My previous post, ‘Everything you need to know about Corsica,’ was the runner-up to this 10-day itinerary for your Corsican adventure.
I’ve recently spent 10-days on this magnificent island and loved every minute of it. I’ve put together an itinerary to get you started with some great hotel recommendation.
Day 1 -4 Bonifacio
You can get to Corsica a number of ways. You can catch a ferry to one of six ports or fly from Italy, France or Sardinia into one of four airports.
We started our Corsican adventure in Bonifacio having caught the ferry from Sardinia. The narrow entry into Bonifacio is spectacular with high cliffs, turquoise water and a spectacular citadel and walled city. As you get closer to the town you’ll see the marina. It truly is picture perfect.
Bonifacio’s stunning harbour is on the southern tip of Corsica. It’s only 12km (5o-minute ferry ride) from Sardinia which gives the town a rather exclusive, sophisticated Italian feel with the elegant quay, palm trees and expensive restaurants.
The weather in May can be as hot as 30 degrees Celsius and a lot hotter in July and August. So my recommendation is to stay near the sea or somewhere with a pool as the heat can be oppressive.
To explore the town stroll around the harbour and work your way to the old town. It’s easy to get lost in the warren of narrow streets and alleyways enclosed by the sturdy walls of the fortress. To soak up the magnificent Mediterranean ambiance find a bar and enjoy the moment.
Another popular site in Bonifacio is the ‘Staircase of the King of Aragon.’ It’s a steep staircase cut into the cliff below the old town. But be warned, the steps are very steep and uneven if you are going to tackle them. Also, the citadel and cliffs are lit in the evening creating an amazing effect so make sure you are there to see the illuminated medieval town.
While staying in Bonifacio we did a day trip to Porto Vecchio, about an hour drive north-east from Bonifacio. Like most of the beautiful towns in Corsica it’s on the coast, but make sure you explore up the hill where you’re find a myriad of charming, narrow streets in the old town.
Accommodation Hotel U Capu Bianca,Bonifacio – Highly recommended.
We stayed at Hotel U Capu Bianca not far out of Bonifacio. It is an exceptional boutique hotel and it’s not often I write a blog about just a hotel, but it’s that good …read more.
Our next port of call on our Corsican adventure was Ajaccio, the capital of Corsica. It’s about a two-hour drive north-west from Bonifacio. On the way from Bonifacio we stopped at Propriano for lunch. Another lovely coastal town.
Ajaccio is a stunning town surrounded by tree covered mountains, a port and citadel. As with many sea facing settlements the long curved promenade defines the town.
While Ajaccio’s was the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte, he didn’t live there very long. I visited his birth house which was interesting, but the Corsican believe he never did very much for Corsica. The Ajaccio Cathedral, the Cathedrale Notre Dame de la Assomption was were Bonaparte was baptized and you can still see the marble font.
The heart of Ajaccio is based around the 16th century citadel the ‘old town.’ As well as an extensive choice of restaurants and shops you will also find Masion Bonaparte, the Cathedrale Notre Dame the cathedral and Palais Fesch. Inside the Palais Fesch is the Musée Fesch, Ajaccio’s fine arts museum. It was established by Napoleon’s uncle, Cardinal Joseph Fesch who was a great art lover. He bequeathed a thousand paintings from his collection to Ajaccio, many of which hang in the art gallery today.
Accommodation – Les Mouttes, Ajaccio – Highly recommended.
We were delighted with our choice of hotel on the waterfront and within walking distance of the old town. Our room was perfect with a gorgeous outdoor patio. Loungers on the beach and pool-side provided the perfect place to relax. Both breakfast and dinner were served overlooking the sea.
We reluctantly left Ajaccio and drove to Calvi in the north of the island. It too is a beautiful seaside town and a magnet for yacht owner who sail from Nice and Cannes.
Calvi has great beaches and a medieval citadel overlooking the marina. Restaurants line the harbor on the Quai Landry esplanade, making it a delightful area to hang out in the evening.
To get a spectacular view of the sweeping bay climb to the little chapel of Notre Dame de la Sera. A local legend says if you take the love of your life to admire the view, you will spend many happy years together.
We took an interesting day trip from Calvi to a Port de Galeria. Besides being a lovely sleepy little town the thing that surprised us the most were the cattle grazing and sleeping on the beach. They seemed relaxed and at home lying on the metre-high piles of dried seaweed. It was the most unusual sight when we are used to seeing cattle in New Zealand fenced, munching on green glass, but they clearly have a difference life style in Corsica.
Accommodation – Hotel Cas Bianca – Calvi
While it was very roomy, in a great location and within walking distance to the restaurants, it was pretty basic. If you are looking for a little more luxury, try La Villa.
Days 8-10 Saint Florent
Our last night was spent in the delightful town of Saint Florent.
It was originally a fishing village and has a pretty harbour and small fort. It is located on a small promontory in a natural bay with a back drop of mountains.
It’s a small town and you only need a morning to explore it.
If you find yourself in Saint Florent make sure you go to Auberge du Pecheur. It started as a fish shop and still is, but has morphed into the best seafood restaurant I have ever been too.
Accommodation – Hotel Demeure Loredar Saint Florent – Highly recommended.
This hotel five-star has a wonderful authentic character, rich stone and warm colours. Our room had a generous terrace overlooking the turquoise ocean, fishing boat and yachts. Our only regret was we only had one night there.
Up early the next morning we had just a short drive to Bastia to drop the rental car off before catching a ferry from Bastia to Livano on the Italian coast.
I hope this information helps you plan your Corsican adventure.