With 1,000km of stunning coastline, Corsica is a beach lover’s dream, with a mixture of white sandy bays and pebbly coves, widely considered some of the cleanest and most beautiful in France
Corsica’s coastline offers excellent swimming, and for the more adventurous there are plenty of water sports including sailing, windsurfing and sea kayaking. Take advantage of the island’s sailing opportunities and head off on your own mini cruise, perhaps chartering a yacht to explore the shores. Explore the unspoilt creeks of the Lavezzi islands – or head to Saleccia beach, passing the historic Mortella tower en route, a prominent sight in the Desert des Agriates. If you prefer a faster pace, why not hire a jet ski to explore the hidden coves? Whether you’re heading offshore or along the coast, the choice is endless.
Shaped by years of erosion, the striking red granite Calanches de Piana plunge steeply into the sea and there are several well-signed walking routes to admire them from land. Another beautiful sight is the hamlet of Girolata, overlooked by a Genoese fort and only accessible by boat. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Gulf of Porto is breathtaking, flanked by sun-bleached granite cliffs and pretty pebble beaches. Although very different in character, the Straits of Bonifacio, separating Corsica from Sardinia, are equally stunning. Bonifacio is characterised by its beautiful limestone cliffs, including the famous ‘Grain de Sable’ (‘Grain of Sand’), an enormous rock lying just off the coast. On the opposite side of Bonifacio lies the Escalier du Roi d’Aragon, a staircase which, according to legend, was built by the Aragonese in a single night.
In the spring, explore the sublime stretches of fine sand along Corsica’s eastern plain from Palombaggia or Santa Giulia to Porto-Vecchio and you’ll soon understand why the island is considered ‘the cradle of angels’. As soon as you set foot on Corsican soil in summer there’s no time to lose: don your swimming costume, pack your towel and sun cream and head off to breathe in the scented air of the pine-fringed beaches of Saint- Florent. In the autumn, make a day trip to the famous Sanguinaires islands off the coast of Ajaccio, an archipelago considered a paradise for birds, inhabited by peregrine falcons, shags, warblers and ospreys. Visit the Parata tower, a former Genoese fortress and one of the symbols of Corsica’s history, and watch the sunset – Alphonse Daudet described Corsica as ‘a reddish island with a wild appearance’.Or simply head for the beach and enjoy a plate of sea urchins ( in winter only) or shellfish with a glass of Corsican white wine – heaven.