Unsurprisingly, water activities take centre stage in Corsica, from sailing and windsurfing to snorkelling and diving
The unspoilt beaches of Calvi and Ile-Rousse are musts for surfing fans, and sailing enthusiasts should head for the southern tip of the island, where the winds strengthen as they are funnelled through the straits between Corsica and Sardinia. Also, around Bonifacio, near Figari, Tonnara, Piantarella and Santa-Manza, small lagoons facing the mountains are great sheltered places for relaxed sailing.
Take advantage of the many cruises on offer from Ajaccio, Cargese, Porto and Calvi to discover the unique Scandola Nature Reserve, part of the Parc Naturel Régional de la Corse, with its extraordinary variety of vegetation. A volcanic peninsula, the reserve is alive with a veritable explosion of colours and incredible landscapes. The Lavezzi islands provide equally enticing scenery just an hour by boat from Bonifacio. A paradise for divers, this magnificent nature reserve is home to a multitude of miniscule islets, hidden creeks and tiny beaches with crystal-clear water. Get in touch with one of our many diving clubs, whose instructors will introduce you to some hidden and undiscovered diving spots, as well as the principal underwater trail. Those who prefer more leisurely pursuits can don a snorkel and mask and stick to shallower waters; snorkelling is the ideal way to experience a variety of reefs, while guided snorkelling tours provide a great insight into marine biology.
Corsica is also made for regular fishing and harpoon fishing enthusiasts, with the island’s gentle climate and warm waters sheltering an abundant variety of rock fish. If, like Hemingway, boat fishing is more your thing, make sure you head for Ajaccio, a town reflected in the waters of its old port. You can learn traditional ‘berley’ and ‘drag net’ fishing techniques here to help you catch dentex, leerfish and barracuda. The Saint Erasmus fishing festival, celebrating the patron saint of Ajaccio’s fishermen, draws crowds of locals into the streets of the town to enjoy open-air banquets and traditional Corsican song.
Corsica’s particular maritime heritage has given rise to a plethora of internationally renowned nautical events: the east coast has been the venue for leading speedboat and jet ski events,while in Ajaccio, the famous Régates Impériales yacht race features over 300 sailors and attracts hordes of visitors to admire the mighty vessels with their massive triangular sails. Beach sports have also become increasingly popular in Corsica in recent years,with beach football and rugby stars competing on the island, and enjoying the adulation of the Corsican public. National championships are held in Porticcio, Sagone and Cargèse, where magnificent bays of fine sand and pristine water set the scene.