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Lizzie's Guide to Corsica

This summer, my husband Peter and I met in Corsica, a "French Island Basking in the Italian Sun" (to quote Balzac), for a week of discovering secluded beaches, exploring the coast, and eating fresh fish.

How to Get There: 

I traveled from Genoa, following a quick weekend in Camogli, Italy. There are no direct flights from Italy to Corsica, but there is a ferry! The Moby departs from Genoa and pulls into Bastia, Corsica, 7 hours later. I set up a bed (fashioned from sarongs and Turkish towels) on one of the outdoor decks and passed the trip looking at the sea and reading! Peter took a quick hour & 15 minute flight from Paris on Corsica Air.



Where to Stay:


La Dimora Hotel

La Dimora has chic, romantic rooms (with private outdoor spaces) and a glorious swimming pool with plenty of over-stuffed outdoor furniture. Located ten minutes from bustling Saint Florent, the location is perfect - easy access to Saint Florent but incredibly relaxed, peaceful, and quiet.
La Dimora is just outside of Saint Florent, about an hour drive from the airport & ferry terminal in Bastia, the country's Northern hub. Saint Florent is a small - but bustling - town nestled around a harbor where luxury yachts and modest fishing boats dock side by side. The marina is lined with touristy (but charming) restaurants and shops.



Where to Eat Near Saint Florent:


Lunch: Le Jardin d'Antoine

This is THE spot for lunch! When you're done, make sure to swim in the river.


Dinner: Le Potager du Nebbio

A hidden gem about 10 minutes outside of town, where you’ll sit under twinkle lights on an organic farm. Go for the vegetable dishes - everything is so fresh!


Dinner in Oletta: Auberge a Magina

For dinner in Oletta (about 20 minutes from Saint Florent), request an outdoor table and make sure you time your meal with sunset. This was one of the most spectacular sunset views ever.


Dinner in Saint Florent: Mathys

This place has a Michelin star and the service was unbeatable.



What to do Near Saint Florent:


Use Taxi Beach to hitch a water taxi from Saint Florent harbor to Sallecia and Lotu Beaches:

They are both stunning with snack bars a short walk from the beach. If you're feeling active, walk the hour-long trail between the two beaches for incredible views. Pro Tip: Buy a 23 Euro beach umbrella in Saint Florent before you go!

Take a scenic drive to Calvi and the villages of Balagne in Northwest Corsica:

Pigna is a tiny hilltop village on the "Artisan Trail" where the houses seem carved out of the hillside, and the shutters are all painted shades of lavender. Have lunch at the perfectly picturesque A Casarella for good tapas, great wine, and an amazing view. If you're tired of driving, jump in the water at Punto Spano: this "locals" beach has epic rock formations that descend into crystal-clear water.


Book a sailboat ride with Shaka Sailing:

Depart from Saint Florent and discover empty beaches along the island's Northern Coast.


Shop for pottery at Poterie du Nebbio: 

This side-of-the-road shop (just outside of Saint Florent) has beautiful stoneware pieces at incredible prices. Bring an extra bag!



We Also Stayed In...


 Hotel Tomino: Cap Corse (the Northern most point in Corsica). I loved the modern, clean lines of this contemporary, sea-facing boutique hotel, set in wild, rugged Cap Corse.


We drove clockwise around Cap Corse from Saint Florent. Cap Corse is the "Wild" part of Corsica. It's the under-touristed, rugged panhandle that sticks out of the island's Northeast corner. Tiny roads (that seem more like walking trails) traverse this panhandle (inadvisable at night!) and offer the most otherworldly views. We spent days driving, stopping at beaches and jumping in the water and sitting at fabulous restaurants to enjoy the sunset. A totally magical place.



Where to Eat & What to do in Cap Corse:


Our first stop after leaving Saint Florent was Nonza:

Another dramatic cliff-side town with over 500 steep steps down to a black stone beach that makes you feel like you're on another planet. After the (mildly challenging) walk back up to Nonza from the pristine black stone beach, you'll have earned your lunch. Definitely head to La Sassa...

Linner: La Sassa...

 Perched high above the town and offering breathtaking views and great cocktails. Go for the Capo Spritz (Corsica's take on Italy's Aperol Spritz) and if you want to stay for sunset considering camping out at Casa Maria (no frills but better than driving the roads around Nonza after dark!).


Go to Plage d'Alisu:

One of our favorite white sand beaches on the western side of Cap Corse peninsula. Getting there is half the fun: the coastal road to the beach is precipitous but offers insane views.


Our favorite road in Cap Corse was D35:

...which takes you across Cap Corse to the eastern side of the peninsula. The road is unbelievable, especially from 5-8pm. It's supposed to be two-way but at points is less than 1 lane (make sure your horn works!). Driving this road during pre-sunset magic hour was a highlight of the whole trip.



Have dinner in the little fishing village of Centuri

This pretty port town is pretty tiny (our waiter told us only 60 people hang out through the winter months), but makes a grand impression. Our dinner at Le Vieux Moulin was the best of the trip (and attracts visitors who pull up in their luxury yachts). The food (and sunset view) were outstanding.


After all that eating, walk the Customs Officer Trail:

 ...that goes all the way from Centuri on the west side of the Cap Corse peninsula to Macinaggio on the east side. We hiked it from Plage de Tamarind to two great beaches: Cala Genovese and Cala Frances. You pass the beautiful ruins of the Santa Maria tower, which are not to be missed!


If you're not up for the above walk, rent a boat from Cap Evasion in Macinaggio:

...and putter around to the beaches. Stop at one that is empty and make sure you bring a baguette from one of the boulangeries in Macinaggio!


Driving down the D80 Coast:

 ...from Macinaggio back to Bastia, don't hesistate to pull over and jump in the ocean at the many side of the road beaches. There are so many beautiful ones -- you can't go wrong!




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