Mediterranean rock bastion – Corsica

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Corsica rises out of the Mediterranean like a towering rock bastion to present its astonishing array of landscape and ecological diversity. From beautiful beaches and chic resorts to ancient villages clustered picturesquely on hilltops, and from rugged mountain wilderness teeming with wildlife to dense, mysterious forests, this island of hot summers and mild winters offers something for every visitor.

Although a part of France for over two centuries, Corsica has retained its own distinctive identity, which manifests in everything, including the language, customs, cuisine and music of this timeless place. In July to August you can relax on the beach, top up your tan and enjoy the range of water sports available. May to June and September to October are great times to go if you enjoy hiking, canyoning, horse riding and biking. Any time is perfect, however, for delving into the fascinating history of the island. This is where Napoleon Bonaparte was born and his ancestral home is now a fine museum.

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The Gulf of Porto is a UNESCO World Heritage Site forming a natural park, with amazing red granite cliffs rising from the azure waters. The remoteness of the Scandola Nature Reserve means that it is only accessible by boat and has a plethora of wildlife and some of the best diving opportunities anywhere in the Mediterranean.

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Corsica also boasts the largest nature reserve in France, the Bouches de Bonifacio. This unspoiled landscape has a distinctly North African ambience and an incredible biodiversity. Nearby, the 9th century fortified town of Bonifacio remains timeless, offering an experience like stepping back into the medieval past. Particular highlights include its superb Romanesque and Gothic churches and the cliff top path towards Capo Pertusato, a vision of loveliness, especially at dawn.

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No visit to Corsica would be complete without experiencing the architectural and cultural delights of one of the island’s hilltop towns. Sant’Antonino stands almost 500 metres high, commanding panoramic views of the exquisite landscape. Ancient houses, winding alleyways and an impressive castle are just some of the delights to be savoured.

This is just scratching the surface of what Corsica has to offer. However, it must be mentioned that you should not miss out on sampling the delicious chestnut flavoured food and drink that is an island tradition.

Image sources – Flickr: Dany TolengaFrancesco Federico, Guy Gorek, Coralle Mercler


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