Thought a day wasn't enough to soak up the essence of Corsica? Think again.
The picturesque island of Corsica, just north of Italy's Sardinia but actually part of France is on many people’s bucket lists for a reason. The coastline is vast and dramatically beautiful, and the tall mountains and inland forests are lush and spectacular to behold. It’s an island of two halves. Here’s our guide to enjoying both in a time crunch.
8 am: Start the day in the sea
With over 1000km of coastline, you can’t go far wrong when swimming in Corsica, so seek out the beach closest to wherever you’re staying. If you’re on the southeast coast though, a highlight is Plage de Palombaggia – it’s basically the picture-postcard Corsican beach, with soft white sand and water so clear you’ll think you’re in the Indian Ocean, not the Med. There isn’t a better way to wake up in the world than a swim on a beach like this. It’s only a 20-minute drive from the historic town of Porto-Vecchio, so it’s really easy to access too.
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10.30 am: Learn about Corsica’s biggest celeb
Did you know that none other than Napoléon Bonaparte hailed from Corsica? His home there, in which he was born, is a national museum that’s well worth a look. La Maison Bonaparte stayed in the family until 1923, when it was gifted to the French government by Prince Victor Napoleon. It can get busy, so go earlier in the day rather than later, but it’s not too big, so you should be in and out in an hour. Oh, and a hot tip – if you don’t speak French, get the English audio guide, as all the signs are in French.
12 pm: Hike up to a historic tower
Work up an appetite for lunch by hiking up to the ruins of Torra di a Parata, just a short drive from La Maison Bonaparte. Built in 1550 by Giacomo Lombardo, it was designed as a defensive structure to protect the island against pirates. But one of the main reasons you go here is for the gorgeously scenic, but not too demanding, oceanside hike to get to it.
1 pm: Lunch with a view
Now you’re hungry, right? Head east, circumventing the bay, and stop for lunch overlooking the water at L’Arbousier at the Hotel Le Maquis. The food is Corsican, so expect plenty of fresh seafood in dishes like Mediterranean fish soup with spiced rouille; warm, grilled langoustine; and John Dory sauced with wine. Sit outside on the terrace if the weather allows it, or head inside on colder days to watch the waves crash over the rocks from a safe distance.
3.30 pm: Swim at a waterfall
Drive north, through the heart of the island and stop in for a swim in the clear pools of the waterfall known as the Cascade des Anglais. It’s a relatively easy trek through the trees from the carpark and will break up your drive in the most delightful way.
8 pm: Have dinner in the hills
Perched high up in the mountains, overlooking the turquoise-toned Mediterranean, is the Hotel Palazzu Pigna. The food here is well renowned, and eating either inside amongst ancient stone walls, or outside on the grass enveloped by mountains behind you and the sea beyond, is a pretty special evening indeed. Just wait until you see the sunset.
11 pm: Sleep onsite
The rooms at the Hotel Palazzu are lovely too – traditional and ornate – so you may as well stay over after all that feasting. Waking up to those views though; you may never want to leave.