Corsica travel guide

Everything you should know before planning a holiday in Corsica, at a glance.

When go, the best sights and attractions, food and drinks not to miss.
And the best boutique hotels in Corsica bookable online, just a click away.  

Although once governed by the Italian republic of Genoa, Corsica has been part of France since the 18th century. This Mediterranean island is a land of contrasts, with two-thirds of its small surface covered by a single range of mountains. The highly varied terrain means that visitors can hike among the mountains and relax on the beach without travelling far. 

Culturally, Corsica is very distinct from metropolitan France. It has its own language, Corsican, which is more closely related to Italian than French. However, centuries of French rule have brought the two cultures closer together, and only a small percentage of the population now has Corsican as a first language. Historically, Corsica is perhaps best known for being the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte, the French military officer who went on to become Emperor and conquer much of Europe. 


When to travel to Corsica

Corsica has a warm Mediterranean climate, but temperatures can vary across the island. The north-eastern part of the island is slightly warmer and wetter, although the differences are small. Summers are hot and dry, while in winter the temperature seldom falls below freezing at low altitudes. The best time for a holiday in Corsica is in the late summer or early autumn. By September, French holiday crowds will have headed home, but the temperature will still be warm, with only a small chance of rain. 


Climate


Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Average Temperature
°C 8 8 9 12 16 20 22 22 19 17 12 9
°F 46 46 48 54 61 68 72 72 66 63 54 48













Average Rainfall
mm 74 70 58 52 40 19 11 20 44 87 96 76

Sights and attractions in Corsica

Corsica is known as “the Isle of Beauty”, and its spectacular landscape is the main attraction for organizing a holiday in Corsica. The mountains are a popular destination for hikers, with trails ranging from simple strolls to the GR 20, a legendarily difficult hiking route that traverses over 180 km of rocky, rugged landscape. Even experienced hikers usually estimate around 15 days for the GR 20. The Col de Bavella, a pass through the Alta Rocca mountains, is one of the most striking in Europe. 

Apart from the mountains, Corsica's beaches are its most famous feature. Swimming, sunbathing, snorkelling and surfing are popular. Unlike many popular European holiday destinations, Corsica's beaches are comparatively free of planned activities and commercialisation. Outside the main tourist areas, there may be little development on a beach other than the occasional bar or restaurant. 

For those who prefer history to nature, Corsica still has plenty to offer. Casa Buonaparte in Ajaccio was the childhood home of Napoleon. Today it is a national museum which covers both the history of Corsica and the life and career of Napoleon himself. Other treats for history lovers include historic towns, such as Bonfacio, with its medieval old town perched on the edge of a cliff, or Corte, once capital of independent Corsica, which is nestled on a rocky slope among dense greenery and overlooked by an old citadel. The Museum of Corsica is also located here.

Main cities of Corsica: Ajaccio, Bastia

Main attractions of Corsica: Cap-Corse, Col de Bavella, GR 20, Calvi, Porto Vecchio, Bonifaccio. 

Most beautiful villages of Corsica: Erbalunga, Oletta, Saint-Florent, Piana, Sant'Antonino.

Food and drinks of Corsica

Corsica's unique culture is reflected in its cuisine, which blends both French and Italian influences with local Corsican delicacies and traditions. 

  • Herbs
    Corsican cooking is known for extensive use of herbs such as thyme, rosemary, fennel and basil. These grow wild in the maquis, the dense scrub that covers the Corsican lowlands. Herbs play an important role in Corsican dishes such as Agneau Corse, or Corsican lamb. This simple dish is slow roasted with potatoes, garlic and fresh rosemary.
  • Charcuterie
    Inland Corsica is famous for its cured meats. Charcuterie favourites include boudin or black pudding, prisutu or smoked ham, and salamu, which is just what it sounds like – the Corsican take on Italian salami. Figatellu, also called fitonu, is a traditional Corsican liver sausage. 
  • Chestnuts
    Corsican wild boar may owe some of their flavour to a steady diet of chestnuts, but they aren't the only ones who enjoy them. Chestnuts flour is part of many Corsican dishes. Originally, chestnut flour was a staple for poor mountain-dwellers who lived in regions where growing cereal crops was difficult. Now they are a tradition and part of Corsican identity, with chestnut festivals in some villages. Chestnut flour can be used to make polenta or baked into cakes flavoured with sliced almonds. 
  • Pietra beer
    One of the most unusual uses for chestnut flour is in beer. Pietra, a golden Corsican beer, is made with a mixture of malt and chestnut flour. The brewery also produces Corsica's own soft drink, Corsica Cola.

About

Size: 8,680 square kilometres 
Population: 322,120 people 
Capital city: Ajaccio
Provinces: Haute-Corse, Corse-du-Sud
Landscape: Snow-capped mountains, dense scrublands and white sand beaches


Places to stay in Corsica

Hotel-Demeure Les Mouettes

Hotel-Demeure Les Mouettes

Ajaccio, Hotel-Demeure Les Mouettes
U Capu Biancu

U Capu Biancu

Bonifacio, U Capu Biancu
Artemisia

Artemisia

Bastelica, Artemisia