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Highlights of Corsica

Friday 24th Jun 2022

Only the fourth largest island in the Mediterranean (after Sicily, Sardinia and Cyprus), the diversity of Corsica sets it apart from the rest. With dramatic red granite cliffs rising from the azure waters of the Scandola Nature Reserve, miles of world-class white sandy beaches and a craggy hinterland of precipitous mountain passes, Corsica offers pristine and astonishing landscapes.

Bonifacio Calvi Citadel of Calvi Porto Vecchio Bay Porto Vecchio Watch Tower Scandola

Officially a region of France, Corsica has its own fiercely protected identity, with French and Italian influences to be seen. The Corsicans have their own language, still taught in schools, and unique culinary traditions. They are proud of their flag, a symbol of independence featuring a moor’s head in a white bandanna, first used in 1755 and officially adopted in 1980. 

The rich and chequered history of Corsica manifests itself around every corner with some fascinating architecture. Monuments, citadels, watchtowers and museums scattered all over the island bear witness to the ever-changing and often turbulent past of this multi-cultural island. Look no further than Bonifacio, an enchanting citadel town in southern Corsica, built on a narrow peninsula of white limestone, and the massive citadel of Calvi, perched on a rocky headland. 

Direct flights to Corsica from the UK are few and far between, so the best way to see this enchanting island is on a cruise. Many cruises depart from ports in France or Italy and visit various destinations on Corsica. 

  • Ajaccio

    Corsica’s capital of Ajaccio is a small, colourful city of just 65,000 residents. Explore the pretty harbour, popular with local artists, where smart yachts and fishing vessels moor side by side. Napoleon Bonaparte was born here in 1769, and as you would expect the city has many sites relating to him, from his childhood home to seafront statues, museums and street names. Perhaps head to the lively market and sample the local delicacies, explore tempting patisseries and boutiques in the surrounding streets, or visit the baroque, 16th-century Notre-Dame Cathedral, where Napoléon was baptised, and which contains paintings by Delacroix and Tintoretto.

  • Bonifacio

    The spectacular town of Bonifacio, located on the very tip of southern Corsica, clings to a narrow promontory of limestone cliff overhanging the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean. The Old Town is located in the 9th century citadel, and with the centre lovingly restored in recent times, it offers visitors a fascinating maze of streets and alleyways to explore. Brasseries, cafés and bars spill out onto the pavements and piazzas, craft shops and boutiques show off their colourful wares, and churches, chapels and palazzi provide historical and architectural interest.

  • Calvi

    Nestled on a rocky spur in the north-west of Corsica, Calvi has been described as a slice of the French Riviera blessed with Italian sunshine. Boasting a 4-mile stretch of sandy white beach, an impressive citadel overlooking the Old Town, lively restaurants, and buzzing nightlife, Calvi is a prosperous port with an exciting history. Pass through the citadel gateway and walk around the ramparts, pausing to admire picture-postcard views as you go, then venture in through the narrow, cobbled streets and passages of the citadel to see the Old Town.

  • L'ile Rousse

    Named after the islets that blush a deep russet red in the sunset, L’lle Rousse is a laid-back seaside town with a central square, lively cafés, restaurants and ice-cream parlours. With one of the warmest microclimates in Corsica, thanks to the sheltering Balagne hills that surround the town, and three gently shelving large beaches in close proximity, L’Ile Rousse is an ideal for a relaxing day visit. During the day, the town square fills up with pétanque players and pastis-sipping spectators, whilst the Greek style covered marketplace and little boutiques bustle with locals. Relax on one of the three sandy beaches or follow the path up to l’Ile de la Pietra Genoese tower and lighthouse, for fabulous views across the town.

  • Porto Vecchio

    Dating back to the 16th century, the fortified port town of Porto Vecchio is now a pretty resort town. Visit the Church of Saint Jean-Baptiste for panoramic views of the sea and surrounding valley, or enjoy an afternoon at one of Corsica’s famous beaches, Palombaggia and Santa Guilia. As dusk settles, head to the Old Town’s Place de la République for its lively nightlife, bars, and restaurants.

Discover Corsica for yourself on one of Blue Water Holidays selected Mediterranean Cruises

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