Corsica vacations generally are designed to take advantage of the island's unique geography and topography that provide its primary attractions. Its location in the Mediterranean Sea and so close to the mainland of France, Italy, and North Africa mean that a trip to Corsica has been on the itineraries of mariners, explorers, and invaders for thousands of years.
The empires of ancient Greece and Rome both ruled for a while. After the fall of the Roman Empire, independent republics from mainland Italy ruled through almost the entire eighteenth century. It was the last, the Republic of Genoa, that built the massive citadels that still watch over the main seaports. Today, these huge fortresses provide one of the most striking (and photographed) attractions on the island. There is hardly anyone who enjoys vacations to Corsica who does not set eyes on and explore at least one of these citadels. Many Corsica vacation packages feature at least one of these ancient structures, and even passengers on ocean cruises will see one during short ports stops. Most of the cruise ships dock for one or two overnights at the port of Ajaccio, although sometimes the port of Calvi is used. Both these cities have impressive citadels and fascinating old town districts that often feature in cruise ship shore excursion itineraries.
Although there are airlines to Corsica that fly into four different airports, the largest percentage of visitors arrive for their Corsica vacations by ferry. Numerous ferries are regularly scheduled from Italy's nearby island of Sardinia as well as several cities on the French and Italian mainland, from Marseille and Nice to Livorno and Genoa. Many vacation packages to Corsica include this form of transportation, and the passengers certainly are treated to the sight of a citadel; the ports of Calvi and Bonifacio are both known for their exceptionally impressive citadels. The busy seaport of Bastia (whose name is derived from the word for bastion) also boasts an imposing fortress.
Since this is an island, there is coastline. And the vast majority of vacations to Corsica occur only to take advantage of this part of the island's geography. More than 200 pristine beaches, many of which are virtually deserted, and they stretch for some 600 miles. It is almost impossible to enjoy Corsica trips without happening upon a beach at some point. By far, the majority of Corsica vacation packages are beach vacations. There are wonderful beach holidays to be had everywhere on the island, but Porto Vechhio is probably the most popular resort area.
With all that sea everywhere you look, Corsica vacations also take advantage of excellent scuba diving. Because of the near absence of pollution in this region, the waters are particularly clean and clear. The best dive spots are on the western coast of the island from about Calvi, where you can dive the wrecks of ships and World War II bombers, down to about Ajaccio. The waters off the Scandola Nature Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the northwest coast, are probably the best for diving. The straits between Corsica and Sardinia are also popular for diving as they are protected by international treaty.
Corsica Vacation Rentals
Corsica Vacation Rentals
Corsica vacation rentals have been providing the kind of accommodation most preferred by tourists from Europe for their holidays for many years. Americans have recently begun to discover the value of self-catering vacations, and you will find many varied options available to you on this beautiful Mediterranean island. A vacation rental in Corsica gives you the freedom to enjoy all the things to do on the island at your own pace. Choosing this type of lodging over Corsica hotels can also help small groups and families save on their budgets. In the major towns (all of which are seaports), you can find modern houses for rent, town houses, as well as apartments and flats.
Villa rentals in Corsica are the most popular by far. There are modest ones with one or two bedrooms, and extremely elegant beachside villas. The luxurious Bella Marina a little north of Porto Vecchio is an excellent example of the latter, with four spacious bedrooms that can accommodate as many as eight people. It is set in beautifully landscaped gardens with a swimming pool and barbecue. Groceries are delivered daily, and mid-week maid service is included. You can cook for yourself in a fully equipped modern kitchen, or you can rent the property with a gourmet chef to cook for special meals or during your entire stay. All this comes with lovely views of the beaches along the bay. If you do some research, it is even possible to find Corsica vacation rentals that include a car for transportation.
Vacations to Corsica also take advantage of another geographic feature—the island's dramatic and rugged mountains. They cover almost the entire island, reaching all the way down to the sea and reaching a height of nearly 9,000 feet above sea level. Long distance hiking, short hiking excursions, mountain biking, and horseback riding are popular in the mountainous hinterland. Some of the most unique Corsica hotels are also located in the hills and mountains. These are called "auberge ferme" and are usually old stone farmhouses that operate as charming bed and breakfast inns. Many Corsica vacation packages—including shore excursions from large ocean cruise ships—will include at least a visit to one. Many are farms, and lunch on locally grown products, including wine tasting from vineyards, is often included.