Porto Vecchio as we see it today has grown up around the famous 16th-century citadel, perched atop an outcrop of granite; and the rampart restaurants offer splendid views from this ancient vantage point. The town’s old centre, a maze of narrow streets, has kept its charm and still has the atmosphere of the fortress town it once was.
Today Porto Vecchio is a lively centre for shopping, cafe-sitting and menu browsing and is one of Corsica's most fashionable towns. Excellent food shops are one of the attractions, from supermarkets to fascinating stores crammed with French and Corsican specialities. Up in the old town there is a wide range of boutiques and other shops for browsing plus many cafes which easily lure you in for a spot of people watching with a cool drink. In season, the bars and restaurants in and around town are always busy, giving the town a lively atmosphere.
Wander the ancient streets of Old Porto Vecchio, the Borgo, where you can see the enormous twisted tree of the Place de la Republique, the 19th century church of St-Jean Baptiste (left unfinished due to lack of funds) and the gallery housed within the Bastion di A Funtana Vechju which still has the hole made by Sampiero Corso when he captured the town in 1564. The old Genoese walled town still seduces visitors with its picturesque narrow streets and the austerity of its high stone houses that are set within the Citadel's ramparts. If you're lucky enough, during your stay you'll be able to hear some of the polyphonic singing for which this part of the island is famous - keep an ear out for those low, dramatic harmonies as you walk through the citadel of an evening.
Along the coast to the north and south of Porto Vecchio visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches, many backed by the splendour of the southern mountains and surrounded by wild perfumed maquis. Within 10 minutes drive north of Porto Vecchio lies the Cala Rossa headland, quiet and remote with sandy coves, and San Ciprianu, a long curve of gently shelving sand. Pinarellu is a pretty hamlet with shops and restaurants and a long, side beach of beautiful golden sand and shallows for children to play in.
Heading south, there is a series of breathtaking spectacular sandy bays. Palombaggia is perhaps the most famous beach on the island – with a series of coves leading to a long sandy beach facing the Cerbicales islands. It is certainly the most photographed. Internationally renowned, the clear turquoise water and pure white sand contrasts the fantastically shaped red rocks.
Santa Guilia is an area where golden sandy beaches stretch out waiting for you. All amenities are available and it is truly a lovely site.
Rondinara is a natural formed horseshoe bay with fine white sands which slope gently into the turquoise waters. A simply stunning beach, it is flanked on one side by pine trees and a protected nature reserve on the other.