Bastia

Our overnight stop is in the town of Bastia. A bit battered and run down but with artwork and colour on each street.

Bastia was the principal capital of Genoese Corsica, and it became French only in the late 1760s.

Artwork and street scribbles adorn many of the walls around the city centre.

Many of the buildings look somewhat precarious, if not downright unsafe!

There are more Baroque churches in this city than any other on Corsica.

The most noticeable one is the twin towers of the St Jean Baptiste cathedral which stands prominently above the bustling quayside.

The Vieux Port – Old Port – is the busiest part of the town with many tall, gently decaying, buildings housing restaurants and cafes.

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Corte

Heading onwards through the winding mountain roads of Corsica we’re heading for the heart of this enchanting island.

Our destination is the curious town of Corte. Once the capital of Corsica during the reign of Pasquale Paoli.

Corte is set in geographical centre of the island and was but governed by Pascal Paoli, the father of the Corsican independence movement, after he stormed the Citadel in 1755. Hence it is still known as the spiritual capital of the island.

Enchanting coloured shops and restaurants line the winding streets of Corte as you head to the central attraction – the citadel, imposing set on a rocky outcrop with a commanding view of the whole town.

The citadel’s oldest portion – the château known as the Nid d’Aigle, meaning ‘Eagle’s Nest’ – was built at the highest point in 1419.

Little towns

Corsica is full of delightful little towns, each with their own unique characters and quirks.

We spent a day floating about visiting them en-route to our next destination.

Here’s the hubby at Algajola. It has a 16th century fort on the seafront and a long sandy beach.

Algajola is small with its older buildings clustered around its 16th century castle. Next to this is a citadel built in the same stone with a protruding circular watch tower.

Next on the road trip is the beach at St Florent. The town itself is small with a maze of narrow streets and passages.

Plus there’s a lively waterfront with a row of restaurants.

Like many of the Corsican towns Saint Florent has a Genoise citadel, built in the 15th century. It’s a sturdy round monument that looks out across the gulf below.

Calvi

Calvi’s town beach is a pretty stretch of sand backed by pine forests and a cute little beach side railway.

Whether it’s bathed in golden evening sunshine or in the bright glare of daylight, it attracts plenty of folk.

The beach stretches for 6km With a gently shelving gradient as well as warm and protected waters.

There’s lots of restaurants and cafés nearby – some of which serve directly onto the beach.

We enjoy some sun soaking before the next adventure 🙂

Mountain villages

We’re off to explore the hill villages of Corsica’s Haute-Balagne on this little road trip.

Tiny villages cling to the hillside along the winding roads that meander throughout the lush greens of the Corsican countryside.

Sant’Antonino is the oldest inhabited village on Corsica and the pastel hued houses cling together along the winding alleyways and back streets.

Buildings tumble down the slopes while you can discover colourful corners around every bend.

Calvi citadel

Perched atop a rocky headland, Calvi’s imposing Citadel oversees the bustling little town.

The massive citadel was fortified by Corsica’s Genoese rulers from the 12th century onwards.

While there is little in the way of businesses within it’s walls, it is still worth while exploring the alleyways and nooks and crannies.

Especially as there’s some amazing paper paste ups to be found!

There are stunning views to be had from the ramparts, both over the town and out to the sea.

The citadel also houses a former military hospital as well as containing the remains of a house that is rumoured to be the place where Christopher Columbus was born.

Colourful Calvi

Calvi is an attractive tourist town that is worth basing yourself in for its proximity to many pretty beaches.

A medieval citadel overlooks the marina from the bay’s western end, and is home to the Baroque St-Jean-Baptiste Cathedral and cobbled streets.

We’ll be exploring the meandering streets of the citadel later on.

Calvi and surrounds

The next town on our hit list, whirl wind tour of Corsica was Calvi.

It’s known for its beaches and crescent-shaped bay. A medieval citadel overlooks the marina – but more of that later.

We head to catch the sunset at one of the many lovely beaches. This rocky delight is Arinella beach.

A moody grey sky ominously looms over the hills in the background but the evening sunshine saturates everything in its honey glow.

We love this one so much that we head back later on in the trip 🙂

Isle de Pietra

Heading for another fabulous Corsican viewpoint now – this time on the Isle de Pietra.

This little spit of land is close to L’Ile Rousse and features a lighthouse at its peak and some beautiful views of the wonderful coastline.

It is connected by a dyke to the port of the commune of l’Île-Rousse in Haute-Corse.

Located in the north-west of the city, the island of Pietra has two highlights: the Pietra lighthouse and the ruined Genoese tower.

Here’s a bit of naff video footage that doesn’t really give a real taste of it!

Naturally the human man goat perches precariously on the precipice in order to raise my blood pressure…

I cautiously approach the edge – the maniac smile says it all!

Here’s the Pietra lighthouse . Blindingly white in the harsh mid-day sun.

Beautiful beaches

Corsican is littered with stunning beaches of all shapes and sizes. So naturally we’re off to explore a few of them!

From tiny coves to vast swathes of pure white sand, there’s a patch of sand to suit everyone.

The sands are blissfully empty towards the end of September. It’s our favourite time of year to travel as the weather is still great but the crowds are thinning out nicely.

Green hills and wind blown salty trees back the lovely beach of Ostriconi.

Ostriconi Beach (also called the beach of Perajola) is renowned for its rugged beauty.

It’s wild and windswept, braced by dunes and immersed in fragrant Corsican maquis.

Maquis is a special wild-scrub area of Corsica that covers approximately 20% of the island.

It includes the fragrant curry plant and rock rose to myrte, daisies and various types of mint. When the wind blows over it, the smells are amazing.

As Corsica had seen some bad weather before we arrived, a lot of the beaches were covered in seaweed which detracted from their pristine loveliness.

However Ostriconi was not one of them and its gorgeous sands were weed free!

Look how joy filled we are!!! The water was phenomenally blue and the sun was just the right level of scorching!