The French island of Corsica is said to be one of the best places to visit in Europe for diving. Partly because the island is also renowned for its golden sandy beaches and crystal clear, blue sea. In striking contrast to this stunning coastline, the island’s interior has some rugged mountains that provide wonderful and picturesque settings for everything from hiking, rock climbing and mountain biking, to rafting and kayaking. Here are my tips for things to do in Corisca.
Golden, sandy beaches and crystal, clear seas by pimousse
While the Island offers numerous opportunities for various sports and outdoor activities, there is something for everyone. Here is my list of five of the best attractions in Corsica.
- The Stone Age site of Filitosa
Corsica has some spectacular evidence of Stone Age peoples that dates back to about 6600 BC, the time when prehistoric Europeans began farming. The archaeological site of Filitosa is a great place to take a leisurely stroll amongst ancient buildings and statues.
Photograph by akynou.
- Trinighellu, or the little train
The Corsican railway is an attraction in its own right. Not only does it provide a means for getting about the island, it is also a great way to sit back, relax and see the island as it winds its way through the mountains and forests and follows the coastline. There are numerous bridges, viaducts and tunnels, but one, the huge Vecchio viaduct, was engineered by the now famous Gustave Eiffel.
- Museums in Ajaccio
There are some spectacular museums in the capital city of Ajaccio. For those interested in archaeology the National Museum of the Bonaparte House has a wonderful exhibit on the Stone Age statues of Filitosa. There is also the Museum Fesch, which after the death of Cardinal Fesch in Rome in 1839, inherited over a thousand artworks from his house in Ajaccio. This collection includes works from the Neopolitan and Roman Baroque eras, as well as early Italian and Napoleonic art.
- Les Calanques de Piana
Getting out should definitely include a visit to Les Calanques de Piana, certainly one of the most spectacular natural landscapes on the island. Here you will see striking cliffs of red granite that have been worn over the years by wind and water, resulting in some bizarre and spiky shapes that are upwards of 300 metres tall.
- Parc Naturel & GR20
If it is hiking you are after, Parc Naturel has hundreds of walking and hiking trails of all levels. The park covers some 3,300 square kilometres inland, and is home to the main mountain peaks, some of which are 2710 meters high. The most well-known trail is the GR20, a 210km long path that can take two weeks from one end to the other, with ‘refuges’ along the way to shower and overnight.
Seaside restaurant at Erbalunga by Freddy Adams
And of course, as with the rest of France, Corsicans take their eating seriously; dining out is a favourite local past-time. The cuisine on the island tends to reflect the fact that the locals are originally mountain folk, so it is hearty soups, and meat and vegetables. Traditional Corsican cuisine is made up of simple dishes but strong on flavour – including local mountain herbs and locally produced olive oil. Corsica is well known for some very good red wines and roses. But start your meal with a typical aperitif, a Corsican muscat is a must.
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