The Best of Corsica: Top Sights, Activities, and Experiences to Try

Sardinia and Corsica were united by a single destiny. One land, a similar and ancient culture. This is demonstrated by the many points of contact between two proud and courageous peoples, never bent in front of the pirates who looted their coasts, marvelous both but similar in their differences. Visiting Corsica is an overwhelming experience, crossing the sea and in 50 minutes find yourself in a different but similar reality, speaking a language that resembles the Sardinian but that ranges from French to Arab,  walking through the streets of an ancient village, living a nightlife that does not turn into a nighttime frenzy. You are in Corsica.

Corsica: A Journey to the Rugged Island of Beauty

Corsica is a rugged and mountainous island located in the Mediterranean Sea. It is a land of contrast and contradiction, where ancient traditions coexist with modern influences, breathtaking natural beauty meets rugged terrain, and the fierce independence of its people clashes with its status as a French territory.

Corsica has a complex history shaped by centuries of conquest, occupation, and resistance. Once ruled by Genoa for over 400 years, it was later controlled by foreign powers like France, Britain, and Italy before becoming French in 1769.

Despite domination, Corsica retains a strong identity and attachment to its unique culture and traditions. Proud and fiercely independent Corsicans are known for their hospitality, love of music/dance, and passion for life.

Corsica’s rugged, mountainous terrain includes impressive ranges like Monte Cinto, its highest peak, and Aiguilles de Bavella’s sharp spires rising from forests. These mountains attract hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, offering stunning views of the island’s rugged coastline and wild interior.

Corsica is also known for delicious cuisine blending Italian and French influences, with a focus on fresh, local ingredients. Traditional dishes include wild boar stew, grilled seafood, and cured meats like coppa and lonzu.

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Challenges include a long history of unrest and violence fueled partly by the Corsican independence movement seeking an independent state. Active for decades, it has resorted to violence pursuing its goals.

Corsica is a unique, fascinating destination with a rich history, stunning nature, strong identity and culture. Whether interested in hiking mountains, exploring history and culture, or relaxing beaches, Corsica offers experiences for everyone.

Discovering the Natural Beauty and Rich History of Corsica: 10 Must-See Destinations

Corsica is a beautiful island with many must-see places to visit. Here are some of the top attractions and destinations that visitors should consider adding to their itinerary:

  • Calvi: This picturesque town on the northwest coast of Corsica is known for its beautiful beaches, charming old town, and impressive citadel.
  • Bonifacio: This stunning cliffside town in the south of Corsica is famous for its dramatic views and historic citadel.
  • Scandola Nature Reserve: This UNESCO World Heritage site on the west coast of Corsica is home to breathtaking landscapes and unique wildlife, including dolphins, seals, and sea birds.
  • The Calanches of Piana: These striking red rock formations on the west coast of Corsica are a photographer’s dream, with their dramatic cliffs and unique shapes.
  • Corte: This historic town in the center of Corsica is known for its picturesque old town and impressive citadel, as well as its role as the birthplace of the Corsican nationalist movement.
  • The GR20: This challenging hiking trail is considered one of the most beautiful in Europe, offering stunning views of Corsica’s rugged mountains and wild interior.
  • Ajaccio: This bustling city on the west coast of Corsica is famous as the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte, and offers a variety of historic sites, museums, and cultural attractions.
  • Porto-Vecchio: This charming town on the east coast of Corsica is known for its beautiful beaches, historic old town, and lively nightlife.
  • The Bavella Massif: This stunning mountain range in the south of Corsica offers some of the island’s best hiking and climbing opportunities, as well as breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
  • L’Île-Rousse: This quaint coastal town in the north of Corsica is known for its beautiful beaches, charming old town, and laid-back atmosphere.

These are just a few of the many must-see places in Corsica. Whether you’re interested in hiking, history, culture, or simply soaking up the island’s natural beauty, there’s something for everyone on this rugged and enchanting island.

Discovering the Diversity of Corsica: Exploring the North and South Regions

Corsica is a mountainous island with a complex history and culture, and the differences between the south and north regions are notable. Here are some of the main differences between the two regions:

  • Landscape and Climate: The landscapes and climates of the south and north regions of Corsica are quite different. The south is known for its rugged mountain ranges, stunning cliffs, and rocky beaches, while the north has more varied landscapes, with rolling hills, lush forests, and sandy beaches. The south tends to be hotter and drier than the north, with more arid terrain and less rainfall.
  • Culture and Language: Corsica has a unique culture that is influenced by both Italian and French traditions, but there are some regional differences between the north and south. The Corsican language, for example, is spoken more widely in the north, while French is more dominant in the south. The north also tends to be more traditional and conservative, while the south is more cosmopolitan and open to outside influences.
  • History and Politics: Corsica has a long and complex history, marked by periods of foreign domination, political unrest, and violence. The north has historically been more politically active, with a strong nationalist movement advocating for Corsican independence from France. The south, on the other hand, has been more influenced by Italian culture and has a history of maritime commerce and trade.
  • Tourism: Both the north and south regions of Corsica are popular tourist destinations, but they offer different experiences for visitors. The south is known for its stunning coastline, beaches, and outdoor activities such as hiking and water sports. The north, on the other hand, has a more rural and traditional character, with charming villages, historic sites, and cultural events such as music festivals and craft fairs.

The differences between the north and south regions of Corsica reflect the island’s complex history and culture, and offer visitors a variety of experiences and attractions to explore.

Unique and Flavorful Cuisine of Corsica: A Blend of French and Italian Influences

Corsican cuisine is a unique and flavorful blend of French and Italian influences, with a focus on fresh, local ingredients and traditional recipes. Here are some of the key elements of Corsican cuisine:

  • Charcuterie: Corsican meats are renowned for their quality and flavor, with a wide variety of cured and smoked meats available. Some of the most famous Corsican charcuterie products include coppa, lonzu, and figatellu, which are made from pork and seasoned with garlic, herbs, and spices.
  • Seafood: Corsica is an island, so it’s no surprise that seafood plays an important role in the local cuisine. Fresh fish, shellfish, and crustaceans are widely available, and are often served simply grilled or fried, with a drizzle of lemon juice and olive oil.
  • Cheese: Corsican cheese is another highlight of the local cuisine, with several unique varieties to try. Some of the most famous Corsican cheeses include brocciu, a soft, creamy cheese made from sheep’s milk, and tome de brebis, a semi-hard cheese with a nutty, tangy flavor.
  • Wild Game: Corsica’s rugged landscape is home to a variety of wild game, including wild boar, deer, and birds such as wood pigeon and partridge. These meats are often slow-cooked in stews or roasted with herbs and spices, and are a popular part of traditional Corsican cuisine.
  • Chestnuts: Corsica is also known for its chestnuts, which are used in a variety of dishes, from savory stews to sweet desserts. The chestnuts are often ground into flour and used to make bread, cakes, and other baked goods.
  • Wine: Corsican wine is gaining recognition for its quality and unique flavor, with several local grape varieties to try. Some of the most popular Corsican wines include Vermentino, Nielluccio, and Sciacarello, which are often paired with local dishes.

Corsican cuisine is a delicious and unique combination of Mediterranean flavors and local ingredients, reflecting the island’s rich history, culture, and natural beauty. 

The Artisans’ Route

The Artisans’ Route is a scenic driving route that takes you through the picturesque countryside of Corsica, where you can explore the traditional crafts and products of the island. The route is designed to showcase the artisanal heritage of Corsica, and it is a great way to discover the local culture and traditions.

The route covers different regions of Corsica, including La Balagne, the Nebbio, and the Alta Rocca, among others. Along the way, you can visit workshops and studios of local artisans who specialize in traditional crafts such as pottery, woodwork, weaving, embroidery, and jewelry-making. You can watch these craftsmen at work and learn about their techniques and traditions, and you can purchase their handmade products as souvenirs or gifts.

In addition to the artisanal workshops, the Artisans’ Route takes you through some of the most beautiful landscapes of Corsica, including mountains, forests, and beaches. You can stop at scenic viewpoints to take in the breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea and the surrounding countryside.

Some of the highlights of the Artisans’ Route include:

The village of Sartène, known for its stone houses and its traditional knives.
The town of Corte, known for its citadel and its artisanal workshops.
The village of Pigna, known for its traditional music and artisanal workshops.
The village of Oletta, known for its embroidery and lace making.
The town of Ajaccio, known for its Napoleonic heritage and its traditional ceramics.

The Artisans’ Route is a great way to experience the traditional crafts and culture of Corsica and to discover some of the most beautiful landscapes of the island.

Corsica and Sardinia: A Tale of Two Islands Connected by Geography and Culture

Corsica and Sardinia are two neighboring islands in the western Mediterranean Sea, and they have a long and intertwined history. Despite being separate entities, the two islands have numerous connections, from language and culture to geography and tourism.

Geographically, Corsica and Sardinia are close neighbors, with Corsica located to the north of Sardinia. The two islands are separated by the Strait of Bonifacio, which is a mere 11 kilometers wide at its narrowest point. This proximity has made it easy for people and ideas to flow back and forth between the two islands over the centuries.

Corsican and Sardinian are both Romance languages, and they share many similarities in grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. Both languages are heavily influenced by Italian, which is not surprising given the islands’ proximity to Italy. The linguistic connection between Corsica and Sardinia is a testament to the close cultural ties between the two islands.

Corsica and Sardinia also share many cultural similarities, including traditional music, dance, and cuisine. Both islands have a strong history of sheep farming and cheese production, and are known for their unique charcuterie products. The two islands’ cuisines are similar in many ways, featuring fresh seafood, grilled meats, and flavorful cheeses.

The history of Corsica and Sardinia is marked by periods of foreign domination and political unrest. Both islands were ruled by the Republic of Genoa for several centuries, before coming under the control of the Kingdom of France and the Kingdom of Sardinia. This shared history has left a lasting impact on the two islands, shaping their culture, language, and identity.

Finally, Corsica and Sardinia are both popular tourist destinations, attracting visitors from around the world with their stunning natural beauty, rich history, and unique culture. Many tourists opt to visit both islands on the same trip, exploring the diverse landscapes and attractions of the western Mediterranean.

Corsica and Sardinia have a rich and complex relationship that reflects their shared history, culture, and geography. Whether you’re interested in exploring the unique cuisine of both islands, or simply soaking up the natural beauty of the western Mediterranean, there is much to discover in this fascinating part of the world.

ENJOY THE MUSIC

Discover a music full of emotions and local cultures. Every Thursday from April to October, a concert of polyphonic songs is offered in the church of Saint-François next to the marine cemetery in the Upper Town of Bonifacio.

Enter the church, sit on a bench, let yourself be carried away by voices from another era and be transported through the history and culture oof this magic island … Here is what Bonifacio offers every Thursday night, from April to October. In total, more than 30 emotional concerts will leave you with an unforgettable memory.

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THE LAVEZZI ISLAND ARCHIPELAGO, A NATURAL RESERVE BETWEEN CORSICA AND SARDINIA

Isule Lavezzi, Natural Riserva between Corsica e Sardinia.

This natural reserve is a must for your holidays in Corsica but also for locals. Housing a remarkable flora and fauna, you will be totally out of thinking about the sea.
Lavezzi Islands would be pretty exotic for a day. You know this day where you are not too far but yet you have the impression of being on the other side of the world?
The Lavezzi Islands are not too crowded with tourists, so you are going to enjoy it.

YOUR UNIQUE CHOICE

You can decide to let yourself be lulled by the sweet sound of the sea on one of the many beaches, or to face a particular excursion in search of an food and wine journey through vineyards surrounded by rough and sunny rocks and enjoy a tasting at one of the many wine cellars or enjoy one of the many festivals where you will savor the ancient taste of Corsican bread, a true culinary experience.

Or … why not enjoy the absolute richness of a day of total relaxation in one of the little-frequented beaches?

This is Corsica: an absolute choice of unique and particular experiences, in luxury hotels, immersed in pristine and precious nature.

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How to get there

Corsica can be reached by several modes of transportation. The most common way to get to Corsica is by taking a ferry from mainland France or Italy, as the island has several ports that receive regular ferry services. The ports of Marseille, Toulon, Nice, and Savona are the most popular departure points for Corsica ferries, with multiple crossings per day to several Corsican ports such as Ajaccio, Bastia, Calvi, and Porto Vecchio. The duration of the ferry journey varies depending on the route and the departure point, but typically ranges from 4 to 8 hours.

Another option is to fly to Corsica, with several major airlines offering flights to the island’s 3 main airports, Ajaccio Napoleon Bonaparte Airport, Bastia Poretta Airport and Figari – Sud Corse. All airports receive regular flights from major European cities, as well as from other French cities such as Lyon, Marseille, and Nice. The duration of the flight varies depending on the departure point, but typically ranges from 1 to 2 hours.

Private Jet: For those who prefer the ultimate in luxury and convenience, private jets are a popular way to travel to Corsica. The island has several airports that can accommodate private jets, including Figari-Sud Corse Airport in the south and Bastia-Poretta Airport in the north.

Helicopter: Another option for luxury travelers is to fly to Corsica by helicopter. Many companies offer helicopter charter services to and from the island, allowing travelers to bypass the crowds and traffic on the ground.

Yacht: Corsica is a popular destination for yacht owners and charter guests, thanks to its stunning coastline and crystal-clear waters. Luxury travelers can arrive on the island by yacht, either anchoring in one of the island’s many ports or docking at a marina. You can charter a yacht to sail you from ports along the French RivieraItalian coast or Sardinia to Corsica. Yachts provide spacious private cabins, gourmet meals, and butler service during your voyage

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