Corsica has it all: gastronomy, beaches, mountains, superb hikes, small villages…
Named the Island of beauty, it deserves without a doubt it’s nickname. Corsica is a destination that is unanimously appreciated by all those who visit it, myself included.
During a two-week stay in this paradise, I had many opportunities to fall in love with Corsica.
Here are the 10 best things to do and see in the enchanting island of Corsica.
- See the calanques of Piana
- Spend a few days in Corte
- Visit the Agriates
- Tour the beautiful villages of the Balagne
- Go on beautiful hikes
- Sunbathing on “Caribbean” beaches
- Visit Ajaccio, Napoleon’s birthplace
- Visit Bonifaccio
- Take a trip to the Lavezzi Islands
- Taste the local food and the delicious Corsican wines
1. See the calanques of Piana
Whether it’s from the road, during a hike or a boat tour, one never tires of admiring these rock formations inscribed on the World Heritage List.
You should not miss a boat trip that allows you to admire from a different point of view the creeks and the small caves that make them up.
Several companies offer more or less similar trips, with different sized boats.
We chose to take Corse Adrénaline, because of its boat of only 12 places.
The company lives up to its name, as the boat speeds through the water, winding its way between the rocks and into the caves.
The comments of the captain, a native of the region, are also very interesting.
The cruise also allows us to visit the natural reserve of Scandola and the small village of Girolata, accessible only from the sea or on foot.
If this village, made up of restaurants and a small beach where cows bask, did not leave us an imperishable memory, the magnificent landscapes of the reserve and the creeks are really worth the excursion.
The creeks are also accessible by foot and visible from the winding road between Piana and Porto where the views are spectacular.
Hello traffic jams and people getting out of their cars to take pictures!
2. Spend a few days in Corte
Another must-see is the university town of Corte and its citadel.
The region does not lack attractions either for the amateurs of hikes with the gorges of Restonica.
3. Visit the Agriates
The Agriates, although sometimes called “desert of the Agriates”, are lands covered with shrubs, bushes and different grasses that constitute the maquis (arbutus, heather, myrtle, etc.).
It was even once the granary of Corsica before fires and ecobuage, a technique of clearing brush by fire, came to an end.
Bordered by the sea, the Agriates, full of colors and smells, are a superb place to discover and count 2 magnificent isolated beaches.
These beaches are accessible by various shuttle services, including the popeye, but we preferred to go there by 4X4.
Several companies offer the excursion service on the road to Saint-Florent (remember to bring cash, many do not take the card).
After crossing of this desert, about 1 hour at 30km/h and a lot of dust, the jeep leaves us on the beach of Lotu.
Already crowded despite its isolation, we chose to make the hike that crosses the Agriates.
The path along the sea is beautiful!
Small hidden coves and white sandy beaches, fragrant herbs and shrubs… we loved this walk in an idyllic setting that ends on the beach of Saleccia where our coach was waiting for us for the return trip.
4. Tour the beautiful villages of the Balagne
Balagne, in the north of Corsica, is full of magnificent villages perched on the mountainside, some of which are among the most beautiful in France.
In addition to Sant Antonino and its stone streets, Feliceto and its oil mill, Pigna or Cateri are all Corsican jewels to discover in the region.
Corsica is also full of other villages, all more beautiful than the others.
We only have to think of the austere Sartene and its stone buildings or Zonza…
5. Go on beautiful hikes
Corsica is also an ideal island for hiking.
And good news, you don’t have to do the GR20, this mythical path that takes several days to walk and that is not within the reach of everyone, to access magnificent landscapes.
There are hiking trails for all tastes and physical conditions. So you just need to bring regular hiking equipment.
Here are my 3 favorite hikes, in addition to the Agriates desert which I mentioned above:
- The trail of Capo Rosso in the vicinity of Piana leads to a Genoese tower and an exceptional view. Capo Rosso is the second most western point of Corsica. It takes about 3 hours round trip, with little shade.
- The hike in the Spelunca gorges, near Porto Ota, which allows to see 2 Genoese bridges. The hike in the forest lasts a little more than 1 hour.
- The hike from Lake Ninu to the pozzines where horses and cows graze in peace. The pozzines are unique to Corsica and are in fact holes filled with water, surrounded by very thick grass with a mossy appearance.
6. Sunbathing on “Caribbean” beaches
Crystal clear waters, white sand beaches, hidden coves, the beaches of Corsica have nothing to envy to those of the Caribbean.
If those of the desert of Agriates were magnificent, one should not miss those of the region of Porto-Vecchio, like Palombaggia or Santa Giullia.
The seabed is also extremely rich, especially in the area of Ajaccio with its red coral or the Lavezzi islands, which also makes it a paradise for diving.
7. Visit Ajaccio, Napoleon’s birthplace
Of course, a stop in Ajaccio, Napoleon’s birthplace, is a must.
You can visit his birthplace, the Palais Fesch which has a beautiful collection of works of art, the market of Ajaccio and its cathedral.
Numerous hikes in the surrounding area as well as a visit to the Bloody Islands (iles sanguinaires) are also possible.
The red coral that abounds in the Ajaccio area also makes it a beautiful place for diving.
8. Visit Bonifaccio
In my opinion, it’s one of the most beautiful cities of Corsica. We were charmed by this city perched on its white limestone cliffs.
During the day, don’t miss the citadel and its narrow streets.
9. Take a trip to the Lavezzi Islands
A visit to the Lavezzi Islands is also a must during a stay in the Bonifaccio area, especially for diving or snorkeling enthusiasts.
We booked our departure by boat on the port of Bonifaccio.
The outward journey takes us to the Lavezzi Islands, where there are only beautiful beaches and small coves with waters full of fish, as well as a cemetery, that of the shipwrecked of the Semillante, which occurred in 1855.
On the island, there are no services so don’t forget water, sunscreen and food.
On the way back, the trip allowed us to admire the cliffs of Bonifaccio, the Aragon staircase and the Madonnetta lighthouse.
10. Taste the local food and the delicious Corsican wines
Honey, jams, wild boar, sea products, chestnuts, brocciu, the specialties of the island are enough to make your mouth water.