Excursion

Full Day Calanches & Lunch

Witness the fantastic rock formations of the Calanches de Piana, a slice of rugged Corsica coastline that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During a long journey on twisting mountain roads, admire captivating scenery and stop for lunch in the old Greek town of Cargèse.

  • Code
    AJA-E
  • Level
    Soft
  • Walking Type
    Medium
  • Activity Type
    Adventures
  • Age
    All ages
  • Duration
    Approximately 8 hours

Enjoy your scenic, two-hour drive along the curvy roads of Corsica, heading towards the mountains to the San Bastiano Pass, with superb views of the Gulf of Ajaccio.

Following the coastal route and the Gulf of Sagone, venture through a few small, resort towns before stopping at the ancient Greek village of Cargèse. Here, you will visit the two Catholic churches, one Roman Catholic and one Orthodox, a reminder of the old antagonism between the two cultures.

Enjoy lunch and then continue to the section of coastline between the villages of Porto and Piana called the Calanches de Piana. Deriving its name from the Corsican word “calanca,” meaning “inlet,” calanches is pronounced as it looks, with an emphasis on the “an” and the “ch” pronounced as in “chairs”—cal-an-chiz. In French, they are called “calanques.”

The road runs through the maze of magnificent and sometimes bizarre rock formations, some towering more than 900 feet above the waves. An old local legend holds that these otherworldly forms were the work of the devil, who created them in a fit of rage after a shepherdess refused his advances. Today’s visitors find this to be a heavenly place of impressive views and incredible photo opportunities. These amazing granite pinnacles rise dramatically from the crystal-clear sea, with rocky faces that are beautiful any time of day, especially at sunset when the cliffs turn a burnished, glowing red. No wonder the Calanches de Piana are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Leaving this spectacular time-and-weather-worn terrain behind, travel along the road that winds gently through the pine forest and into the jaw-dropping scenery immediately inland. Discover Porto’s interior and mountains, as well as the Spelunca Gorges, breathtaking with bare granite walls that plunge nearly 3,300 feet down into the torrent below, created by the confluence of five rivers.

Pass Ota, an isolated village located about three miles from Porto. Farther along, see Evisa, with its bright orange rooftops set against the lush background of the chestnut forest. Gaze on fine views across the mountains as you pass the Col de Sevi, situated at an elevation of about 3,600 feet.

From here, descend towards Vico, the old capital of the Sagone region, before returning to Ajaccio.

Important Notes:
Guests should be aware that this excursion involves extensive travel by motor coach, including a long journey on curvy mountain roads; however, the fascinating sights included in this excursion are its main focus and more than compensate for the length of the journey. This excursion is not recommended for guests prone to motion sickness or for guests with walking difficulties. It is recommended that guests dress in casual clothing and wear a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and flat, comfortable shoes. This excursion will operate in all weather conditions. The order of sights visited may vary. A minimum number of bookings is required for this excursion to operate. Pre-reservation of this Crystal Adventures excursion is recommended.