Corsica: All You Need to Know in 5 Minutes
Tourism
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5
MIN READ
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Nov 9, 2021

Corsica: All You Need to Know in 5 Minutes

Corsica: All You Need to Know in 5 Minutes
Julien Mainguy

French and based in Vancouver since 2014, Julien Mainguy is the co-founder of Best of France. Passionate about the cultural difference between Canada and Europe, he is leading numerous projects to create awareness, help people grow, and bring communities together.

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Corsica is an island located near France and Italy with a population of around 280,000 inhabitants. Travelling to Corsica is a great way to get away from the hustle and explore another part of France. Corsica has many beautiful beaches, hiking trails, historic sites, and more! Sound enticing? Here is all you need to know about the beautiful island of Corsica in 5 minutes.

With such a rich heritage, many Corsicans are proud of their culture. From its outstanding assets in climate and scenery to its tradition and history, this island is a must-see for all. With French and Corsican being two of the three official languages of Corsica and French being spoken by about 90% of citizens, find yourself immersed in a tropical French experience. 

Coastal village in Corsica
Coastal village in Corsica

Corsica, an Island for History Lovers

Aside from its sublime landscapes, Corsica has many historical sites, like the Palombaggia Valley, where visitors can see an array of ancient houses dating back to 1800 BC. Corsica's historic sites are a great way to learn about the country’s culture and history!

Corsica is the ideal spot for travellers looking for destinations that mix postcard-worthy scenery and rich history. It was the birthplace of two French historical icons, Napoleon Bonaparte and Pasquale Paoli. Bonaparte ruled France for over a decade until his defeat at Waterloo on June 18th, 1815. Paoli, another notable Corsican, was a well-respected statesman and patriot responsible for ending the Genoese rule of Corsica and establishing reformative laws.

Village on a cliff in Corsica
Village on a cliff in Corsica

Before belonging to the French, Corsica had belonged to many different civilizations over the centuries. It was first inhabited by Greeks who arrived from Phocaea in Asia Minor when Corsica became an island about 1200 BC. The Romans then invaded Corsica, who settled Corsica around 200 BC and made Corsica a significant military base. North Africans of Arab descent then invaded the Corsicans in about 900 AD. They stayed in Corsica until 1420, when France took control of the island. Talk about exciting history!

Corsica's Gastronomy

Discovering the Cuisine of Corsica means taking a trip through authenticity and tradition. Influenced by its surrounding regions, Corsica’s gastronomy has much in common with cuisine from Italy, Nice, and Provence. 

Chestnuts!

Influenced by the country’s rich history, Corsica’s cuisine is one of simplicity. With invasions from the Romans, the Pisans, and the Genoans, Corsicans resorted to simple meals that relied on accessible ingredients. As a result, chestnuts became the base diet of the people of Corsica, many of whom survived on chestnuts and wine alone. As a result, in Corsica, there are seemingly countless recipes using chestnuts such as Corsican Chestnut Beignets, Scotch Corsican Pancakes or Corsican Chestnut Cake.

Corsican chestnuts
Corsican chestnuts

The Island of Meat

Meat in Corsica is frequently sourced from locally bred animals. It is highly flavourful, thanks to the abundance of aromatic plants found on the terrain on which the animals feed. Corsica is also famous for its Corsican lamb, which has a peppery taste and a meaty texture that people love.

Must-try dishes

Some of the best-known specialties here are aziminu (Corsican bouillabaisse), Pulenda (chestnut flour polenta), figatelli (charcuterie), and zucchini with sheep’s cheese. For dessert, you must try their canistrelli (cookies flavoured with lemon, anise, or chestnut), their chestnut flour cake, or their preserved figs. 

Corsican bouillabaisse

Corsica's Must-See attractions

Did someone say beach?!

Corsican beaches are some of the best in Europe, and Corsa's famous coastline features over 200 miles worth of sandy shores for you to explore!

Ajaccio

The regional capital is Ajaccio. Ajaccio is a coastal town on the island of Corsica. It was one of Napoleon Bonaparte's final resting places and can be visited today in Ajaccio Cathedral's birthplace. In Ajaccio, you will find museums dedicated to Napoleon's life and many famous restaurants with delicious food from around France and Italy.

Small Town Charm

Around the island, there are many small towns to explore. Each city offers its own distinct cultures like Antisanti, where visitors can learn about traditional cotton weaving. Or perhaps experience la dolce vita at L'Ile Rousse, a commune founded in 1758 by Pasquale Paoli. We even suggest making your way north to Porto Vecchio, home to many natural attractions and historic sites.

Beach in Corsica
Beach in Corsica

Need some more ideas? Check out some of these sites:

Corsica in Summer

Corsica is an excellent place for summer vacations. Corsican beaches are some of the best in Europe, and Corsica's famous coastline features over 200 miles worth of sandy shores to explore! Corsican beaches are the perfect place to experience Corsica in a day or even just an hour! 

Here are some beaches we highly suggest checking out:

  • Palombaggia Beach, Corsica's largest beach and most popular destination for tourists
  • Les Salins Beach in Corbara, a quiet but scenic spot with clear water perfect for snorkelling
  • Marseilleveyre Beach in Port-Cros, Corsica's best beach for surfers
  • Biguglia Beach in Corsican Riviera, ideal for families and those looking to relax
Corsican sunset

What to Pack for Corsica

Top style tips for Corsica

There's no reason to fret when prepping your suitcase for your trip to Corsica- it’s always best to keep it simple. You can't go wrong with lightweight, comfortable clothes that are easy to pack and don't need much ironing! To fit in, opt for a smart, stylish look. Corsica is also a place with two seasons, so make sure to pack clothes that will work for Corsican's cool, wet winters and warm, dry summers.

Shoes to pack for your trip

Corsicans love their outdoor activities so bring some light hiking shoes or sneakers if you plan on doing any excursions while you're there. For dining, leave your sneakers behind and opt for some stylish flats.

Travel essentials

A lightweight daypack or shoulder bag will come in handy to carry your sightseeing essentials (Check out this one from our online shop). We also suggest bringing a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the day. You may need a travel adapter plug and a voltage converter to use electrical gadgets if your devices are not designed for European voltage (230V). 

White cliffs in Corsica
White cliffs in Corsica

Don’t worry if you forget anything at home. You’ll find everything that you’ll need all around the island. Plus, you’ll have a chance to support the local shops and find some unique pieces. 

How do you Get There?

Canadians can access Corsica by air; however, there are no direct flights. Instead, you will most likely have to stop by Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG).

Ajaccio is the regional capital and home to Ajaccio Airport, and it's Corsica's largest airport.

You can also access Corsica by ferry from France. Taking the ferry is the most common and popular way to reach the island, as it takes between four hours and eight hours, depending on which port you depart from. A few ferries that make the journey are Corsica Ferries, Tunisian Ferries, SNAV, and Moby.

So there you have it, all you need to know for your trip to Corsica in 5 minutes. Share your comments and additional tips below.

Bon voyage!

Did you know that Corsica's climate is perfect for making wine? Learn more in our Ultimate Guide on French Wines Regions.