Corsica really is an island of surprises. Famously rocky and mountainous, it is also fabulously green. Perhaps thanks to the high peaks that retain their snow-capped tips until the spring before melting down the mountainsides.
Two-thirds of this ‘emerald isle’ is given National Park status, which tells you everything you need to know about the Corsican approach to looking after their island’s natural resources.
As you might imagine, walking is an enjoyable but challenging pursuit here, and hikers and nature lovers will surely be tempted by the footpaths bearing such tempting names as ‘Sea to Sea’, ‘Across Sea and Mountain’, and, most famous of all, the GR20, one of Europe’s most difficult but spectacular walks, where the views are as striking as the flora and fauna you will find along the way.
While Corsica is offically a region of France, the whole island has a very strong sense of its own history and culture, which is carefully preserved; from the ancient Menhirs of Filitosa to the Genoeses citadels that line the coasts and the wonderful Baroque churches of Castagniccia.
Yet the Romans came here too, and made their mark on the island - a fact commemorated by the attractive Roman theme of our parc at Ghisonaccia on the island’s Eastern coast.
The island’s cuisine is as multi-faceted as its history, which is a matter of some pride to the inhabitants, though the most typical delicacies of the island are the salamis and cheeses they make here, together with the local Figatelli sausages and Prisuttu, a cured ham made only from pigs fed on the island’s plentiful supply of acorns and chestnuts.
For information on parcs in mainland France please see our French campsites section.
While Corsica is a small island most famous for its wonderful beaches and dramatic scenery, there are also plenty of lovely towns and ancient buildings to discover here:
Sometimes called the St Tropez of Corsica, thanks to its elegant marina and the host of fashionable bars and restaurants around the port and old town, Porto Vecchio has charm to spare and a host of historic buildings and fortresses to enjoy.
Corsican Regional National Park
Corsica is a nature-lover’s paradise, with a rich variety of flora and fauna to discover. Little wonder then that more than 3,500 square kilometres of this beautiful island and its surrounding sea enjoy National Park status.
Musée Jerôme Carcopino
Lying in the hilltop town of Aleria, and housed within the 13th century Fort Matra, the museum is a vast repository of wonderful Roman remains and artefacts taken from the nearby excavation site, which is also open to visitors.
Vivario is a delightful and picturesque little town nestled amongst the trees in the high mountains and also the ideal place to stop and enjoy a stroll to the wonderful ruins of the Fortin de Pasciolo, with its spectacular views over the Vecchio gorges.
An attractive town in the heart of the island, Corte offers the visitor a high citadel, which is a difficult but rewarding walk from the town, together with the impressive Museum of Corsica, which explores the island’s anthropological history.
Stunning from a distance and delightful from within, this 15th century Citadel stands on a hill overlooking a stunning bay and mile after mile of white, sandy beach. The port is also a delightful place for a stroll, or to enjoy lunch overlooking the marina.
The Fesch Museum
Located inside the Fesch Palace in Ajaccio, the Fesch Museum offers a superb art collection in a quite exquisite setting, with paintings on display by artists including Titian, Veronese and Manetti.
Train travel in Corsica is a delight, with charming old trains allowing you to make the very most of the stunning scenery. Ponte-Leccia stands the point where the tracks that dissect the island meet, making it an ideal place to stop for a stroll.
The ancient capital of Corsica, Ajaccio is a substantial city with a pretty harbour overlooking the Gulf of Ajaccio. There are also many fine squares and buildings to divert you, with the Casa Buonaparte, where Napoleon was born, particularly worth seeing.
Watersports in Corsica
With clear, azure waters all around you, Corsica is a delightful place to enjoy watersports at a host of locations, including diving at Ajaccio, Propriano, Calvi and Porto, and windsurfing and sailing at Bonifacio and Porto Vecchio.
While the island’s geography looks challenging from the air, there are a wealth of riding trails here, with equestrian centres available at Bastia, Calvi, Ile Rousse, Lama and Monticello.
As you might expect on such a mountainous island, climbing is very popular here, and you will find climbing opportunities throughout the interior, most notably at Batis, St Florent, Niolo and Ponte Leccia.
The entire island is criss-crossed by ancient footpaths, making Corsica a delightful place to walk. However, many serious hikers come here for the famous GR20 trail, which runs for 220km, yet can be joined at many points along the way.
Calvi Jazz Festival
Held every year in early June, this grand festival has now been a staple of the European jazz scene for more than 20 years, attracting an eclectic mix of mainly European artists.
Lama Film Festival
Taking place annually in late July and early August, this venerable film festival features all of the world’s big film, as well as many smaller, independent productions.
Latin American Music Festival
St Florent plays host to this joyous festival in early August every year, making it a popular attraction with lovers of Latin American music.
Erbalunga Music Festival
This annual festival takes place every August in the town’s main square overlooking the gorgeous fishing port. Mainly offering big French pop acts, you will also find rock and jazz artists here.
While the food tends to be fairly hearty here, as with most mountainous regions, Corsican cuisine owes more to its proximity with Italy than to the fact that it is officially a French territory:
La Balagne is said to be one of the most beautiful natural sites in Corsica… with untamed beauty between the Île Rousse and Saint-Florent, turquoise blue sea, fine sandy beaches, and the mountains as a stunning backdrop.
South of Bastia, Borgo is stretched over an endless, fine, sandy beach, in an exceptional Belambra resort which is located at the heart of a stunning 45-acre pine forest.
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