Zonza is home to stunning scenery of the Sud region set in the interior of the island covered by forests creating river rocks which are excellent for sunbathing, and the rock pools along the length of this stretch of the river provide tranquil and crystal-clear water in which to bathe. Zonza village is located in the mountain chain of Barocagio-Marghese which extends to the south of the Incudine massif. This mountainous area extends 20km from west to east from the village of Zonza to the Tyrrhenian Sea and 12 km from north to south from the Bavella pass to Mount Rossu. The village is situated in the Rizzansee river valley on the mountainside opposite Quenza on the D268 road which connects Bavella to Levie.
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 recently voted one of Europe's top 20 beaches in a poll in the Times 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.
Santa Giulia is another very popular beach and arguably the most photogenic of all the beaches in L'Extrême Sud - it sits in a magnificent horseshoe bay with its shallow and translucent water making it the perfect swimming spot for the little ones. Around 10-15 minutes drive from Porto Vecchio, this beach has a good selection of shops and restaurants and it is also very popular with water sports enthusiasts.
This exquisite bay situated 7km north of Porto Vecchio with its fine sweep of yellow sand is more than worth a visit and was recently included in The Times' list of the best 20 beach holidays in Europe. While you're there you can check out the near perfect Genoese tower which dominates the peninsula. It has a long sweep of soft white sand and is backed by a pine forest, ideal for any members of the party who need shade. If there is a breeze on the day you plan to visit it is well worth taking a body board with you to surf some of the breaking waves. That said the beach is also great for younger children as there is a nice wide stretch of warm shallow water too.
Around 15 minutes drive north of Porto Vecchio, San Ciprianu is a beautiful half moon of white sand and turquoise water. Parking is available on the approach road to the beach or if you are lucky there may be space available in the smallish car park about 50m from the beach.
THINGS TO SEE & DO
There are so many trails in the forest and mountain areas to enjoy that you may never repeat the same walk during your stay. You may bump into those on walking holidays as many popular itineraries pass through these trails.
This is the best area for canyoning - enjoy climbing, abseiling or even jumping in the natural landscapes created by the rivers and gorges and exploring the rock formations close up.
Try one of the mountain restaurants and indulge your tastebuds with mountain food. Amongst our recommendations are 'le Refuge' near the Lac de l'Ospedale or 'A Pignata' in the village of Levie.
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. 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.
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.
Explore the prehistoric settlements of Casteddu d'Araggiu, just north of Porto Vecchio above the hamlet of Palavesa - a well-preserved site dating back from 1500BC. The views from here over the Gulf of Porto Vecchio are truly spectacular. Should you wish to venture further afield, the prehistoric sites of Cucuruzzu and Capula near Levie are also worth the detour.