Are you wondering where to stay in Corsica? In this article, we look at the best areas to stay in Corsica so that you can fully experience and enjoy all that this amazing french island has to offer.
Corsica is a unique fixture in the Mediterranean Sea. It looks like its very own continent in miniature, thanks to the island’s amazing geographical variety.
The fourth biggest island in the Med (following Italy’s Sicily and Sardinia and Cyprus), it sits 105 miles away from the South of France, 56 miles off of northwest Italy, and a mere seven miles from Sardinia. Only the Straight of Bonifacio separates the two islands. The capital of Corsica is Ajaccio. It is only one of the best areas to stay in Corsica.
The sheer diversity of Corsica’s geography boggles the minds of many first time visitors. In only a half hour drive, this changes from lively coastal cities and glistening bays bordered by fantastic beaches to strikingly green valleys, mountain ridges, thick forests, and forgotten villages lying atop hills.
This variety means that Corsican holidays can provide a vast array of difference experiences to suit many tastes. These vary widely from hiking mountains, exploring canyons, sunbathing, taking a boat ride, enjoying locally made delicacies, and taking in the many layers of the island’s history.
Corsica is also justifiably famous as the birthplace of Napoleon. It has been attached to France for over 200 years. Despite this, the island jealously maintains its own distinctive feel.
There is a Corsican flair in the people’s character, dialect, cuisine, and customs. The locals will cheerfully explain their ethnic identity in friendly conversations on long evenings. They especially love to talk about wine, food, and their island’s own music.
For visitors looking for fantastic food, never ending beaches, incomparable scenery, and a wealth of history, Corsica does not disappoint. This exciting paradise in the Mediterranean is a great choice for a place to spend your vacation dollars and time.
The hardest part of a vacation to the island comes down to deciding which are the best areas to stay in Corsica. We will cover this important topic next.
Where to Stay in Corsica: 8 Best Areas to Stay in Corsica
For an island with so many mountains and forests, you are spoiled for choice in where to stay in Corsica. We look at eight of these destinations here.
1. Porto-Vecchio, the best place to stay in Corsica for families
Porto-Vecchio is the best place for families looking for where to stay in Corsica. This lovely town lies on the south coast of the island.
Here you will find an ideal combination of incredible mountain scenery and gorgeous beaches. Besides this, Porto-Vecchio offers lively bars, charming boutiques, and excellent restaurants.
It is the combination of many kid friendly activities and things to see that make it such a perfect place for families. Besides the usual range of budget hotels and pricier options, you will also find apartments for rent here.
The town itself does not have any beaches in the city limits, but some of the finest stretches of sand on Corisca lie in near proximity. Two of these are Tamaricciu Beach and Plage de Palombaggia.
In walking distance you can be admiring shining turquoise waters and golden sands. These beaches are great for building sandcastles as well as sunbathing and swimming.
There is no shortage of family friendly activities in and around Porto-Vecchio. Barrage de l’Ospedale provides incredible nature and views. You can hike up to the Cascade de Piscia. Xtreme Sud provides the young and young at heart with a full day of adventure.
While at the beach, you might learn how to dive so that you can take in all of the beauty that is hidden underneath the waves.
Be sure to visit the church Eglise de Saint Jean Baptiste while you are here.
Incredible French food awaits you in restaurants like Le Refuge Cartalavonu and La Petit Maison de Vardiola. A Casa Corsa offers world class fare. For tapas, the town has Restaurant Playa Baggia. There is also high quality gelato available in town.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN CORSICA IN PORTO VECCHIO
2. Ajaccio, where to stay in Corsica on a budget
Ajaccio is not only the capital of Corsica, it is also the best place to stay in Corsica when traveling on a budget. This city teems with both excitement and tangible history. It is remembered most for being the city where Napoleon was born.
Throughout the town, squares and streets pay honor to the island’s most famous one-time inhabitant. The birthplace of Napoleon today is a museum Maison Bonaparte, but you will also find numerous statues and tributes to the Emperor of France while walking through the town. There is also a good art museum with a large collection at Musee Fesch.
The capital is also the habitation that boasts the greatest concentration of value for money accommodation. It offers a wide range of guesthouses, hostels, and also boutique styled hotels. The range of choices here will work for any budget.
While in Ajaccio, you have many choices for activities. You can sunbathe at Plage de Capo di Feno or climb up the stairs found at the Place d’Austerlitz.
For nature lovers, you might take in the view at Lac de Tolla or walk along the Sentier des Douaniers along the sea. Great Italian food awaits you at Casa Pasta.
Shoppers will love the market stalls at Marche des Producteurs de Pays. For nightlife, you can go dancing at the Jello T Lounge.
Wine lovers have choices for establishments where they can sample the local vintage at places like L’Empire des Vins and Le Petit Clos.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN CORSICA IN AJACCIO
3. Bonifacio, where to stay in Corsica for luxury
Bonifacio is the town located at the south of Corsica. It lies a mere seven miles from Sardinia. This combines to provide the town with an elegant and somewhat exclusive Italian atmosphere. This is strongest near the harbor where palm trees sit next to the pricey restaurants.
Besides this yacht-lined marina, visitors enjoy the old town and the citadel with the vista over the harbor and nearby cliffs. The atmosphere is charming and oozes with Mediterranean ambiance. You should not miss the chance to sit in a cafe with a terrace and unhurriedly take it all in.
After strolling through the harbor and appreciating the fishing boats and costly yachts moored here, the restaurants and bars along the way are refreshing if expensive. At the port you are able to arrange ferries to see Sardinia or boat trips around the coastal area.
Climbing up to the citadel offers you the historic old town and all it has to explore. The steeper climb rewards visitors with incredible coastal views of the town that lies atop steep white cliffs. Off of the coast is the renowned rock called the “grain of sand.”
By walking through the original walls via a gate, you can enjoy the maze of narrow alleys and streets abutting the walls and comprising the old town. Here you will find the Rue des Empereurs and a home where Napoleon lived for several months when he stayed with relatives.
The charming Middle Ages era old town of Bonifacio remains the oldest one on the island. You will find cobble stoned streets lined with numerous tall houses that make for a stunning setting with the backdrop of the cliff tops.
The other part of town extends out to the peninsula’s end. Here there are an ancient cemetery and military forts. The town offers some good sites beyond the charming streets and architecture. A favorite of these streets is Rue du Palais-de-Garde. Several churches are worth seeing around the town as well.
Visitors are able to enter the Bastion d’Etenard, which translates to Stronghold of the Standard. There are both fortifications and gardens within it.
Bonifacio also offers its popular and historical steeply cut staircase right in the cliffs beneath the old town called the King of Aragon’s Staircase.
Walking up the hill side that lies across from the citadel provides you with amazing views beyond the citadel to the white cliffs.
Accommodations here are more expensive than elsewhere on the island. Budget minded travelers will be better suited to look in other areas to stay in Corsica.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN CORSICA IN BONIFACCIO
4. Calvi, where to stay in Corsica for a beach vacation
Calvi is where to stay in Corsica if you are coming for the first time. This city lies along the northwestern coast. It remains the primary tourist center on Corsica today.
This means that there are no shortage of beaches with amenities, shops, and bars vying for your attention alongside heritage and historical attractions. Because of all that there is to do and see here, this is the best place to stay in Corsica for new travelers to the island.
Visitors who are great foodies will also love the exciting town of Calvi. The city boasts a great range of cafes and restaurants that provide fantastic local food alongside traditional French cuisine. Calvi is the place for those who wish to try frog’s legs or revel in a good bouillabaisse.
Besides enjoying such restaurants and cafes as A Casetta, Chez Tao (with incredible views), Aux Bons Amis (classic French cuisine), and Casa Vinu (famous for its seafood), there are many interesting activities to partake of in Calvi. Visitors here can dive the local coral reefs that lie off of Corsica’s coast.
They can also hike up to the town’s citadel. Here there are countless cafes, shops, and restaurants to peruse and enjoy. The town offers day trips to Scandola island with its nature reserve.
Alternatively, you can walk out to see the Pointe De La Revellata. Well worth its incomparable vistas of the area is the Chapel of Notre Dame de la Serra.
There are a wide range of accommodations at prices ranging from reasonable to expensive in Calvi. These include hotels, resorts, and guesthouses. It helps to explain why first timers should come to this part of the island when they are looking for where to stay in Corsica.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN CALVI
5. Corte, where to stay in Corsica for nature lovers and outdoor activities
Corte just could be place with the the most beautiful views in Corsica. This little town lies in the center of the island. Encircled by mountains, the town provides what are among the most stunning vistas anywhere on Corsica.
This is a different kind of place to stay here from the traditional tourist thronged streets. Serenity and calm prevail among the nature and mountain peaks.
Corte is a paradise for those who love to bicycle around and hike. You can experience nature personally by taking in the trails and encountering hands on the riverbeds and mountaintops.
One path worth walking is the Restonica Trail. The views of Corsica here do not disappoint for those who are willing to try a part of the island that most tourists do not ever experience. A free view not to be missed is found at Belvedere Point Panoramique.
Corte offers other activities besides natural ones. There is the Musee de la Corse, an interesting museum to take in. Corte has its citadel which offers fantastic views you can climb up to enjoy. You can also walk out to see the Arch of Corte.
The Chapel of Sainte Croix is worth visiting as is the Eglise de l’Annonciation. Getting back to the natural attractions, the nature reserve of Bouches de Bonifacio is well worth the time.
Wine lovers will appreciate sampling the local vintages at places like La Riviere des Vins. You can enjoy the local delicacy of boar stew at places like A Casa di l’Orsu. La Vieille Cave is another restaurant that provides a thoroughly enjoyable evening. After dining and drinking, you can go dancing at L’An 2000.
Corte is small so it does not offer the wealth of accommodations that most coastal cities and towns do. Guesthouses along with a few smaller hotels predominate in this little town.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN CORSICA IN CORTE
6. Bastia, the best place to stay in Corsica for nightlife
The finest area in Corsica for those who love nightlife is Bastia. This upbeat city sits along the north of the island. Besides its dynamic atmosphere, Bastia boasts a wealth of history and many attractions for all ages to enjoy.
A must see attraction in the city is the Terra Nova. This is the citadel surrounded by high walls. It remains among the most ancient quarters of the city. You can walk through narrow winding alleys and streets that will transport you back to the time of France of the 1400’s.
The nightlife side of Bastia includes a wide range of pubs, bars, and cafes. These are not places that feature much in the way of dancing or true nightclubs, though they do offer live music and good drinks.
Still, this is the town to go to for a wonderful night out and is definitely the most excellent nightlife to be had on Corsica.
Bastia also offers a variety of other attractions for you. You can take in the design and architecture of the Church Saint Jean Baptiste. The citadel provides world class vistas. The Musee de Bastia provides an insightful depth into the history of Corsica.
Fine French food awaits you at U Paisanu and Le Perchoir while Mediterranean dishes abound on the menu at O’resto! Bastia also offers very good gelato at places like Le Moka. For beach lovers, the sands of Plage de l’Arinella beckon.
La Vieux Port offers a great part of town to wander through. Fine drinks and wine are waiting at places like Instabar, Bar L’empire, and Black Sheep.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN BASTIA
7. Propriano, popular resort town
Propriano is a coastal town lying on the south west of Corsica. Its location is coincidentally in between the two bigger towns of Bonifacio of the south and Ajaccio of the north.
The town’s architecture generally hails back to the early 1800’s. This was when the port was built and the town constructed around it. Early Greek and Roman Propriano has few remains to offer visitors today, as the town was commonly assailed by pirates in the 1700’s. They destroyed most of the original town.
Visitors can still enjoy the impressive Propriano site of the Notre Dame de la Misericorde Church. This overshadows the little town’s center today.
The harbor is also filled with an interesting contrast of fishing boats and expensive yachts. In fact, the town has both a commercial harbor as well as the pleasure port in its center. Walks through the harbor provide among the finest vistas of the town.
The town center is not large. It is mostly comprised of a lengthy main street. Visitors enjoy exploring its older styled houses that have been refurbished into bars, cafes, and luxury boutiques today.
Propriano has grown into a popular resort town on the island primarily thanks to the many beaches that lie close at hand for tourists. The Plage de Lido lies less than a mile out of town.
Other popular activities in town include fishing trips and boating excursions. Visitors also enjoy parachuting or quad biking in the region.
North of the town the coast has been heavily built up over the years. This makes it difficult if you are looking to get away from the tourist crowds. The town similarly lacks many interesting sites to visit as do other parts of the island.
One advantage the town offers is direct ferries from the marina of the town to mainland France and Sardinia.
As with most smaller towns in Corsica, the choices of accommodation are more limited and less budget friendly than in the capital and larger, more established resort areas.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN CORSICA IN PROPRIANO
8. St. Florent, charming village with beaches and a beutiful scenery
The smaller town of St. Florent lies on the northern Corsican coast. The town actually lies opposite Bastia on the bottom part of Cap Corse peninsula. Its two main attractions in town are a little fort and a charming harbor.
This town has grown into a popular destination and resort thanks to its position lying on a natural bay with a mountain backdrop. Close by there are beaches as well as beautiful scenery to compliment the idyllic climate here.
St. Florent is small enough in size that you only require one morning to explore the whole town. You might spend longer if you fall under the spell of the beautiful harbor and the charming cafes that lie encircling Place des Portes.
It is also possible to spend a great amount of time daydreaming about owning (or at least summer vacationing abroad) one of the higher end yachts that lie at anchor within the marina.
While the town is not large, its streets are still active and enjoyable for exploring. This is true either by night or by day. You have no shortage of choices for sitting down to dine or to have a drink here either.
St. Florent boasts a citadel built by Genoa as do a great number of the Corsican towns. This one dates to the 1400’s and rapidly encouraged the town to form around it. This citadel is a rounded structure that provides fantastic views of the gulf lying below.
The town’s other significant historical monument is the Nebbio Cathedral. This unusual looking structure (for France) dates back to the 1100’s when it was constructed atop the area’s Roman town.
Visitors who have toured the grand cathedrals of mainland France will be surprised to see that this smaller, less ornate structure is nothing like the typical French cathedral architecture.
Across the bay from the town, visitors can see the 1500’s era Martello Tower. There are also a number of close by beaches that continue to draw in the summer tourists to the town. Several of these are especially beautiful and lie a short walk from St. Florent.
Among these are Plage du Loto, Plage de la Roya, and Plage de Saleccia. This last one is beloved and famed for its stunningly white sand beach. Tourist guides often list it among the finest beaches lying anywhere in the entire Mediterranean Sea.
Accommodation in St. Florent is more limited than in some of the larger resort areas as you might expect. There are some smaller boutique hotels and guesthouses but few choices for budget hotels.
Visitors looking for a more affordable location would be better served by looking in Ajaccio the capital or Calvi the biggest resort area on the island.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN CORSICA IN ST. FLORENT