Bastia is the second largest city by population in Corsica with over 43,000 inhabitants. It is a small city that is easily navigable by pedestrians. Tourism has not brought much prosperity to the city, and unemployment remains high by French standards.
Bastia received its name from a Genoese construction of a "bastiglia" in the 1300s. Both Bastia and bastiglia are cognates of the English "bastion". Bastia was the principal capital of Genoese Corsica, and it became French only in the late 1760s.
The small fortifications and pleasant harbor-side areas make for a pleasant stroll. The afternoon siesta is a serious daily event in Bastia, and one should be careful to respect shop hours (e.g. supermarket) in order to be able to buy necessities at normal prices.
From Bastia Airport (BIA IATA) which sees a lot of seasonal service but also some year-round flights, a bus runs almost every hour for an outrageous €9 per person (July 2017) in a non-air-conditioned ancient white bus. The timetable can be found at the tourist information desk at the airport, the ride takes around 20 minutes to the centre, and the driver only takes cash. Two or more people in a taxi will probably find the faster and more comfortable connection to Bastia to be worth the small difference in total fare.
It is very busy during the summer, and it is always best to book early.
- 1 Ferry terminal, Gare Maritime.
A narrow gauge train service links Bastia with Ajaccio, Corte, Calvi, L'Île-Rousse. The train takes passengers through beautiful valleys and over spectacular passes. However, the fare all the way to Ajaccio is pricey at €22 one-way, and the ride's comfort level is reminiscent of a horse-drawn carriage on a dirt road. As noted in the Corsica page, the locals call it "the shivering one" (U Trinighellu) for good reason.
- 2 Train terminal, Bastia, Pays Bastiais, Gare Ferroviaire CFC - Chemins de Fer Corse, Place de la gare, ☎ , , fax: .
There are bus services to/from Calvi, L'Île-Rousse, Saint-Florent on the northwestern part of the island, Solenzara, Porto-Vecchio on the southeast, occasional services to the Cap Corse on the North .
- 3 Bus terminal, Bastia, Pays Bastiais, Gare Routière de Bastia, 1 rue du Nouveau Port, 20200 (Just off the Place St Nicolas and the ferry terminal), ☎ .
The city bus network is operated by Société des Autobus Bastiais (phone: 04 95 31 06 65).
A narrow gauge tramway suburbain service runs between the Bastia train terminal and the station of Casamoza on the south (close to Bastia airport).
- 1 Vieux Port. The Vieux Port ('Old Port') is a wonderful part of the city. Tall, faded buildings surround a marina with posh yachts. There's certainly something of the 'shabby chic' about the place.
- 2 Cathedral (St John the Baptist).
- 3 Church of Santa-Maria.
One great location to eat is in one of the many restaurants in the Vieux Port. Most specialise in seafood.
- Le Jean Bart, ☎ . For wonderful moules-frites (mussels and French fries) and puddings.
- Pietracap, 20 Route de San Martino. Hotel with a swimming pool. Closed mid-Dec to Feb.
- [dead link]Sud Hôtel, Avenue de la Libération (1 km from centre of town), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.