The Col de Bavella is a mountain pass at an altitude of 1,218 meters on the French island of Corsica. The mountain pass connects Solenzara on the east coast of the island with Zonza in the Alta Rocca. The col is the most southerly of the four great Corsican mountain passes that cross the main ridge of the island. The pass forms an important connection between the southwest of the island and the northeast.
Total distance: 614km
difficulty level: Challenge
Arrival at Figari airport and transfer to Porto Vecchio. Accommodation and dinner at three-star hotel.
Col di Bavella is one of the most famous climbs in Corsica, and for sure one of the most dramatic roads in the Mediterranean. And it's main course on this day. It's a 31km climb - interrupted by a few kilometers down in the middle. The climb starts in Solenzara, and is easy in the beginning. Then the incline increases progressively, with some 15% section in the latter 9km. Before the top, many little cafes and restaurants are in perfect position to enjoy some good local food or a cappuccino, with the stunning views given by the Bavella peaks. Zonza, our destination and a very neat and pretty mountain town, is close. Accommodation at three-star hotel.
We like those rides that mix up a lot of different ingredients, like short and long climbs, but also quick downhills and super long winding descents. Or mountains and sea as only the Mediterranean islands can grant. This stage is like that: it surprises us with sudden change of environment and it challenges our road riders' skills. Out of the hotel we take a great opportunity: riding up the famous Restonica gorge, enjoying a coffee with (stunning) view, then beginning our journey back to coastline. A short up will takes us on top of Col d'Ominanda and after a few kilometers down a thrilling panoramic downhill, past Castirla, we approach the longest climb of the whole trip: Col de Vergio. The tallest pass in Corsica at 1500m. But - most importantly - it's a 40km climb. As you can expect, it can't be a steep climb, otherwise it'd mean climbing a kind of Corsican Mount Everest. It's instead sub 4% all the time, with just the last hairpins near the top representing the most challenging part of the climb and of the whole ride. The descent is awesome, with a section onto one of the oldest roads in Corsica, deep inside a red granite gorge, with a lovely view of the sea in front of us. All the way down lays Porto, where we'll spend the night at a three-star hotel.
Sixth day on a lovely island and not a proper coastline ride yet? Well it's time for that. Left the hotel, we head south towards the largest town in Corsica - Ajaccio - and right after a few kilometers up, we ride amid Le Calanches of Piana, an unmissable natural monument: and sure we won't miss this ride! It's a 11km climb before Piana, but believe us when we say it's worth every single drop of sweat. Put in the pocket our smartphones after a ton of photos and selfies, we keep riding south and get closer to the coastline. From Cargese forward is a continuous up and down with shorter or longer climbs. We won't get into Ajaccio, as despite it's not a metropolis, the traffic is amazing and the riding not pleasant. We'll head instead right outside Ajaccio, on the small Porticcio beach. Accommodation at three-star hotel.
Transfer to Figari airport and end of services.
7 nights at 3-star
7 nights at 3-star
Via Vittorio Emanuele, 43
Quartu Sant'Elena, Cagliari