Planning a vacation in Corsica? We’re here to help!
Anchored in the Mediterranean Sea almost halfway between the south of France and central Italy, Corsica is a place of contrasts. The island is one of the 18 official regions of France and has been part of that country for more than 200 years. It was under Italian rule for more than 500 years before that, and although they have inherited cultural traits and traditions from both of these great European nations, Corsicans have a fiercely independent spirit. A towering mountain ridge forms the backbone of the island, where twisting roads wind past rugged fields and forests of Aleppo pine, while down on the coast, crystal-clear waters and beaches beckon. You’ll find cool, cobbled Medieval streets, hearty, rustic food and wine and views around every corner.
The seaside town of Ajaccio, sandwiched between snow-capped peaks and the glittering Mediterranean Sea, has a refined elegance, with palm trees lining its waterfront and inviting squares joining the boulevards of the new town to the cobbled streets of the old. Ajaccio claimed the title of capital of Corsica in 1811, thanks to its most famous son, Napoleon Bonaparte, who was born here in 1769 and moved the center of the island’s rule from Bastia in the north to his hometown on the west coast. Maison Bonaparte, the house where Napoleon was born, is now a museum displaying preserved period furniture and the family’s personal possessions. Another place to do a little Napoleon-watching is the Palais Fesch Musée des Beaux-Arts. Established by Napoleon’s uncle, the Cardinal Joseph Fesch, the gallery contains mementos of the Bonaparte family and is also home to the largest collection of Italian paintings in France outside of the Louvre, with works by Botticelli, Bellini, and Titian among others.
Villages and views
Jumping in a car and driving along the endless winding roads that traverse Corsica’s rocky terrain makes for a great day out. The island’s many pretty hilltop villages offer the chance to stop, stretch your legs and perhaps sample some of the local cheeses or a board of pungent charcuterie. Listed as officially one of France’s Plus Beaux Villages (most beautiful villages), Piana overlooks the sparkling waters of the Golfe de Porto, a protected nature reserve that has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Drive through the spectacular red granite cliffs of the Calanques de Piana, almost 1,000 ft above the sea, then wander around the village’s narrow streets and stop for a coffee in the sun in the picturesque square.
If you’re a bit of a water baby or have a fascination for the natural world, then you’re in luck in Corsica. The island is home to a number of national parks and reserves that offer fantastic nature-watching and diving opportunities. One of the best is the Bouches de Bonifacio, the largest nature reserve in France, and a highlight here is the Lavezzi Islands Marine Reserve, a top snorkeling, and scuba diving destination. These 10 small islands that lie between Corsica and Sardinia are the site of many scientific studies because of the abundant marine life that fills their waters, and scuba divers will be able to spot colorful and exotic fish such as rainbow wrasse and silver bream. Talk to your Luxury Retreats concierge to organize a snorkeling or scuba expedition, or perhaps a leisurely sailing tour.
Pick of the beaches
Boasting almost 200 beaches along its 600 miles of coastline, Corsica offers a dizzying choice, from intimate hidden coves to magnificent bays. Some of the island’s most popular are around the port town of Porto Vecchio and perhaps the most famous is the Plage de Palombaggia, known for its wide sandy shore, gorgeous pink rock formations, and calm, clear waters. Up in the north, the Désert des Agriates is an area of wild beauty where the pristine Plage du Lotu and Plage de Saleccia are deservedly popular options.
Rent a house in Corsica from Luxury Retreats
From Calvi and Lumio in the north of Corsica, down through Sainte-Lucie de Porto-Vecchio and the harbour town of Porto Vecchio in the east and to Bonifacio at the Island’s southern tip, we have a stunning selection of properties to choose from on the island.
Homes in Bonifacio
Perched atop the limestone cliffs of a peninsula with a sheer 200ft drop down to the rocks below, Bonifacio is a well-preserved fortified town with a wonderful Old World ambience and charming medieval lanes lined with venerable houses. Our Bonifacio rentals are just right for a large group of friends or an extended family gathering, sleeping anything from 10 to 14 people. Enjoy views of the sparkling Mediterranean from your sun-soaked deck, cool off with a dip in your private pool or visit the nearby beaches and golf course.
Homes in Porto Vecchio
Corsica's oldest resort, the beautiful Porto Vecchio, was established by the Genoese. It boasts a smart marina and, high above, the walled old town with its leafy church square, boutiques and restaurants. With traditional pink-stone facades or clean-lined, modern designs, our Porto Vecchio villas will happily accommodate parties from 8 to 14, and feature turquoise pools ringed with come-hither loungers, barbecues for alfresco feasts and sweeping views.
Homes in Calvi
Chic Calvi is one of Capri’s most photogenic spots, dominated by its ancient citadel situated in the upper part of the town. Its streets are stuffed with quirky boutiques and pavement cafes, plus there’s a picturesque marina and 3 miles of beautiful beaches along the bay. Our Calvi villas offer a peaceful retreat that’s still close to the charms of Calvi town and the nearby coast. Sit by your pool or wander through gardens fringed with olive trees, and as the sun sets pour yourself a glass of wine and cook up a feast in your beautifully appointed kitchen.