The most dynamic of Corsica’s inland towns, Corte combines breathtaking natural scenery with a boisterous collegiate spirit. Sheer cliffs, snow-capped peaks, and breathtaking gorges create a dramatic backdrop for the island’s only university, whose students keep prices surprisingly low. The town’s vieille ville, with its steep streets and stone citadel, has always been a bastion of patriotism. At the top of r. Scolisca is the engaging La Musee de la Corse, which also provides entrance to the higher fortifications of the citadel. (Open June-Sept. daily 10am-8pm; Nov.-May reduced hours. Museum and citadel 3-5.30, students 2.30-3.) Corte’s mountains and valleys feature numerous spectacular trails. Choose from hiking (weather08 92 68 02 20), biking, and horseback riding. Rent horses at Ferme Eques-tre Albadu, 1.5km from town on N193. ( 04 95 46 24 55. 14 per hr. 69 per day.)
Trains (04 95 46 00 97) leave from the rotary, where av. Jean Nicoli and N193 meet, for: Ajaccio (2hr. 4 per day, 13) and Bastia (IVzhr. 4 per day, 11). Eurocorse Voyages runs buses to Ajaccio (l%hr. M-Sa 2 per day, 12) and Bastia (IMhr. M-Sa 2 per day, 10). To reach the centre ville from the train station, turn right on D14 (av. Jean Nicoli), cross two bridges, and follow the road until it ends at cours Paoli, Corte’s main drag. A left turn leads to place Paoll, the town center; at the place’s top right comer, climb the stairs of r. Scolisca to reach the citadel and the tourist office, which has hiking maps and info. (04 95 46 26 70; www.corte-tourisme.com. Open July-Aug. daily 9am-8pm; May-June and Sept. M-Sa 9am-noon and 2-6pm; Oct.-May M-F 9am-noon and 2-6pm.) The youthful Hdtel-Residence Por-ette , 6 allee du 9 Septembre, offers functional and clean rooms and a nice garden. Bear left from the train station to the stadium and follow it around for another 100m. (04 95 45 11 11; fax 04 95 61 02 85. Breakfast 5. Singles 21, with bath 29; doubles 2939; triples 54.) Place Paoli is the spot to find sandwiches and pizza, while rue Scolisca and the surrounding citadel streets abound with inexpensive local cuisine. The huge Casino supermarket is near the train station, on allee du 9 Septembre. (Open mid-June to Aug. daily 8:30am-7:45pm; Sept. to mid-June M-F 8:30am-12:30pm and 3-7:30pm, Sa 8:30am-7:30pm.) Postal Code: 20250.