Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea beside Italy and France. While it is a part of France, Corsicans will tell you with great pride where they are actually from. The main language spoken is French but many of the older generation speak a Corsican dialect. Corsica is quickly becoming a popular summer beach destination for Europeans but seemingly unknown to anyone from North America. This must visit destination offers something for everyone, pristine beaches, breathtaking mountains, the crazy GR 20 hike, adventure sports, history, great food, and so much more.
Take the Ferry
To get to Corsica you will need to either take a ferry or fly. I would highly recommend the ferry over a flight. The ferry is a beautiful mode of transportation and for a fraction of the price. You can bath on the sundeck, play cards in the cabin, indulge in something to eat or drink (the food is surprisingly good), or even sleep or shower in your private cabin. If you are choosing an early morning departure you can even board the ferry the night before and sleep in one of the cabins. The ferry departs from various locations in both France & Italy, the major ferry companies are Corsica Sardinia Ferries & Moby Lines.
Rent a Car
Corsica is definitely an island best explored by car since you will want to explore the mountains, national parks, and the idyllic villages along the way. If you have the time, you could drive all the way around the island exploring the over 1000km of coastline & beaches. If you take the ferry you can pick a car up in all of the port locations. Pro Tip: Try the french version of the site and use google translate to get better rates (we saved nearly $150 Euro’s by doing this on our rental).
This is truly one of the most breathtaking cities, perched up on steep cliffs going into the ocean the views from everywhere are to die for. On top of the hill is Bonifacio Citadel, be sure to get a guided tour to truly appreciate the history and be sure to take some time to really appreciate the magnificent views. Don’t forget to check out King Aragon’s stairs which go from the water right into the city. It is said an army dug through all 100 steps in one night to breach the impenetrable fortress that was Bonifacio. If you make the trip to Bonifacio be ready for a ton of walking and loads of amazing history. Pro tip: Get there early as parking is an issue later in the day.
The World Heritage site Calanche cliffs offer some of the most scenic views on the entire island. This series of cliffs and red rocks extend for kilometers and plunge into the sea. You can take a drive to the Calanche Cliffs or opt to hike to Le Chemin. Even better take a boat ride from the port of Porto to truly appreciate the vastness of these cliffs. Arrive just before sunset to see the seemingly changing landscape as the sun goes down.
Don’t miss the Beaches
I can’t imagine anyone visiting Corsica and not going to at least one of its over 200 beaches. Most of the coastline is beautiful white sandy beaches with crystal clear blue waters. They are nothing less than perfection. Amongst the over 200 beaches you will find something for everyone; there are quite built up beaches with shops, restaurants, bathrooms etc. and others which have nothing but nature and a soul to be found.
Drive into the Mountains
If you can get away from the beaches for the day, be sure to take a trip up into the mountain villages. With most houses over 100 years old and beautiful coastal views in every direction, it is worth the drive. If you like hiking you will find many opportunities to take some beautiful hikes and who knows you might find a great place to swim in one of the many near perfect rivers. Pro Tip: Be careful on the way up as the roads are very windy and often only big enough for 1 car in some spots. Be aware of all traffic (car and animal alike).
Get wet in the Rivers
Streaming down from the mountains are over 20 beautiful rivers flowing into the ocean. These rivers offer crystal clear water and seemingly perfect water temperatures for most of the summer. You will often find locals enjoying the calm areas of the rivers sunbathing, swimming, or jumping from a rock. It can sometimes require a hike to get to the rivers but always worth It once you arrive. If you are interested in paddling or canyoning these rivers cannot be missed.
There are several different canyoning passages across the whole island that are sure to interest most age groups and fitness levels. Jump, repel, swim, and slide down the beautiful rivers. Corsica offers a canyoning experience for nearly anyone from a leisurely trail for all ages, to longer more technical passages with intense hiking. The canyoning here is some of the best in Europe. Be sure to check it out. Pro tip: be sure to bring closed-toe shoes that can get wet, as most places only supply the wetsuits and wet bags.
Have you been to Corsica? Would you like to visit? Let me know in the comments below!