11 July 2008
From water sports and adrenaline-filling skydiving, to visits of one of the best preserved reserves in the Mediterranean, Calvi has it all and is considered Corsica's main tourist hotspot by excellence.
The resort town offers plenty of activities to its visitors, but has also successfully managed to preserve its more traditional and peaceful character, avoiding the buzzing image of a tourist resort and preferring a more layback atmosphere.
Calvi is a good base to explore the coastline, but also the nearby mountains and the Agriates desert, and has become the capital of this particular area of Corsica called Balagne.
Access to the citadel town of Calvi is good with international airlines flying into Calvi Sainte Catherine airport from London, Vienna, Berlin, Copenhagen, Paris, as well as many other towns in France, Germany and Italy.
Calvi's second nearest airport is in north Corsica's capital Bastia, located only one and a half hours away.
As a layback destination, people on holiday to the island can simply enjoy Calvi's beaches and stroll along the white-sandy coastline, before retiring to the Acqua Vital spa for a relaxing and soothing treatment with algae and other natural elements.
Thrill-seeking travellers will also have their share of pleasure in Calvi, either floating their way down above the citadel in a skydive frenzy, or exploring the underwater world around the island with a team of scuba divers.
Archery and skydiving can be arranged at the "associations sportives et culturelles", which also hosts a chess club, an astronomy club, a car club, and "I Sbuleca Mare" for underwater explorers.
Let "A Filetta" cast a spell on you with their Corsican songs and outstanding polyphony, join the choir to appreciate the French islanders and their identity.
The island can be explored by car, by bike, by quad, but also by jet ski, catamaran or sailing boat, a charming way of discovering places like Girolata, a lovely fishermen' village, the Agriates desert towards the very north of the island, or the Scandola reserve, which is highly protected and can only be visited by boat.
The Scandola reserve is home to a multitude of bird, mammal, reptile and marine species, an unparalleled abundance compared to other Mediterranean islands.
By all means, a visit to Calvi's landmark should not be missed. The 12th century citadel was first built during the Genoese conquest to protect their float from attackers and is also believed to be the birthplace of Christopher Columbus.
Relic of the past, the citadel has now become the Balagne's main landmark, and takes on all different colours during celebrations and festivals, for Bastille Day fireworks, Calvi's jazz festival or wind festival.
The tourist office can provide visitors with entertaining and knowledgeable audio tours for a self-guided tour of the Balagne's capital, walking in rhythm to the Corsican songs and polyphonies.
Tours are available in French, English, German and Italian.
The tourist office also organises "citadelle adventures" for eight to 14-year-olds to discover Calvi's past through fun activities.
For a complete visit of the town, head for a tasting session at one of the wineries in the region.
"Clos Landry" offers red, white and rose wines marked with the AOC Corse-Calvi label.