Best Side of Corsica | History | Activities | Scenery | Beaches
Corsica is such a lovely island! It is a perfect get away from some down time to mainly enjoy its diverse landscape and cuisine. It would be fantastic to explore every part of the island if you can, but it is not always possible. So for anyone interested in visiting – which side of Corsica is better, north or south?
Overall the south is the best part of Corsica to visit. Although both north and south are stunning, the south has more beautiful beaches, more history and is prettier. On the other hand, the north has slightly more activities to do for families with kids.
The good thing about Corsica is that there are 4 airports located in the north, south and central areas. So you do not need to travel from one side to the other if you do not want to. Having said that, within 4 hours you can travel from the very north to very south. Hence nothing is really that far away and accessible if you wanted to go around.
Prettiest Side of Corsica
Corsica has a wonderfully diverse landscape, from tall mountains, deep valleys and jaw dropping gorges with rivers, charming villages, forests and lovely beaches with crystal clear seas. It is truly beautiful both north and south, so it’s a tough call. However the South wins by a slight margin.
The northern part of Corsica is less developed than the south. As a result it has a lot more areas of countryside that are untouched. There are also some pretty villages you can explore, Calvi and Ille Rousse are amazing.
There are impressive mountains and gorges in many places in Corsica both north and south. However South Corsica has its fair share of amazing landscapes.
Bonifacio has history plus it is surrounded by beautiful landscapes. It is a coastal town with stunning views of the azure sea and if you move further inwards you will find mountains. In the south you will also find the Scandola reserve, Sartene and Filitosa which are beautiful places to visit. You can go at it alone and explore, but if you want to get a dose of history or want/need boat access you can check out the Get Your Guide website for some wonderful tours.
One thing to note is that the west is less commercial as opposed to the east. For example going to Santa Guilia beach is incredibly expensive and gets packed during peak summer months.
You may want to book using Booking.com because most of the time they list more than double the amount of properties than other online marketplaces. So you will have more choice and can filter stays according to your requirements.
Side With The Best Beaches
There are pretty beaches all over Corsica, but the southern part of Corsica has more beautiful beaches. A couple of examples are Rodinara beach and Palombaggia which are known as the most beautiful on the island. They are also great for families with young kids who require the safety of shallower beaches.
It is not surprising the south takes the cake to anyone familiar with the general landscape of the nearby island of Sardinia. In my comparison of North vs South Sardinia, I mentioned how the north is geologically different.
There are more hills, rocks and coves which form some incredibly pretty bays. The prettier ones are sandy and look Caribbeanesque with shallow, crystal clear cyan waters. Spiaggetta di Cala di Volpe in Cala di Volpe, and Spiaggia Rena Bianca in Santa Teresa Gallura are a couple of examples.
The south of Corsica is very similar and hence you can find some stunning beaches like the ones which Sardinia is known for. Here is a full list of the best beaches in Corsica which includes a map with their locations.
Best Side for History
Corsica does not have many places to visit for history buffs, even though the island has been inhabited for thousands of years. However there are fortified cities, archaeological sites and other places of interest you may want to visit.
The south is the clear winner history wise as you can see from the map showcasing the sites below working clockwise:
- Archaeological site of Aléria
- Archaeological site of Cucuruzzu
- Bonifacio; citadel, cemetery and Église Sainte Marie Majeure (church)
- Archaeological site of Filitosa
- Ajaccio; monument of Napoleon, museum and Cathedral Santa Maria Assunta
- Citadella di Calvi
- Abandoned village of Occi
A couple of places have several points of interest. Firstly there is Bonifacio with its lovely citadel with narrow streets that was built in the 9th century. There is also a cemetery, the port and also the church; Église Sainte Marie Majeure. The church is a historic monument built between the 12th and 13th centuries.
Secondly is Ajaccio, where in 1769 Napoleon Bonaparte was born. In fact there are several things to see in this lovely town. Firstly there is the Cathedral Santa Maria Assunta a 16th century cathedral where Napoleon was baptised. There is also a monument dedicated to Napoleon and also the National Museum of the Bonaparte House.
Of course there are several archaeological sites in different places in Corsica. There is the most well-known one in Filitosa that has 8 thousand year old menhirs. Then there is the archeological site of Cuccuruzzu which dates back to the bronze age. There is also the Roman city in Aléria which also has an archaeological museum.
Last but not least is the Citadella di Calvi and the Abandoned village of Occi (Village Abandonné d’Occi).
Corsica is not one of those locations that has a wealth of things to do with kids. It is a peaceful island, perfect for anyone that enjoys the outdoors. However it does have some nice activities for kids.
As I outlines in the article things to do with kids in Corsica there are a good handful of places to visit with kids. Here is the map of the locations of the activities:
The north is the winner in this category by a very small margin. That is to say, mostly because of the variety of activities. There are 3 “other” activities that are different to each other and horse riding. The draw back however is that Western Park which is a water park, is closed in winter time.
On the other hand 4 and 5 in the south again in the orange “other” category are similar. There are animals to see, but Alta Rocc’anes has an edge because you can go for a donkey ride. You also have some adventure parks which are always great for a good dose of excitement.
I highly recommend a camping village with kids. Most importantly because it is family-friendly with many activities organised for kids and many facilities.