|The former capital of Bastia is the economic power of the island and mixes old with new|
What an island of surprises Corsica proved to be. It may not have been on my radar as a destination but having visited recently, its many delights deserve to be shared. Barely an hour’s ferry ride from the northern tip of Sardinia, the final approach into Bonfacio is breathtaking and immediately, the scenery and vibe is different, intriguing and inviting. Starting with the towering cliffs of chalky white limestone topped with an expansive fortress, it draws you in and compels you to find out more.
We explored the island from south to north, east to west and while Corsica is definitely chock full of nuts, three things in particular stood out for me …
Geographically, Corsica is deliciously diverse. The roads twist and turn and rise and fall as they trace the challenging topography. Around every corner is the promise of something different – steep mountain ranges and plunging deep valleys; expanses of scruffy desert or forests of tall leafy timbers; raw rocky coastlines and charming historic villages hugging equally rocky inland tors.
The island’s colour palette is that of a gifted French painter. The eye is continually drawn by rich hues, be it steely grey granite shrouded in white cloud, bold red pinnacles reflecting the sun or glowing golden sandstone. The legendary blue of the Mediterranean provides the island’s surrounding sea and sky delivers in spades. The colourful patchwork of the quaint villages offers splashes of character and variety. It’s visually gorgeous.
The stories the island tells are endless and fascinating: its prehistoric standing stones, its numerous and centuries-old Genoese watch towers, its many impressive cliff-top citadels, its thorny relationship with Bonaparte … and somewhat with mainland France, its cities blending old with new, its warm and inviting culture of fine food and excellent wine.
Our small group came away both surprised and delighted with how we fell under the spell of this enchanting island with its strong sense of identity and independence. There’s so much to appreciate, it stands alone and proud as a great destination.
Visit Corsica with Blue Dot Travel as part of the itinerary to three very different and lovely Mediterranean Islands, including Malta and Sardinia, with two departures in 2018. What’s not to like? Click here for more information.
|Corsica lies an hour's ferry ride north of the tip of Sardinia|
|Bonifacio's citadel, perched on the high white limestone cliffs, extends a striking welcome|
|Bonifacio's fortress guards its harbour|
|The roads twist and turn, rise and fall through Corsica's varied topography|
|The calanques near Porto are imposing to wander through|
|The old town of Corte is a former capital of the island from medieval times|
|The seaside citadel of Calvi glows in the setting sun|
|History in spades - the 1,000 year old tree and its massive trunk was wider than the 11 of us side-by-side|