Corsica Bucket List – Top 5 Places To Visit

Corsica has many things to offer for its visitors. Here you can read our Corsica Bucket List with the Top 5 best places that you cannot miss visiting once you’re on this French island.

We have spent a couple of days this August on the island of Corsica. We have arrived at Bastia airport and based there for our entire stay. However we definitely wanted to visit other places on the island. So we planned a couple of day trips by car and in this article we are going to share with you our best tips what to visit during a Corsican vacation.

Bastia

Bastia is located in the northeast of the island of Corsica at the base of Cap Corse. It also has the second-highest population of any commune on the island after Ajaccio and is the capital of the Bagnaja region and of the department.

Bastia is the principal port of the island and its principal commercial town and is famous for its wines. The inhabitants of the commune are the Bastiais or Bastiaises. Approximately 10% of the population are immigrants. Despite its small size the port of Bastia is the busiest French port on the Mediterranean Sea with 2,291,944 passengers in 2011. This makes it the second busiest French port behind Calais (about 15 million passengers).

After the World War II., Bastia gradually emerged as a key economic centre of Corsica. The Bastia agglomeration is the most extensive on the island. During the last fifty years Cardo had the second homes of wealthy Bastiais. Currently Cardo is a district of Bastia. It attracts many wealthy people who want to live there as it has all the advantages of a village in the countryside while being close to the city.

Best experiences in Bastia

Calvi

Calvi is the seat of the Canton of Calvi, which contains Calvi and one other commune, Lumio. It is also the capital of the Arrondissement of Calvi, which contains, besides the Canton of Calvi, three other cantons: L’Île-RousseBelgodère, and Calenzana.

According to legend, Christopher Columbus supposedly came from Calvi, which at the time was part of the Genoese Empire. Because the often subversive elements of the island gave its inhabitants a bad reputation, he would have been expected to mask his exact birthplace.

The place was founded in the 13th century. Its motto, “Calvi semper fidelis” (“Calvi Always Faithful”), referred originally to its loyalty to the Republic of Genoa. The motto originates from 1553 when Calvi repulsed two attacks by the French and Turks aided by Corsican exiles.

Best experiences in Calvi

Ajaccio

Ajaccio is the capital city of Corsica. It is also the largest settlement on the island. Ajaccio is located on the west coast of the island of Corsica, 390 km southeast of Marseille. The original city went into decline in the Middle Ages, but began to prosper again after the Genoese built a citadel in 1492, to the south of the earlier settlement. After the Corsican Republic was declared in 1755, the Genoese continued to hold several citadels, including Ajaccio, until the French took control of the island.

The inhabitants of the commune are known as Ajacciens (men) or Ajacciennes (women). The most famous of these is Napoleon Bonaparte, who was born in Ajaccio in 1769, and whose ancestral home, the Maison Bonaparte, is now a museum.

Best experiences in Ajaccio

Porto-Vecchio

Porto-Vecchio is a medium-sized port city in Corsica. It is the seat of two cantons: Bavella and Grand Sud. The commune of Porto-Vecchio is 64 kilometers east of Sartène. The north shore of the gulf has many resorts. The east coast, a shore with cliffs, is less habitable, the coast goes southwest to the border of Bonifacio commune.

Porto-Vecchio is placed in a region that in earlier times was marshy and suffered greatly from malaria. The name means “Old Port”, which may refer to the Roman port that left traces in the vicinity. Subsequently, the region was more or less abandoned because of the malarial marshes but became part of a large Christian parish. The city was refounded in 1539 by the Bank of Saint George. The Genoese were careful to preserve the Roman port within the walls, which are trapezoidal and enclose the main square, place de la République, near the church, Église St.-Jean Baptiste. The Genoese intended a colonia, but malaria soon killed most of the Genoese settlers. Another colonies later suffered the same fate.

But, World War II brought the presence of allies who were determined to eradicate malaria for the health of all concerned, but especially the soldiers and airmen. Through drainage, filling and spraying they succeeded, making the region newly attractive because less pestilential. The current population derives from an expansion that started about 1950.

Best experiences in Porto-Vecchio

Bonifacio

Bonifacio is located in the southernmost tip of Corsica, well-connected with the island of Sardinia. It is built high atop white limestone cliffs. Those incredible white cliffs that made the place famous. The city of Bonifacio has two sections. The harbour area in Bonifacio Bay, and the Vieille Ville (old town), or la Haute Ville (the upper city) on the site of a Citadel. Which is located on the promontory overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

The citadel was built in the 9th century with the foundation of the city. They reconstructed and renovated the  Citadel many times since its construction and most recently was an administrative center for the French Foreign Legion. Today it is more of a museum. The city and its fortifications also extend for some distance along the cliff-tops, which are at about 70 meters elevation.

Best experiences in Bonifacio

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