Finally we realized our dream to visit Corsica. Our base was beautiful Bonifacio and indeed we were not disappointed!! Out of Marseilles we flew straight to Bonifacio because time was of the essence (we only had a week). We rented a car for a whole week and managed to see and enjoy the southern part of this beautiful Mediterranean island. Will be back to explore the northern part, hopefully.
The arrival in Clavi was a spectacle. One goes far to spot its spectacular wall, but you soon realize the beauty that awaits you. Of Genevese origin, the city is perfectly preserved and right before your eyes. Walking through the streets, you can enjoy the spectacular views at the numerous intramural viewpoints. In short, it is a city that you can not miss on your visit to Corsica. Muuuuuuuch prettier than Ajaccio.
I love Ajaccio. We've been five times (once to do a full tour of the island of Corsica) and went back last year. We usually go by ferry from Nice or Marseille. For us, the highlights include:
- Rue Fesch: to go shopping, have a drink, or visit the Imperial Chapel
- Quai de la Republique: you can visit the market place to buy food, flowers, jewelry, and clothes
- Place Foch: where the statue of Napoleon is located
- La Citadelle: a sensational fortress overlooking the city and the beach of Saint François
- The Cathedral
- Napoleon House
- Place General de Gaulle
- Iles Sanguinaires for stunning sunsets
They're called that because pirates once wreaked havoc in these waters, which are a spectacular shade of turquoise-blue. The cape is dotted with small little beaches. One of them seemed like the most lively of the bunch, with a small beach volleyball court and everything.
Bastia is one of the most important cities of Corsica and therefore also has one of the most important ports of the island. Every day hundreds of cargo ships and travellers come into this French territory. You can always see huge ships that impress. In this area there is a great avenue from which you can enjoy the beauty of the Mediterranean, by foot you can reach the most beautiful part of the port, where there are hundreds of small boats moored. Here you can see all kinds of ships, from small sailboats to small boats that depart every day to sea in search of fish. Around this area there are many cafes and restaurants that have a very cozy terraces from which you can enjoy spectacular views. But the nicest thing in Bastia port are the two small lights that owns and which are opposite each other. They are very nice and you can get to them by a kind of gateway that have created among the rocks. It's a real privilege to be in this area and sit on one of the rocks to enjoy the beauty of the sea and the sound of the waves. From the port you can also enjoy beautiful views of the citadel of Bastia nearby.
Scandola Nature Reserve is located on the west coast of Corsica. Here you will find a gulf even if it isn't that spectacular. In addition, near the Gulf you also have Porto, another place worth visiting. The most impressive thing about this nature reserve is the small hidden coves to hide its gulfs, the beautiful hiking trails and mountains, red stone, in some cases, can be reached by boat or by road, however the 2nd option is a bit more complicated. If you go by boat, It's advisable to spend the night in the Girolata.
Porto-Vecchio owes its reputation to its beaches, and so uses all its beauty to attract visitors ... The beaches around the city are all nice, each one even better than the one before! But among them, a few kilometers from Porto Vecchio, stands the famous beach of Palombaggia. Facing the Cerbicales islands, it is nature reserve ideal for lovers of nature, its idyllic setting has captivated more than one. The orange rocks and umbrella pines that overlook the beach give the surroundings a particularly savage look. Its water has a rare quality, clear to the very end, and it invites a you to take a quick dip without delay! Around the beach there are shops and cabins that allow you to lengthen the day in a heavenly setting ... indeed they say it's one of the most beautiful beaches in Corsica. I remember spending good times, totally bewitched by the natural heritage of the Corsican coast ...
Erbalunga is a small town full of charm that marks the border with Cape Corsica, about 10 kilometers from Bastia. You discover its squares and cobbled streets as soon as you enter the city. While wandering around without direction, I discovered many interesting places hidden in the back of an alley behind a house. Erbalunga holds many surprises - avenues with flowers, small steps, and all the mixed colours. You can understand why this place has inspired so many painters! Even today there are photographers from all over the world that come to work their art. The city offers a magnificent radiance. There are houses at the water's edge that encourage you to walk right up to the end of the boardwalk, where you get a breathtaking view of the sea and mountains. I recommend strolling through Erbalunga, one of my first encounters with Corsica, not without emotions!
In my opinion, Bonifacio is the most wonderful place on the island of Corsica and particularly for its cliffs. The city of Bonifacio is located on top of a mountain and has many places from which you can see amazing views, but the best place to discover all the cliffs in this city is a beacon of Pertusato. It is located east of the city and to reach it follow the instructions in various parts of the city. Here they have built a beautiful path full of greenery and flowers of all kinds, colourful magic. In addition, there is also an area where the lighthouse is filled with Pertusato maquis. The maquis is a typical vegetation of the island and consists of small shrubs of a beautiful yellow color. If you follow this road for about 30 minutes you get to the lighthouse, it offers the best views of all Bonifacio. The cliffs of Bonifacio are really incredible, in some places, you can see pieces of rock that are suspended in the air, bearing the weight of old buildings. The image is colossal, it makes you wonder how the rock is suspended in the air, since it seems that it could collapse at any time. In addition, under these cliffs there are often sandy beaches that add something special to the landscape. I do not know if you can go down to these beaches, I tried to find the way but could not find it, but it must be a marvel to swim alongside the backdrop of the cliffs. The beauty of these cliffs can be seen in many of the typical island postcards. By the way, you can also do a boat trip passing these cliffs, at the port of Bonifacio several agencies offer this.
Calvi is one of the most idyllic locations in Corsica and also the closest to the Mediterranean coast from mainland France, for this reason, every year thousands of people pick this place as a holiday destination. This summer makes it almost impossible to enjoy the spectacular beauty that has Calvi, its beautiful citadel, its agradble port, its wonderful sandy beach. Personally, I recommend visiting out of season, because only then can you enjoy the true beauty of the city. The symbol of Calvi is undoubtedly its citadel of Genoese origin. It is located high on a promontory of granite and has a spectacular ochre walls. The only drawback is that it is not fully integrated into the city and the rooms are closed to the public, despite this, everyone should journey to the top (of 80 meters) for views that are truly spectacular. Another area that is much loved is the Calvi marina. It is adjacent to the city center and in it you can see all kinds of small boats, it is quite common to see elegant boats or luxury yachts, as Calvi is a very popular place for the rich, especially in summer. As in the rest of the resort towns of this island, downtown streets are full of places that sell all kinds thingsof tourists, but here, what surprised me most is that many also sell handmade products, especially food . I recommend you to buy Corsican sausage and cheese, because it's delicious. On Fridays a small market in the center of the city sells mostly food products, the best place to get all the cheese and sausages you want. Calvi Beach is also a wonderful place. It stretches along the bay 4 kilometers east from the port. Besides visiting the city you can do thousands of activities of all kinds. It is a perfect place to start diving, ideal for those who are already fans of the sport, as you can explore the remains of a World War II B-17 that is immersed in these waters. It is also a perfect place for hiking, because it has many routes in the surrounding area of incredible beauty.
Ill Rousse is the most chic place in of all Corsica. Many celebrities have summer homes here for example, Elton Jonh, Jean Paul Gaultier and Jean Paul Belmondo. This has made the town famous and made it the San Tropez of Corsica. I was not very excited about the visit, as I tend to prefer tourist destinations and those that go beyond such things but I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised and left with excellent memories. In addition to the excellent beach there are many other wonderful places worth visiting. Its marina is beautiful, from there, you can enjoy truly spectacular sea views, of an incredible turquoise colour which becomes even more intense under sunlight. From the harbor you can go to the center through the beautiful streets. Cars do not usually run through these streets so you can walk without any problem. In them we found hundreds of souvenir shops, Moreover, many clothes shops for fashion lovers to enjoy. All downtown streets will lead to a giant square full of atmosphere and it will also give Rousse Beach Ill. This is the center of the city and here you will find many bars and restaurants that have extraordinary terraces to relax. But the best thing about the place is that in the evenings many city dwellers come here to practice their favorite sport, petanque. It's great to see them play and discuss, it creates a very good atmosphere. We went in April and there were not many tourists, so we could fully enjoy the place, but in summer things change and there is not a single spot not full of tourists. Ill Rousse is where you can see the beautiful summer homes of the famous, impressive in their size and, especially, the lush gardens. I forgot to say that right in the center of Ill Rouss, in the square is one of the most luxurious hotels on the island, but the room rates are exorbitant.
Ostriconi Beach is near the campsite of the same name, not far from L'Ile Rousse. A breathtaking view makes you want only one thing: bathing. But to get there you must really want it! Indeed, to reach the beautiful white sand beach you must go down a small stone "trail". After that effort, the reward! At the foot of the hill, some inlets penetrate the fine sand, behind picturesque mountains, dotted with vegetation. It was wonderful scenery that left me stunned. Of course, swimming is permitted in the clear water typical of Corsica, and you get the feeling of being a real Robinson! I can recommend going snorkeling, and observing the underwater world. The beach is so big that towels are never right next to one another, and there is always space even in peak season! An unusual beach that will delight nature lovers.
The Iles Lavezzi are a small archipelago off the coast of Bonifacio, Corsica. This is the southernmost territory of France. These islands are great for diving and very popular among fans. It is classified as a natural reserve, except for Cavallo Island which is the largest and the only one where there are luxury homes and a small airstrip.
A few miles from Calvi, on the northwest coast of Corsica, the site of Notre Dame de la Serra is awesome ... What a feeling when I arrived! An extraordinary panorama opened before me. From there it dominates the Gulf of Calvi. You can see the citadel, the port of Calvi with the comings and goings of the ferries. You can distinguish the different shades of color of the sea, giving the impression of watching a picture! To the left the mountain with rocks and shrubs. A chapel is in the center of the site along with a statue of the virgin pure white, welcoming visitors. Both date from 1950. It is a calm and relaxed, I stood there for a moment to contemplate the vastness of the landscape that lay before me. A little further down there is a small road that allows access to the site of Notre Dame de la Serra walk from Calvi. A unique experience, the images are still in my memory.
Corte is located halfway between Bastia and Ajjacio has a brutal charm and in my opinion, one of my favourite places in Corsica. It is located on a hillside, surrounded by mountains, giving it a spectacular beauty. In the city center there is a large place that has a giant sculpture of Pascal Paoli, the man who won (if only for a few years) Corsican independence in 1755. This sculpture is in Corte because this city was the capital during the period of Corsican independence. In this square we can find several restaurants and cafes that make fabulous terraces when the sun emerges. It is a pleasure to stroll through the narrow streets of Corte. These streets are paved and are quite dark, as they are surrounded by tall buildings blocking lots of light. The majority of the houses in this city are very old, made of stone and give Corte a rustic feel. But the best thing about this city are having incredible surroundings. Surrounded by nature on all sides, and outrageously beautiful, where you can enjoy a huge mountain, two rivers and a stunning green meadows. This is what really makes the city beautiful, natural surroundings. Also, being located in a mountainous area, Corte is an excellent point of departure for many excursions, and even for various stages of the famous GR-20. People in Corte are quite friendly but yes, not many are French because this area is where the Corsicans more independent and less friendly.
Santa Giulia Beach is, like many others in Corsica, overwhelming with its fine white sand and the colour of its waters, always blue and transparent. Located just a few kilometres from the city of Porto-Vecchio, in the Gulf of Santa Giulia, it can be accessed by Bonifacio road. This beach is particularly suited for families, because it is very safe to swim. The perimeter buoys allow children to enjoy swimming in the sea safely. As for adults, this place offers lots of activities. You can go kayaking or sailing without fighting big waves, ideal for beginners. To do this, head to the marina of Santa Giulia, located on the beach. The beach retains its natural look, despite all its equipment, because it's surrounded by trees. I didn't feel like I was on a crowded beach.