The 24 x most beautiful highlights in Corsica: What to see & do?
Corsica is the ideal destination for any kind of tourist. Beach lovers can enjoy the elongated beaches and the spectacular rocky coasts, hikers can indulge in the beautiful nature and for those interested in culture, Corsica cherishes centuries of history. Corsica has it all! Enjoy the wonderful Mediterranean climate and the cosy atmosphere.
Below we list the 24 most beautiful highlights in Corsica to help you plan your trip.
Tours and excursions with guide in Corsica
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Ajaccio is the capital of Corsica and the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte. In the town hall you will find several paintings and statues that bear witness to the legendary battles of the French general. Along, you can visit Napoleons' birth house Casa Buonaparte and Place Giraud where you will find a statue dedicated to Napoleon.
In the picturesque city centre you can stroll around cosy streets and shops. Make sure to visit the beautiful fishing port, the impressive cathedral Notre Dame de L'Assomption, the Musée Fesch and the citadel. From Place Foch you also have a beautiful view over the Mediterranean Sea.
Calanches de Piana
Calanches de Piana is located between Porto and Ajaccio. The rocks and cliffs of red granite are without doubt creating the most beautiful landscape of Corsica. This fascinating scenery was created as a result of centuries of erosion. The French writer Guy de Maupassant, who was fascinated by the Calanches de Piana, described the area as "slender, round, twisted, crooked, shapeless, surprising, bizarre and resembling plants, animals, monuments, people, horned devils, giant birds petrified by an extravagant deity".
From the red rock formations you have a breathtaking view over the region. The authentic village of Piana is also worth a visit. You will find the typical white houses in Mediterranean style. Since prehistoric times people have lived in this region.
Gorges de Spelunca
Gorges de Spelunca is a monumental gorge 20 kilometers east of Piana. For millions of years, due to eruption, the Spelunca River shaped the landscape of the gorge. Today you can visit the Gorges de Spelunca by foot.
Walking is the best way to fully enjoy the amazing landscape. Follow the path from the village of Evisa to Ota. Along the way you will pass steep cliffs, natural swimming pools and 2 curved stone bridges, the Zagliawas bridge and the Pianella bridge.
The village of Bonifacio is unique in its kind. It is located on an 80 meter high cliff that towers above the sea. Bonifacio already exists since 828, and to this day, you can still soak up the medieval atmosphere of yesteryear. Be sure to stroll around the winding streets and visit the old fortress walls.
The most famous highlight is the citadel that overlooks the harbor. Thanks to that citadel, there is an entire view over the south coast of Corsica. In the twentieth century the citadel served as the headquarters of the French Foreign Legion.
We also advice to visit the popular limestone caves and the marina, which is hidden between the rocks.
Cucuruzzu is a prehistoric site on a 900 meter high plateau. The site dates from the Bronze Age and is thought to have been part of the Torreans, a population who conquered Corsica around 1000 BC. The inhabitants lived from agriculture, cattle breeding and hunting. Traces of deer and wild boar were found, as well as sheep, cattle and pigs.
From the third century B.C., the old fort was abandoned. It was not until 1956 that Cucuruzzu was rediscovered. Between 1963 and 1964 excavations were carried out under the direction of archaeologist Roger Grosjean and since 1975 this prehistoric heritage has been categorized as a historical monument. When visiting, you can admire the remains of some city walls, a wooden walkway and a stone staircase.
On top of a rocky hill you will find the archaeological site of Filitosa. The site overlooks the Taravo valley and is already inhabited since the Neolithic era, which is about 8000 years ago. Several arrowheads, potsherds, statues and remains of menhirs were found here. Filitosa can be reached via a picturesque road passing by an old olive grove. Once on the site you will have a beautiful view of the surroundings.
Our tip: Try to visit Filitosa at noon. The special engravings are most visible because of the high sun.
The region Castagniccia
The region of Castagniccia is known for its chestnut trees and picturesque villages. It is one of the longest inhabited areas of Corsica. Back in the days, the locals planted at least 4 fruit trees per person to become self-sufficient. In this way Castagniccia became the most prosperous region of Corsica.
Nowadays, however, the region is less populated. Many inhabitants moved to larger cities on the island and in the villages it seems like no time has passed. There are several walking routes mapped out that will take you past beautiful places such as La Porta and Piedicroce.
Cap Corse is a peninsula known for its beautiful nature and authentic atmosphere. During the time the Genoese dominated the area, defensive towers were built on Cap Corse, as in the rest of Corsica, to protect the coastal towns from pirates.
The Torregiani, the tower guards, had to raise the alarm when pirate ships were in sight. They did this by using light signals between the towers, thereby the whole region was informed. Be sure to stroll along the Sentier des Douaniers or in Bastia, the largest town on Cap Corse.
Calvi is the capital of the Balagne region, also called "the garden of Corsica". The village is located in an idyllic bay and from the picturesque village you have an impressive view over the mountain top of Monte Cino which is over 2700 meters high.
In the center you will find restaurants, shops and bars. Be sure to visit the charming port, the thirteenth-century Saint-Jean Baptiste Cathedral, the pink Saint-Marie-Majeure Church and the beautiful sandy beach. The main highlight of Calvi is the fifteenth-century citadel that overlooks the village.
Nature reserve Scandola
This nature reserve is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and is located on a picturesque peninsula in southern Calvi. The park was established in 1975 to protect the fragile nature of the region. It is home to many birds such as the osprey, peregrine falcon and bearded vulture. Off the coast you can also spot dolphins.
The combination of the clear blue sea, the steep cliffs, the beautiful vegetation and the many caves make Scandola unique. Off the coast there is also an Italian tower which dates from the time Italians ruled here. But be aware, you can only visit the nature reserve by boat.
Are you touring Corsica by yourself? Explore Corsica with our detailed Corsica itinerary or download our Corsica travel guide.
Corte is the only student city with a university in Corsica. Lovers of culture and history will like it here, as the city has an old and new part full of historic sights, traditional churches and charming squares. You will, for example, find the statue of Pasquale Paoli, a freedom fighter who fought for Corsica's independence. Another popular highlight is the house where the parents of explorer Christopher Columbus lived.
Be sure to visit the city's citadel on top of a hill. The citadel is said to be so well fortified that it could withstand almost any attack and cannonball. Nowadays it houses the Musée de la Corse, which exhibits an impressive collection of art. The beautiful green hills and crystal clear rivers in the vicinity of Corte are also worth a visit.
This abandoned medieval mountain village is located on a rock near the village of Lumio. Village d'Occi has a beautiful panoramic view over the bay of Calvi. It was founded by Corsicans who were fleeing from pirates who ravaged the coastal villages. However, when the danger had passed, the inhabitants retreated back to the coast because the village was abandoned.
Nowadays Village d'Occi can be reached via various routes from Lumio. You can walk to Village d'Occi in about three quarters of an hour. Since the walk is on a mountain path with stones, good walking shoes are recommended. The views during the walk are breathtaking.
Gorges de la Restonica
Gorges de la Restonica is an idyllic gorge full of waterholes where you can cool down during hot summer days. Over centuries, the area was eroded by the river Restonica. Gorges de la Restonica used to be the ideal hiding place for marauders as the place was poorly accessible.
Because of this inaccessibility, nature has had ultimate freedom all those centuries. Today Gorges de la Restonica is known as one of the most popular destinations for hikers and nature lovers. In Bergeries de Grottelle you will find stone huts where shepherds stay in the summer together with their sheep.
Aléria is a picturesque village along the river Tavignano. As in many other villages in Corsica, traces of ancient civilizations were discovered. In 80 BC the prosperous village Aléria was proclaimed the capital of Roman Corsica. After the fall of the Roman Empire, however, Aléria fell into disrepair and since then the village and its surroundings have hardly been inhabited.
It was not until 1945, when the marshes were drained with the help of the American army, that Aléria once again became a popular vacation destination.
Some things you can do in Aléria? You can discover the remains of the old Roman city, enter the Saint-Marcel cathedral, stroll through the Italian fortress and visit the archaeological museum Jérome-Carcopino. In the area around Aléria are several beautiful lagoons, a sandy beach and many citrus trees and vineyards. From Aléria you can also explore the Tavignano by canoe.
Murato is best known for the small church of San Michele de Murato, a Romanesque building from the twelfth century and one of the most important highlights of Corsica. Back in history, the republic of Pisa occupied Corsica. These Italian influences are still clearly visible in the architecture of the church. Examples are the dark and light stones and the plant and animal motifs in the window frames.
Even though, the church was enlarged with a square bell tower, the original structure has stood the test of time perfectly and still looks exactly as it did 900 years ago. To visit the inside of the church, you have to pick up the key to the door in Murato Town Hall.
Moulin Mattei + view
The old 'Moulin Mattei' is a real must-see highlight. It's not so much the white mill that will attract your attention, but the incredibly beautiful view. You will have an overview of a breathtaking landscape and the clear blue sea. Be sure to bring your camera and enjoy this special place to the fullest!
There is a large parking near the mill where you can park your car. From the parking it's about another 15 minutes walk.
Looking for a nice place to wander around and enjoy a drink? Then be sure to pass by Porto Vecchio. The town is popular thanks to the marina and its cozy centre. There is always something to do. You will find many squares, shops and of course many restaurants and bars.
During your walk you can also visit some interesting highlights such as the Place de la République and the Porte Genoise. In addition, Porto Vecchio is beautiful thanks to its stunning surroundings: the massive hills of Ospedale, the îles Cerbicale and not to forget the dreamy beaches of Corsica.
Port de Centuri
Port de Centuri attracts a lot of people during the summer months, but this is not surprising. It is a very picturesque fishing port that is well maintained. A visit to this town is a must during your tour around Corsica! In Port de Centuri you will be surrounded by pastel-colored facades, cozy cafes, restaurants, a beautiful coastline ... We recommend to come here at lunchtime, to try out one of the many nice restaurants the town has to offer.
The village Patrimonio is a must if you are a wine lover. This picturesque village is one of the most famous wine regions of Corsica. You'll find endless vineyards along with a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains. Be sure to visit one or more vineyards to taste the local wines during a wine tasting. If you would like to enjoy a magical view of the surroundings, then take your car and drive higher up. You will be stunned by how beautiful the view is!
We can already give you 2 reasons to visit Sant'Antonino: its unique location, namely on top of a hill, and the fact that it is the oldest village in Corsica. This hilltop village is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful spots on the island! The road to Sant'Antonino is like most mountain roads: thin and twisty, but beautiful.
Once you reach the top and arrive in Sant'Antonino, you can immediately enjoy beautiful views over Balagne and Calvi. Feel free to take a day off to wander around the small streets and enjoy all the highlights Sant'Antonino has to offer. Be sure to visit the Eglise de l'Annonciation and its bell tower.
Capo Rosso is a light-pink cape in granite stone that can only be reached by foot. You start by descending through the nature, followed up by a steep climb over rocky paths to the top where the red Genoese tower is located. Once you reach the tower, you are immediately rewarded with incredibly beautiful panoramic views. From this point on you look out over Calanques de Piana, the Scandola Reserve, the bay of Sagone and the beautiful interior. The hike takes about 4 hours (back and forth). Don't forget your camera, because you will pass by several places that are worth a picture!
At the start of the hike, there is plenty of parking space. Keep in mind that the climb to the top is pretty steep and that the trail is directly in the sun, so try to avoid the hottest moments of the day. Also put on good walking shoes, plenty of sunscreen and be sure to bring a lot of water!
Bastia is the second largest town in Corsica and has the largest port of the whole island. The Vieux Port, or old port, is quite impressive to see. As impressive is the parish church with its large baroque facade.
When visiting the town, we recommend tasting the local wines and exploring some cultural highlights, such as the Citadel of Bastia. Furthermore, you can stroll around and explore the picturesque houses, squares and narrow alleys.
Parc Naturel de la Corse
The 'Parc Naturel de la Corse' covers about two thirds of Corsica. You will find numerous natural wonders such as different forests, rugged gorges and beautiful lakes. As the size of the park suggests, you can easily spend a day walking here.
You will find 1500 kilometers of hiking trails including the world famous GR20 trail. While hiking you will be able to enjoy a lot of special fauna and flora. You will also come across historical monuments, picturesque villages, the centuries-old Genoese fortress and several accommodations to spend the night.
The beaches of Corsica
When you think of Corsica, you think of elongated beaches, clear blue sea and radiant white sand. The island has many beautiful beaches and seaside resorts, so don't forget to take at least one day off to relax in a beach chair and enjoy all that beauty around you. The beaches of Corsica will undoubtedly make you feel relaxed! Explore by foot, seek refreshment in the water, enjoy a cocktail or simply unwind.
Which car to rent?
- Are you still unsure which car to rent for your road trip?
- Do not rent a car that is too small, go for a comfortable car.
- Be sure to book an all-inclusive insurance policy so you can drive around in peace.
- A reliable car rental company is Rentalcars (very large offer).
- Read more tips about renting a car on vacation.
Video: Corsica from the air
Curious to explore Corsica? The video takes you on a drone-flight over the most beautiful places of Corsica. Interested after reading the articles and watching the video? I guess you will have to experience it for yourself and travel to Corsica!
Don't miss out on anything during your vacation in Corsica with our travel guide
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