Set in a privileged, perched position on the hillside with truly outstanding views out over the gulf towards Calvi, Lumio is a picturesque village with a private collection of attractive villas. Below the village, just a short drive away, are a number of delightful unspoilt beaches with silver sand and crystal-clear water.
Calenzana is a picturesque hilltop village 13 kilometres from Calvi which is very popular with walkers as it is the northern starting point for the famous GR20 route across the island as well as the Mare e Monti Nord route to Cargèse, south of the Golfe de Porto. As the largest village in la Balagne, Calenzana has a good selection of services including a town hall, shops, post office and a couple of restaurants and bars.
Things to See & Do
- Explore the Bonifato Forest, a spectacular pine forest with hidden rock pools and stunning views over Calvi bay with walks of varying difficulties.
- Visit the local producers' market on the church square in Lumio, taking place every Saturday between 8.30am and 12 noon.
- Visit the Chapelle San Pietro, a Romanesque church, standing amidst a monumental cemetery. Founded in the eleventh century and rebuilt in the eighteenth, it retains some of its original features and is well worth a look around.
- Spend a day on Arinella Plage (situated below the village of Lumio) and enjoy the spectacular of Calvi Citadel across the bay. This beach is also home to the locally renowned Matahari restaurant, popular for its innovative cuisine and seafood specialities.
- A visit to the Domaine Orsini vineyards on the road to Calenzana comes highly recommended. The site is beautifully laid out with a large tasting area and an excellent gift shop. The Domaine Orsini also produce nougats, sweets, jam, honey and biscuits.
- Walk the GR20 (or part of it) – a 170km trail linking the north and south of the island. It will take around two weeks to complete but it’s possible to do half, catching a train in Vizzavona. Or walk the Monte e Monti Nord (sea to the northern mountains) – a less demanding walk split into 10 days of between four and seven hours.
- Visit the winery at Domaine d’Alzipratu near Zilia, a silver medal-winning winery which sells direct to the public.
- Walk to the abandoned village of Occi, an hours circular walk from Lumio village. The village was deserted when the water dried up but the view from the top is amazing and the spot very atmospheric.
- Calenzana is the start of the famous GR20. There are two impressive churches, an atmospheric square with a bar and two restaurants, and if you wander through the back streets you will come across L’Atelier du Village where you can buy jams, biscuits, liqueurs and cakes made from local produce. Visit the church of Saint Blaise in Calenzana. A plaque commemorates the 500 German mercenaries who died in a battle between Corsican nationalists and the Genoese republic in 1732. A trap was laid and the mercenaries ambushed by soldiers and villagers who hurled rocks, boiling water, beehives and torches and then set a stampede of tarred bulls on them. Few escaped and the dead were buried beneath the bell tower.
- Drive from Calenzana to the villages of the Haute Balagne; Zilia, Montegrosso, Cateri, Sant'Antonino, Feliceto, Muro and Belgodère. The fortress villages of the Haute-Balagne perched high above the sea and surrounded by terraces that produced olives, wine and figs together with plentiful citrus groves are some of the most picturesque on the island. Backed by the dramatic mountain landscapes, many of the villages are nearly a thousand years old. A recent government redevelopment programme has encouraged young people to settle in the villages and preserve the traditional practices resulting in the Strada di L’Artigiani, the Artisans route; a craft trail where you can visit workshops and buy the wares of the local artists.