Top 20 Things to Do in Corsica

The 20 essential things to do in Corsica

Visiting Corsica is one of the best choices you will make if you hesitate with other European destinations! Indeed, there is no need to go far from France to be completely out of place. 1h30 flight from Paris, the Mediterranean island is waiting for you.

For many people, the island of beauty is inseparable from Napoleon Bonaparte who was born in Corsica, in Ajaccio, on August 15, 1769. If this is one of the reasons that made the island famous, Corsica is as a travel destination a superb jewel of the Mediterranean which stands out at every stage of your stay in Corsica.

From the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Scandola Nature Reserve, to remote historic hilltop villages, Corsica is packed with spectacular places of interest. The island cannot boast of having as many seaside resorts as in Sardinia or even on the Côte d’Azur, but nevertheless, Corsica has more than 1000 km of coastline to explore. Therefore, one can easily juggle from the beach to the mountain peaks and then to the forests where the fauna is rich there, in a single afternoon.

But what to do in Corsica?  Where to start?

The Isle of Beauty is above all a precious heritage. A deep cultural heritage that we invite you to discover now.

1. Visit Ajaccio

ajaccio-corse - things to do in Corsica

Credit photo: Flickr – JeanbaptisteM

Ajaccio : we have selected for you the best offers from among 70 possibilities

  • From Ajaccio/Porticcio: gulf and Sanguinaires by boat
  • From Ajaccio or Porticcio cruise to the Scandola reserve
  • Ajaccio: City and Coast Tour by Open-Top Bus

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The capital of Corsica is the gateway to the island and the department of Corse-du-Sud. Home to nearly 65,000 inhabitants, Ajaccio is a very dynamic small town. On the spot, you will not miss the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte, the Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption Cathedral at the end of the 16th century, the citadel and for the most gourmet, the city market, rich in discoveries.

In particular, take advantage of a boat trip for a three-hour trip to discover the local flora and fauna. On the program, several stopovers in the most beautiful coves on the West Coast. And don’t forget: mask and snorkel are a must to fully enjoy the trip…

2. Discover Porto-Vecchio


Photo credit: Flickr – jean françois bonachera

Porto-Vecchio : we have selected the best offers for you from among 26 possibilities

For many, the small port of Porto-Vecchio is a summer refuge. The population of the town quintuples in July and August, its marina bustling with activity. On the coast, paddleboarding, windsurfing and water skiing are all the rage! Porto Vecchio benefits from a wide choice of entertainment, to share with family or friends.

History buffs will pay particular attention to the Bronze Age ruins scattered among the rocky hills that border the city (Araghju, Turri, Ceccia, Tappa, Bruschicia) but also to the city citadel, built by the Genoese in 1539.

Far from the summer hustle and bustle, the most athletic will appreciate a mountain bike ride on the heights of the island. A getaway off the beaten track that promises to discover wild Corsica.

Finally, let the magic happen and end your excursion with a detour to the splendid Palombaggia beach . To describe it is quite simple, there are no words: you just have to see it to believe it…

3. Stroll through the picturesque village of Sartène


Photo credit: Flickr – Pascal POGGI

Barely 60 km west of Porto-Vecchio, Sartène is a picturesque village with medieval roots.

The tiny commune has a wonderful rural feel, with narrow streets and a myriad of lovely little squares to explore. Add to that a wine and a remarkable culinary heritage, and Sartène appears as a first choice destination in Corsica.

4. Go hiking with the family


Photo credit: Shutterstock – iacomino FRiMAGES

To visit Corsica as it should be, there is nothing like hiking. Between thrills and tranquillity, this is an activity that will suit your whole family. The island of beauty offers a wide range of marked trails that are suitable for all types of hikers.

5. Visit Calvi


Photo credit: Flickr – Pascal POGGI

Calvi : we have selected for you the best offers from among 20 possibilities

  • From Calvi: 4-Hour Cruise to Scandola
  • Calvi: Sunset Cruise to La Revellata
  • From Calvi: 6-hour cruise to Scandola and Girolata

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The commune of Haute-Corse still claims to be the birthplace of Christopher Columbus and at the same time, keeps this legend alive. Like many other localities on the island, Calvi was built on an outcrop of hill, at the edge of the water, which gives Calvi an unforgettable face.

A unique postcard that visitors enjoy discovering while strolling through the alleys of the old town, from authentic shops to small restaurants, until they reach the citadel.

Like Porto Vecchio, Calvi is an important tourist center where there are many nautical activities. In the summer, the port is teeming on all sides due to the many restaurants that have taken up residence there, and its marina which is home to imposing yachts.

6. Visit Saint Florent


Photo credit: Flickr – cremona daniel

The Patrimonio vineyard enjoys a mythical reputation in oenophile circles and for good reason… It is THE Corsican wine with the oldest AOC on the island. To enjoy it, you have to go to the pretty fishing port of Saint-Florent .

In addition to delighting the taste buds, the Corsican Saint-Tropez is home to a 15th century Genoese fortress, the remarkable Cathedral of Nebbio but also and above all, a superb local beach.

7. Take the best photos in Ota


Photo credit: Flickr – Anna & Michal

Ota is one of the real gems to visit in Corsica. The small village has one of the most enviable settings of all the municipalities on the island. A mountainous setting, authentic, wild and above all, Splendid.

A word of advice: bring your camera to capture every memory! You can visit Ota during a road trip in Corsica: a stage that you are not ready to forget…

8. Discover Bonifacio


Photo credit: Flickr – Pascal POGGI

Bonifacio : we have selected for you the best offers among 15 possibilities

  • From Ajaccio/Porticcio: excursion to Bonifacio by boat
  • Departing from Bonifacio: Cruise under the cliffs of Piantarella
  • Sunset cruise from Bonifacio

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It is an address that needs no introduction, and yet. For a day, a stay or a few hours, Bonifacio is a must on a trip to Corsica.

If the small town has a strong tourist footprint, neither time nor the world seems to have an impact on its splendor. Its cliffs, its old town, its marine cemetery, its “grain of sand”, its breathtaking watchtowers and then the staircase of the King of Aragon… All its charms give it a certain authenticity. Of those who make it all its beauty.

9. Visit the Bastia marina


Photo credit: Flickr – Pascal POGGI

Bastia : we have selected for you the best offers from among 35 possibilities

  • Bastia: Cap Corse and Saleccia beach in 4×4
  • From Bastia: desert des Agriates and excursion to the beach
  • Bastia: Harry Potter Outdoor Escape Game

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Bastia‘s marina bustles once the summer tourist season arrives, with the town’s remarkable wines flowing freely on the terraced tables in the Vieux-Port district. The latter is also incredibly beautiful.

With more than 40,000 souls, Bastia is one of those cities to discover… differently. It is off the beaten track, far from the landing stages and why not accompanied by a local guide that you will discover its true face, that of a proud and authentic Corsica. Let yourself be carried away between Terra Nova and Terra Vecchia: during the walk, it is they who will tell you the true story of Bastia.

10. Visit the ancient capital of Corte


Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons – Michal Osmenda

Formerly the capital of Corsica during its independence, the Paoline city is still considered as such today. Corte, perched on its heights, enjoys a superb cultural heritage: from above, it offers a beautiful collection of terracotta roofs, immersed in the middle of hills with lush vegetation.

From the alleys of the historic center to the citadel, the “sentinel of the island” reveals a raw and authentic character that does not need a filter to seduce all those who pass through its lands.

11. Visit Cargèse


Photo credit: Wikipedia – Peter Bona

Installed on the island for more than 2000 years, the village of Cargèse is renowned for its cultural heritage.

Witness to a long discord between the Greeks and the Corsicans, Cargèse is today home to a cosmopolitan beauty. Here, the baroque mixes with the iconoclast for a unique decor on the island of Beauty. A historic center of character that is worth the detour, like the marina of the village and the many hiking trails that surround it.

12. Explore the Lavezzi Islands


Photo credit: Flickr – Jean-Baptiste Bellet

Lavezzi : we have selected the best offers for you from among 6 possibilities

  • Porto-Vecchio: cruise in the Lavezzi archipelago
  • Porto Vecchio: Full-Day Boat Trip to Cerbicale and Lavezzi Islands
  • Fountaine Pajot Lavezzi 40

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Facing Sardinia, the archipelago of the Lavezzi Islands illustrates a small paradise.

Its endless horizon, clear waters, rocky coves and wild beaches give it an authentic character that has earned it the title of nature reserve today. For a day, take advantage of a boat trip to settle down for a few hours on one of the islets of the archipelago. On the program: swimming, sun and idleness…

13. Discover Porto


Photo credit: Flickr – Miwok

It bears the name of the only Corsican site listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983. It was within it that it was born, like the Scandola Nature Reserve, the Gulf of Girolata and the Calanques de Piana… Nestled in the jewel of the Gulf of Porto, the small village of Porto calls for a detour in its setting between sea and mountains. Its bay, its steep streets, its gray pebble beach, its red cliffs…

All of his character traits illustrate a particular postcard decor, that of a guaranteed crush.

14. Take a boat trip


Photo credit: Airbnb

If you are passing through the island of beauty, there is a step that you should not miss under any circumstances: boat rental in Corsica! Whether departing from northern or southern Corsica, with the aim of discovering the most beautiful creeks or simply walking along the coast, you will not be disappointed!

On the program, blue lagoon, view of the maquis and swimming in the middle of the Mediterranean! Here are some ideas for itineraries and discoveries by boat.

15. Explore Scandola Nature Reserve


Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons – Bluesoft57000

Scandola : we have selected for you the best offers among 45 possibilities

  • Porto (Corsica): eco-cruise in the Scandola reserve
  • Cruise Calanches de Piana and Scandola Reserve with Girolata
  • From Ajaccio or Porticcio cruise to the Scandola reserve

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It is an extraordinary, almost dreamlike place. Jewel of nature, the Scandola reserve preserves a precious ecosystem that it protects passionately.

And for good reason: the place is only accessible by boat (but some areas do not benefit from any mooring permission) and is strictly spared from mass tourism. A visceral, almost maternal instinct that today harbors a flora and fauna with sometimes extremely rare species.

Embraced by a powerful blue sea, caves and cliffs intertwine in bloodthirsty red for an extraordinary monochrome. Scandola is to see at least once in your life.

16. Discover the creeks of Piana


Photo credit: Wikipedia -Pierre Bona

Calanques De Piana : we have selected the best offers for you from among 24 possibilities

  • From Porto, Corsica: Calanques de Piana Cruise
  • Porto: cruise to Scandola and Calanques de Piana
  • Corsica: cruise to Scandola and the Calanques de Piana

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Still in the sublime Gulf of Porto, the mountainous Calanques de Piana.

A few kilometers from the eponymous village, the cliffs both drawn and torn illustrate a breathtaking landscape, 400 meters above the sea. A dreamlike panorama, out of time. Inaccessible by car, the Calanques de Piana must above all be deserved: they can be discovered along a steep walk, right in the middle of unspoiled nature.

17. Visit Ile Rousse


Photo credit: Wikipedia – Peter Bona

Ile Rousse : we have selected for you the best offers among 5 possibilities

  • From Calvi/L’Île-Rousse: Day Trip to Corsican Villages
  • First dive in L’Île-Rousse, Corsica
  • Snorkeling excursion to L’Île-Rousse, Corsica

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A portrait of the Corsican terroir, Île Rousse is a must on any trip. Founded by the political figure, the “Père Corse”, the “Babbù” Pascal Paoli, the city bears witness to an undeniable charm.

Its Place Paoli, its beaches and its Florentine-style houses live in the sandstone of this beautiful Corsica which seduces each of its visitors. Take a coffee there, stroll through its alleys and above all, yes above all, stop at Les Halles. Just by smelling them, they will guide you straight to the market stalls where local specialties promise your taste buds a real moment of happiness.

18. Crossing the Agriates Desert


Photo credit: Flickr -~Pil~

Agriates : we have selected for you the best offers among 9 possibilities

  • From Calvi: Agriates Desert and Beach Excursion by 4×4
  • From Bastia: desert des Agriates and excursion to the beach
  • Boat cruise in the Gulf of Saint-Florent and the Agriates desert

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Wild territory of Haute-Corse, the Désert des Agriates hosts a picturesque nature where the maquis is king. Along the winding roads and steep paths, the Désert des Agriates reveals an arid and authentic character: that of the Corsican land, without artifice.

A spontaneity that extends to its natural beaches: Lotu, Saleccia and Ghignu call for a change of scenery. Preserved from tourism, the places do not host any construction and are only accessible on foot or by boat but one thing is certain, the effort is worth the comfort…

19. Do the Customs Trail


Photo credit: Flickr – fotojaime

It all starts in Macinaggio. A small hamlet lost in the heart of Rogliano in which visitors like to lose themselves for a few days, far from mass tourism. If idleness and swimming are required during your stay, there is a must that it would be a shame not to agree: the Sentier des Douaniers ( see the route ).

A famous 3-hour hike from Macinaggio beach to the charming village of Barcaggio, which promises stunning scenery. Endless horizons, breathtaking panoramas, vestiges, cliffs and even local fauna invite you to a unique experience that you are really not ready to forget…

A piece of advice to live this moment as it should be: leave early in the morning, bring a cap, bottle of water and change for the return boat.

20. Visit Nonza


Photo credit: Flickr – Dany Tolenga

Her beauty is stunning, dizzying. Nonza, a discreet little village in Cap Corse, nestles in the heart of the mountain to which it seems to cling, feverishly. Overlooked by its citadel, the Paoline tower, Nonza is home to small houses with authentic charm. Among them, shops, cafes. There is one that literally takes your breath away. Installed on its rocky outcrop, “La Sassa” is a restaurant born from a sweet, mischievous and passionate madness.

We come here to sip a lemonade, drink a glass of wine or taste homemade dishes. But people come here above all for its magic: an exceptional panorama of the pebble beach and the surrounding beauty. Feet in the void, breath taken: it cannot be explained, it is lived.

Accommodation in Corsica

If the island has only 327,283 inhabitants, its population swells to 7.4 million when you add up all the visitors who go there each year. Finding accommodation in Corsica can therefore be expensive, very expensive. Here is a tour of Corsica of the cities where to stay.

Ajaccio and the west coastajaccio-loger-corse

Photo credit: Flickr – dmytrok

From the bay of Ajaccio to the Sanguinaires islands – from where the sun blazes in the sea with pleasure at dusk -, to the majestic Calanques of Piana and the picturesque village of Porto, you will be literally charmed, bewitched by the beauty indecent landscapes. Of course, the tourist affluence at its height in summer could make more than one grumble – especially the Corsicans themselves -, but the west coast is really worth the detour. To stay in Ajaccio or by walking along the coast, several housing solutions: hotels, homestays, campsites, or why not even a night under the stars on a beach (without a tent, wild camping is prohibited ).

The advantage of Corsican beaches is that even in summer, you can be alone and quiet there by going early in the morning until the sun becomes unbearable: around 11 am. We liked Sagone beach, ideal for swimming in clear, peaceful waters, and snorkeling. Further north, the Calanques de Piana – via the Capo d’Orto trail – are to remain blissful, not to be missed.
Find a hotel in Ajaccio


Photo credit: Flickr – Sheila Bandini

Calvi, with its citadel, its popular terraces, its beach, its pine forests and its port attract all kinds of tourists. A small garden of Eden where life is good. Come and stay in Calvi to appreciate the charms of its port and its many fishing boats alongside luxury yachts. The most beautiful places do not escape the great fortunes either… Calvi enjoys a good atmosphere where one can meander in peace in its maze of alleys without forgetting the Saint Jean-Baptiste cathedral. To get away from the tourists a little, try the shot towards Corbara and Pigna, these are two very charming little villages to visit.
Find a hotel in Calvi

Bonifacio, Porto-Vecchio and the southbonifacio-loger-corse

Photo credit: Flickr – Musiu Puti

Southern tip of Corsica, Bonifacio is perched on a vertiginous rocky outcrop of limestone cliffs above the sea. To say that Bonifacio is a splendid site is an understatement. After meandering through its narrow streets, set off for the beaches of Palombaggia and the town of Porto Vecchio , as pretty as they are crowded with people – we like it a little less. But choosing to stay in Porto-Vecchio is a good home base for exploring this south-eastern part of Corsica.
Find a hotel in Bonifacio
Find a hotel in Porto-Vecchio


Photo credit: Flickr – Robert Brands

And then Corsica is not just fine sand and crystal clear waters. In the center, reigns an alpine aftertaste with the high mountains and the wild gorges: in the Regional Natural Park of Corsica, you will adore the rigor of Corte, the lake of Calacuccia, and the Mont Cinto if you are a hiker or a sportsman in love with climbing, canyoning, kayaking and mountain biking. To enjoy the center of Corsica, choose to stay in Corte.
Find a hotel in Corte

Camille L.

Passionate about foreign languages, cooking and writing. I wish to share with you the places, the meetings and the gastronomic discoveries which gave relief to my travels.

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