As you take the scenic Corniche road leading from Bastia, the second village you discover is that of San Martino di Lota situated on the East Coast of the Cap Corse. Often referred to as the eagle nest, it boasts views over Elba and the Tuscan archipelago. A small and typically Corsican village, it is also a great base from which to explore the untamed and exceptionally beautiful Cap Corse region.
Plage de Pietracorbara
The sandy beach at Pietracorbara, 9km north of Erbalunga offers clear waters, a café and a water sports centre with canoeing, windsurfing and sailing all available for both adults and children.
Plage de Porticciolo
Just 15 minutes north of Erbalunga lies a sandy beach near a small port which has turquoise sea and white sand. Its position means that it is rarely busy, and has a beautiful backdrop.
The narrow road down to the golfe d’Aliso (just after the turn off for Luri) ends at a small, red, sandy beach.
Plage de Barcaggio
The most northern beach of the island is often windy but has lovely white sand.
Plage de Tamarone
Situated 2.5km north of Macinaggio at the end of a dirt road is the sandy and clean Plage de Tamarone that boasts deep and clear waters. From Macinaggio car park here, various walks are marked which take you through the Site Naturel de la Capandula. This reserve also includes the islands off the coast, which you can see. There is a coastal walk (sentier des douaniers) leading to Barcaggio (3-4hours one way) and also a shorter 1hr30 circuit that takes in many of the highlights and leads to a second beach Plage des Iles.
Rock' Inseme – Biguglia, June
A rock and pop music festival bringing together recognised artists and up-an-coming bands.
Fiera di u Vinu – Luri, July
A lively festival celebrating the wine produced in the Cap Corse region.
A Notte di a Memoria – The Relève du Gouverneur - Bastia, July
A re-enactment of the arrival of the French governor with a light and drum parade through the streets of the citadel.
Les Nuits de la Guitare – Patrimonio, July
The amphitheatre in the village of Patrimonio is the setting for this popular festival that takes place every July and draws stars from the world of guitar, be it jazz, flamenco, blues or rock.
Porto Latino - St Florent, August
A hot Latin festival with nightly open-air concerts held in the citadel.
Festival de la Chanson/Corse Pascal Paoli – Furiani, August
Corsican singing concerts.
Festival de Musique – Erbalunga, August
An established music festival showing off some of the greatest national and local talents.
THINGS TO SEE & DO
The small honey pot port of Erbalunga is the highlight of the east coast. It is famous for its Good Friday procession known as the Cerca which has evolved from an ancient fertility rite. The ruins of the Genoese tower here are a popular subject choice for artists and photographers and the village is also a venue for music and arts festivals. There is a good range of facilities including shops, cash dispenser machine, post office, bars and restaurants and a dive school at Sisco marina, slightly further north.
There is a horse riding centre in Erbalunga for those with some experience, offering treks into the mountains and on to the sandy beaches further up the coast, from 1 hour to a day in duration.
Drive around Cap Corse
Often called an island within an island, the Cap Corse is a maquis covered peninsula whose history sets it apart from the rest of the island. Tiny ports divide the east side as the western villages are sited on rugged cliffs. On the west of Cap Corse, narrow roads wind above a dramatically serrated coastline, dotted with little coves, whilst the sea washes on the rocks below and woods and maquis outline the peaks above. A complete circuit of the Cap Corse will take you about four hours (without stops) and we recommend that you always drive in a clockwise direction so that you are always in the inside lane (the road can be narrow and winding and the drops are precipitous and rather scary!).
Capital of Haute Corse and just a 15 minute drive from Erbalunga is Bastia, a busy town with a population of 50,000, making it the second largest town on the island. The Place St Nicolas is a pleasant spot to soak up Bastia’s Mediterranean atmosphere and with its shady trees and cafes is the social hub of the town. The Boulevard Paoli and Rue César Campinchi are the main shopping streets running parallel to the square. The old town lies south of Place St Nicolas and surrounds the old port which should not be missed. It is overlooked by the high honey-coloured Genoese Citadel (quite a climb) and bustles with harbourside bars and restaurants. Wander through the old streets behind the old port to find the Place du Marché where there is a local farmers market each morning and the church of St Jean Baptiste, Corsica's largest church is well worth a visit.
Spend a leisurely afternoon visiting a vineyard in the pretty village of Patrimonio, and tasting the superb wines. The Patrimonio region is most famous for its vineyards, much of Corsica’s best wine being produced in this area. You will find dozens of vineyards to visit and the proprietors are happy to welcome you and offer you their wines to sample. There is now a ‘route des vins’, which will lead you to all the vineyards.