Here is a description of Corsica's climate & a current weather forecast.

Corsica's Climate and Weather.

 

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The Web Corsica Isula

A summary weather  picture of Corsica.

 

If you want a current weather picture, click here to see their regional forecast for Corsica - for today and the following four days. Meteo France also has other useful services, which you can visit from this link. If you prefer, the BBC offers a good 5-day forecast; here is a link to Calvi, but you can also choose another town in Corsica. For Corsican weather, you can also visit Thierry Venturini's site, which not only has forecasts and much other data; it includes fire alerts and records.  There's more about Corsica's weather on our associated site Corsicaholiday.com including a calendar giving a children's perspective on Corsica's weather.

  

Naturally enough, Corsica has a Mediterranean climate - at least at coastal levels. Prevailing winds are south-westerly, westerly and north-westerly. This of course, varies considerably with altitude and mountain forms. At about 1500 metres it becomes alpine. Don't forget that the island goes from sea level to about 9 000 feet, with a land mass only about 100 by 50 miles. Micro climates give a wide variety of temperatures and precipitation. This is especially true between north-west and south-east, as the main mountain range divides the island roughly in half. As a general rule the north is hotter than the south.

 

The three principal micro-climates are: maritime Mediterranean in the valleys, mountain Mediterranean in the lower mountains and a real mountain climate at the higher altitudes.  If you intend to explore the mountains, you'll need to hire a car - and you can hire a car in Corsica here.

 

Summers are long - from May till October. Winters can be cold and there's generally snow on the highest peaks until June, but by then, the ambient temperature is in the mid-20s°C (mid 70s°F). The average for the year is 12° and the average (about 54°F) and quarterly temperatures average:

 

Quarter
°C
°F

Jan-Mar

14

high 50s

Apr-Jun

21

about 70

Jul-Sep

27

about 80

Oct-Dec

18

mid 60s

 

Obviously, in high summer these averages mask much higher coastal temperatures, though of course the reverse is true, the higher you go. If you are mountain walker, bear in mind that the famous GR20 path is generally open only between mid-July to the end of October. It is not to be undertaken lightly at any season and even in the six weeks from June, ice axes, ropes and the other mountaineering paraphernalia are needed.

 

How about this? This was taken in June at Farinole in Cap Corse. The same 'saucers' appear in the Balagne. This pic is on a Corsican weather site by Dominique Tison.

 

The temperature of the sea builds up through the summer, as you would expect. The rivers do likewise, but their temperatures varies enormously by altitude and their gradient:

 

average sea temp

degrees C

April

13.9

May

16.3

June

19.3

July

22.3

August

23.4

September

22.0

October

19.7

.

There's an annual average of 7½ hours of sun a day. Given that the island is dominated by its mountains, the weather can change rapidly. The rainiest months are March and April, October and November. Forecasting that there will be no rain in the summer is hazardous, but in my experience it is generally dry from May to September, albeit with some impressive short-lived electric storms. On the whole, the east is wetter than the west. It is said that Corsica receives more total rainfall - about 900mm a year - than Ireland! It comes in bursts and especially in November and March - it's not a regular occurrence (about 90 days a year).

 
a le volte piove ancu d'aostu - sometimes it even rains in August

 

The winds are a very important factor in Corsican weather. The prevailing winds are called the libecciu (S & SW) and the maestrale (NW - from the Rhône valley), the latter is sudden and violent - dry in summer and moist in winter. The siroccu, which is hot and damp, blows on the E coast from the S & SE, often bringing red dust from the Sahara as well as coastal mist and fog. The levante is from the E and is often strong enough to rise over the mountains and blow offshore on the west coast. The grecale, which is cold strong & dry, is from the NE and frequent in the spring and autumn, often bringing rain to the east coast as well as freshening the air. The tramuntana, which is cold and dry, blows mainly in winter from the N & NNE. Whatever the temperature there is very frequently a breeze. The punente is a westerly that often mixes with the libecciu.

 

 

Probably the most pleasant months for those unused to the Mediterranean are May & June, September & October. November to April can be a delight, too. It depends what sort of weather you like, just remember that Corsica is in the Western Mediterranean. As with many parts of the area, bush, forest and mountain fires are a high risk, especially in August and September. Don't just think of Corsica as a thousand kilometres of coast - the interior and the mountains offer a wonderful climate, too.

 

As a general rule, those from the north or east of Europe will find the Corsican climate encouragingly warmer than at home. The sea is often warmer in mid-winter than in the height of summer in the Atlantic or North Sea. Autumn is later and spring comes earlier.

aria rossa di sera, bon tempu spera - pink sky at night, shepherd's delight

Given the nature of the island, it is as well not to forget the micro-climates, if you are planning a holiday or excursions. As the ecology researcher Christian Martinez points out, much of the weather data collected is from stations based at or near airports. Thus it can be notoriously unreliable. He uses a technique of planting climate sensitive plants in micro regions and seeing how different species survive. Coffee plants can manage temperatures down to -2° for example, whereas proteas survive down to -6°. Thus in the Ajaccio bay area he has shown that temperatures can vary by 7° from the reading taken near the airport Campo dell'Oro. Other significant differences occur between north and south for example. The Siberian anticyclones can be very much felt in the north, but not in the south west and west. If you are interested in going further in this subject, contact Christian at Martinezchrist@aol.com; he lives at Bocognano. As with most general statements about Corsica, the reverse if often true and it is certainly the case with climate.

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Here's Corsica seen in 1521 by Piri Reis

The range of mountains that separates the two parts of the island have a considerable effect upon the weather and old Piri knew that navigating Corsica's coasts.

Piri Peis of Galipoli became an Ottoman admiral (reis) after an earlier career as a corsair against his country's enemies including the Genoese, who held Corsica at that period. The map appeared in his Kitab-i Bahriye (Book of the Sea), in which he said, "on this island stands a tall mountain rising from the north to the south. At this date I counted 25 peaks of this mountain in the eastern part of it. they looked just like the teeth of a saw. Every one of these peaks is covered with snow all through the year."

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