It is called the Island of Beauty for its sublime landscapes between red cliffs plunging into the turquoise waters, stone villages clinging to the mountains and gorges planted with chestnut trees. Small coves or sandy beaches, peninsulas or capes … In Corsica, more than 1000 kilometers of coast invite to nature walks between sky and sea, as in the iconic Scandola reserve, popular for scuba diving. But the homeland of Napoleon is also a land of tradition and history, to discover over a walk in its cities nestled away from their citadels, feet in the Mediterranean!
The must-sees of your holidays in Corsica
To visit Corsica, the gateway is most often Bastia. What to feed from the outset the collection of postcards: in the old port the boats waddle on the background of colorful houses punctuated by the tall silhouette of the Church of Saint Baptiste … Bastia is also the starting point for a pretty route through the Corsica Cape, an “island in the island” that stretches in the Mediterranean like a finger of 40 kilometers long! Between the sea and the mountains – the central ridge of the Serra rises to 1,307 meters – the road reveals sublime views: villages perched on the sea, beaches nestled in coves, Genoese towers highlighting the horizon …
West of Cap Corse, Ile Rousse, one of these towers guard the island of Pietra, the largest of the string of islands of red porphyry that gave its name to this city wanted by Pasquale Paoli, the father of the Corsican nation. His memory hovers over the large eponymous square where endless games of petanque compete under the plane trees.
In Calvi, it is the legacy of four centuries of Genoese domination that inspires the massive citadel planted on a rock overlooking the port. Sheltered by its thick ramparts, the upper town, all with narrow streets and staircases, seems straight out of the 16th century. If there is no evidence that the Genoese Christopher Columbus was born there as the legend claims, Napoleon did indeed stay there in 1793, in the house of his godfather …
It is Ajaccio who perpetuates the memory of the flamboyant emperor. In his birthplace, a museum of the house Bonaparte traces through beautifully renovated decorations and exhibitions, the Napoleonic epic of the birth of the emperor in 1769 until the Second Empire. The highlight of the visit? The so-called “alcove” room where Bonaparte stayed for the last time in 1799 on his return from the Egyptian expedition.
South of Ajaccio, in Porto-Vecchio, stop on images: with its turquoise waters, its gulf is one of the most photogenic of Corsica … And its Genoese citadel has become a trend stop: between lively squares, vaulted passages and stairs , cafes and boutiques attract fashion fans.
Between sport and relaxation: Corsica, here we are!
The island of beauty also takes its name from a hinterland whose splendors are revealed to the bravest. Because on holidays in Corsica, why not try the GR 20! Considered as one of the most spectacular European hiking trails, it is also one of the most challenging with its 180 kilometers from north to south to be covered in two weeks minimum! But that we can be reassured: it is also possible to split the course …
To keep cool after this expedition, we can cross the beautiful seabed of the six nature reserves. Or try to erase aches in the sulphurous water of Caldane baths. Unless you go to discover the Corsican vineyard and its 9 Protected Designations of Origin. After that, you just have to vibrate to the sounds of Calvi on the Rocks, the electronic festival of summer!
Land-sea mixture for a gastronomic stay on the island of Beauty
To visit Corsica is also to savor the perfumes of a terroir of character. On the sea side, watch out for the sea urchin season, fishing is only allowed in winter and is subject to strict quotas. On the land side, we enjoy Corsican cold cuts, especially Figatellu, a dry sausage that can be accompanied by polenta with chestnut flour. Among the many cheeses, one can opt for brocciu, made with whey from goat or sheep cheese. And for dessert, the Corsican clementines bring a sunny note just like the honey of Corsica, whose six varieties exhale all the perfumes of the maquis and the undergrowth.