A round-up of things to do in Corsica to spice up your holiday

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If there's one island close to France that boasts a wide variety of landscapes that give you a feeling of being elsewhere, it's Corsica. Also known as the "Isle of Beauty", Corsica is the 4th largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is very close to Sardinia, with only around ten kilometres separating them. Its mild climate, typical of the Mediterranean region, makes any trip to Corsica very pleasant, whether in summer or winter, and in the departments of Haute-Corse or Corse du Sud. In this article, we take you on a little tour of the island, down the west coast from Cap Corse to Bonifacio and up the east coast through the mountains to Haute-Corse.

A map of Corsica
Corsica (c) www.larousse.fr

The island is a natural paradise, combining mountainous and maritime landscapes all over its surface. It is criss-crossed by mountain ranges from north to south and is home to nature reserves, including a regional nature park covering 51% of its surface area. The wealth of landscapes, flora and fauna means there's plenty to see, and plenty to do! In this article, discover the best things to do in Corsica!

Cultural activities in Corsica

The citadel of Corte
The citadel of Corte

Corsica is renowned for its strong cultural identity, including its language, which is still used by almost half the island's population.

Corsica has a rich history, and there are plenty of sites to explore if you're wondering what to do apart from hiking and swimming. Aside from museums, here are a few places to visit in Corsica if its history intrigues you:

  • in Haute-Corse: the citadel of Corte in the heart of the island, the citadel of Calvi in Balagne, the Roman city of Mariana to the south of Bastia, and the archaeological site of Aléria to the north of Solenzara.
  • in Southern Corsica: the prehistoric site of Filitosa where you can discover the menhirs, about twenty kilometres from Propriano.

And let's not forget the many Genoese towers all along the Corsican coast.

Corsican charcuterie: figatellu, coppa, lonzu
Corsican charcuterie: figatellu, coppa, lonzu... (c) www.fr.hotels.com

Corsica's regional gastronomy is also well represented, thanks in particular to the quality of the local produce: olive oil, chestnut flour, honey, wine, as well as Corsican charcuterie and cheeses. Enjoying a good piece of charcuterie such as coppa, lonzu or figatellu accompanied by a good typical Corsican cheese such as brocciu as an aperitif is a must-do in Corsica. For the main course, you could be tempted by aziminu, a kind of fish-based bouillabaisse, or wild boar stew, known in Corsican as stufatu di cignale. A slice of fiadone will round off the meal perfectly before you set off on a new activity, unless you're tempted by a little canistrelli if there's any room left.

Sports activities in Corsica

Corsica is rich in landscapes, and at the same time offers a wide range of activities to discover them. It's absolutely impossible not to know what to do in Corsica during your stay, and this article will prove it.

Cap Corse with Saint-Florent

Microlight flight in Corsica from Saint Florent

Let's start at Cap Corse, at the very top of the island, to begin our tour of Corsica's must-do activities.

Take off from Bastia in a microlight or gyrocopter to admire the Agriates desert from above, right next to Saint-Florent and its gulf, where you can jet ski, paddle and even flyboard. A trip out to sea to see the dolphins and whales of the Cap Corse marine park is a must during the summer season. Not far from Saint-Florent you'll also find Saleccia beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Corsica.

Île Rousse, Calvi and Balagne

First dive in Calvi

A little further west, discover Ile Rousse and Calvi in Balagne, where activities such as paragliding, surfing and windsurfing are highly recommended. Diving in the Gulf of Calvi is also a must in Haute-Corse. If you're interested in via ferrata, head for Morosaglia, on the eastern side of Corsica's interior. It's also a great starting point for rafting down the River Golo, a springtime activity with guaranteed thrills!

The Calanques of Piana, Ajaccio and Propriano

Boat trip from Sagone, Corsica

Then move on to Southern Corsica, departing from the Gulf of Porto. If you had to make a list of things to do in Corsica, discovering the Calanques de Piana, in the heart of the Bouches de Scandola nature reserve, would be top of the list. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it's a magnificent landscape to explore on foot or by mountain bike. And why not from the sea? Admire this paradise on a boat trip along the Calanques de Piana. A little further inland, the Spelunca gorges will impress you on a beautiful hike. Another gulf a little further south, the Gulf of Sagone, is one of the best diving spots in Corsica. It lies to the north of Ajaccio, our next destination, from where you can take a helicopter or sea kayak for one of the best views of the Corsican capital's surroundings, as well as the Sanguinaires archipelago. Let's finish our tour of the western side of southern Corsica with the Golfe de Propriano. There's plenty to do in Propriano, including diving, water skiing, jet skiing and wakeboarding, as well as land-based activities such as hiking, mountain biking and horse riding.

Solenzara and the Aiguilles de Bavella

Purcaraccia sports canyon at Bavella

The west coast is full of things to do, and so is the east coast of southern Corsica. On the border between Haute-Corse and Corse du Sud lies the charming village of Solenzara, on the Côte des Nacres, whose views of the Aiguilles de Bavella make it a superb spot for all kinds of sporting activities. If there's one outdoor adventure not to be missed, it's canyoning at Bavella. There's something to suit all tastes and levels, and from water sports to land-based activities up the Solenzara river, there's no shortage of things to do here! Kayak, stand-up paddle and accrobranche, as well as snorkelling on the beach at Canella, a little further south.

Porto-Vecchio, Bonifacio and the Lavezzi islands

Sea kayaking at Pinarello near Porto Vecchio

Further down the coast, you'll find the bay of Saint-Cyprien and Porto-Vecchio. Diving and snorkelling are recommended activities, particularly along the long, heavenly beach of Palombaggia. It's on this part of Corsica's east coast, between Porto-Vecchio and Bonifacio, that you'll find two of the island's other most beautiful beaches: Rondinara and Roccapina. At the tip of southern Corsica lies Bonifacio, renowned for its limestone cliffs. Don't hesitate to take a boat to discover the Lavezzi islands, a little corner of paradise for hiking and snorkelling.

Corte and the famous GR20

Hiker on the GR20 in Corsica
The ridges of the Punta di Ferriate GR20 (c) Terres d'Aventure

Having completed our tour of the Corsican coastline, let's not forget to head a little further inland either, as the mountainous area of Corsica is also full of activities to venture out on! The GR 20 trail is without doubt the best known for hikers in Corsica. It crosses the island from north to south over a distance of around 200km and offers some superb scenery, including the famous pozzines near Lake Nino. Snowshoe trekking is also available in winter, as the snow falls in the higher parts of the island. Corsica has a mild Mediterranean climate, but this can quickly change once you get into the mountains. Not far below the town of Corte, in the heart of Corsica, lies the Restonica valley, a superb location for many activities including climbing, canyoning and hiking. It would be no surprise to come across moufflons or wild boars, animals that are very present on the island.

It's your turn to explore Corsica!

And if all these things to do in Corsica don't seem enough, you should know that this is not an exhaustive list... You can find other activities such as parachute jumping, caving, quad or jeep rides, and many others. Discover all the things to do in Corsica. For more details, check out our guide to 10 things to do in Corsica in summer. After this brief overview of Corsica and the things you can do there, there's only one thing left to do: book your ticket to the island and try out all the activities we've listed! It's impossible to get bored on a trip to Corsica, which is one of the best reasons why you should go there at least once in your life. Don't hesitate any longer and go for it!