TRAVEL TIPS - SARDINIA & CORSICA

    Entry formalities and Health     Campsites in Sardinia and Corsica
    Camping cards, Camping Gaz and Internet     Sardinia & Corsica Guidebooks and maps
    Driving in Sardinia & Corsica     Supermarkets, credit cards and ATMs
    Wines and beers of Sardinia & Corsica     Review of campsites

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ENTRY FORMALITIES
and
HEALTH MATTERS:








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UK passport-holders may visit both France and Italy without a visa, and drive for up to 6 months with a standard UK-EU driving licence.  Carry your passport at all times as identification.

For current Foreign and Commonwealth Office official advice on travelling to France/Corsica and to Italy/Sardinia, consult the FCO web site:

     France - Corsica
    Italy - Sardinia 

You should obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK, and carry your EHIC with you at all times in case of emergency. The EHIC is not a substitute for medical and travel insurance, and only entitles you to emergency medical treatment on the same terms as French and Italian nationals. It does not cover you for medical repatriation, on-going medical treatment or treatment of a non-urgent nature.  It is essential therefore to have comprehensive travel insurance.

CAMPSITES in
SARDINIA
and
CORSICA:
 



               

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 


 


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Campsites on both islands are plentiful, particularly around the coasts, but bearing in mind Sardinia and Corsica's touristy nature, many are ultra luxurious with every form of facility and distraction; if like us, you resent paying silly prices for unnecessary frippery, when all you need is a tap, toilet, shower and, of course, peace and quiet to enjoy the sounds of natural surroundings, then avoid anything that is rated more than two stars. Also avoid travelling in the peak summer months of July~August when the holiday-making crowds and noise-levels would be utterly insufferable.

    Sardinian and Corsican Campsites Review

Websites listing Sardinian and Corsican campsites: there is no single organisation or web site listing all campsites to help with pre-trip planning; the Dutch camping organisation ACSI web site selectively lists its favoured sites, and it does includes the Google mapping facility as a helpful means of pinning down a campsite's location. The most useful web sites we found, none of them complete and missing essential details of opening and closing dates, were:     

SARDINIA:

    ACSI - Sardinia
    Campeggi Italiani
    Europe Camping Guide - Sardina
    Campeggiare in Italia - Sardegna
    Easy Camps listing - Sardegna
    E-Camping listing - Sardinia

CORSICA:

    ACSI - Corsica
    Camping-Frankrijk Campsite in Corsica
    Corsica travel information, campsites and camping a la ferme

Web sites listing Sardinian Aree di Sosta and Corsican Aires:  with acknowledgement to Don Madge
(in the listings, AA=parking area suitable for wild-camp, PS=sosta,  CS=camper service point):

    Sardinian sostas and wild camps
    Motorhome Facts - Sardinian sostas and wild camps
    Corsican wild camps and aires

Campsite opening dates: the camping season is quite short with campsites opening from April/May to September; outside these times, it is still possible to find a few open sites.

Campsite prices:  with the current £/€ exchange rate, prices charged varied enormously and generally reflected the greed of the owners rather than the standards offered. The most reasonable prices, albeit still comparatively expensive, are campsites graded at 2 stars or less. In our Campsites Review, we give the nightly charge we paid; prices may include a local tourist tax.

The Italian Discount culture:   in seemingly all Italian commercial dealings, the favourite word is SCONTO, translated as DISCOUNT. Shops for example vie with one another to offer the biggest sconto; you will even see them promoting themselves as scontissimo. So it is with campsite prices: never accept the initial price proposed and always ask for a sconto (it will be expected). The most useful expression in your Italian repertoire should be "Mi può fare uno sconto?" ("Can you offer me a discount?"); if you feel you are being asked too high a price, try basing your request for a sconto on such pretexts as using a Camping Card International, facilities inadequate or limited early/late season, over-60s, intrusive work taking place on the site

Wild-camping:  in the more remote coasts and hill areas, with awareness of potential security issues and basic common sense and courtesy, wild-camping is certainly practicable.

CAMPING CARD INTERNATIONAL (CCI):

 

 

ACSI CARD:

The Camping Card International (CCI - Camping Carnet) is a worthwhile small investment; it only costs £4.75, lasts for a year and can be bought through Camping Organisations  eg  Camping and Caravan Club  It gives a degree of camping insurance, and since it also carries passport details, you can offer it to campsites in place of your passport during your stay. But on leaving, always ensure you have been given back the right card.

More importantly, many Sardinian campsites were prepared to offer a 10% sconto  (discount) on production of a CCI

The Dutch Camping Organisation ACSI have negotiated a discount scheme with some 1,600 continental camp sites, rather similar to the French Camping Cheques scheme but better value and with wider choice of participating sites. The ACSI Card costs £10.50 and entitles  you to stay at those sites included in the scheme (not all ACSI approved sites) for €11, €13 or €15 per night which includes camper, two adults, electricity and showers.

    ACSI Card camping sites in Sardinia
    ACSI Card camping sites in Corsica

You can buy the ACSI Card via the web site of Vicarious Books  which is also an invaluable source of many other publications.

CAMPING GAZ IN SARDINIA and
CORSICA:
We found virtually no opportunities to exchange Camping Gaz 907 cylinders in Sardinia; the one exception was in Alghero near to Camping La Mariposa: Maxigas, a hardware shop selling all makes of gas in containers - at corner of Via Don Minzoni and Via delle Baleari, GPS 40.57643  8.320266

In Corsica as in the rest of France, Camping Gaz exchange was readily available in supermarkets and at larger campsites

INTERNET IN SARDINIA and
CORSICA:


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Very few campsites on either island yet have wi-fi internet hotspots and the few that did were very expensive. But there is a ready availability of relatively cheap internet cafés in every town and city; it's a good test of the local Tourist Office if they know of internet café whereabouts

GUIDEBOOKS FOR SARDINIA
and
CORSICA:

 





 

 

 




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Guidebooks we recommend as being most helpful are:

  Rough Guides:
  Sardinia -                              
published by Rough Guides, 3rd edition Feb 2007
                                        ISBN no: 1-84353-741-9  Price £12.99
                       Corsica -                                published by Rough Guides, 5th edition April 2006
                                                              ISBN no: 1-84353-608-0  Price £11.99
                       As always the Rough Guide series provide the most detailed and thoroughly
                       researched guidebooks available

                            Cadogan Guides:                  
                            Sardinia -
                                published by Cadogan Guides, 4th edition 2006
                                                                ISBN no: 10-1-86011-324-9  Price £12.99
                            Corsica -                                
published by Cadogan Guides, 3rd edition 2008
                                                                            
ISBN no: 978-1-86011-390-1  Price £14.99
                            
The Cadogan Guides add worthwhile additional detail to complement the
                       information contained in Rough Guides, as well as making fascinating
                       background reading 

                       Sunflower Walking Guides: published by Sunflower Books,
                            
Sardinia -                         Landscapes series,  3rd edition 2008
                                                                        ISBN no:
978-1-85691-346-1  Price £12.99
                       Corsica -                         
published by Sunflower Books,
                                                              Landscapes series,  4th edition 2005
                                                              ISBN no:
1-85691-273-6  Price £12.99

MAPS FOR
SARDINIA and
CORSICA:

 

 

 

 

 




 

 



 

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For the soundest advice and supply of maps for Sardinia and Corsica, as always we recommend consulting
The Map Shop, Upton upon Severn, Worcs:

   Sardinia
   Corsica

For planning and 'big picture' general use, the most useful overall maps are:

Sardinia: 1:200k scale, published by the Touring Club Italiano (sheet 15)
              1:200k scale, published by Michelin (sheet 366)

Corsica:   1:150k scale, published by Michelin (sheet 345)
               1:135k, published by Rough Guides

Details on The Map Shop web site.

Walking maps:  for 1:50k and 1;25k walking maps, see index sheets on the Map Shop web site

   Northern Sardinia
   Southern Sardinia
   Corsica (IGN 1:25k series)

These detailed maps are however expensive, and if following walks given in the Sunflower Guides, the maps in these books are sufficiently detailed.

Local tourist information offices can supply town and city plans, as well as generally useless glossy brochures by the forest load.

DRIVING IN SARDINIA and
CORSICA:


            





 



 

 


 
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Road standards:

  • both islands, but Corsica in particular, are severely mountainous even at coastal level, and if mountain driving is not your thing, maybe this is not the destination for you
  • Sardinia has benefitted by huge amounts of EU development funds in recent years; as a result, road conditions and signposting are generally good. Italian investment in Sardinian infrastructure has resulted in generally well-surfaced roads with modern side-protection even on minor roads in mountainous areas
  • the neglected state of Corsican roads however raises questions about the French state's neglect of this remote part of its homeland; the mindless behaviour of so-called Corsican nationalists continues to be a thorn in the flesh to the French and vandalised road signs, particularly in remote areas, can cause confusion
  • barbaric Corsican driving standards, which compound the intrinsic hazards of narrow, ill-protected mountain roads, maybe reflects a people who have spent the last 3,500 years resisting invaders; yet contemporary 'invaders' in the form of visitors (whether tourists or serious travellers) are one of the island's only form of income; when the French subsidies dry up, and if such uncouth behaviour deters visitors, then what is the economic future for Corsica?

Driving standards: despite the Italian reputation for machismo driving standards, we found generally that Sardinian driving was not unduly stressful. Corsica however was an entirely different story: aggressive speeding and tail-gating is the norm, as is total disregard for other road users; it is not uncommon on narrow, unprotected mountain roads to be faced with a Corsican car coming round blind bends on the wrong side of the road.

Fuel:  fuel is readily available throughout both islands and credit cards are accepted at garages; fuel prices are slightly more expensive than mainland Europe.

Speed limits:
      within built-up areas:     50 kph (30 mph)
                    open road and highways:     90 kph (65 mph)

Corsican drivers however show little regard to both speed limits and other drivers, but you would be unwise to follow suit.

SUPER-MARKETS and
SHOPS:


CREDIT CARDS:

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Both islands have a ready availability of supermarkets and there is good range of choice for food stuffs. The intrinsic cost of living in all Italian and French territories however is now horrendously high, not simply due to the pound~euro exchange rate; this was the most expensive trip ever, costing us twice what we have spent for the same period in Central Europe. Be warned: supermarket shopping, particularly in Corsica is a severe shock to the wallet.

Almost every village has a mini-market and many towns have a vegetable market.

There was no difficulty anywhere in Sardinia and Corsica with supermarkets or garages refusing to accept credit cards and there is a wide availability of ATMs for obtaining cash.

WINES and BEERS
of
SARDINIA
and
CORSICA:















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Sardinian and Corsican wines: both islands have a long-established tradition of vine-growing and wine production, with quality greatly improved over recent years from a number of distinctive indigenous grape varieties. You should certainly try the lusty rich Sardinian red wine from the Cannonau grape; one of the best producers to visit for tasting and buying Cannonau wine is the Cantina Oliena near to Nuoro. Both islands produce an excellent crisply dry white wine from the Vermentino grape, particularly as grown in the Gallura region of Sardinia; good producers are the Sella e Mosca Estate just north of Alghero in Sardinia, and the Domaine Compe Abbatucci just off the D757 along the Taravo valley north of Propriano in Corsica.

Unlikely as it sounds, both islands have in recent years developed a range of distinctive, quality beers; most are available in cans or bottles or on draught.

Sardinian beer: the beer par excellence to be drunk all across Sardinia is Ichnusa

Corsican beer:  for a thirst-quenching, light and sharply hoppy draught beer try Serena, but for something a little heavier with a toasted, nutty taste, order a Pietra which is brewed using Corsican chestnut flour. Two other distinctive beers which are said to embody the tang of the Corsican maquis are Torra and Colomba; they may not suit everyone's palate but they certainly have a distinctive taste.

From our experience, there is simply nothing to compare with relaxing after a long hot day's exploration with a chilled Ichnusa or Pietra.

 
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