Allianz - Travel
Travel Resources

The Beauty of Corsica

Allianz - Corsica

Corsica is one of the best gems of the Mediterranean and has built its reputation as the Island of Beauty. Famous for being the birthplace of Napoleon, the island is also known for its natural wonders and its strong cultural identity. And it is true that Corsica gathers an amazing concentration of activities and things to do on such a small territory: the island is only 180 kilometers long and 80 kilometers wide! Best time to visit would be either June or September, making the most of the pleasant summer weather while avoiding the crowds of Europe’s school vacation, as Corsica has become a very popular place for travelers.

What to Do?

Corsica offers the luxury of combining both stunning, picture-perfect beaches and superb mountain landscape for nature lovers. Ideally a stay in Corsica would include a couple of days at the seaside, a couple of days hiking in the protected mountain parks and some day trip visits to famous and scenic villages.

The most gorgeous beach spots include the Palombaggia and the surrounding Porto Vecchio, a fancy little town on the East Coast, as well as the region southwest of Ajaccio on the Western Coast. Over there, head for the most accessible beach paradise, Propriano, or take some extra time to reach the more secluded beaches of Tizzano and Campomoro. Most of them will offer diving excursions off the coast. Watch out for the Genovese towers on the coastline everywhere around the island: they are one of the remaining signs of the Italian occupation. Once a military infrastructure aimed at guarding the coast, nowadays they sit quietly over most beaches and look like the distinctive signs of Corsica. Some of them are open to visitors.

Allianz - Corsica Tower

Hikers will enjoy walking parts of or the entire infamous GR-20, one of Europe’s most challenging high altitude hikes, culminating at 2700 meters at the Monte Cinto. The entire trek takes about 15 days but most people usually select their favorite sections for 2 or 3 days. GR-20 crosses some of the island’s most beautiful mountain spots, including the Bavella peaks, the Vizzavona forest and the Restonica valley. Various options are available, from carrying all your material and sleeping in a tent, to more comfortable arranged hikes where food and shelter will be waiting for you every night at shepherds’ houses along the way.

Allianz - Corsica Hike

For less adventurous walkers, the three gorgeous “Mare e Monti” paths cross the island from East to West, in the North, the middle and the South of Corsica, offering an easier option while still getting fantastic views and spectacular sightseeing.

Day trips to Corsica’s historical town would include the breath-taking Bonifacio, a traditional village built and hanging on spotless white cliffs on the Southern tip of the island. Make sure you take time for a sea trip so as to enjoy sightseeing along the cliffs’ caves and to get a view of the city from the sea. Another option includes a day-trip to the Lavezzi islands, Corsica’ most pristine and beautiful beaches, where travelers are not allowed to stay overnight.

Allianz - Corsica Town

Another scenic coastal town is Calvi in the North, gathering a historical fort and a leisure port, or Porto, further South on the West Coast. If visiting Porto, make sure you take time for a boat excursion through the Scandola marine reserve and end your day watching Corsica’s most beautiful sunset over the Piana canyons.

Corsica’s most authentic spirit and culture are found in the mountain villages, where historically Corsican families have established their presence, hiding away from the recurrent French and Italian occupations of the Island until the 18th century. Sartene is probably one of the most traditional villages, known for its numerous churches, maze of little streets and the impressive Catenacciu religious ceremony of redemption held every year around Easter.

Finally don’t miss the shopping opportunity to get some local souvenirs, food and local organic cosmetics on the markets of the main towns, Bastia and Ajaccio. And make sure you attend a traditional singing concert. Also called “polyphony”, traditional Corsican singing gathers a group of men, preferably in church for best acoustics, performing impressive vocals of traditional songs. Most popular bands are I Muvrini and A Filetta.

Where to Stay?

Corsica provides plenty of accommodation options, ranging from the adventurous camping sites which are to be found everywhere on the island, to boutique bed & breakfast and hotels in the largest towns.

Splurge by renting your own villa in fancy places such as Porto Vecchio (Hotel Casadelmar), Calvi (La Villa and La Signoria) or in the more secret Murtoli Domain near Sartene. Ajaccio also provides great Spa & Hotel options with the Hotel Les Mouettes or the Sofitel Resort.

What to Eat?

Plenty of fresh seafood is available from coastal towns. However nowadays Corsicans make the most of the island’ resources, bear in mind that historically the culture and the people have thrived in the mountains.

Traditional Corsican food is thus earthy and long lasting. Specialties include sheep and goat cheese (hard or freshly-made, the latter being called “brucciu”), famous cold cuts (also called “charcuterie” in French, watch for the “coppa”, “lonzu” and “figatellu” on the local market stalls) and dry little biscuits called “canistrelli” which are wonderful with a cup of tea or coffee.

Allianz - Goat cheese

Typical Corsican restaurants serve excellent mountain dishes such as meat stews, as well amazing Italian food like pizza and pasta. Last but not least, the island enjoys a warm and dry climate, providing plenty of fruits and vegetables, which you can buy fresh from road-side stores or get some of the tasteful jams and jellies.

Curious travelers will also want to try local brews, including two local beers (Colomba and Pietra) and the pretty strong myrtle alcohol, usually enjoyed at the end of a heavy family meal. Corsica also provides plenty of wines and is particularly famous for its rosé and red wines, such as the award-winning Fiumiccicoli domain near Sartene.

Insight and guide details courtesy of Your Local Cousin, a company helping you travel smarter by connecting you with vetted local experts who create recommendations based on YOUR interests.

What Do I Need to Travel to Corsica?

Allianz - AZ_OPM_Insurance_Partner

May 17, 2016