Ajaccio is the largest city (albeit a small city) on the island of Corsica, and located on its western coast. Numerous Ajaccio beaches as well as the city’s rich history draw thousands of visitors. It is the major port of call for ocean cruises in the Mediterranean, and a number of large international cruise lines have their ships anchor here—generally for one or two nights. It is also one of the island’s several ports for ferries to and from mainland France, Italy, and its island of Sardinia.
Corsica and Ajaccio travel has been important to mariners and conquerors for centuries, beginning with the Greek Empire who called the island Kallisto, meaning the “most beautiful.” The Roman Empire arrived in Ajaccio in 259 BC, and independent republics from mainland Italy ruled for the nearly 2,000 years after that. The Republic of Genoa began ruling the island in the twelfth century, and it was during this time that the massive citadel that dominates the city was built. This is one of the main attractions of a vacation to Ajaccio as are similar huge defensive structures built by the Genoese in the island’s other seaports—most prominently Calvi and Bonifacio. The city is known as the birthplace of Napoleon who was born here in 1769, the same year the Genoese were finally ousted and Ajaccio travel for the purpose of conquest ended.
The Ajaccio beaches are the primary attractions of a vacation to Ajaccio and if you are strolling on the city’s main beach (the Plage St. Francois), you will be strolling in the shadow of the citadel, which sits on a point guarding the western entrance of the harbor. Also on this point is a museum that chronicles the history of the region and the house that was the Bonaparte family residence. You will also find one of the finest Ajaccio hotels here, the Palazzu u Domu. This is the former palace residence of one of the wealthiest families in the city, and is a luxurious boutique hotel with one of the best locations if you intend on staying in the city, as it is within walking distance of most of the things to do in Ajaccio city center. There are boat cruises available from the Citadel point to the four rocky Sanguinaires Islands that are just offshore.
Other Ajaccio beaches will be found along the coast on both sides of the city. Probably the most popular for a family vacation to Ajaccio is Ricanto Beach, located only a short drive from city center. This one of the island beaches with a lifeguard, and has ample parking as well as toilets and other facilities. If you want sheltered lagoons with beaches that are very secluded, travel north along the coast as far as the village of Cargese about twenty miles away. Ajaccio travel to this region offers a number of vacation rentals that are generally one-family homes and small villas. There are also excellent diving routes along the coast, especially north of Ajaccio towards the Scandola Nature Reserve and south around the charming seaside town of Propriano where you can see the tallest of the several Genoese towers on the island. It is possible to climb stairs to the top of the graceful tower for fabulous views of the bay and coastline.