Corsica – The One and Only

Corsica is truly breath taking. With a mix of spectacular scenery, fabulous cuisine and beautiful villas, apartments and hotels, it’s easy to see why it’s commonly known as ‘The Island of Beauty’. I visited it in October 2019 and was blown away by its majesty and stunning simplicity. It’s quite amazing that an island that has so much beauty and tradition is still such a hidden gem.

Whether it’s a long sandy beach, a dramatic mountain pass or a beautiful hilltop village, Corsica trips are packed full of rewarding things to do and see.

The majestic fortress of Bonifacio was a place I had always wanted to visit and when I did, I wasn’t let down. It sits on a limestone throne at the far south of the island and is one of the most spectacular towns in the Mediterranean. The citadel walls and ancient houses seem to appear to rise seamlessly out of sheer cliffs. Beneath, an inlet about 100m wide forms a natural harbour with a series of grottoes and coves.

With almost 200 beaches and 1000km of coastline, Corsica is a beach lover’s dream. It is blessed with an incredible diversity of them from intimate hidden coves to magnificent bays. Many of her beaches are hidden coves accessible only on foot or by boat – there’s certainly something magical about exploring the coastal paths and stumbling across a deserted cove washed by the warm deep blue of the Mediterranean sea. The archipelago too of Lavezzi is something of a paradise and offers some of the best diving opportunities around the island.

Ajaccio, famed as the birthplace of Napoléon Bonaparte, Corsica’s capital, is an historically rich destination. It’s a fascinating place to explore. I stayed here and the sunrise over the port is quite dramatically stunning first thing in the morning.

The north-eastern peninsula poking out to sea towards mainland France, Cap Corse is a rugged and adventurous part of Corsica. Driving along the winding roads here can be enough of a thrill for some, though others may be drawn further, visiting wonderfully wild beaches like that found at Nonza.

Corsicans take their food and drink very seriously and it is quite common for locals to take a leisurely three course lunch accompanied by a few glasses of Corsican wine. The food is quite simply delicious. The earthy style of cooking takes its inspiration from the land, with warm sunny fruits and vegetables, cured meats and cheeses. As for the wine, well, you won’t be disappointed.

Wild boar is possibly the island’s most celebrated dish – look out for ‘sanglier’ on the menu. Meat dishes may be served with pasta or polenta.
Much of the mountain cooking is based around the locally produced dairy products and in particular the ewe’s cheese ‘brocciu’ which is similar to goat’s cheese and fabulously tasty.
Most traditional Corsican desserts are either milk or egg based:
‘beignets’ – chestnut flour doughnuts, sometimes stuffed with cheese, or
‘flan a la farine de chataigne’ (Chestnut tart) which is a very simple, yet tasty dessert combining the staple ingredients of a typical Corsican recipe – chestnuts, eggs and eau de vie are a must to try.

My tips for getting the most out of Corsica would be to visit sumptuous food markets to experience the fabulous local colour, hire a car to explore, walk or hike, swim and dive….and don’t be afraid to do it on your own. There are nature reserves, gorges, dramatic mountains with beautiful rugged landscapes all set to be discovered, perfect for outdoor adventures.

If you’re a history buff (or not so much), you’re sure to be fascinated by the impressive architecture that different areas in Corsica have to offer.
For those who may not be too enthusiastic about lying around on the sand, particularly if you’re staying close to L’Extrême Sud region, spend an afternoon exploring the coastline, as you’ll find stunning beaches here which are comparable to the Caribbean.
Corsica has something for everyone; from beach bum to explorer!

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