A holiday in the wildest Corsica.
Who says that beach holidays must necessarily be characterized by unbridled nightlife, crowded beaches and queues in the streets? In Corsica, there are many secluded spots where time moves slowly off the beaten track, far from the most popular tourist circuits. Do you have a few days at your disposal and don’t have many ideas? In the next few lines, I’ll take you with me and reveal all the secrets I’ve learned during my stays on the island.
Are you ready? Let’s go!
The land of the Towers
Cap Corse or Capi Corsu is the most curious part of the whole island, narrow and long, completely covered in maquis (scrub), its coves of crystalline water are an unforgettable discovery. It is the land of Genoese towers: of the 85 erected throughout the island by Banco di San Giorgio to protect it from Saracen raids, Cap Corse is home to the majority. The whole coast is scattered with them and just think that in the past, thanks to a signalling system, a message could be sent to the whole of Corsica in less than an hour. Incredible!
Starting from Bastia, the beating heart of the island, as well as the main port of arrival for ferries from Italy and France, you can turn your motorbike, your camper or your car to the north and leave for Erbalunga, Marina di Sisco and Pietra Corbara. A smooth, luminous road will open up in front of you, surrounded by an expanse of green on one side and the blue of the Tyrrhenian Sea on the other, and where first the island of Pianosa, then the island of Elba and finally Capraia will appear in order on the horizon.
In Pietra Corbara, the small cove downstream of the town is a lovely place for a dip and for a nice croissant in the outdoor area of the little bar overlooking the beach. As in many other beaches of Cap Corse, here you will usually see seaweed, a positive sign of the health of the environment and a distinctive mark of its wild character. In the summer, beaches are often cleaned at dawn by small tractors but eliminating them completely is not easy and not recommended: you have to learn to live with it if you want these places to fully get under your skin!
A restaurant not to be missed: Les Chasseurs
Before heading north, there is a restaurant that I recommend you not to miss.
Les Chasseurs is located just a few steps from the beach and here, under a roof of mulberry trees, grilled meat and pizza cooked in a wood oven (says an Italian!) are really delicious, as is the exquisite welcome of the manager and his children, who never misses the smile and the desire to chat a little. The atmosphere is particularly fairytale in the evening, when among the leaves of mulberries small colored bulbs light up.
At the Chasseurs you can also stop to sleep for your first stop, the structure has available some rooms and prices are on average with those of the island (100 euros per night in high season for accommodation and about 30-40 euros for dinner).
Welcome to the liveliest centre of the Cap Corse peninsula! Macinaggio is home to the largest marina for pleasure boats and therefore is a fairly popular destination. A stop here is mandatory for the beach of Tamarone, which is just over 2 kilometres from the town and is the largest in the Cape, as well as one of the most famous in Corsica. Getting there is not always easy, and it’s better to get directions… my advice is to follow the signs for the U Stazzu campground as that will take you on the right path. The road that leads to this incredible white sandy beach is unpaved and depending on how much rain has fallen in the winter it can be full of holes, but this is where the wild spirit of the peninsula lies.
Don’t stop at the first spot though! From the beach of Talamone starts the path of the customs officers, an enchanting path about 2 and a half kilometres long, immersed in the scrubland, once patrolled at night by the gendarmes who watched out for illegal landings and smuggling. The most beautiful moment of the walk is the encounter with the Santa Maria tower, which seems to lie on the water and is reduced to a single facade with an almost cinematic effect, like a theatrical backdrop. Nearby you can find spectacular uncrowded coves where you can enjoy a dip in the transparent water.
For the fitter among us, the path continues to Barcaggio, opposite the northernmost island of Corsica, Girarglia, for a total of four hours in total. Although it is an easy route, remember to wear suitable shoes and sun protection!
Centuri e Nonza
After a day of trekking we want to enjoy a little relaxation and the fishing village of Centuri is just the thing for us! Its tiny marina is surrounded by cute houses with colourful folded up fishing nets hanging from their doors… a unique and very romantic photography set. The few boats moored on its piers are used for lobster fishing, a local tradition to supply the restaurants that populate the small square with their outdoor areas. It’s a truly enchanting atmosphere especially in the evening, with its illuminated lanterns.
Moving on a little further south, Nonza appears like a vision: imagine a village built on a spectacular rocky peak, topped by a tower overlooking a black pebble beach from about 150 meters above. Nonza is a dream, and an aperitif served on one of its terraces overlooking the sea at sunset is an absolute delight. The pitch-black beach is impractical in summer due to the high temperatures that the sand reaches, but here, with some white pebbles, many tourists write messages of all kinds, to lovers, friends, relatives… All readable only from the top of the tower!
Nonza is the last stop on the Cape tour, after three days immersed in nature and its unspoilt atmosphere, returning to the worldliness of Bastia or Saint Florent is not easy, but I assure you that you will feel regenerated like never before!
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