Corsica has it all; warm sea, soft sandy beaches, historical sites and challenging walks through rugged scenery. It comes as no surprise that the ancient Greeks called it the Island of Beauty. These are few things to keep you occupied on a visit to this pretty island that sits in the Tyrrhenean Sea between France and Italy.
Look up Napoleon
Napoleon Bonaparte is probably the most famous Corsican in history; he was born in the capital city of Ajaccio where you can still see his childhood home which is now a museum on the Rue Saint-Charles. The house has been ransacked by Corsican nationalists, appropriated by the English and finally reclaimed by Napoleons mother who rebuilt it. It is now home to a host of memorabilia, including an alleged lock of Napoleons hair.
Bonifacio is a pretty town with cobbled streets, little chapels and houses dating bank to medieval times, all over looked by the huge citadel high above the harbor. This 9th century fortress has been a prison in the past, and still boasts the original medieval drawbridge. It’s worth a trip if only for the views across the sea to Sardinia.
Get out on the waves
Rent a boat and take a trip out into the warm waters, where you can swim, snorkel and fish to your hearts content. Corsica is said to have some of the best diving sites in Europe, and with over 1000km of beaches you can find one all to yourself for a bit of sunbathing. Iles Lavezzi is a group of little islands off the south coast with no inhabitants and plenty of pools and sandy coves to explore, and the Reserve Naturelle de Scandola is a UNESCO World Heritage site off the west coast of the island where ospreys, seals and dolphins can be spotted.
Hit the Road
Driving along the coast road will take you past some amazing scenery, and stopping at the little local villages will provide a chance to taste the local fresh caught seafood. If walking is more your style there are many trails to choose from, from brief strolls along a coastal path to the 2 week, 160 km GR20 route through the mountains. This famous trail takes in mountains and villages and runs from Calenzana to Conca. You don’t need to do the whole thing, pick and choose sections of the trail that suit your tastes and level of fitness.
Get a bit of culture
The Musee des Beaux-Arts which is in Ajaccio is home to some amazing paintings, including works by Bellini, Titian and Boticelli. The collection was established by Napoleons uncle, and many of his family members lie in the crypt. Step a little further back in time and visit Filitosa which is a prehistoric site where you can see the dolmens and menhirs – strange stone heads sticking out of the ground which are said to represent warriors from ancient times who fought the Egyptians.
Corsica has all kinds of things to do and see, so pack your bikini and your walking boots and head out for an adventure