France,  Travel

Corsica, France (August 2019)

This trip turned out to have an unexpected timing due to some events in the last few days before we left. Besides being an exciting travel experience as with any new place I visit, it was also therapeutic for me. Overall, I was happy with the beautiful beaches of Corsica (that reminded me a little bit of Maldives) and I’m recommending it with an open heart. The only downside is that it is a little on the pricier side, esp. accommodation, so try to book in advance if you go in summer.

Who is Corsica for?

Short answer is: family and couples and maybe groups of friends who like a more relaxed holidays; it is definitely not a party destination. Corsica is also quite big (3-4 h by car from north to south).

  • NORTH, seaside: Calvi (best for first time visitors to Corsica acc. to many forums – unfortunately didn’t visit), Bastia (good for all, some say esp. for young ppl), Saint Florent (good for all)
  • SOUTH, seaside: Ajaccio (the capital), Porto Vecchio (good for all – esp. for families, not a party place), Bonifacio (good for all, not a party place)
  • MIDDLE, mountains: Corte (good for all)

Is it expensive?

Overall, from European beach destinations, it is more on the pricey side. Another option we considered for the future is renting a camping car as there are many camping sites or buying a tent and staying in a camping site.

Best time of the year to go there

As with most European seaside destinations, the best time of the year to go is June to September if you go mainly for the beaches. In July-August, the sea water temperature is ideal but it is also the peak of the season, meaning higher prices & more crowds.

How do I get there? (flight, ferry)

There are 4 main airports: SOUTH (Ajaccio airport, Figari airport), NORTH (Calvi airport, Bastia airport). Also, according to this website, Ferries to Corsica depart from France: MarseilleToulon and Nice, and from Italy: SavonaGenovaLivorno and Civitavecchia; the shortest routes, 4h journey by fast boat, connect Nice with Calvi and Livorno with Bastia.

Do I need to rent a car?

Yes and yes. Unless you want to stay in one place only and visit 1-2 beaches (but even this would be a stretch). We rented ours at Sixt in Figari airport, for 178 euros total excl. fuel & insurance (9 days).

Accommodation and where to stay

As usual, I rely on booking.com and Airbnb reviews, trying to choose places that have at least a 8.5 out of 10 score. So far, Corsica did not impress through the architecture of their towns, but rather through beautiful beaches and mountains. As my favorite beach was near Porto Vecchio (Tamaricciu/Palombaggia) I would book nearby next time.

Beaches I recommend

  • SOUTH, near Porto Vecchio: Palombaggia & Tamaricciu (if I could have, I would have stayed there for a month; free parking, easy to access directly by foot or a 10 min walk); it also had an amazing restaurant on the beach: playa Baggia
  • SOUTH, near Bonifacio: Plage du petit Sperone (15min walk from free parking lot)
  • NORTH, near Saint Florent: Saleccia & Lotu beach (by 4X4 car or boat from Saint Florent – 20min, 30eur return); Fiume Santo (drive for 30min from Saint Florent, then 1h hike)
  • NORTH, near Calvi: Plage de Ghjunchitu

Towns/villages to visit

  • SOUTH, Figari airport: Porto Vecchio & Bonifacio
  • SOUTH, Ajaccio, Ajaccio airport (capital)
  • NORTH, Bastia airport: Saint Florent, Bastia
  • NORTH, Calvi airport: Calvi
  • MIDDLE: Corte (mountains): Cyrnea bar
Sperone beach
Bonifacio, outside le Guvernail
Porto Vecchio
Tamaricciu/Palombaggia beach
Lotu beach
Bastia town
Corte Belvedere
Corte area, Restonica mountains, Melu lake (1h difficult hike)

Food options & Restaurants not to miss

  • SOUTH, near Porto Vecchio: Playa Baggia
  • SOUTH, near Bonifacio: A Suliata, Le Petit Palais
  • NORTH, in Saint Florent: Mathys (they have a 3 course lunch deal for 19 eur)
  • NORTH, near Bastia: glacier Raugi (gelato)
  • MIDDLE, Corte: Cyrnea bar
  • Corsica also has delicious local fruits and veggies in summer, so no matter where you are on the island you can search for: “grocery store”, “supermarche”, “marche” on Google Maps and you will find your nearest shop with groceries. Try each time a new one as they might have options the other ones didn’t have or bigger variety and look for the origin of the product to say “France-Corse”.

What did I not manage to see in this trip and is still on my list

  • Calvia
  • Ajaccio (the capital) and the beaches nearby

What would I do different if I was to redo this trip

I would spend more days near Porto Vecchio/Tamaricciu/Palombaggia beach (take accomodation nearby). I would then carry on towards the mountains (Corte) or Bastia town and skip Saint Florent area (and stay in Calvi or l’Ile Rousse instead for the beaches nearby). The beaches near Saint Florent were nice but quite expensive or difficult to access.

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