Corsica is best know for its beaches especially in the South near Port Vecchio and Ajaccio, however I hope that this article will give you another perspective on what to see in North Corsica and Corte.
Leaving from Nice to Bastia by ferry, my first most important advice would be to get yourself a private room on the boat, it is quite reasonable and much more comfortable especially when you have an early departure and young kids.
As we left home at 3am in the morning to catch our 7am departure boat, we were all ready for a good nap.
Initially when organising the trip we thought we would discover the Southern region of Corsica known for its beaches, however that would mean driving long hours. So after speaking to a friend who told us to spend some time discovering the North as there are some beautiful places to visit we decided on the following itinery. Depending on what your interests are and whether you are travelling solo or as a family I hope we will be able to provide you with some ideas to plan your own perfect trip.
We arrived in Bastia at around 2.30pm (boat was delayed, we were told no surprise there) We had booked an apartment in Corte for 4 nights, so we made our way directly there. We reached around 5pm, had time to relax a bit and freshen up and then spent the evening walking around Corte and the Citadelle. There are numerous bars/restaurants where you can eat, we opted for a plate of “fromage et chacuterie”.
A friend recommended we set out early to the ‘Scala di Santa Regina’ where we were told about a place we could take a little swim in the river. It was a little paradise where we could enjoy the quietness and the views. On this route you can also visit the dam in Calacuccia. Beyond that if you want you could visit the col de vergio; from here you can do a nice hike.
For lunch we ate the Le Relais Chez Jacqueline another great recommendation where you get served by “grumpy grannies” (Corsicans don’t smile much) but the food was familial and delicious. Try the fromage lasagne, it is a delight. We ended our day with buying some local chacuterie and enjoyed our aperitif evening.
We wanted to do a beach day so set out early. The first beach we visited was plage d’ostriconi. You will walk approx 1 km through a small cute trail. The trail is easy to do with small kids. We were not so lucky with the weather, as soon as we started to lay our picnic blanket the sound of thunder started !! followed by a drizzle of rain. We still managed to enjoy looking at the crashing waves and the kids happily playing with the sand, making castles. After our picnic we made another stop at the lazare beach. The waves were even bigger and rougher. Perhaps try to organise a beach day on a calm day.
We spent the morning at the Canyon of Restorica.
Go early to avoid the afternoon rush. Be ready for a winding, cliff edge driving! There is a parking space at the top for 6 euros for the day.
We just decided to stop near one of the trails and had this beautiful
place all to ourselves. Just be aware parking is not so easy on the way
up, in most spaces you have a no parking sign, ofcourse if you are
hiking then leave your car at the bottom or the top. You can also swim in the stream, you will find some beautiful clear pools of water. You can take a little picnic with you. We stopped in one of the restaurants which had a little play area for the kids and so ended up staying for a few hours.
As it was our last evening in Corte, we walked around the town, stopping on our way listening to some live music and then an evening climb to the top of the citadelle where you have an amazing view of the town.
Early morning start, before our car ride to Bastia.
We decided to stop at a different spot near the Scala di Santa Regina.
It turned out to be quite an adventure crossing the big stone paths in
the river stream. We won’t be recommending that with small kids, our little Andy was not so impressed. Finally ended up in the same spot as our 2nd day. The river was more fresh so we opted not to swim but enjoyed a nice picnic beside the stream until the bees decided we had outstayed our welcome. We made a quick stop for our favourite lasagne and headed off to Bastia.
We spent the evening discovering Bastia, we chose to stay right near the port, at the very central hotel Riviera. In Bastia you can visit the largest church in Corsica, Saint-Jean-Babtiste, which has a stunning grand ceiling. Also take a walk around the port where you might spot some locals fishing. There are many cafes and restaurants where you can stop for food or ice-cream.
In the evening, in Bastia’s main square, Saint-Nicolas Square, there were a few activities for kids of all ages (this may be just in the summer months). Our kids opted for the trampoline, you may have a hard time pulling your kids away, we ended up in a play area just opposite our hotel where Den and I could chat away whilst the kids played peacefully until 10.30pm, far from their usual 8.30pm sleeping time.
We enjoyed our long and relaxed breakfast at the hotel. Today we would be heading to the Cap Corse. It was sad to hear that there was a big fire around Cap Corse where over 1800 hectares were destroyed. Cap Corse is the northern tip of Corsica, you can follow the beautiful coastline and find cute villages, beaches and more inland on the hill you can find some wineries.
We went to Saint Florent which used to be a fishing port and is now a nice place to relax and walk round. You can park at the parking du stad which is free. If you are after a quick snack lunch, please try the little burger place next to the restaurant Citadella. It looks really simple but the burgers are the best we have tasted, especially the burger bread. After our lovely ice-cream dosage at the Maison Salge we went to Nonza. Nonza is an impressive little village with houses perched on the cliff tops. You can visit the church of Saint Julie and take a stroll around the village to the Paoline tower.
In the evening we decided to relax at the beach, Plage Farinole. It was nice to just relax and watch the sunset; sipping our mojitos and tucking into our pizza.
We left early to go to Tollare, a very small village in the harbour, there is a little pebble beach, Barcaggio’s beach where you can have a little swim, although when I saw the little jelly fish I was quite happy with sitting and enjoying the view of the Island of Giraglia. If you have time then there are some other lovely villages to visit along the way Barcaggio and Rogliano and port de Centuri.
After our picnic lunch we drove to the Moulin Matte, it is a short walk uphill to the Moulin and you have some beautiful views. You can also go inside the little mill.
As it was our last evening in Bastia we strolled along the pretty port watching the big boats going past and the sunset. A great way to end our lovely holiday.