Corsica, a Mediterranean mountainous island, boasts fashionable cities along the coast and dense forests with rocky mountains inland. Almost half of the island is parkland including hiking trails, and the challenging GR 20 path. The beaches range from the more crowded Pietracorbara to the remote Saleccia and Rondinara. While Corsica has been part of France since 1768, it still retains a strong Italian cultural heritage.
On the southern tip of Corsica there is the little city of Bonifacio. It is known for its lively marina and the mediaeval cliff top citadel. The 13th century Bastion de l’Etendard has a small museum with an exhibition about the history of the city. Look out for the staircase of the King of Aragon which consists of 187 ancient steps carved into the cliff. To the south-east, in front of Bonifacio, the uninhabited islands of Lavezzi are a nature reserve, and consist of granite rocks and sandy beaches.
Between Figari and Campomoro there are the South’s most beautiful beaches, some of which have the advantage of being uncrowded even in mid-summer, so it is easy to find a quiet corner to relax. The various rocks that dot the beach add a charm of exoticism while the surrounding bush gives it a wild character. The seabed slopes gently and there is much to see for snorkeling enthusiasts.
At sunset the Iles Sanguinaires are at their most photogenic and blood red in colour, which gives them their name. The islands are a designated reserve for sea birds and other wildlife with a fascinating and diverse habitat, with many plant species not found on the Corsican mainland.
A lookout tower atop one of the islands, dating back to 1608, built during the Genoese occupation of Corsica, is situated in the southern end of the archipelago.
On the north-west coast of Corsica lies the town of Calvi. It is known for its beautiful beaches and the crescent bay. A large mediaeval citadel overlooks the marina from the western end of the bay, where you will find the baroque cathedral surrounded by cobbled streets. Restaurants run along the harbour on the typical Quai Landry promenade. Perched high on a hill, a short distance from the hinterland, is the Chapel of Notre-Dame de la Serra which offers breathtaking panoramic views of the area.