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World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > France > Corsica beaches

About Corsica beaches

The fourth largest island in the Mediterranean, Corsica is famous for being the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte. In addition to seeing the former abode of the military mastermind, any trip to this vine-clad island rewards visitors with sun-kissed beaches and rugged mountains, as well as verdant pastures and dense forest. At the height of summer, warm Mediterranean waters, balmy evenings and beaches, from which a host of watersports can be enjoyed, are the main attraction. Some of Europe’s least polluted seas see scuba-divers make a beeline for the island, with adventure activities like rock climbing and canyoning satisfying adrenaline junkies.

Beach:

Corsica is blessed with everything from small rocky coves and beaches strewn with multi-coloured pebbles to those replete with fine white sand. Bustling resort beaches complete with watersport centres are balanced out by tranquil, almost deserted spots. Choosing where to soak up the sunshine, or where to take a dip in the bath-temperature waters is a matter of personal preference. Beaches consistently rated as some of the island’s best (and some of the finest in Europe) include Barcaggio, Ostriconi, Palombaggia and Saint Giulia.

Beyond the beach:

Visit the island’s premier tourist town of Bonifacio, with its iconic citadel. Be sure to descend the 187 steps of the Escalier du Roi d’Aragon (King of Aragon Steps), which flow down the town’s sheer limestone cliff face. For a truly mesmerising view of the historic settlement, take a boat cruise down the Strait of Bonifacio. Another spectacular cruise is an organised excursion from Porto or Calvi to the UNESCO World Heritage Reserve Naturelle de Scandola – an impressive porphyritic rock mass and a haven for seabirds, dolphins and seals.

Family fun:

The combination of historic towns, first-class museums and sandy beaches means that Corsica has something for every family member. Children can throw themselves down the slides at the island’s water parks and take part in many of the water and adventure sports on offer like sailing, rafting, horse riding and (depending on their age) diving, hiking and mountain biking. Many of the island’s hotels also have families firmly in mind, with child-friendly restaurants, swimming pools, tennis courts and kids’ clubs. Local restaurants are generally happy for children to dine with their parents.

Exploring further:

Break away from the beaches and head to the inland town of Corte (situated approximately 40km (25 miles) east of Bastia). A 15th-century citadel lies at the heart of this charming old town, from where you can lap up dramatic views of the mountains and surrounding countryside. Learn about the island’s rich culture and traditions at the Museum of Corsica, or while away the hours, hopping between the cafés that line Cours Paoli. Alternatively take advantage of its mountain locale and do some serious hiking.

Splashing out:

Check into hotel Le Maquis (www.lemaquis.com). This small luxurious property is stunningly located on the Gulf of Ajaccio and backed by mountains. Swimming pools, tennis courts, attractive gardens, massages and a sandy beach are just some of the things to ease you through your stay. Watersports, boat cruises and 4-wheel drive tours can also be arranged. Fine food is served up from L’Arbousier restaurant, whose outdoor terrace makes the most of the hotel’s romantic setting.