This is my review of DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Corsica by Collectif.
These Eyewitness Guides are so attractive that they whet your appetite to visit new places. However, in the case of Corsica, where it is quite hard to get tourist information outside the main centres, I agree with the reviewer who found this guide a bit sketchy.
It does not emphasise enough how even some of the main routes e.g. Calvi to Ajaccio, are very slow-going, narrow with endless hairpin bends. This calls for suggestions for realistic itineraries, and good places to use as bases. I now think that Corte would be a good choice, because it has fairly fast roads to Bonifacio, Ajaccio and Bastia BUT that may mean missing out on some of the fascinating places off the beaten track. I booked a week in Feliceto, one of the hill towns in the northern Balagne which I planned to explore, but had to trim the itinerary – we decided not to go to the interesting-sounding Les Calanques because it required to much stressful driving. So, the guide is misleading, for instance, in suggesting that you can do a tour of the “Artisans’ Road” (which include Feliceto) without making clear that it is quite a marathon. Also, there is no clear advice on how to find the craftsmen in the hill towns, nor a check on just how active they really are – the glass-maker I found seemed pretty moribund.
Town maps e.g. Calvi on page 81 tend to be too small. More advice would be useful on how to get into town centres and locate suitable parking. The familiar double-page spreads on the “historic heart” of some towns often prove lacking in detail and accuracy e.g. the citadel of Calvi on pp 78-79. A indication of the directon of due north on this type of “map” would be interesting.
Some towns I came across “on the road” are not given the mention they deserve e.g. Belgodère. Important local roads are neglected e.g. the D81 from near L’Ile Rousse to St. Florent, which has some beautiful viewpoints and interesting rock formations which are not flagged up in the book. Since the Corsicans themselves don’t signpost sites of interest much, they are too easy to miss without the aid of a good guide.
More information on the starting points for short walks, rather than gruelling hikes, would also be useful. For instance, we found by chance a very attractive moderate difficulty walk to and from Sant’Antonino and Pigna (both worth a visit).
So, I agree the book would benefit from a check on local detail. If there is a need to keep down costs by limiting pages, some editing might be helpful to “streamline” the existing text.