Bastia is one of Corsica’s most successful commercial towns and known as the capital of Haute Corse. 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 Cesar 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 honey coloured Citadel and bustles with harbour side bars and restaurants. Wander through the old streets behind the old port to find the Place du Marche where there is a local farmers market each morning.
The main beach in the town of Bastia is a pebbly one, and it can get very busy with the locals in the summer months. The sandy Plage de l'Arinella, south of the town, is the beginning of a long sandy shore that extends along the whole of the east coast with water sports, beachside cafés and restaurants.
A 14km stretch of golden sand and gently shelving waters south of Bastia, Moriani Plage has various access points with several beach bars and water sports available.
Plage de Porticciolo
North of Erbalunga lies Plage de Porticciolo, a sandy beach near a small port which has turquoise sea and white sand. Its position means that it is rarely busy, and it is beautiful.
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 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. Do not be surprised if the beach at Macinaggio itself is often covered with shelves of dead posidonia leaves as, although unattractive to wade through, they protect the coast from erosion and shelter the fish. From the car park here, various walks are marked which take you through Le Site Naturels 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 1hr 30min 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
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.
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!).
Just past Bastia, approx 1hr drive, the fishing port of Erbalunga on the eastern coast clings to a little jagged promontory, opal waves slapping against gaudy fishing boats. The pedestrianised village has many cafés and restaurants and a Genoese tower on the headland and is the home of a Jazz festival in August.
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.
The sparkling, sheltered bay of St Florent lies between the Cap Corse and the Désert des Agriates. At first sight St Florent appears to be a bustling, attractive waterfront town, with boats, bars, excellent fish restaurants and an almost permanent game of boules in the square, but stroll into the old town and you discover a charming, ageless quarter of old houses, little shops and wine bars. There are pretty squares and quiet corners, with the sea always nearby!