In the Mediterranean, between France and Italy, Corsica has a long and turbulent history as a prized territorial possession. Centuries of fending off invaders (before finally becoming a French possession) made Corsicans a tough, fiercely independent bunch. That’s not to say they aren’t friendly, warm and welcoming - you’re just going to come across a lot of forts, castles and other remains of the past. Come visit the island that gave birth to Emperor Napoleon - we’re sure you’ll feel like royalty here.
Where to go
Get back to nature and try hiking, camping and spearfishing in the Cap Corse National Park. Shop your way through the streets and alleyways of Calvi, discovering fashions inspired by the long history of the island. Visit the birthplace of Napoleon at Maison Bonaparte in Ajaccio, full of treasures and mementoes of his life. Lose yourself in the laneways of Bonifacio, a fortified medieval town crowned with an ancient castle. Celebrate at the Carnival of Corsica, held each year in the town of Sartène. Ski in the snow-capped mountains. Sun yourself on the golden sands of the island’s many beaches.
Food & Drink
Wild boar is a favourite dish on Corsica, cooked in casseroles and stews, or served by itself. As an island, you’ll also find that both seafood and charcuterie, or cured meats, are very popular - the former plentiful, and the latter necessary with such a small livestock supply on the island in centuries past. If you visit Calvi, we recommend Octopussy (Plage de Calvi, Chemin de la pinède) - not the James Bond film, but a superb harbourside restaurant that serves fresher-than-fresh seafood. For traditional Corsican food, you should try Auberge de la Restonica (Corse Natural Regional Park, Route de Restonica) for home-style cooking in a lovely home surrounded by dramatic rock formations.
As a Mediterranean island, Corsica boasts a lively and thriving nightlife scene. To step into a bygone era of glitz and glamour, try Chez Tao (Citadelle, Calvi) established by a Russian aristocrat in the thirties. The decor is stunning. For something a little more relaxed, head over to Aux Vents d’Anges (40 Avenue Paul Doumer), near Guardiola, a wonderful little wine bar run by Christophe Talon, a consummate expert who can take you on a viticultural tour of the island without leaving the premises.
Where to stay
Our pick for Corsica is Castel Brando
, a fortified manor that was once the residence of one of Napoleon’s chief officers and which sits beside a quaint, unspoilt fishing village of Erbalunga. This wonderful boutique hotel features open, sunny terraces, perfect for sitting with a drink, and two large swimming pools. The decor has a warm, homely charm and a real sense of Corsican identity. It’s only a short walk to some fantastic restaurants in the village, and close by in the town of Bastia. How to get there
British Airways and Air France fly from London to Calvi daily.