Bonjour! Welcome to my article on the best things to do in southern Corsica. My name is Elise and I’m a 27 year old from France. I used to live in a village next to Lyon – in the picturesque Beaujolais wine region. My father traveled a lot for work, we lived in Africa for a few years and went on family holidays – so those things combined to give me this wanderlust feeling.
I have always loved the sun and ocean, and I’m not afraid to live on the other side of the world to experience new cultures and discover new places. Hence, when I saw the opportunity to live in the Seychelles I took it with both hands. Recently I have been living in the Seychelles. What a pleasure it is to wake up every day in this paradise and adventure to hidden gems.
Five Days Exploring the Beautiful Corsica
Corsica is a destination that has been on my bucket list for many years now, as several close acquaintances of mine raved about it. Moreover, it’s located super close to the French mainland and the landscapes looked amazing. I just didn’t have the opportunity to go before but I met a friend from Argentina who wanted to go there – so we decided to visit Corsica together.
We stayed in Corsica for five days in total and mainly explored the southern areas of the island. We stayed in an Airbnb not too far from Santa Giulia and Porto-Vecchio. During our five days, we only had enough time to visit either the north or the south. So we did our best to cover the whole region of the south, which is actually feasible if you like your days to be filled.
I was astonished by the beaches and color of the water in Corsica. The lush mountains topped with rugged granite were very impressive also. Driving around in our car, outside of the cities, was pure joy! Another aspect of Corsica that I loved was the proximity of the sea to the mountains. The island exceeded my expectations in more ways than one.
Corsica is a land of contrasts in terms of its landscape and culture – between the sparkling sea and rocky mountains, between modernity and tradition. The island offers a thousand different faces over every season and there are experiences to enjoy which can cover everyone’s desires. It doesn’t matter what you are into, Corsica has something for you!
Places that Stole my Heart in Corsica
One place that stole my heart in Corsica was Bonifacio. This town is situated on the southern tip of the island. Seeing the village perched on the cliff was impressive and all the streets were so cute. My best memory here was when I went a little further over in Bonifacio to a limestone cliff that offered a gorgeous view. The sunset illuminated the town in dazzling ways.
I also loved Calanques de Piana. An official UNESCO site, Calanques de Piana boasts a series of red-tinged rocks and epic cliffs that plunge for 300 meters into the Mediterranean. You cannot miss this place when visiting Corsica – and a boat trip around the region is a definite must-do to enjoy a different perspective and get up close to these magical sea-carved cliffs.
12 Best Things To Do in Corsica (South)
1. Visit Roccapina Beach and its Cool “Lion Rock”
Paradise awaits at Roccapina Beach with its idyllic stretch of powdery white sand and inviting turquoise waters. The beach is protected in a natural cove formation by rocks on each side. One section of pink rocks is shaped like a crouching lion and it makes for a wonderful photo opportunity. Legend has it that the lion was sad and turned into stone after an unfulfilled love affair.
2. Spend a Couple of Quality Days in Bonifacio
Bonifacio, or “Bunifaziu” as the locals call it, is one of the best hidden gems of France. A population of 3,000 people are perched up on limestone cliffs overlooking the southern coast of the island. The cobblestone streets of this medieval town are a pleasure to wander and the stunning waters nearby are a treat for the eyes. Be sure to give diving a go when you visit!
3. Explore the Beautiful Calanques de Piana by Boat
The spectacular red rock cliffs and crystalline waters of Calanques de Piana are best explored by boat. There are several boat tours on offer in the region where you can head out for the day and enjoy activities such as diving off the boat into the warm waters, exploring different rock forms, and even getting the chance to spot dolphins (if you are lucky) and other wildlife.
4. Hike around Calanques de Piana for Epic Views
Hiking around Calanques de Piana is just as rewarding as the boat trip. There are several trails to choose from in this region. Some of the most popular include the Tete de Chien, the Castle Trail and the Capo d’Orto Summit Hike. Each trail offers something different – from stunning coastal paths to jaw-dropping summit views. Pick one that suits your abilities.
5. Sunbathe and Swim at Santa Giulia Beach
Look no further than Santa Giulia Beach (Plage de Santa Giulia) for heavenly beach scenes. The gentle slope into the water makes this beach ideal for bathing and frolicking in the mid-summer sun. You can lie on the soft white sand on the right-hand side of the beach or head to the left-hand side and find small coves and cool rock formations to relax on!
6. Trek in the Mountains at the Bavella Needles
The Bavella Needles sit 50 km northwest of Porto-Vecchio and they make for a great day trip of trekking in the mountains of southern Corsica. It’s easy to see how the Bavella Needles gets its name – a section of rocky walls and peaks that almost resemble thin needles. Travelers can enjoy a range of different trails here, from short walks to tough long-distance treks.
7. Cool Down in the Lovely Purcaraccia Waterfalls
The Purcaraccia River flows into a series of enchanting natural pools and waterfalls. Here nature-lovers can find some respite from the summer heat and cool down under the water’s flow. There are also some canyoning opportunities in the area as well as some great nature walks. But for those short on time, you can’t go wrong with the Purcaraccia Waterfalls.
8. Check Out Petit Sperone & Grand Sperone Beaches
Petit Sperone & Grand Sperone are two beaches southeast of Bonifacio. Both of them are considered among the most beautiful beaches in Europe. Petit Sperone is a small bay with white sand and crystal-clear waters that are perfect for a dip. Grand Sperone, on the other hand, is a larger beach but it’s more remote – hence, there will be less people when you arrive.
9. Discover the Rich History of Porto-Vecchio
Travelers exploring the south of Corsica should stay in Porto-Vecchio for a few nights, or visit on a day trip to discover its history and enjoy the vibrant marina and Old Town. Porto-Vecchio has Roman origins and a 16th century fortification – so the history here is vast and intriguing. Getting lost in the Old Town with its alleys, restaurants, bars and boutiques is a lot of fun.
10. Take a Boat Trip Out to the Lavezzi Islands
Four kilometers from the mainland off the southern coast lies a scattering of islands called the Lavezzi Islands. This tiny archipelago is characterized by large boulders, rocky inlets and white sand beaches that are somehow even more beautiful than what you find on Corsica. Booking a boat trip is the only way to explore the islands but the trip is well worth paying for!
11. Try the Most Typical Corsican Dishes
Corsican food is based on local produce. Locals love charcuterie and cheese. You can find shops to buy delicacies. Chestnut is one ingredient that is used a lot because there are many chestnut trees in the interior. Sanglier (wild boar) is a specialty in Corsica too. All in all, the food is a mix of French and Italian but with a local twist. On the coast there is nice seafood.
12. Stay at the Domaine de Murtoli (Private Estate)
I suggest changing accommodation every three days in Corsica so you can cover different points. There aren’t many roads and the island is quite large. Make sure you spend at least one night at the Domaine de Murtoli – a spectacular private estate/hotel set on 6,100 acres of protected wilderness. You will find a sense of peace and calm here that you have never felt before.
Final Tips for Visiting Corsica
I recommend renting a car and traveling around by road trippin’ from place to place. Southern Corsica is known for its magnificent beaches while the north is better if you like peaceful, calm places without many tourists. There are four different international airports in Corsica, so you need to choose wisely where you want to arrive and from where you want to go back.