The Greeks used to call the island of Corsica 'Kaliste', meaning ‘the most beautiful’ – and with good reason. Corsica is a place that can’t be tamed - the wildly diverse terrain ranges from idyllic crystal-clear beaches and lush nature reserves to jagged rock formations that make it the most mountainous island in the Mediterranean. You'll find smooth granite boulders that wouldn't look out of place in the Seychelles, turquoise lakes tucked into hollows among the peaks and sandy coves offering the perfect haven for undisturbed sun worshipping. But if you’d rather immerse yourself into this idiosyncratic island's history,
Corsica holidays can also be jam-packed with culture. While nominally French, Corsica was formerly part of the Genoese empire, and remains a fusion of influences. Mingle with the smiling locals at a beachside bar and taste Corsican delicacies like wild boar, smooth local cheeses and pretty decent wines. Centuries on, it’s still just as easy to see why the Greeks were so impressed.
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What can you find in Corsica that you won’t find elsewhere?
Take two of our favourite countries - France and Italy - blend their cultures (and particularly their cuisines), plonk the resulting Franco-Italian population onto a staggeringly beautiful island in the Mediterranean and hey presto, you have Corsica. An unspoiled and wonderfully wild island, Corscia is awash with different landscapes: chestnut tree forests, vineyards, mountains, lakes, secret coves, beaches and sparkling clear waters. As well as all of this, Corsica boasts a rich and unique heritage which can be explored in its churches, cathedrals, museums, palaces, and Genoese towers; or experienced in its gastronomy, folklore and crafts. Corsica holidays mean living that bit closer to nature. You can immerse yourself in the island's culture through dining to the rhythm of traditional acoustic music, and meeting its passionate inhabitants. Located south-east of the French mainland and west of the Italian Peninsula, its Mediterranean climate is ideal for enjoying Corsica’s charming character to the full.
Who is Corsica best for?
For nature lovers, whether you prefer the sea or the peaks, the island offers a myriad of surprises. Desert villages clinging to the mountainsides; hidden rocky creeks; and verdant nature reserves will leave you wide-eyed. Meanwhile, avid foodies will be in paradise thanks to Corsica’s lush landscape. Go local, and savour a plate of Corsican sausages or sip on the best wines in Patrimonio. Whether you’re a fitness fanatic or a lover of relaxation, you’ll find something to suit you. Simply enjoy breathing in the fresh air on a gentle walk, or, if you’re a more serious hiker, take to the trails on routes like the GR20 – a popular 112-mile trek across the island and arguably the most famous walking route in Europe. If your definition of exercise on holiday entails strolling between your sunbed and the sea, rippling shores and sleepy beaches await you, or you can choose a hotel with watersports at the swimming pool if you’d like to stretch your legs a little closer to home. Corsica is also a must for history buffs. The French may have eventually claimed the prized island, despite its proximity - a mere seven miles across the Straits of Bonafacio - to the extremely Italian Sardinia, but historians will recall that probably the most famous Frenchmen ever, a certain Napoleon Bonaparte, was born on this beautiful island.
What is the best option for a Corsica holiday?
The Little Corporal made a habit of invading pretty much everywhere, but his homeland has - to date - avoided an invasion of Brits thanks to a lack of flights from the UK. There are now more direct flights than ever before, but you could also combine your Corsica holiday with a night or two in Paris. Or enjoy time in Nice or Pisa and then take a civilised ferry across? Alternatively Fly to Sardinia and enjoy two of the Med's finest islands in combo. None a great hardship, we're sure you'd agree, and whichever way you choose, the eventual destination is well worth the wait.
What is there to do in Corsica?
It's not for nothing that Corsica has been described as a continent in miniature, with beautiful beaches, dramatic mountain ranges and cultural sites galore. Some of the Mediterranean's finest beaches ring the island, often in close proximity to heavily fortified (and perfectly preserved) medieval towns, and if all that food gets a little too tempting, then there's incredible walking to be had across the island's mountainous interior, a third of which is protected by the Parc Naturel Régional de Corse. For those looking for a greater challenge, Corsica is also home to France's toughest and most spectacular long distance walking route, the fabled GR20, which follows the spine of sawtooth mountain ranges nearly the length of the country.
The best ways to discover Corsica:
Take a weekend to discover Ajaccio. The Genoese city will charm you with its old streets, majestic palaces, inviting terraces and bustling local markets, not to mention the Iles Sanguinaires – an archipelago of untouched islands – and the pristine beaches nearby. If you’re staying for a week or longer, rent a car and take a road trip to the picturesque areas of Cap Corse, Balagne, the Corte region, Porto and Ajaccio.
Special things to do in Corsica
- Travel on board the ‘Trinighellu’, a little train that has connected Ajaccio, Calvi and Bastia since 1894, running straight through the heart of their scenic villages. It’s an original way to discover the beautiful landscapes and the pillars of Corsican life, without having to lift a finger.
-Get away from the crowds and lose yourself in nature. Surrounded by peaceful meadows, winding rivers, quiet coves and wild corsican beaches, the rest of the world will feel a million miles away.