Editors' Picks

Corsica's Top Towns

Corsica, France

When it comes to beautiful villages, Corsica has an embarrassment of riches. Many are located in hard-to-reach places, and unless you're solely after photo opportunities, not all are worth seeking out. Here are some of Indagare's favorites that are also relatively easy to access and visit.

Bonifacio The self-dubbed "most beautiful" of Corsica's towns, Bonifacio is certainly the most dramatic: its citadelle built atop a limestone cliff with incredible 360-panorama views. Touring during the daytime in the summer can quickly become hot and hellish, with lots of crowds, so it's best to time a visit either in the early morning or early evening (the light being most spectacular during those times as well). Do not miss the Marine Cemetery; walking through the massive gate; and taking a boat tour in and out of the grottos the sea has carved into the cliffs here (you can skip the Lavezzi Islands - there are better beaches elsewhere).

Bastia This northern town (the second-largest after Ajaccio) makes for an interesting stop en route to Cap Corse (and Domaine de Misincu). It is split into Terra Nova and Terra Vecchia. The former is located above the harbor and was the home of the Genoese governors. Don't miss the terrific Musée de Bastia, retracing the city's history; the imposing cathedral and the Rococo Eglise Sainte Croix. The more atmospheric neighborhood is Terra Vecchia, surrounding the harbor, with its small streets and wonderful Place Hotel de Ville. While in Bastia, stop in at Mattei, a shop that sells a selection of Corsican culinary goods.

Calvi A smaller citadelle than the ones of Bonifacio, Basti and Porto Vecchio, Calvi is nonetheless charming and makes for a fun morning of strolling and picture-taking.

Corte For cool breezes and a dramatically different landscape, drive inland to the mountain village of Corte, home of the national hero and freedom fighter, Pasquale de Paoli, and site of the island's only university. History buffs will enjoy the Musée de la Corse, a sprawling modern exhibition space perched on a cliff in the revamped 15th-century citadel that features art and artifacts of preindustrial Mediterranean society. Stop for lunch at U Museu or L'Appiattu.

Written by Simone Girner

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