Often overlooked by holidaymakers, Corsica is a charming Mediterranean destination that’s hiding in plain sight. This exclusive French island sits to the south of France’s mainland, yet adjacent to Italy allowing for French and Italian influences to be experienced. The French call Corsica, l’Ile de beauté (the Island of beauty) and it is well-deserving of this title. It’s under the radar status has preserved the best of what the island has to offer, secluded forests, pristine beaches and time-trapped mountain villages. Corsica is brimming with nature experiences, has unique island traditions and is full of authentic Mediterranean touches, making it a perfect getaway for families and couples alike.
A holiday to Corsica could see you hike the Cap Corse peninsula, splash around in the crystal-clear waters of Palombaggia Beach or tour the Citadel of Calvi. Top of the list of facts about the island is that it was the birthplace of Napoléon, but we think as far as accolades go, Corsica deserves to be recognised for so much more. Take a deep dive with us into this little-known rustic island and discover why you should make Corsica your next holiday destination.
The Regional National Park of Corsica covers almost half the island, protecting forests, lakes, mountains and gorges. The park, together with the fantastically diverse and equally nature-rich coastline makes Corsica a one-stop destination for adventure-seeking holidaymakers that active families and couples looking for romance in wild and secluded vistas will love.
The most famous national park on the island, Scandola Nature Reserve is a World Heritage Site to the southwest of Calvi. Its breath-taking, dramatic scenery is exceptional and best visited by boat for the full effect. Departing from Calvi, you will discover some of the finest coastline to be found anywhere in Corsica, from strange rock formations protruding from the sea to jagged little inlets and caves. A visit in the afternoon is extra special, as the rocks catch the setting sun, the colours and shapes are a sight to behold. This is a truly romantic spot for couples holidaying on the island to enjoy.
Away from Scandola there are many more romantic vistas for couples to explore, whether bathed in the glow of sunset or not. Couples looking for secluded outdoors experiences can discover the coastal trails around the picturesque Cap Corse peninsular which go through wilderness to quiet coastal villages, deserted beaches, passing ancient watch towers and remote chapels. This enchanting peninsular is a marine national park, dotted with sleepy harbours. Those exploring on foot are treated to spectacular views whilst uncovering local history. We can also book guided walking tours around the entire Cap or explore the Balagne region of Corsica where there are walks taking in the sea and mountain routes, or the picturesque villages of La Balagne.
Active families can also take to the trails in Balagne where wildlife experiences will inspire young nature enthusiasts and if walking doesn’t quite measure up, there are excellent kayaking and mountain biking tours to keep active bodies and minds busy on holiday.
With almost 200 to choose from, Corsica’s beaches are considered some of the most attractive in France, even out-shinning the heavy-hitting Cote d’Azur. You could be in the Seychelles amongst the smooth boulders that emerge from crystal-clear waters in Palombaggia Beach in the south of the island. Child-friendly, this shallow lagoon-like bay is near Porto-Vecchio, a town with a 16th-century citadel with shady narrow streets, the perfect place for a bit of wander before or after you head for a swim.
The north of the island boasts some amazing hidden coves which can be accessed rather wonderfully by riding the ‘boneshaker’ tourist train. Travelling the coastal route from Calvi through to L’lle Rousse and back, offering a jump on, jump off service, you can delve into the coastal villages and their local sandy beaches with crystal clear waters, all backed by snow-capped mountains and uninterrupted views of the coastline.
It’s hard to make a bad choice when it comes to Corsica’s beaches, we can’t recommend them highly enough! From the postcard landscape of Ostriconi beach located at the mouth of the Ostriconi river in Balagne, to the Saleccia’s long stretch of white sand and undeveloped Lotu next to Lotu Lake. The halfmoon-shaped Rondinara Beach for sheltered swimming in cerulean waters to castaway Petit Sperone and Grand Sperone further south; they are all a slice a paradise providing sheltered and shallow waters for young families and jaw-droppingly beautiful and memorable moments for couples to share together.
Corsica lends itself perfectly to self-drive style holidays. It’s the best way to explore the beaches, experience local life in the villages and visit the island’s fascinating and historic towns. One of our favourites is the Italian influenced town of Calvi, on the edge of the Balagne region and the perfect place to be to explore villages in the surrounding area, the Scandola Nature Reserve and beaches along the coast. Villages in the Balagne region maintain local traditions and handicrafts, with opportunities to come across blown-glass and pottery items and olive oil, lavender honey and other local farm products. In the town itself, don’t miss out on a walk around its historic Genoese citadel. There are fabulous views and photo opportunities around the ramparts and plenty of interesting architecture to see along the narrow, cobbled streets of the old town. Lively Calvi isn’t just a cultural stop, there are also brilliant cafes and restaurants to enjoy, along with a beautiful bay.
No holiday, especially not one to Corsica, is complete without tasting local cuisine. Food is taken seriously by Corsicans, so restaurant standards are high across the island. Corsican food combines French and Italian influences with its bounty of island produce and features many distinct dishes and products that are unique to the island. Expect fresh cuisine that’s very much in harmony with the land, using locally produced fruits and vegetables, meats and cheese.
The island also boasts excellent wine, and the largest vineyards often offer wine-tasting tours which will please wine connoisseurs. Local wines are available on menus throughout the island, so make sure you try a few!
Feeling inspired to go and see Corsica for yourself? Whether you like the idea of a self-drive or walking holiday or want to talk to us about accommodation ideas we can help you book your perfect escape to Corsica though Corsican specialist, Corsican Places. With an expertly curated selection of characterful villas for family self-catering escapes, as well as holiday packages including chartered flights to cater to all tastes, get in touch today with us today so we can help start planning your next Corsican Places holiday on this beautiful island.