Just a short hop from Sardinia at Corsica's 'lands end' sits the fortress town of Bonifacio - a popular destination for those seeking villa holidays and hotels in the southern part of Corsica. its rich history offers visitors a fascinating and bustling base from which to explore the south of the island.
To the north of Bonifacio is the alluring crescent shaped stretch of golden sand at Rondinara. It's not as busy as the more famous Santa Giulia or Palombaggia but it can be a little busy in peak season. It is very popular with families as it very safe for toddlers and the turquoise sea is almost impossible to resist.
Gulf of Figari & Pianotolli
Bordering the Gulf of Figari and the village of Pianotolli, these secluded and unfrequented coves are just delightful – a gorgeous string of narrow sandy creeks spread around a shallow turquoise bay. If you can’t bear the crowds of the more popular beaches in the height of the summer season, then these will just be the perfect choice for you. You can access any of the coves via unmarked dirt tracks through the maquis and a few minutes walk.
Just outside of Bonifacio, conveniently enough, this is a gorgeous little inlet reached by walking ten minutes along Pianterella beach and a further two minutes more around the tip of the headland – a feast for the eyes when you arrive!
Golfe de Santa Manza
There are several beaches lining this gulf, including the Plage de Maora. The sand has large granules (ideal when windy) and there is a small snack bar. Further around the bay, views improve and there are many coves that attract bathers and water sports enthusiasts. The main beach Plage de Santa Manza is a great starting point for coastal walks - just follow the tracks through the maquis.
Perfect white sand and clear water but the beach is only small so, again, it can be crowded in July and August. About 20km south of Sartene, and midway between Bonifacio and Sartene, turn off the main road by the Auberge de Coralli and follow the dirt track down. The track to the beach may be very rough so drive carefully. Above the beach is the “Lion of Roccapina”, a natural rock sculpture, crowned by an old Genoese watchtower erected at the start of the 16th century, in the first construction phase involving twenty five towers. The romantic legend about this rock form is that a powerful noble, feared by the Saracen pirates (who called him “The Lion”), was in love with a beautiful young girl. When she refused his advances, from despair he died and was petrified in the form that you see today.
This little explored archipelago is in the Strait of Bonifacio that separates Corsica from Sardinia and boasts a number of secluded beaches and coves. They are relative easy to access and most boat companies operating out of Bonifacio will gladly take you there.
Fete de Paques: procession des Cinq Confréries - Bonifacio, March
The members of the Cinq Confréries march in a procession through the town and all meet in the parish church where they receive the blessing of the Sainte Croix relic insignia.
Foire de Porto Vecchio - Porto Vecchio, June
Traditional artisan fair.
Lumieres de Toscane - Porto Vecchio, June
Lyrical concerts, parades, theatrical representations, art exhibitions, arts and crafts, cinematography and workshops for schoolchildren. This event is held in three places: cultural centre, bastion de France and the narrow streets of the town.
Journées Médiévales - Bonifacio, June
A variety of mediaeval entertainment and exhibitions.
Fete de la Nativite de la Vierge - Bonifacio, September
Stuffed aubergines ‘a la Bonifacienne’ are prepared and distributed amongst the people attending the ceremony of this religious feast.
Mosaicales du Rire de Porto Vecchio - Porto Vecchio, September
A new event for the ‘City of Salt’. The Tourist Office and Philippe Delmas Productions, the organisers, wanted to create a major event welcoming both famous French comedians and up-and-coming artists as well as celebrities to entertain - All under the theme of laughter.
Defi Inter-Isles - Bonifacio, September
Supporting the Corsican windsurf championships, this competition will see some hundred windsurfers from all corners of the world participating.
Le Tour de Corse à la Voile - Bonifacio, October
The Tour de Corse à la Voile is a regatta from Bonifacio to Bonifacio, 250 nautical miles non-stop, organised by the Bonifacio Yacht Club, under the auspices of the Fédération Française de voile and the Ligue Corse de voile.
THINGS TO SEE & DO
Try a round of golf…
At the magnificent Spérone Golf Course. The 16th hole has a nautical challenge not to be missed and is surely a test for the best, but if you are looking for something a little more relaxing why not catch some sun on Petit Spérone beach (just after the 13th hole).
Wander the sheltered harbourside of Bonifacio Port and backed by cafe's and restaurants the white cliffs, take a trip from the port around the Grottes et Falaises (caves and cliffs) or to the Iles de Lavezzis providing the opportunity to view the magnificent coastal rock formations from the sea.
Bonifacio Old Town
Wander the citadel walls and ancient houses of Bonifacio Old Town Haute Ville, also visiting the churches and ramparts with narrow streets full of shops and cafés. See the grain de sable, a massive chunk of limestone cliff that's fallen into the sea, which is the subject of thousands of postcards. You can see this by looking over the wall at the top of the hill in the old town.
Take a ferry to Sardinia
Take the ferry across, market day at Santa Theresa di Gallura is Thursday
Visit Porto Vecchio – Just a 30 minute drive away
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. Wander the ancient streets, the Borgo, where you can see the enormous twisted tree of the Place de la Republique, the 19th century church of St-Jean Baptiste and the gallery housed within the Bastion di A Funtana Vechju. Within a few minutes walk of the old town, the marina lined with cafés is an excellent place to enjoy a leisurely drink during those hot summer evenings.