Bastia (pop. 40,000), Corsica’s second largest city, constantly bustles with the arrival and departure of ferries from the mainland and Italy. More than just a stop mid-transit, Bastia has some lovely sights of its own in addition to being the perfect gateway to the must-see Cap Corse. The 14th-century Citadel, also called Terra Nova, has beautiful views of the sea. The Oratoire de St-Roch, on r. Napoleon, is a jewel-box of a church with crystal chandeliers and meticulous trompe Voeil decoration. The neoclassical towers of the Eglise St-Jean Baptiste, pl. de l’Hotel de Ville, cover an immense interior with gilded domes. Shuttle buses leave pl. de la Gare for the Bastia-Poretta Airport (30min. 8). Trains (04 95 32 80 61) also leave pl. de la Gare for Ajaccio (4hr. 4 per day, 24) and Calvi (3hr. 2 per day, 18). Eurocorse buses (04 95 21 06 30) leave r. Nouveau Port for Ajaccio (3hr. 2 per day, 17). The tourist office, pl. St-Nicholas, has indispensible copies of the bus schedule. (04 95 54 20 40; fax 04 95 31 81 34. Open daily 8am-noon and 2-6pm.) The HStel Central , 3 r. Miot, has large, well-kept rooms. ( 04 95 31 71 12; fax 04 95 3182 40. Breakfast 5.50. Singles 35-50; doubles 40-80. AmExMCV.) To reach Les
Orangiers camping O, take bus #4 from the tourist office to Licciola-Miomo. ( 04 95 33 24 09. Open May to mid-Oct. Electricity 3.50. 4.50 per person, 2.50 per tent, 5 per car.) Inexpensive cafes crowd place St-Nicolas.
DAYTRIP FROM BASTIA: CAP CORSE. North of Bastia stretches the gorgeous Cap Corse peninsula, a necklace of tiny former fishing villages strung together by a narrow road of perilous curves and breathtaking views. The Cap is a dream for hikers; every forest and cliff lays claim to some decaying Genoese tower or hilltop chapel. If you don’t have access to or funds for a car, the cheapest and most convenient way to see Cap Corse is to take bus #4 from pl. St-Nicolas in Bastia, which goes to: Erbalunga (20min. 2); Macinaggio (50min. 6.40); and Marina di Siscu (30min. 2.30). Ask politely and the driver will drop you off wherever you feel the urge to explore. However, most buses serve only the coast; you’ll have to hike or hitchhike to the inland villages. While Let’s Go wholeheartedly endorses hiking, it does not recommend hitchhiking.