Corsica is an island that is full of contrasts and surprises. Birthplace of one Napoleon Bonaparte, it is separated from the continental mainland by the Ligurian Sea. Here are some of the island’s highlights.
Bastia has retained a charm comparable to the old Tuscan cities with its colourful facades and tall elegant houses with wrought iron balconies. It is rich in chapels, convents and churches housing beautifully preserved, sumptuous Baroque decorations. Cap Corse is a rocky spine covered with scrub oak forests and vineyards.
The main tourist town of Balagne is Calvi, which offers one of the most beautiful panoramas in all Corsica. In the foreground a huge bay of white sand, lined with pine trees, a lively harbour and marina below a citadel erected on a promontory above the sea – beyond, green valleys rise gently towards the highest peaks of the island. In the mountains around Balagne, hilltop villages offer spectacular views, such as Pigna, Aregno and Sant’Antonino.
The interior of the island is brimming with majestic mountains carved over the centuries, and lakes, gorges and mountain streams. Ranked a national heritage site, the Restonica valley, dominated by Monte Rotondo, is carved out of deep gorges and rock pools.
Head for UNESCO World Heritage sites the Gulf of Porto and the Calanques de Piana, or inland to small villages that have kept their authenticity and extraordinary charm, such as the village of Evisa on the edge of the vast Aitone forest.
The ‘imperial city’ of Ajaccio owes its fame and splendour to its prodigal son, Napoleon. Les Iles Sanguinaires glowing at sunset makes the bay one of the most beautiful in the Mediterranean.
Porto Vecchio, Corsica’s most popular tourist destination, boasts a succession of bays with white sand and crystal blue waters lined with pine trees. It’s a hip town, a must in the summer season with its small marina lined with restaurants and cafes and the old stone town with trendy boutiques and shaded terraces. It’s not for nothing that it’s called l’Ile de Beauté.
Corsica Travel are the local experts on Corsica.
Brussels Airlines has regular flights to Ajaccio Napoleon Bonaparte airport.