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Corsica and/or Sardinia and/or Sicily in Sept.

Corsica and/or Sardinia and/or Sicily in Sept.

Old Sep 10th, 2010, 03:56 PM
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Corsica and/or Sardinia and/or Sicily in Sept.

Hi,
I'm just starting to plan our 3-4 week trip for next September...and all three islands seem wonderful at first glance. I originally wanted to visit all three, but think maybe we should cut it down to 2. I've been to France & the Cote d'Azur twice, and to Italy twice...so I like how these islands are unique to their country's mainland.
Stunning scenery, atmospheric boutique type inns, great food, some moderate hiking, coastal boat rides, a day at the beach, with some culture thrown in, are all important. We'll be coming from the US.
Would appreciate hearing why you like a particular island over another.
Thanks!
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Old Sep 10th, 2010, 08:07 PM
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You might want to read my trip report on Sicily. We shortened the trip for two reasons, and felt that we really would not have needed more than one more day outside Palermo, and perhaps a couple of days more in Palermo, assuming that the museum would be open. I would think that you could do at least two islands in the three or more weeks that you are planning. The time spent also depends on the style of travel.
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Old Sep 10th, 2010, 09:23 PM
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We spent two full weeks in Sicily then we continued for Malta - 4 days .
We loved both Sicily and Malta and for us, the allocated time for each of them was correct.

- Palermo 6 nights
In the first day we took the hop on - hop off bus for the first view of the city. Then we walked and visited the city. We loved Mirto Palace, Massimo Theatre, Piazza Marina and the Garibaldi park with old , huge trees, Palazzo dei Normanni, Piazza Pretoria, Martorana church, teatro Garibaldi, the Cathedral

From Palermo we made day trips to Erice, to Cefalu and to Monreale .
We enjoyed Cefalu views, Monreale cathedral. We were not so impressed by Erice, found it too cold, too much stone!

- Taormina 4 nights
Taormina is lovely and the views are superb. Visited the Greek Theatre, Isola Bella (by cable car).
Day trip to Castelmola, for even more beautiful views of all Taormina and the sea.

We took a day trip (organized trip) to Agrigento and Piazza Armerina. Loved the mosaics at Piazza Armerina, they are incredible nice and large. It was a good idea to take a trip, as the guide was very good and gave us interesting explanations regarding temples in Agrigento.

- Ortigia 4 nights
Loved the Cathedral , Archeological Museum, some churches in Siracusa.
Done a day trip to Noto - a splendid baroque town. Visited there the Nicolaci Palace.

After this, from Catania we arrived (by plane) to La Valletta (Malta) . Stayed there 4 nights
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Old Sep 10th, 2010, 10:18 PM
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The only area of Europe that has beaches which comes close to the Caribbean are those on Sardinia. We have been to Sardinia five times and Sicily once. We covered the whole of the east coast of Sicily and quite frankly other than the sight of Etna, the coastline was fairly average. The beaches are not that special.

In short, I would look no further than the north east coast of Sardinia. The resorts of Cala Di Volpe and Porto Cervo are about as high end as Europe gets. The town of Santa Teresa is more middle market and has a lovely local feel. From this area you can easily take day trips to the beautiful Maddalena Islands or to Corsica. You can also take Whale watching trips from this area.

Sicily does have far better architecture, food, history and a diverse "feel". If you are looking for the best coastlines in Europe head for Sardinia.
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Old Sep 10th, 2010, 10:23 PM
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The logistics of travel between Sicily and Sardinia/Corsica are not great. I don't think that there are any direct flights or ferries you would have to travel through Naples or Rome. Over a 3/4 week break this isn't really an issue.

In the past we have combines Sardinia with a trip to Tuscany and have taken the car ferry over to Sardinia. Sardinia/Corsica work very well together as there is a very short ferry journey between the two, juts be careful with the car hire companies as clearly they are in different countries.
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Old Sep 11th, 2010, 03:50 AM
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For Sicily and Sardinia, you need two weeks EACH, so these two can only be combined if you really stay 4 weeks. About Corsica, I don't know anything.
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Old Sep 11th, 2010, 06:53 AM
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Thanks to all of you for your specific comments...I really want to see Corsica, so I probably need to decide between Sicily and Sardinia. Michael, I will look up your trip report.

Valtor, I'm surprised you liked 6 nights in Palermo...from my initial reading, I'm not sure I'm going to like...it sounded a bit overwhelming with pollution, poverty, traffic and crime so thought we'd just spend a few days to see the main sites. But, you were there and liked it, so I need to look at it more carefully.
Yanumty, I didn't realize I couldn't get to Sardinia directly from Sicily....will check that out too.

Perhaps I can go to Corsica first (to get the warmer weather)...spend 2 weeks there....and then do the ferry to Sardinia and just spend 5 days on the best of the northeast coast, and then get to Sicily and spend 2 weeks.
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Old Sep 11th, 2010, 09:46 AM
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I am sure we have been through the process a couple of times with other posters. I don't think that it is possbile. Haven't look at say meridiana recently.

Personally, I didn't enjoy Sicily (but many do). The driving was awful and many areas were very, very scruffy. It is a place of extremes and without thorough planning you can have problems.

Google image the areas around southern Corsica and north-eastern Sardinia, I think that will make your mind up for you.
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Old Sep 11th, 2010, 10:46 AM
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Barefootbeach, Palermo is a beautiful city. It was a very nice surprise for us (because we worried as you do). We did not have any unpleasant incident there, the city was clean, we did not see beggers or crime. We stayed 6 nighs, so we had 5 full days and an evening. Three days from these we did day tours to Monreale, Erice (by bus) and Cefalu (by train).

So we had two full days for Palermo. We took the sightseeing bus tour, the ticket is for two days if I remember correctly (north and south parts of the city). The architecture is breathtaking, thriving, picturesque, city with Rococco and Baroque opulence.

So we walked a lot, seeing and making a lot of pictures in Piazza Pretoria, Quattro Canti, Teatro Politeama Garibaldi, Piazza Marina...We visited the Cathedral, Palazzo dei Normanni (Norman Palace) with its splendid Cappella Palatina (Palatine Chapel), La Martorana Church, Teatro Massimo, Palazzo Mirto, Botanical Garden. As you see, a long list for two days and some hours after our day tours out of city!

If you are in a weekend near Piazza Marina, go to via Butera (we stayed there) for dining in a small restaurant there. The tables are on the street, the smell of fishes and meat on the grill is every where
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Old Sep 11th, 2010, 10:48 AM
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I loved Sicily. I've also been to Sardinia but only to the area near Cagliari and too many years ago to be useful. Here's the link to my trip report which also has the link to the planning thread:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ecial-trip.cfm.
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Old Sep 11th, 2010, 07:06 PM
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Thanks bon_yoyage....loved your trip report. Will refer to it more as I get into this.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2010, 07:52 AM
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We've just returned from 9 nights in Corsica, plus a night taking the ferry from Toulon to Bastia on Corsica ferries. Corsica is one of the most beautiful places we've seen in Europe. The mountains and the sea shouldn't be missed. We flew from Bastia to Paris for our return on Easy Jet which was quick, easy & affordable.

I'll write a report later but be assured, Corsica is worth the time and driving the island wasn't overly difficult. For affordable accommodations look for Chambres d' Hotes on gites-de-france.com.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2010, 09:14 AM
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Images2

How was the food?

I haven't been to Corsica but have been to Sardinia many times. The food there is Ok but nothing compared to the general standards of mainland Italy.

We have considered Corsica recently, it is one of the few areas of Southern Europe we havn't been to.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2010, 09:15 AM
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barefootbeach

How is the planning going?
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Old Sep 24th, 2010, 04:59 AM
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The food is very hardy. The charcuterie is excellent as well as the cheese and tomato and eggplant dishes. The portions were very large.

A Stazzona 17 rue du fond in Calenzana was excellent. Their outdoor garden dining area is a nice place to dine. We preferred ordering a la carte rather than their set menu of 3 or 4 courses. The set menus on Corsica weren't of the quality as ordering a la carte.

A Pignata on Route du Pianu, just 3 miles from Levie is excellent. They have one menu at 40€ which everyone has. It's so much food, you'll not be able to eat it all, but it was very traditional to Corsica. This is also an Ferme Auberge but we didn't stay here, but at a B&B in Levie. Their web site is www.apignata.com The road was very potholed for about a mile on the way to this Auberge, but still drivable. Reservations a must here.

In Bonifacio we noticed one cafe which was very crowded so we made reservations for the following evening. Cantina Doria at 27 rue Doria. It was our only bad meal in Corsica, although it is recommended in the guide books. Skip this one.

In Calvi we went to the Polyphonique Festival in the Citadell. We had time between concerts to eat in the citadell at a restaurant that has an outstanding view over the bay, set in a gardened area. I don't remember the name of it, but it was very pleasant.

The local outdoor market in L'Ile Rousse was excellent. It takes place every morning. They even had live lobsters. We didn't care for the town at all, but Bodri plage was nice.

The train that runs along to coast isn't operating now. Corsica is having problems with their trains. We went on the old train from Bastia to Vizzavona and it was terrible. The windows are so dirty, the train slow and loud. It's not a pleasant ride. Take the bus instead or simply rent a car. We rented our car in Ajaccio the 2nd day we were in Corsica. Taking the train the first day wasn't a good choice.

We were very happy with buying food at small markets on the island. In the coastal area east of Porto Vecchio there are many countryside markets off the road with fresh produce. Picnic on the beach!
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Old Sep 25th, 2010, 09:14 AM
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Thanks images

With the current price of trans atlantic flights, I think we may stay in Europe next year.

We may well charter and sail over from Sardinia to Corsica.

Thanks for the food suggestions, will keep them in mind.
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Old Sep 27th, 2010, 06:20 PM
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yanumpty,
Thanks for asking....the planning is on hold right now, but I'm saving all these great details! Corsica is a definite...now, it's between Sardinia and Sicily.

Images2....I'm looking forward to hearing more from you in your trip report....thanks for the great reporting so far. We were thinking of taking one train...so think we'll now stick to car rentals....plus, then there's no risk of strikes, which the French seem to love to do!
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Old Sep 28th, 2010, 02:32 PM
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Yes, there have been many strikes lately. In fact we took Corsica ferries from Toulon to Bastia, which is the Italian company. Good thing, since SNCM was on strike the day we left and didn't make the trip. We were very happy with Corsica ferries, even though the night crossing was loud. We had a cabin but something was banging around all night near by. Still managed to sleep ok and the speakers wake you about an hour before arrival in the morning.
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Old Sep 28th, 2010, 08:47 PM
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Images2..do u have any restaurant recommendations in Ajaccio?
We will be there for one day on a cruise next month.
thanks
Andy
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Old Sep 30th, 2010, 05:44 AM
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We just ate at a cafe where we saw a crowd on our way to the music festival. It was delicious but I don't remember the name. Here is a list of recommendations from Trip Advisor.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restauran...o_Corsica.html

I'm writing my trip report now, so click on my name here to find it. While Ajaccio is a great town to tour, you should consider taking an excursion to see the area between Piana and Porto if it's offered on your cruise.

What ship will you be on? P&O's Arcadia was in Ajaccio while we were there.
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