Sitting in the waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea just southeast of mainland France Corsica is referred to as the Mediterranean’s mountain island. The island has the benefit of a typical Mediterranean climate, with the summer weather being hot and dry while continuing to be mild in wintertime, at least around the coastal regions. The mountainous areas are a touch colder all throughout the year.
The island enjoys an interesting history which includes centuries of instability and overseas control and it was only in the year of 1768 that Corsica became under the control of the French. French is the official language spoken on the island however you will also hear Corsican spoken all over the island which very much resembles Italian.
The islands warm weather and scenic beauty draws in lots of visitors every year and the summer period may become somewhat hectic. Corsica continues to be unblemished and unaltered by the modern world, which only adds to its charm. The island has in excess of 1000kms of coast, which includes 800 beaches to enjoy with small coves for your exploration. The inner part of the island has a more craggy look with fantastic forests and mountainous areas.
Best Things to do in Corsica France
Corsica also has areas of lush vegetation and has conservation areas and nature reserves that have been identified by Unesco as places of world heritage. The sea around Corsica is ideal for activities such as sailing, windsurfing, snorkeling as well as swimming. If you are someone who loves to walk then the island has a good variety of challenges from undemanding strolls to more difficult treks in the mountains . Corsica has many ancient footpaths that traverse the entire island connecting the numerous valleys making it a haven for the serious walker.
One area you should definitely see on the island of Corsica is La Balagna, formerly referred to as ‘The Garden of Corsica’, This is a fertile region of hills and valleys, surrounded by the sea in the north and by high mountains in the south. The valleys are awash with fruit and citrus trees as well as olives and grape vines. Flocks of sheep can be found grazing within the valleys and cheeses are created from the milk they produce.
The Beaches of Corsica
This beautiful Mediterranean island is renowned for its amazing beaches. A number of them can become excessively lively throughout the high season, however there are such a lot of them that it is more often than not quite straightforward to avoid the over populated ones. Presented here are a couple of the best ones to visit.
Palombaggia is frequently stated as the most beautiful beach on the island of Corsica, however it also can be extremely busy in particular throughout the climax of the summer season. This can be a fine choice although another alternative would be the less developed delightful small circular bay of Rondinara. This picturesque little bay is referred to as the ‘little sister’ of Palombaggia and also boasts its beauty but can be quieter allowing you to have a more relaxed time.
Capo di Feno
Capo di Feno beach is a wide open bay with nothing in the vicinity except the sea, the mountains, rocks and some shrubs under a blue sky. It is the favourite beach of many of the local inhabitants and you can gain access to this scenic location via a snaking mountain road emanating from Ajaccio. The beach is a good spot for surfing and can remain quiet even during the summer period. The sand banks and reef situated approximately 100 m away from the beach are perfect for producing some good breakers.
This particular captivating bay has a truly unique feel it. The bay has a Genovese tower located on a tiny island sited within the bay and there is dense pine forest surrounding giving it an other worldly quality. Increasing the perfect picturesque appearance is the shallow, clear waters extending into the distance over perfect white sands. The only issue to contend with is the crowds that can be evident in the summertime from visitors holidaying in close by Porto Vecchio.
Saleccia and Lodu
Saleccia and Lodu beaches are located near to each other and are generally thought to be two of the most striking beaches on Corsica. The two beaches have long white sandy beaches encircled by dunes, with incredible vistas of beautiful turquoise water. The greatest thing concerning this area is its remoteness as it requires a walk of 12km to get to it unless you possess an off road vehicle. This factor ensures that the number of visitors numbers are fairly low for most of the time.
Hiking In Corsica
Those who love hiking may also wish to merge their enthusiasm for walking with the joys of a villa holiday experience and Corsica provides a great place to do this. Walking paths and trails are able to be discovered all throughout the island of Corsica. Consequently, you are sure to locate a good path or trail near to the villa you decide to rent. You will discover that most of the routes either depart from or conclude in a coastal destination. As an illustration, you could head off from Ajaccio the capital of Corsica and then head inland. In doing this, you will have the opportunity to pursue an ancient path formerly utilized by shepherds many centuries ago and head of steadily, ascending into the mountainous regions.
Having the nickname of “The Mountain in the sea”, Corsica evidently provides an overabundance of hiking possibilities. The island is accessible to those of any age and physical capability even if you have little mountaineering experience you can discover a hike to enjoy. You should be able to enjoy a undemanding hike from the beach to the coast by hill. Alternatively, if you are a real walking enthusiast the 15 day, 180 km (120 miles) long GR-20 hike may be more your liking. Keep in mind to select a hike that is suited to your skill level and experience to avoid taking on too much or not having a sufficient challenge. If you do take on the GR -20 remember it is 180 km long be certain to take with you robust hiking boots.
The GR-20 hike can be accomplished in either direction, however the majority of people decide to complete it from North to South so as to progress through the more demanding sections early on. Walking from South to North though does have the advantage of being less impacted by the vast numbers of people doing the walk in the same direction. You should bear in mind though that the walk offers spectacular sights and it can be extremely popular between May and September because of this.
Towns In Corsica
The main town of Calvi resides below the snow topped peaks of Mone Cinto and is built around an attractive bay. This small port town makes a claim to be the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. An ancient citadel towers majestically above the town and it was throughout the siege of Calvi that Nelson’s eye was lost. Calvi is quite near to mainland France and has a lot in common with the traditional small towns of the French Riviera, with a beautiful sandy beach and flourishing cafes and restaurants.
Be sure to visit the citadel with its magnificent views of the town and bay with excellent vantage points from the five bastions. The beach at Calvi is 4 km long, and you should also check out the Tramway de Balagne railway. This delightful old train runs between the towns of Calvi and Ile Rousse stopping at Algajola and many other captivating small beaches beside the coast.
Bastia at one time was the capital of Corsica, until Napoleon made Ajaccio the capital in the year of 1881. Bastia features many places of interest which makes it worth allocating a little time to before continuing to visit the rest of this fabulous island. Place St Nicolas is the place where special events and markets are held and boasts plenty of bars and restaurants and is perfect for a night out. The square is almost 300m and is shaded by trees and hosts a statue of Napoleon draped as a Roman emperor. The museum in Bastia has wonderful displays and has some fascinating collections combining both history and art which include a lot of historical items which offer the traveller a good idea of the history of both Corsica and Bastia.
Previously the capital of Corsica, Corte also has a towering citadel looking down on the town. The old town features four and five storey houses and is a captivating place to investigate. The atmosphere is really relaxed in Corte and you shouldn’t be swamped by hoards of other tourists. You can enter the citadel through the museum which gives access to some wonderful views out over the town and the surrounding mountains. Corte can also act as a great starting point for walkers on Corsica as there are many places within easy access. These include the Gorge of the Restonica, Tavignano Valley and Lac de Melo among others.
The beautiful town of Ajaccoi is famous for being the birthplace of Napoleon. It is also the capital of the island and is quite similar to a resort of the Cote d’Azur. Ajaccio is not too large and will be easily walkable for most tourists. The harbour area is totally flat and you will get good views of the cruise ships arriving from Sardinia, Toulon and Nice.
The principal shopping street is the rue du Cardinal Fesch and the town also boasts a museum named after the cardinal. The center point of the old town is Place Foch and this picturesque square has a multitude of cafes and restaurants as well as the Statue of Napoleon which was created by a local sculpture named Maglioli. The musée Fesch was established by Napoleon’s uncle and is situated within the gated Palais Fesch. The museum houses one of best collections of the Italian old masters in France. It includes paintings from Giovanni Bellini, Cosmè Tura and Botticelli displaying in excess of 400 works in 27 rooms.
The town of Bonifaccio, resides at the southern most point of the island and is certainly one of the treasures of Corsica. Bonifacio is a massive attraction, bringing in tourists from all parts of the island and abroad to wonder at the medieval houses which precariously seem to teeter upon the edge of the steep 60-meter limestone cliffs. The Old Town of Bonifacio is a maze of historic buildings and narrow streets. It is a real pleasure to explore and was constructed by the Genoese.
You will also discover a busy marina in Bonifacio which is full of superb yachts and lined with fashionable restaurants, bars and hotels which only increases the attraction of this delightful coastal resort. In addition to this Bonifacio is very close to a number of beautiful, unspoiled Corsican beaches and a striking mountain area offering a huge variety for tourists.