As we head towards Calvi we choose to negotiate through one of Corsica’s natural wonders, the exceptionally beautiful Calanques de Piana.
These are granite rock formations along the coast of western Corsica near Porto.
Winding south from Porto to Piana in the north west of Corsica, is a coastal road with some of the most stunning, otherworldly scenery that we’ve ever encountered in Europe.
The Calanques de Piana are incredible, sculptural, weather beaten rock formations with an almost alien feel to them.
The surreal landscape of wind-eroded granite cliffs tower over the road and then plunge dazzlingly into the sea.
The cliffs are a naturally harmonised palette of colours including red, pink, russet and honey.
Stacks, towers and pinnacles have been shaped by the elements and are up to 300 metres above the sea in some places.
There are a variety of pretty little villages scattered around Corsica and one of them is Piana.
We’re dropping in en-route to our next destination, the tourist town of Calvi.
Piana is a pretty village set in and overlooking the fabulous Calanqes de Piana; one of the most beautiful parts of Corsica.
The Calanqes de Piana is a stunning series of rock formations and we’ll be heading through those next.
Ajaccio is Corsica’s capital and is a port city on the rugged isle’s western coast.
As such it has a bustling little marina and large port complete with a multitude of colourful, bobbing boats.
The Tino Rossi Marina is a pleasant place to stroll around and enjoy the laid back bustle of fishermen carrying on their centuries old traditions.
Naturally the hubby opts to locate the more flashy boats and proceeds to act as if he has the money to own one . . .
Then we’re heading back to the pretty town beach for one of our budget picnics and a splash about!
Supermarket beer and baguettes! That’s how us cheapskates travel 🙂
That’s it for Ajaccio, we’re heading onward in a North Easterly direction as we head to the citadel town of Calvi via the spectacular Calanches de Piana and Gorges de la Spelunca.
Sunny Ajaccio’s old streets are lined with beautiful, mellowed, old buildings. Muted shades of ocha and cream have been faded by decades of sun.
As well as attractive architecture you can also find a wealth of detailed wall art too. Whether it is an ornate Stormtrooper or a weathered woman.
A pretty door in faded baby blue provides the perfect backdrop to display local produce while the combination of brick red and air force blue makes an eye-catching sight.
The husband is once again dispatched as a photo prop (he loves it really!) while the iconic Corsican symbol can be found everywhere.
The eyecatching symbol is called ‘La Testa di Moru’ – the Moor’s head.
It originates in the Kingdom of Aragon and has also been used in neighbouring Sardinia since the Aragonese conquest in 1297.
The next trip of 2018 was to the little French island of Corsica. Having visited the neighbouring Italian island of Sardinia the year before we were keen to compare the two.
The first stop is the capital city of Ajaccio complete with its pretty town beach.
Ajaccio has a wealth of history. Not least of which is that it is the birthplace of French Emperor Napoléon Bonaparte in 1769.
His ancestral home, Maison Bonaparte, is now a museum displaying family heirlooms.
They also quite like lots of hogs – mainly down to the fact that it is a local delicacy thanks to large numbers of wild piggies that roam the island.
We enjoy a lovely sunset on the beach to round off a perfect first day.
Last few shots from our summer holiday to Mykonos (LAST JULY!!) so backlogged with trip write ups!!
Still zipping around on our quad we head for the remote little bay that is Fokos beach in the North East of the island.
Early in the morning we have the beach virtually to ourselves to enjoy.
The last stop on our tour before we retreat to lounge by the pool for the rest of the holiday is to Armenistis Lighthouse.
This abandoned relic was built in 1891 and is located on the north-western tip of Mykonos, overlooking the strait between the island of Tinos and Mykonos.
Now completely derelict it offers wonderful far reaching views out across the sea.
Mykonos is only a pip squeak of an island – one of the tiniest Greek islands we’ve visited (certainly in terms of things to see TBH).
But in order to reach some of the more remote, off the beaten track, beaches we opt once again for the king of small road warriors – the quad bike!!!
We’re heading to the South East of the island first. Stopping off first at Kalafati beach (see my previous post) we then head up a dirt track onto a tiny spit of land with a teeny harbour and pretty church.
Below is a remote, traditional little harbour side eatery – Markos Fish Tavern. Close to a tiny, tucked away sun spot – Divounia Beach
I love the colour combination of navy water, white boats and shades of yellow in the tangled fishing nets.
Naturally the hubby AKA the Easy Rider enjoys cruising around topless in order to complete the bronzing process.
However, safety conscious (AKA spoilsport) wifey demands full coverage, helmets and annoyingly squeaks if we so much as creep above 20mph!
The ‘smile’ below is partly because the wind has firmly stuck my lips to my teeth and partly through fear… so much for YOLO . .
Beyond Mykonos old town there is very little to do on this tiny Greek island except enjoy the stunning little beaches that are dotted around the place.
We hire a quad bike in order to zip around on and head to the South East of the island to the beautiful beach of Kalafatis.
It’s a glorious stretch of beach with trees providing much needed natural shade and gently sloping sands into inviting turquoise waters.
A very faint breeze ruffles the palm frond umbrellas and is a welcome break from the heat.
The beach is a paradise for wind surfing as most days there are strong winds constantly blowing.
Typically for me however the week we arrived heralded one of the rare non-windy weeks!
However the human heat seeking missile that is the tiny husband is incredibly delighted by the stultifying heat!
Before we head out of Mykonos town we can’t avoid visiting one of the island’s most iconic sights – the line of windmills high above the town. *rubbish phone pics alert*
The windmills can be seen from every point of the village of Mykonos and are the first thing seen when coming into the harbour of Alefkandra.
There are currently 16 windmills on Mykonos of which seven are positioned on the landmark hill in Chora.
Most windmills face the North where the island’s climate sources its strongest winds over the largest part of the year.
Most of them were built by the Venetians in the 16th century, but their construction continued into the early 20th century. They were primarily used to mill wheat and were an important source of income for the inhabitants.
Their use gradually declined until they ceased production in the middle of the 20th century.
As the husband desperately tries to drag me away from the old town, I once again get hopelessly distracted. This time by an enchanting, tucked away shop full of religious icons.
Painted on driftwood and old salvaged wood, this shop is an Aladdin’s cave of the sacred and holy.
Ever corner is crammed full of sumptuously coloured paintings, with glided details glimmering in the shadowy recesses.
The, by now bored rigid, husband finally managed to pry me out of the shops and we head towards the rocky beach.
Here we can get a better view of Little Venice, the tiny, chic section of the old town where cafes and restaurants hang precariously above the sea.
Captured in a thousand different paintings, this jumble of buildings have a wonderful waterside position but must get battered in storms!
It might look relatively peaceful but Little Venice gets jam packed from midday onwards as it’s a perfect people watching spot and it’s also a prime sunset spot.
The water gently laps the pebble beach (which is far more painful to walk on than it looks)
A local man sets up his fishing rod and quickly becomes a tourist magnet as people flock to get a snap with him and his tackle 🙂
If you look closely you can make out the crowds of people that have formed in the waterside cafes.
The single file walk along the water’s edge is slippery and is made pretty difficult to traverse given the number of buggies and prams attempting to pass across.