WHAT ARE THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN CORSICA?
On this page, you will be able to discover the essential experiences not to be missed in Corsica, the essential tourist sites as well as the activities to be done absolutely.
This selection may be useful for you to prepare an itinerary and organise your stay in Corsica, giving you a taste of the best things to do and places to see.
The practical information is evolving rapidly, so don’t hesitate to leave a comment if there are any points to change or if you want to share good tips before visiting Corsica.
Here are 20 essential things to do and see during a trip to Corsica:
Located on the west coast of Corsica, the town of Ajaccio is first visited by its large market to taste Corsican cheese, cold meats and also to discover local crafts. Culturally, Ajaccio is not to be outdone with the Palais Fesch, which houses the Musée des beaux-arts, which is labelled Musée de France. Built from 1820 by Cardinal Joseph Fesch, who is none other than Napoleon’s uncle, this museum houses a very large collection of Italian and Corsican paintings as well as an exceptional Napoleonic collection.
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It’s in Bastia that we understand the importance of Corsica’s maritime trade with its old port hosting many pleasure boats and fishing boats. We take advantage of its narrow cove to stroll along the quays and taste the local cuisine thanks to the many restaurants installed in this old port. Protected by the church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste, we can see a marble statue of the Virgin Mary which ensures the protection of sailors. In addition, the Palace of the Governors erected from 1380 onwards is a monument not to be missed, as is the Biguglia Pond Nature Reserve.
3. CALVI AND ITS CITADEL
An intrepid explorer, Christopher Columbus was born in Calvi where the remains of his birthplace can still be seen. Classified as a historical monument in 1992, the citadel of Calvi dates from the 13th century and provides access to a 360° panorama. You can then admire the marina, the surrounding mountains and, in good weather, the French Alps. As you stroll along the cobbled streets, you will stop at Saint-Jean-Baptiste Cathedral, home to the Black Christ of Miracles. The Salt Tower and Saint Anthony’s Oratory are also two historical sites that must be seen in this citadel!
4. THE LAVEZZI ISLANDS
Located to the south-east of Bonifacio, the Lavezzi Islands are an archipelago composed of 23 islands, the most famous of which are Piana, Cavallo and Lavazzu. The latter is the most appreciated thanks to its beaches, coves and cultural remains such as the ruins of the Santa Maria chapel or its lighthouse. In addition, a variety of wildlife such as the ashen shearwater or the crested cormorant can be found there.
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5. BAVELLA PEAKS (AIGUILLES DE BAVELLA)
To begin hiking in the high mountains, the Bavella Pass is the ideal place to enjoy the relief of Corsica. At an altitude of 1,243m, this pass offers the possibility of reaching the aiguilles de Bavella, the starting point for many hikes. Located in the south of Corsica, these needles are famous for their colours ranging from red to grey. In addition, in good weather, you can see the island of Monte Cristo. In the heart of the regional natural park, these peaks reach an altitude of 1,218m and allow you to enjoy the shade of laricio pines, which are sometimes centuries old!
6. THE BEACHES OF PALOMBAGGIA AND RONDINARA (NEAR PORTO VECCHIO)
Southern Corsica has white sandy beaches surrounded by turquoise water such as Palombaggia beach. It is surrounded by maritime pines and junipers, but it is above all its red rocks that give it its unique charm. The beach of Rondinara, on the other hand, has been classified as the 3rd most beautiful beach in Europe. Located in a creek, we take pleasure in resting to relax and enjoy a calm landscape where the fauna and flora have preserved their assets despite a strong tourist popularity.
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7. THE VALLEY OF THE ASCO
With three municipalities, the Asco valley is an essential place for mountain lovers. Located in the regional natural park of Corsica, this valley is appreciated by climbers who will be able to reach its peak at an altitude of 2,000m. Offering several activities such as kayaking, swimming or hiking, this valley also offers the opportunity to discover Corsican remains such as the ruins of the Monastery of Saint-François di Caccia. You can rest in an idyllic setting on the banks of the Asco river and the village of the same name is the perfect place to eat with local produce.
8. THE CORSICAN CAPE AND ITS LANDSCAPES
Cap Corse is renowned for its trails that allow you to hike in the wilderness while enjoying unique landscapes. Composed of a 40km long tongue of land, Cap Corse is discovered by its villages such as Erbalunga, a typical fishing port. The village of Sisco offers a pleasant view of the island of Elba and the grey pebble beach of Nonza is the ideal place to recharge your batteries. The Customs path is an absolute must to discover wild landscapes where nature has preserved its rights!
9. SANGUINAIRES ISLANDS AND THE ‘POINTE DE LA PARATA’
Accessible only by boat and located at the entrance of the Gulf of Ajaccio, the îles sanguinaires (“bloodthirsty islands”) are an archipelago of 5 uninhabited islands. The largest one is the island of Mezzu Mare where more than 150 species of plants can be found. To enjoy an exceptional panorama on these îles sanguinaires, it is necessary to go to the point of Parata which hosts a 15m high Genoese tower. Along the footpaths, you will cross the road of a semaphore, a lighthouse or the remains of a lazaret.
10. THE WHITE CLIFFS OF BONIFACIO
These cliffs are natural walls and are a natural reserve for fauna and flora. It can be reached by two paths called Strada Veccia and Campu Romanillo. In addition, we will focus on the “grain of sand” which is a spur of marine erosion. These limestone cliffs of Bonifacio protect the city as well as seabirds such as cormorants and gulls. On the plant side, you can find sarsaparilla as well as wild astragalus.
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11. TASTE CORSICAN SPECIALITIES
Corsica is also discovered by the taste buds because there are many specialities, a large part of which is based on the famous Corsican cheese: brocciu. Made from goat’s or sheep’s milk, this cheese is found in fiadone, a lemon flan. Olive oil is also worth a visit, as is the charcuterie, which can be enjoyed as a coppa, lonzu or figatellu. Feeding exclusively on acorns and chestnuts, the black Corsican pigs offer a delicatessen with a unique taste. We will not forget to taste Corsican jams and honeys as well as myrtle liqueur!
12. SWIMMING IN THE GORGES
Ideal for beginners, the Restonica Gorge is home to a lush forest in the heart of which you can swim. Its hiking trail leads to the Grotelle sheepfolds made of dry stone. The Asco Gorge, on the other hand, extends over 9km and consists of rocky ridges, the highest of which (Monte Terello) reaches an altitude of 1,000m. Surrounded by a lavender scrub, these gorges offer a total change of scenery. To enjoy natural swimming pools, you have to go to the Manganellu valley where the gorges are protected by pine forests that are sometimes centuries old.
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13. THE GULF OF PORT
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Gulf of Porto is made up of several natural sites such as the Scandola Reserve, where you can see the rock of kisses and elephants, as well as a variety of wildlife such as golden eagles and ospreys. The calanches of Piana are impressive with their pink granite cliffs and their multiple coves and caves. With its turquoise water, islets and scrubland, the Gulf of Porto is part of the regional natural park of Corsica.
14. PIANA CREEKS (CALANQUES DE PIANA)
Located in the Gulf of Porto, the creeks of Piana show all the beauty of nature. We discover impressive rocks because of their size but also because of their natural sculpture. We will then see a rock in the shape of a heart or a dog’s head. To fully enjoy these creeks, you can take various hikes along the Capo Rosso Tower trail or the old muleteers’ trail, for example. We will then come across wild flora and rare fauna such as eagles, cormorants and ospreys.
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15. THE GENOESE TOWER OF CAMPOMORO
Located in South Corsica, the Genoese tower of Campomoro is the highest tower in Corsica with a height of 15m. Built from the 16th century, this tower is classified as a historic monument and its star-shaped enclosure wall makes it even more atypical. Its visit is not free of charge but is really worth a visit because you can enjoy a permanent exhibition retracing the history of the Genoese towers and then access its terrace. Offering a 360° panorama, this promontory offers a view of Campomoro Bay as well as Cap de Muro and Eccica Island.
16. SANTA GIULIA BEACH
Santa Giulia beach is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is located in the southern Gulf of Porto-Vecchio. Easy to access thanks to its gentle slopes, this beach extends over 2km long. Its turquoise waters and fine white sand make this beach an ideal place to rest. Many aquatic activities are available such as pedal boat or jet ski. You can also eat there thanks to the huts and restaurants on the edge of this beach, which is very popular with summer visitors.
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17. THE PREHISTORIC SITE OF FILITOSA AND ITS STATUE-MENHIRS
Discovered in 1946, the prehistoric site of Filitosa is unique because its history goes back more than 8,000 years. This site, which is open to visitors, houses a 1,200-year-old olive tree classified as a remarkable tree in France. Walking around this exceptional site, we discover several statue-menhirs, the highest of which (about 2m) is called Filitosa V. Dating back to the ancient Neolithic period, the Filitosa site also contains the remains of a Torrean village.
18. DO THE GR20 HIKE
Very difficult, the GR20 allows you to discover the Corsican mountains from the North-West to the South-East. This 170 km long hike is to be prepared in advance because its route will be chaotic for those who are not familiar with mountain trekking. With several refuges and stops, we take the time to discover Lake Nino at an altitude of 1,743m and the famous Capu Tafunutu mountain, which rises to 2,335m. We will stay there to enjoy the panorama in front of the hole of the arch of the Col des Maures, which is an essential part of the GR20.
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19. TAKE A TRIP TO THE SCANDOLA RESERVE
With several tours available from Porto, the Scandola reserve is accessible only by boat. Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1975, this reserve is home to an exceptional fauna and flora, some of whose species are protected. Nests of ospreys, crested cormorants or bearded vultures can be seen. Mammals are also present such as salamanders or cistuous turtles. Offshore, you can admire bottlenose dolphins and monk seals, which are becoming increasingly rare.
20. THE AGRIATES DESERT
The Agriates desert is mainly composed of rockeries, dunes and forests. However, it has some very nice surprises in store thanks to its paradisiacal beaches that can only be reached on foot or by boat. Lodo beach is accessible via the Chemin des Douaniers and offers a natural setting that is very popular with holidaymakers. Not far from there, the beach of La Saleccia is 1km long and is surrounded by Aleppo pines. The Agriates desert has several other beaches such as Malfacu or Ghignu.
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