Corsica is much smaller than both Sardinia and Sicily, but in spite of this it almost gives the impression of being a miniature continent as it rises, practically, suddenly from the sea with its mountains, gulfs, creeks and its rivers have always contributed to give it that wild impression.
A line of mountains vertically divides the island into two parts. One part is higher, that’s where Bastia is located, and there’s the lower part with Ajaccio.
The British called it the “scented island“, and for once I agree with Napoleon who claimed to have never again found anything that smelled like Corsica.
What is the best time to go there? If you want to see the explosion of colors due to the “birth” of nature then the best time is definitely spring. However, if you want to visit it in peace and quiet and before the heat explodes the ideal time is June. Alternatively, a decent period is also from September to October because the autumn climate is still mild and ideal for walks and swimming in the sea.
How can you get to the island? There are ferryboats that go “back and forth” to the mainland on a regular basis. The marinas are, just to name a few, Bastia, Calvi, Ajaccio. It is also possible to get there by the airport.
If this is your first time visiting this beautiful island, here are 10 things you absolutely must see!
1. Natural Park of Scandola in Corsica
The Scandola Regional Park covers an area of about 150,000 hectares and is, approximately, one-fifth of the entire island. It was created in 1972 and has a sea-facing part located in the northeast (the Gulf of Porto and Girolata) but also a mountainous part.
The city of Ajaccio or Imperial City is also a renowned seaside resort. Napoleon’s house is definitely worth a visit, you can see his furniture, family photos, and a variety of his objects. There’s also “Fesch Museum” with the eponymous collection of the cardinal who was Bonaparte’s uncle. Finally, our tour cannot miss a visit to the Notre Dame de la Misericorde Cathedral where Napoleon was baptized.
It is one of the most important towns on the island for tourism. It has very beautiful beaches surrounded by a magnificent pine forest. “The Calvi Jazz Festival” is one of the most important events of the summer that takes place right here.
The town of Bastia mostly has a military and commercial tradition although it has a modern port that also serves tourism. In contrast, the citadel of Genoese origin dominates the Old Port.
This town was the capital during the period of Pascal Paoli (he was a Corsican politician and military man). Currently, the University of the Island is located here.
The city has been listed as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. Porto is the ideal starting point for a visit to the creeks with red granite cliffs that drop sheer into the sea.
The town of Sartene was also founded by the Genovese in the early 16th century. In the old neighborhoods, the houses are attached to each other by arches and are separated only by narrow alleys.
8. Porto Vecchio
Nowadays Porto Vecchio is a renowned tourist center. The Genoese also founded this city. The beach of Palombaggia is worth a visit.
It is located in the south of the island. The town stands on a rock overlooking the strait that separates it from Sardinia. The town is still protected by walls, you can visit the church of San Domenico and the church of Santa Maria Maggiore.
Here you can admire dolmens and menhirs dating back to the Neolithic period. This megalithic site is the most important on the island and the discovery of the first statues is relatively recent as it dates back to 1946.
Between history and nature, sea and mountains, Corsica will certainly surprise you!