Whether nestled around an inlet, perched high on a mountain, or sprawled across a cliff, each of the villages of Corsica has its own unique flavor. In the varied landscapes of the island, you might find a small fishing town or a thriving tourist destination founded in the Middle Ages.
One thing is for sure, Corsica is not lacking for scenic views. Everywhere you look is another wonder of natural or manmade beauty: sheer cliffs dropping into turquoise waters, a marina full of painted sailboats, ancient towers and churches. A voyage to any of the towns of the island is not soon forgotten.
In Erbalunga you will find a quaint picturesque town straight from a storybook. Pink Mediterranean houses with brightly-colored shutters are nestled at the foot of imposing snow-capped mountains which juxtapose the calm waters of the inlet. Palm trees are abundant throughout the postage-stamp-sized town and colorful fishing boats are docked at the tiny harbor. Be sure to visit the ruined tower of Erbalunga. Built in 1488, it was destroyed during a French invasion in 1533 and sits alone at the edge of the village.
Originally founded by the Genoese in the 15th century to repress Corsican patriots in the surrounding areas, Saint-Florent is known for its citadel built around the same time. Sail out of the town’s small harbor on a day tour to view the landmark from the sea. There, you will also have the best vantage point of the rolling green mountains surrounding the fortified village and the peaceful inlet in which it is situated. Nearby are the well-known Patrimonio vineyards for those interested in the region’s rich wine culture, as well as Saleccia beach, one of Corsica’s most beautiful white-sand beaches.
“The bread of Antisanti and the oil of Lama are known as far as the gates of Rome.” So goes the old saying of Lama, a mountain town known for its long-standing history of olive-growing and exporting and production of some of the best olive oils the region has to offer. In this town of fewer than 300 people, stone buildings and archways line winding paths along hilly terrain. Not far from Mount Astu, this town is an outdoorsman’s dream. Within the town itself you will find 18th century Saint-Laurent Church, as well as terracotta roofs on traditional stone houses and, of course, stunning vistas of the surrounding mountain landscape.
Perched in a semi-circle on the slopes of Mount Rosso, Sartène is “the most Corsican of Corsican villages.” Enter the town by the bridge of Scaledda, constructed on enormous blocks of stone, and walk through the oldest part of the village, lined by tall houses of gray granite and terracotta roofs. You will be struck by the vibrant greenery and color of the flora throughout the town and the surrounding area. The village is dominated by its historic City Hall and the Eglise Sainte-Marie. It overlooks the port town of Propriano, with spectacular views of the sea.
Situated on the edge of a sheer cliff-face on the southern tip of the island, Bonifacio is a wonder to behold. It is one of the oldest towns in the Mediterranean; the nearby ancient cave shelter of Araguina-Sennola dates back as far as 6570 BC. Though the official foundation of the village is unknown, it was refounded sometime in the 800s. On the edge of the town, you will find a large medieval citadel worth exploring as well as the 13th century Saint-Dominque de Bonifacio Church. This church is unique because of its gothic elements, a rare feature in architecture of the region. For adventure-seekers, wind-surfing, rock-climbing, and other outdoor activities are available at close by La Tonnara Beach.