or eat until you get to Roccapina near Bonifacio.
As you come into Sartène there’s the slightly surreal vision of a giant-sized model of a woman brandishing a spatula. A little further on, and a little less in-your-face, is a memorial to the resistance and a panoramic viewpoint over Sartène itself.
With tall houses built out of pink granite, on a hill looking out over a broad valley, Sartène has a very different feel from the towns on the coast.
The T40/N196 really isn’t too bad. The road itself is scenic. However, as you would expect there is more traffic around, including trucks and buses. The traffic is also fast-moving. As always with national roads 99 percent of the drivers are fine, but you have to watch out for the occasional oncoming driver who overtakes apparently without looking for bikes coming the other way.
There are a couple of picnic areas off the road.
You descend towards a dramatic rocky escarpment, before veering to the right and crossing the river L’Ortolo, and into the wine country of southern Corsica.
Part way up the final climb, you come to another auberge (the Auberge Coralli) on the right-hand side there’s a dirt road that leads down to the beach (the Plage de Roccapina which features on all of the lists of Corsica’s top beaches). In the distance, you can use about make out another tower and next door to it the rock formation called the Léon de Roccapina. Again, this is probably a road you would only undertake with a mountain bike.
The best views are from the top where there are a couple of viewpoints you can safely pull over, there are also a couple of bars. As interesting as the lion and the tower are, the strange rock formations around here are, if anything, more interesting. In the middle of the main viewpoint, there is a set of steps that lead down to the footpath that takes you to a viewpoint. The estimated walk time is 15 minutes.
The next corner is called the Tournant de l’Éxtreme Sud - and it does feel like the whole of the southern tip of Corsica is laid out before you. Although it’s short, the descent down from the tournant is as dramatic as any you will find in Corsica, with the possible exception of the calanches. The road from here his beautiful, and, there’s even time for another watchtower.
The road takes you past a campsite (the Camping La Trinité). Overlooking the campsite there’s a rocky peak with a cross on it. This is the Ermitage de la Trinité: from here you can look the whole of the Bonifacio plateau.
The landscape changes sharply here as the pink granite gives way to limestone. You can walk down from here to a beach where on one side the cliffs are of pink granite and the other side they are limestone.
The road comes down to the quayside of the port. Bonifacio was one of the strongholds of the Genovese in Corsica. And the port is dominated by the citadel above, which is if anything more imposing than the citadel in Calvi.
Bonifacio is the main tourist destination in southern Corsica - and deservedly so. It’s by far the most attractive of the towns on the route. The road to get here isn’t ideal but Bonifacio itself is definitely a good way to end a tour on a high note. A boat trip to see the cliffs and coast is definitely a must, as is a visit to the old city, and a walk along the cliffs. There’s a tourist information office on the harbourside, and another in the vielle ville.
You could stop off at Tizzano rather than Campomoro, or head direct for Sartène if you prefer.
Places to stay
Hotels and B&Bs
The best bets for finding places to stay are Campomoro, Tizziano, Sartène and Bonifacio. There are also a few places along the route including:
- the Domaine Pero Longo (also at chambredhotesartene.com. As well as normal change d’hôte accommodation they offer the chance to sleep in an oeuf (egg-shaped cabin with a double bed and shower); and
- the Auberge Coralli
Find and book places to stay with Booking.com
Booking.com pages for places on this section of the route:
- Corse du Sud area page
- Campomoro | Tizzano Sartène | Bonifacio
About these links
If you use these links to book accommodation Booking.com will pay me a small part of their commission. This helps support the costs of producing this site.
I use Booking.com to find and book places to stay when there are no campsites in the area. The large majority of hotels and many hostels are now on ‘Booking’. I like it because it means that I can get almost-instant confirmation. The rating system is also a reliable guide to the quality of the accommodation.
I’ve never had a problem finding places to keep my bike —even if it’s a cupboard or store room. I always use the ‘special requests’ field on the booking form to tell the hotel that I’m travelling with a bike, which gives them the opportunity to let me know if there’s a problem.
Many properties offer free cancellation but it’s a good idea to check the conditions as these vary from property to property.
In Campomoro I stayed at the Peretto Les Roseaux. A nice simple site. It doesn’t have a website, but the phone number is +33 4 95 74 20 52. Again there’s a useful page with photos paradisu.info
I wish I had known about the campsite at the Domaine Pero Longo (also at chambredhotesartene.com.
Near Bonifacio there’s the Camping La Trinité which looks like a nice site although the Camping L’Araguina is probably the more convenient option if you want to visit Bonifacio. The campsite is just before you get into Bonifacio. It has two halves, with the main site and reception is just round the bend in the road, on the right-hand side. It has lots of terraced pitches for tents, the pitches for are without electricity, but they have a neat facility for recharging phones, batteries etc at the reception. Be warned though: the ground is very hard.
Map of campsites along the route: corsica-campsites-map-show in overlay | corsica-campsites-map-show in new window
Transport and services
Ferries and fights
There’s a ferry service between Bonifacio and Santa Teresa Gallura in Sardegna operated by Moby Lines and Blu Navy.
Corsica Ferries offer services from Port Vecchio to Toulon and Nice as well as to Golfo Aranci and Porto Torres in Sardegna.
There is an airport at Figari. For most of the year, it has flights to Marseille, Nice and Paris Orly, but during the summer there are low-cost and charter flights to a range of destinations in France and elsewhere in mainland Europe. However, your best may be to take the ferry to Santa Teresa Gallura and then cycle to Alghero or Olbia.
Tam-Tam Windshop may be worth a try if you’re stuck —they rent out mountain bikes and the website has a menu item for the sale. and repair of bikes, although this directs you to the page about bike rental.
Tourist information websites
- lacorsedesorigines.com (tourist information office for the Valinco, Sartènais, Taravo)
- Office Municipal de Tourisme Bonifacio
Articles in this series
- Corsica Coast: introduction
- Corsica Coast: Part 1: Cap Corse
- Corsica Coast: Part 2: The north-west coast from Saint-Florent to Porto
- Corsica Coast: Part 3: The Calanches de Piana and Cargèse
- Corsica Coast: Part 4: The south-west coast: Campomoro and Bonifacio
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Please get in touch if you find any errors in the information, or if there’s anything, good or bad, that you’d want other cyclists to know.
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