Imagine someone borrowing from the Alps some snowy mountains, tossing them inside a Greek island surrounded by azure shores, and decorating everything in small villages and hills from Provence. This is exactly the visual celebration you should expect in Corsica.
The beautiful island, which lies between France and Italy, only about 15 km north of Sardinia, preserves a small area and yet one of the most diverse in France. Corsica’s beaches cover over 1,000 km and in front of them are the high mountains that climb to an altitude of 2,000 meters and more. The highest mountain is Monte Cinto, at an altitude of 2,700 meters. The local food is also excellent and the experience here has a different charm, simpler and more authentic compared to the rest of the French destinations.
Corsica is a small destination that has not yet reached the realization of its tourist potential. Currently, the city does not have an extensive abundance of accommodation so in the summer the city is fully occupied. 250,000 residents of the city double in size during the peak season to 500,000 French people vacationing in it and to them are added tourists from all over the world. The hotels in Corsica are relatively small and modest, most of them 2-star. In the summer the prices are high and fall during the year to the range of $ 40-60 per night. The hotels in the villages, by the way, are as good as those of the city and the main places but the rooms are even bigger.
The Corsicans are fish and seafood champions, befitting a city located on one of the most unique sea routes in Europe. Here you will also enjoy plenty of beef, chestnuts used here for beers, flour, jams, and a wide variety of cakes and sweets. In the dessert category, you can find a huge abundance here: lemon cookies, cheese pastries, anise cookies, sweet rolls, and more. All of these are sold at local bakeries and added to local nut and raisin bread, which has earned the dubious nickname “bread of the dead.”
The kindness and cordiality of the Corsicans make them immediately fond of strangers and they are willing to help any tourist confused or wondering where to hang out, drink and eat. Their true willingness to help will allow you to get recommendations for authentic and quality places as well and not just for popular tourist restaurants. It is definitely worth asking a typical Corsican where he has had lunch or dinner recently and asking him for directions there.
A very large part of the Corsican occupation is in agriculture and many farmers raise sheep. These presses tend to produce fine Roquefort cheese and a number of other cheeses that are amazing in taste. In addition, the island is rich in citrus orchards and vineyards for the production of red wine. The local food is considered simple, local, and from fresh ingredients from the area therefore you will not find much gourmet here. Despite this, you will find here amazing and satisfying dishes like roast beef, rich stews, and pork dishes. The food in northern Corsica is more “European” by definition and the further south you go, the more spicy, heavy, and strong the food becomes.
The central and luxurious resort town of Corsica is a place you will surely not want to miss. Calby offers treats, beautiful beaches, great restaurants, and lots of entertainment. The town has an ancient and picturesque district overlooking the beach and the harbor. The place considered in the city is the piano bar which many celebrities come to.
In the mountainous region of Corsica, there is a village surrounded by mountains and below it a large valley. Lama is a beautiful and well-kept village that includes some impressive palaces that tower over the alleys.
Did you know? The capital of Corsica is also the homeland of Napoleon! The city is located on the west coast of the island and where you will find the Napoleonic House with its original artifacts (recommended!), The Pesch Museum of mostly Italian artwork and among them well-known artists like Botticelli, plenty of restaurants, shops, bars, and more.
It is the southernmost town in Corsica and from there, ferries depart regularly towards Sardinia, for those of you who are interested in continuing from here to the Italian side as well. It is a very popular town, thanks to its interesting appearance: houses built on the high cliffs above the sea and spectacular nature that includes rich areas of trees and vegetation, as well as a huge number of beaches. In the city, you will also find an ancient citadel with a complex known as the “Upper City” with stone houses, churches, and beautiful alleys, which connect to the local marina on a steep staircase. The town has a number of famous beaches, including Santa Manza, Canetto, and Rondinara, but there are also a number of more “secret” beaches. You can also get out of here to the magnificent sea caves and nature reserve of the Lavezzi Islands.
Puente de la Parte is a cliff that rises above the sea and its land is made of black granite. The cliff offers one of the most spectacular sunsets in France and envelops in red the islands that overlook it. The name of these islands due to the phenomenon is Iles Sanguinaires (Il Saniger) – “the bloody islands”.
The Greeks, who anchored in Corsica somewhere in the 17th century, established a small village located between the Gulf of Pero and the Gulf of Sagone. Within the village, there are two churches located opposite each other – a Greek church built in the 19th century and an older, Roman Catholic church built between 1828-1825. Around the town, you will find some charming beaches with many water activities.
Porto Bay and the town under the same name are a base for many excursions in the area. From here you can take a boat trip to La Calenque Island and sail in a glass boat to the Chandola Marine Nature Reserve and the picturesque fishing village of Girolata. It is also recommended to reach the place’s famous eucalyptus grove near the estuary and the beach and visit the Genoese tower. Here, too, by the way, there is a stunning red sunset.
Chandola is a mesmerizing peninsula defined as a marine reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the reserve, you can meet a wide variety of waterfowl, some of which are rare, unique vegetation, and of course lots of beauty.
Just a few kilometers from Porto is the Splonka Canyon, where you can take a number of hiking trails leading to two villages – Ota and Evisa. Uta is located about 5 km east of Porto and offers beautiful stone construction between high mountains. The road from it to the canal passes through unique stone bridges. Avisa is a village surrounded by forests and hiking trails, which enjoys clean and clear mountain air.
It is a peninsula located in northern Corsica and is about 40 km long. From here you can see the spectacular sea views, discover small fishing towns, rest on large and beautiful sandy beaches and pass your trip across many bays.
It is a port city with a more Italian atmosphere. Its name also betrays this and is actually taken from the Genoese Bastille built here in the 15th century, called Terra Nova. Terra Nova joins two other areas together: Terra Vecchia and the Old Port (Vieux Port), which offer pleasant excursions, stalls, and several restaurants.
A lagoon is defined as a nature reserve, located about 4 km south of Bastia. The narrow lagoon, which stretches to a length of close to 11 km, offers beautiful bathing beaches, diverse vegetation, and many waterfowl.
The small town of Sarten offers an interesting and unique look of yellow stone buildings, jutting out of the forest trees on a hillside. The narrow, stone-paved alleys of the town have many arches that connect the sides of the street. In the center of town is the Musée de préhistoire Corse – the Museum of Prehistory of Corsica with over 6,000 items and exhibits collected and dated from the period BC to the 2nd century.
Here, too, prehistoric history is involved, but in a slightly different way: Pilitosis is an antiquities site that was probably used as a residence in the late Neolithic period. Here are scrolls (huge stones), tunnels and statues and next to them a small museum. The site is defined as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The island used to be the capital of Corsica, but today it remains its spiritual capital. It is a small town surrounded by fortifications and mountains, offering some interesting sites: the National Palace (Palazzu Naziunale), the Museum of Corsica, the Ancient Fortress, and the University of Pasquale Paula.
A rental car is almost the only way to travel in Corsica. There is public transportation in the place but it does not collect or stop at a large number of places and the price is high. The private car allows travelers to get to every possible corner, enjoy and experience the ride along the special beaches and bays and get anywhere spontaneously, regardless of travel times.
It is important to know that the roads of Corsica are mostly narrow and winding. In fact, these roads have been paved in a way that is “glued” to the mountain and therefore have not been leveled at all over the years. This does mean that you will get a wild and spectacular way to travel, but also that it is especially important to be careful here and moderate driving speed. Please note that “yellow” roads (marked as such) are limited to 30 km / h and are regularly enforced.
Corsica has four different airports: Ajaccio, Bastia, Calvi and Figaro. The first two are considered to be larger and more central. Unfortunately, there are no direct flights here from Israel and the preferred option is to arrive by flight via Paris, Marseille, or Nice. Another option is to arrive by ferry from Italy. In summer you can find a number of low-cost airlines offering discounted flights to several destinations in Corsica from European capitals, or European airlines offering discounted flight routes. In both cases, there will be a stopover in another city in France or Europe. You will be happy to know that the longer the waiting time at the connection destination, the lower the ticket price. And yet, this is an option that will not suit everyone, especially not for families with children or adults who prefer faster and more convenient arrival.
The warm and pleasant climate makes summer the perfect peak season for trips to Corsica. At the same time, the island is crowded with tourists who dominate, as mentioned, all the existing accommodations in the city and crowd the attractions, restaurants, and clubs. Therefore, our recommendation is to arrive early in the spring (March-May). This way you will benefit from a relative minority of tourists and also the wonderful bloom and amazing winter colors.
Another reason to come here in the spring is the “chain procession in chains”. The town of Sarten opens with an annual procession on the Friday before Easter in which the community pastor chooses a person who is interested in atonement for his sins. The villagers usually take to the streets and watch the procession.
If you prefer to get here anyway in the summer, you should arrive on the 15th of August at Ajaccio, which marks the day of the ascension of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the birthday of Napoleon, the famous native of the city. The festivities include a large religious procession with fireworks and a variety of shows and events.