French by nationality, Italian by heritage and independent by nature, Corsica doubles as a resort island and a mountainous landscape of medieval citadels.
The island of Corsica can easily provide a standard resort holiday. Beaches, dive sites and numerous horseshoe bays line the coast. However, the geology of its interior makes it unique. Mountains jut from the heart of the island, creating picturesque peaks, massive gorges and coastal sections of white cliffs and red rocks. Travel between the medieval fortress towns across the island to explore its landscape.
Ajaccio is the island’s main city, near one of the most beautiful sections of Corsican coastline. Explore the town’s historic attractions, which include the Maison Bonaparte, where Napoleon spent the first nine years of his life. Book a seat on a tour boat taking you north along the coastline to the orange coastal rocks and cliffs of Les Calanques de Piana. Dive boats also operate among the nearby cliffs of the Réserve Naturelle de Scandola.
From Ajaccio, drive to the inland town of Corte, which lies high in the central mountains. During Corsica’s 14-year stint of independence from the mainland in the 18th century, Corte served as the island’s capital. See the statue in Corte’s main square depicting the leader of the Corsican independence movement, Pascal Paoli. Try some delights of Corsican’s inland cuisine, which include wild boar ham and sheep’s milk cheese. Hike into the mountainous Parc Naturel Régional de Corse.
Corsica’s most popular beaches are located on the southern shores. Swim in the bay of Santa Giulia Beach or wade among red rocks on the long Palombaggia Beach.
While Corsica belongs to France, it is closer to the Italian coast. For most of its history, it belonged to Genoa. As a result, while French is the official language of the island, you will hear Italian and the Italian-like Corsican while you visit.
To reach Corsica, fly into the international airport at Ajaccio or take a ferry from France or Italy to one of the island’s ports. The island has limited public transportation, so rent a car to travel between mountains and beaches.