Situated in the hills above Figari, Piscia is a small hamlet surveying the south of the island from its vantage point. It is the perfect spot if you want to immerse yourself into rural Corsica or if you’re keen walkers. There are a series of walking paths through the maquis leading up to the “Bergeries de Bitalza”, “Bergeries de Naséo” or even further up to L’Omu di Cagna reaching 1200m high.
Golfe de Figari
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.
Arguably the most famous beach on the island, the beach at Palombaggia is one of Corsica's finest and therefore one of its most popular. It was voted one of Europe's top 20 beaches in a poll in the Times this year and as such it can be very crowded in peak season - and it's easy to see why. An exquisite blend of fine white sand guarded by huge red granite rocks and fronted with gorgeous blue seas, and lined with beautiful pine trees. The access road may seem long and it can be crowded in high season, but at any other time of year is well worth a visit.
This is another very popular beach close to Porto Vecchio. In contrast to Palombaggia it has pale yellow sand but it can be just as crowded as its more famous cousin. It has a good selection of shops and restaurants and it is also very popular with water sports enthusiasts.
This is a naturally 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.
Fête de la Saint Jean Baptiste - Porto Vecchio, June
Celebration of the Patron Saint of Porto Vecchio to mark the end of the harvest season.
Festi Lumi - Bonifacio, July
A magical festival of lights across the streets of Bonifacio with concerts and a light show taking place at the weekend.
Festa di Luddarreddu - Porto Vecchio, July
"U Luddarreddu", a historical figure made of straw and cork, will be paraded through the streets of Porto Vecchio and set alight on the Place de la République to celebrate the end of the hot and difficult conditions in which local artisans and farmers have to work in July.
Les Médiévales de Levie - Levie, early September
A medieval fair that will transport you back to ancient times. On the programme: medieval tournaments, street parades, equestrian displays, music and crafts.
Defi Inter-Isles - Bonifacio, September
Supporting the Corsican windsurf championships, this competition will see some hundred windsurfers from all corners of the world participating.
THINGS TO SEE & DO
Old Porto Vecchio
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 République, the 19th century church of St-Jean Baptiste and the gallery housed within the Bastion di A Funtana Vecchia. Experience live Corsican music and soak up the local atmosphere. Amongst the best venues is 'la Taverne du Roi', which is tucked away in the citadel of Porto Vecchio. Many restaurants also host a Corsican night once a week featuring a local band - look out for posters or ask your representative for up-to-date information.
Porto Vecchio Marina
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. There is also a variety of boat trips on offer with tours around the beautiful coastline.
L'Ospedale and Col de Bavella
Drive inland more than 1200m up to the spectacular Col de Bavella, one of the most dramatic passes in Corsica with stunning views across extensive forest, ocean and mountains. Also visit the surrounding mountain villages in the area. Try canyoning or take a dip in a rock pool in the rivers of the Bavella massif. There are many walks through the forests to the hidden waterfalls of the Alta Rocca, including Piscia di Gallo, or Cockerall falls. A short drive inland from Porto Vecchio will bring you to the Ospédale forest, and some great spots for a picnic.
At Corsica’s southernmost point, the fortress town of Bonifacio sits in an isolated location perched high on a limestone plateau and surrounded by an expanse of maquis. Mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey, the precipitous white cliffs overhang the turquoise waters below and are honeycombed with old watery grottoes. Established in 833, the old town is rich in history with its dramatic Citadel, ramparts and maze of narrow cobbled streets. The newer harbour has a more Italian flair with an abundance of cafés and restaurants dotted along the Quai Comparetti – the perfect spot to watch the yachts set sail.
Walk along the cliffs of Bonifacio to the Pertusato lighthouse and admire the stunning views back towards the town and out over the Straits towards Sardinia.
Try the circular coastal walk around Roccapina in the south west (approx. 1h40), which affords breathtaking views across the beaches of Roccapina and Erbaju. Look out for the lion-shaped rock formation 'le lion de Roccapina' which overlooks the dazzling turquoise-blue bays from its perched position.
Why not take a trip to Sardinia for the day? Take the ferry across (1h crossing) - market day at Santa Teresa di Gallura is Thursday.