Corsica is really deserving of the name “Island of Beauty,” with its breathtaking beaches, vast tracts of pristine forest, and towering, snow-capped mountains. There are gorgeous seaside towns and quaint little villages tucked into the hills.
There is a wide variety of fun activities to partake in on the island of Corsica. Beachgoers, hikers, and fans of other outdoor activities will find their heaven here. The island has a thousand kilometers of coastline with clear, shallow seas, making it ideal for water sports like snorkeling and scuba diving.
Despite being a part of France since 1769, the island of Corsica nonetheless maintains its own unique culture. The landscape is still peopled by free-roaming donkeys; the music is unlike anything other; and the food is characterized by bold, pungent cheeses, chestnut polenta, and chestnut biscuits.
Top 14 attractions in Corsica, France
Check out our recommended Corsica attractions to learn more about this beautiful island.
- Bonifacio Citadel (U Vechju Portu)
- Bastia’s Old Port
- Cap Corse
- Bavella Needles
- Petit Sperone Beach
- Réserve Naturelle des Bouches de Bonifacio (Bonifacio National Park)
- Réserve Naturelle de Scandola
- Calvi Citadel
- Maison Bonaparte, Ajaccio
- Lavezzi Islands, Bonifacio
- Water Sports
- Désert des Agriates
- Corsica’s GR20
If you’re looking for a beach vacation in Corsica, Porto-Vecchio is an excellent choice as it is also one of the best attractions in Corsica. This little town on the island’s southeast coast is well-known for its beautiful beaches, such as Palombaggia and Tamaricciu. Porto-Vecchio is a wonderful spot to stay in Corsica, with its 16th-century Old Town that looks out over the harbor and its many shops, cafés, and restaurants along the winding alleyways of this picturesque Mediterranean village.
The old town is set against the walls of a Genoese castle built in the 16th century and features views of the marina, which is regularly visited by yachts. The town’s main plaza, Place de la République, and its winding lanes are packed with shops, clubs, and restaurants. Palombaggia, a popular beach known for its stretch of sand bordered with pine trees, and Santa Giulia, a beach that resembles a lagoon, are both within easy driving distance.
Among Corsica’s fortified settlements, Bonifacio Citadel is the first inhabited. The Bonifacio Citadel, which was constructed in the 9th century, may be found on a peninsula measuring two square kilometers to the southwest of the marina. Narrow lanes, stone staircases, churches, and a variety of stores and restaurants may all be found within the fortified city.
Beautiful vistas of the Mediterranean and the southern coast of Corsica may be had from the Bonifacio Citadel as well. The climb up the steep stairs to the citadel might be exhausting, but a small train can help you out. Citadelle de Bonifacio is one of the best attractions in Corsica.
- Address: Bastion de l’Etendard, Rue de la Torricella, 20169 Bonifacio, France.
Bastia’s Old Port (U Vechju Portu)
Bastia, a city on the northeastern coast of Corsica, is the island’s economic hub. There is a port station there that travels to both France and Italy, making it the primary point of entry. The Old Port of Bastia may be found directly south of the port, and it is one of Corsica’s top attractions.
It has a charming, old-world atmosphere that makes it a pleasure to stroll about. Relax with a glass of pastis or Corsican wine at a table on one of the outside terraces overlooking the water and people-watch. The Old Port of Bastia is the perfect spot to calm down and enjoy the Mediterranean lifestyle.
- Address: Rue de la Marine, 20200 Bastia, France.
The Cap Corse peninsula, at the island’s northernmost tip, is one of the most beautiful places in all of Corsica and one of its top attractions. There are rolling hills and lush valleys around the peninsula, perfect for cultivating grapes, citrus, and olive trees.
Pino, atop a forested hill; Nonza, clinging to a cliff; and Rogliano, a cluster of small villages and historic fishing ports, are just a few examples of the medieval perched towns that make up the terrain.
Beautiful and spacious, the Plage de Farinole is a popular sunbathing spot. The undercurrent makes this beach dangerous for swimmers, but surfers love it. Rentable surfboards and surfing lessons are both available on the beach. The beachfront restaurant at Plage de Farinole is another attraction.
Aiguilles de Bavella, also known as the Bavella Needles, are a group of rocky pinnacles made of red granite that can be found in southern Corsica, just a few kilometers northeast of the hamlet of Zonza, and it is one of the best attractions in Corsica. This part of the Corsica is perfect for hikers and those of you looking for an opportunity to spend some time in the pristine nature of the area.
Seeing these needles is a breeze if you take one of the various hiking routes that start at the Col of Bavella off the D268 Road. On its route from its northern terminus in Aosta to its southern terminus in Conca, the famed GR20 path crosses the base of the Bavella Needles.
Réserve Naturelle de Scandola
Scandola Nature Reserve, on the northwest coast of Corsica, is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site located about 15 kilometers north of Porto. Half of its almost 20 square kilometers of land are covered by water; its rugged shoreline is composed of red porphyry, rhyolite, and basalt. Calvi and Ajaccio both have ports where day-long boat tours to this stunning region depart daily.
You’ll swim with the fish that call this reserve home as you discover secret coves and explore the greatest cracks in the rocks. Make sure you visit this amazing landmark on your trip to France, as it is one of the best attractions in Corsica.
- Address: Maison de la Mer, Route du Port, 20245 Galéria, France.
- Monday to Friday from 8:30 AM to 12 PM & 2 PM to 5 PM.
- Closed on Saturdays & Sundays.
Petit Sperone Beach
Petit Sperone, a beach on the southeast coast of Corsica 5 kilometers from the center of Bonifacio, is often regarded as one of the island’s most picturesque spots and one of Corsica’s top attractions. Although the parking lot is a good 15 minutes away on foot, Petit Sperone is well worth the time and effort it takes to get there. About 90 meters of the beach stretch along the bay’s square outline.
There is only a snack bar in the parking lot and nothing more on the beach itself. If you find that it’s too crowded, especially in the summer, you may continue south for another 15 minutes to Grand Sperone Beach, which is another picturesque beach in Corsica and one of its best attractions.
Réserve Naturelle des Bouches de Bonifacio (Bonifacio National Park)
All French territorial waters, from the southern point of Corsica to the French Riviera and the Italian coast, are part of the Bouches de Bonifacio Nature Reserve, a protected marine environment recognized by UNESCO.
The reserve has a wide variety of coastal habitats, including marshes, lagoons, and other coastal regions, and it spans a total area of 80,000 ha. This habitat is home to several endangered bird and fish species, and it is one of Corsica’s top attractions.
The marine reserve of the Lavezzi Islands, a popular spot for snorkeling and scuba diving, is a feature of the Bouches de Bonifacio. Deep-sea divers will discover a wondrous new world under the turquoise waters. Rainbow wrasse and silver bream are just two of the unique and brightly colored species that have been spotted in this area.
The entrance to Calvi’s walled Haute-Ville always feels dramatic since you have to pass beneath the imposing walls that the Republic of Genoa built in the late 15th century to protect itself from the Franco-Ottoman alliance’s fleets.
You may wander the cobblestone alleyways and climb to the ramparts for breathtaking views of the bay after passing through a tunnel that was formerly guarded by a drawbridge.
Featuring three bastions, a beautifully aged baroque cathedral, and a historic residence previously inhabited by Christopher Columbus, the citadel stands as a proud emblem for Calvi and is also one of the best attractions in Corsica.
- Address: Haute ville, 20260 Calvi, France.
Maison Bonaparte, Ajaccio
From 1682 until 1923, Napoleon Bonaparte’s family lived in the house where he was born. Guests may see the chamber where Napoleon was born in 1769 and learn fun facts about the Bonapartes and the times in which Napoleon lived. This museum is one of the best attractions to visit in Corsica.
Although nearly none of the original furniture and art exists, the home shows a meticulously studied reconstruction of what it would have looked like in the late 18th century. The audio guide is available in other languages for those who do not know French.
- Address: Rue Saint-Charles, 20000 Ajaccio, France.
- Tuesday to Sunday from 10:30 am to 12:30 PM & from 1:15 PM to 5:30 PM.
- Closed on Mondays.
Lavezzi Islands, Bonifacio
The Lavezzi Archipelago is a group of rocky islands located about 4 kilometers off the southeast coast of Corsica, and it is one of the best attractions in the region. They are located in the strait of Bonifacio, and their beautiful reefs make them excellent spots for underwater exploration. Take a shuttle boat from Bonifacio or Porto-Vecchio to reach Lavezzu Island quickly and conveniently.
There is a three-hour hiking track on Lavezzu with great photo opportunities and breathtaking scenery. For centuries, these reefs have posed a threat to mariners, most notably leading to the tragic sinking of the ship La Sémillante in 1855. On Lavezzo, the largest island is a cemetery dedicated to the victims of this catastrophe.
Although it may seem self-evident, Corsica is one of the best places in France to participate in water sports, and it is one of Corsica’s top attractions. The seas around the island are warm enough for swimming from May to October, with temperatures averaging 19 °C to 24 °C.
La Revellata, on the border of Scandola Nature Reserve, or Palombaggia Beach and the Lavezzi Archipelago, to the southeast of the island, are just two examples of the many nature reserves that surround the island and provide excellent diving and snorkeling opportunities. Paddling around the island’s rugged and indented coast is a popular pastime for sea kayakers.
Désert des Agriates
Scrubland, agricultural plains, jagged shorelines, and creamy sand beaches make up the Désert des Agriates, a huge protected environment that is one of the best attractions in Corsica. In order to sunbathe on the pristine sand, many travelers travel to the Agriates Desert.
The Plage de Lotu and the Plage de Saleccia are two of the most well-liked beaches due to their pure white sand and pristine blue seas. You may go swimming or sunbathe at either beach.
Plage de l’Ostriconi is a hidden gem due to its remote location and sand dune buffer. Hiking, nature hikes, and fishing are some of the other popular activities in the Désert des Agriates.
From Calenzana in the island’s northwest to Conca in the island’s southeast lies the GR20, a hiking trail that traverses the island diagonally. As one of Europe’s longest routes at 180 kilometers in length, it is also one of the most challenging. This hiking route is one of Corsica’s best attractions and one of the main reasons that people visit this magical land.
You can rest at inns spaced about a day’s walk apart along the way. The entire path may be hiked in 15 days, beginning or ending in settlement of Vizzavona, which is roughly in the trail’s geographic center. The trail’s toughest section is toward the north.