Corsica: Sightseeing

A little slice of heaven (out of peak season)

Corsica has plenty in the way of sightseeing. From natural beauty to historical and cultural monuments there are lots to do. Ajaccio, the capital, is famous for being the birth town of Napoleon Bonaparte. This will not escape your attention on a visit to the town, as you pass the house where he was born - now the National Bonaparte Museum - the caves where he played, and statues of Napoleon and streets and places named in his honour. Perhaps the most impressive monument is the one in the Jardins de Casone. Ajaccio. Also, for art lovers, The Fesch Museum has a very highly regarded collection of Italian Renaissance paintings. The collection was originally that of Napoleon's uncle. In Aleria, on the eastern coast of Corsica, it is the Roman ruins that are the big attraction. Little remains of the even earlier Greek settlement in the same spot, although excavations continue to make new finds, and it is apparent that the site has been occupied for at least 8,000 years. The Museum Jerome-Carcopino, within the fort contains some fascinating finds from the archealogical work. There are also some Etruscan sculptures that predate the Roman occupation of the area by several hundred years. The medieval town of Bonifacio is the oldest town in Corsica, based above a natural harbour on the site of a 9th century citadel, on a white limestone peninsula, with many of the tall sturdy houses along cobbled streets in a spectacular setting along the top of the cliffs. Several notable sites can be seen in the town, including the 'Staircase of the King of Aragon' cut into the stone to reach the old town above; the monument to the dead; and a sprinkling of attractive churches among the medieval buildings. So for those who love history and culture you will not be short of places to visit. Porto is one of the main sites of historical interest in Corsica with its 16th century watchtower . People love this place for the magnificent views that it provides, from its dramatic location on top of the red cliffs. And for the nature lovers the Scandola Natural Reserve is a World Heritage Site found to the north east of Calvi. The reserve covers approximately 900 hectares of land and 1000 hectares of sea. There is no way to enter the region by car, and to enter by foot involves crossing very high mountains, so in practice the only way to enjoy the splendours of this coastline is by taking a boat. This is a great activity for all ages. Trips leave from Calvi, and less frequently from Porto. The trip is worth making to see some of the finest coastline to be found anywhere in Europe. Incredible rock formations emerge from the crystal waters in the Gulf of Girolata, and the coastline is dotted with jagged inlets and caves. The Scandola region also has a wide range of sea birds that benefit from the protected environment. There are also established seal and dolphin colonies. Ospreys are also becoming established in the region, after great efforts by conservationists. Ile-Rousse, or ‘Red Island’, homes the Parc de Saleccia. This is a gorgeous 7 hectare botanical garden with plenty of olive trees set in the beautiful coastal setting. There is a wide range of beautiful plants, both Mediterranean and from elsewhere. Corsica also has some beautiful walking and hiking paths for walkers of all fitness levels and a great railway that allows visitors to Corsica to see some of the beautiful natural areas of Corsica.