Among the Corsica attractions is the fact that this beautiful island is one of the hidden jewels of the Mediterranean. Tourists from mainland Europe have been frequenting its hundreds of miles of pristine beaches for several decades. However, it is an island that is rarely visited by Americans, and even the number of European visitors is low compared with more famous islands such as Crete, Ibiza,and Majorca. This means that all the historic and natural attractions in Corsica are more unspoiled than just about anywhere else in Western Europe.
Top on the list of things to do in Corsica is going to the beach. It’s hard to miss them on this small island that boasts about 600 miles of them, many virtually deserted even during the peak summer weather. Palombaggia Beach near the seaport of Porto Vecchio is considered one of the most beautiful in all of Europe, and it can be fairly crowded during the summer. But there are few roads on this mountainous island, so some beaches that are equally beautiful are difficult to reach. Some can only be reached by strenuous hiking or by small boat.
Corsica attractions even include the transportation to get here. There are four airports here, and many visitors arrive by air. However, the island is quite close to the Italian island of Sardinia, mainland Italy and mainland France, and the largest percentage of visitors arrive by scenic ferry from one of these places. The main ferry ports are Ajaccio, Propriano, Bonifacio, Calvi, and Bastia. The crossing between Sardinia and Bonfacio takes about an hour. Crossing to either mainland France or Italy take between four and eight hours, depending on port. It is possible to book regular cruise ship type cabins for longer overnight crossings.
The Corsica tourist attractions are also enjoyed by passengers on ocean cruise liners, many of which have this island on their Mediterranean itineraries. The main port for these ships is Ajaccio, and sometimes Calvi. Although the port stops are usually only one or two overnights, the island is small (about the size of Wales) and much can be seen in a shore excursions. Additionally, sailing around the island and to the island is quite popular. You can charter both crewed and bareboat yachts for several days of sailing, or take a scenic cruise just for a day excursion.
Sailing cruises often involve diving, which is excellent all around the island. Several spots are particularly good. Another of the Corsica tourist attractions is the Scandola Nature Reserve (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) that lies between Calvi and Porto. The waters at the foot of the wild and rugged beauty spot provide some of the best diving. The waters between Sardinia and Corsica, called the Bouches de Bonifacio, are also protected by international treaty, and there is excellent diving here, especially around the Lavezzi Islands. There are more than 30 dive centers on the island, and you will find good spots everywhere. Many diving trips will include visits to secluded lagoons and deserted beaches.
Corsica tourist attractions also include the island’s mountains. Monte Cinto is its highest peak, at almost 9,000 feet above sea level. The famous GR20 Trek, considered one of toughest long distance hiking routes in all of Europe is located here. It typically takes hikers who are in excellent physical condition about two weeks to complete all 110 miles, sleeping in mountain refuge huts along the way. The route runs almost the entire length of the island, beginning just outside of Calvi and ending just outside of Porto Vecchio. If the things to do in Corsica for you do not include two solid weeks of strenuous activity and unrolling your sleeping bag in a hut, you can access the GR20 from several points either for a day or just a few hours.
There are numerous Corsica hotels and beach resorts to choose from, but many visitors prefer self-catering accommodation. These allow you to enjoy all the things to do in Corsica independently and at your own pace, and can help save money for small groups and those on family vacations. You can rent elegant beachside villas that allow you to rent a cordon bleu chef for a special meal or for your entire visit. There are also small apartments in the major towns, charming beachside cottages, and farmhouses in the mountains. It’s even possible to combine the Corsica attractions of cruises and sailing with vacation rentals, as there are yachts available for charter that sleep as few as two passengers or as many as a dozen or more.