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Corsica measures merely 133 miles in length and fifty odd miles in width. Nevertheless its terrain varies, with mountain tops and flatlands fighting one another for some space, providing visitors with the sense that the island is actually a lot bigger. Corsica's beneficial geographic location has triggered republics to fight within the small island for hundreds of years. Situated only one hundred miles south of France and fifty miles west of Italia, Corsica has witnessed its share of rules through the years. The area was ruled through the city-states of Genoa and Pisa, prior to the French acquired dominion. Corsica's language, an complex mixture of French, Italian, and Latin, is a testimony to this fact.
Bonifacio is around the southern tip of Corsica, under ten miles from Sardinia, that is an Italian territory. The region continued to be the home of Genoa more than the relaxation from the island, and consequently, there's much more of a Genovese feeling here than elsewhere on Corsica, such as the language, which more carefully resembles Italian than French, or perhaps Corsican.
The stunning sights from Bonifacio are alone well worth the visit to Corsica. On obvious days you can view water breaking from the Sardinian shoreline, and also the beaches using their very obvious turquoise water would be the perfect spot to lie back, relax, forget your cares finally, enjoy yourself.
With limited time in port, planning is the best way to make the most of your time. Should you strike out on your own? Should you hire a local guide? Or should you book a shore excursion offered by the cruise line or an international tour company? Below we have listed the attractions and activities that many other cruisers have enjoyed. This information should help you plan.
The advantage to cruise line tours is that they are timed for your visit and give you flexibility to change your mind after your trip begins. The advantage of using a large international firm is that tours are often less expensive than cruise sponsored tours. The advantage to using a local tour company or guide is that prices can be significantly lower or you may be able to get a customized trip just to see the attractions that interest you most.
Docking & Local Transportation
Cruise ships and tenders dock in the first berths inside the narrow harbor at the bottom of a steep rock. The castle and old town of Bonifacio sit at the top. To reach the old town you will either walk the steep steps or you can take a transfer via a more circuitous route.
Port of Bonifacio controlled through the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Ajaccio and South Corsica. There's road accessibility relaxation of Bonifacio immediately outdoors the main harbour.
Bonifacio is on Corsica's southern tip, and ferries frequently result in the visit to Sardinia, just eight miles towards the south. In Bonifacio itself, taxis would be the preferred approach to transportation
Local Interests
The Bonifacio tourist office (2 Rue Fred Scamaroni, 04/9573-1188) will gladly point you within the right direction, with maps and pamphlets highlighting the city's points of interest. Bonifacio's primary attraction is its ancient fortress. The Bastion p l'Etendard isn't showing wear and tear, and you may marvel in the advanced mechanical resourcefulness from the Dark Ages by staring at the weight and lever system accustomed to enhance the drawbridge. Inside is a number of existence-sized representations of Bonifacio's wealthy history. The fortress is just open throughout the summer time several weeks. The Haute Ville is Bonifacio's upper village, which some speculate was the muse for a part of Homer's Journey.
Bonifacio's city center is to will discover Ste-Marie-Majeure, a twelfth Century chapel still standing today, despite attacks from guy and character. A Roman sarcophagus dating in the 3rd Century was introduced here when Ste-Marie-Majeure was consecrated.
The local people in Bonifacio frequently take boat outings to the encompassing Lavezzi Islands, where one can engage in most types of aquatic sports and relish the pristine natural splendor. The Dragon Grottoes and Venus Bath are also popular maritime locations. Contact your accommodation La Caravelle for particulars.
Things to do
The natural beauty of Ajaccio enchants visitors. The town has a majestic seaside setting with snowcapped mountain peaks in the distance and sandy beaches nearby. Ajaccio is the largest town and the capital of Corsica but still enjoys a relaxed way of life. The city's most famous tourist attraction is the Maison Bonaparte on Rue Saint-Charles, the house where Napoleon was born on August 15, 1769. The house is now a museum that displays furniture of the period, weapons, portraits, and family documents. There is also a gallery devoted to Napoleon at the Palais Fesch (Musée des Beaux-Arts) in Ajaccio. The gallery contains mementos of the Bonaparte family, including pictures and a collection of orders and medals. The city of Ajaccio has an interesting cultural heritage dating back to 1492 when it was founded by the Genoese. In the old town, there is a bustling port and a historic section with charming narrow streets. The 16th-century Cathedral of Notre-Dame de la Miséricorde displays a painting by Eugène Delacroix Du Sacré Côur. At the center of Ajaccio is the Place de Gaulle, a grand square with an equestrian statue of Napoleon (created in 1865 by Viollet le-Duc). From the terrace of the square, there are exceptional views.
Ajaccio, Napoléon's birthplace and Corsica's modern capital, is a busy, French-flavored town with a bustling port and ancient streets. The city's long history dates from its founding in 1492 and some of the original buildings can still be seen on rue Roie-de-Rome, near the Musée du Capitellu.
Cathédrale Notre Dame de L'Assomption. The 16th-century baroque cathedral where Napoléon was baptized is at the end of rue St-Charles. The interior is covered with trompe-l'oeil frescoes, and the high altar, from a church in Lucca, Italy, was donated by Napoléon's sister Eliza after he made her princess of Tuscany. Eugène Delacroix's The Triumph of Religion hangs above the Virgin of the Sacred Heart marble altar from the 17th-century. Rue F.-Conti..
Chapelle Impériale. Located on the south wing of the Palais Fesch, the neo-Renaissance-style Imperial Chapel was built in 1857 by Napoléon's nephew, Napoléon III, to accommodate the tombs of the Bonaparte family. The Coptic crucifix over the altar was taken from Egypt during the general's 1798 campaign. Renovated in 2012, the somber chapel is worth a visit to view its neoclassical cupola and ecclesiastical iconography. 50-52 rue Cardinal Fesch. Admission charged.
Eglise St-Jean Baptiste. At the intersection of rue du Roi-de-Rome and rue Saint Charles, you can visit the confrérie, or religious brotherhood, of St. Jean Baptiste. On June 24, the patron saint is honored with a solemn mass conducted by the city's bishop and Corsican music concert. Follow the ancestral religious procession from the chapel to the Old Town and Place Charles de Gaulle, where the celebration ends with traditional fire lighting in the evening. Rue du Roi-de-Rome.
Hôtel de Ville (town hall). Ajaccio's town hall has an Empire-style grand salon hung with portraits of a long line of Bonapartes. You'll find a fine bust of Letizia, Napoléon's formidable mother; a bronze death mask of the emperor himself; and a frescoed ceiling depicting Napoléon's meteoric rise. Pl. Maréchal-Foch, Avenue Antoine Serafini. Admission charged.
Maison Bonaparte (Bonaparte House). One of four national historic museums dedicated to Napoléon, the multilevel house where the emperor was born on August 15, 1769, contains memorabilia and paintings of the extended Bonaparte family. History aficionados can tour bedrooms, dining rooms, and salons where Charles and Letitzia Bonaparte raised their eight children. Period furnishings and antiques in Corsican and Empire styles are scattered about and pay tribute to the family's bourgeoisie upbringing. Head downstairs below the Gallery to see the cellars and granite oil-pressing mill acquired by Napoléon III in 1860. Visit the trapdoor room and find the ground opening located next to the door through which Napoléon allegedly escaped in 1799. Rue St-Charles. Admission charged.
life, tour this wonderful open-air food market brimming with gastronomic delights. Everything from artisanal candy to fresh-from-the-field vegetables and fruits, spices, and traditional indulgences like chestnut-infused beignets can be savored in an atmosphere guaranteed to be lively and local. Bring your euros, as cash is preferred. Square César Campinchi, Boulevard du Roi Jérôme.
Marché Central (food market). For an authentic view of daily Corsican Musée des Beaux Arts-Palais Fesch. Adjacent to the Chapelle Impérial, this internationally recognized museum houses one of the most significant displays in France of ancient Italian masterpieces spanning the 14th-20th centuries. The massive treasure trove of objets d'art, sculptures, and paintings is impressive on scale alone-there are nearly 18,000 items, including nearly 16,000 awe-inspiring works from Italian painters. The museum's beautiful vaulted corridors, recently renovated for nearly €7 million, also showcase 700 paintings, portraits, still lifes, and sculptures from the First and Second Empire from the French school. 50-52 rue Cardinal Fesch. Admission charged.
Place Maréchal-Foch. Surrounded by a row of stately palm trees, the Place Foch, also called the Place des Palmiers, is the city's magnificent central triangle, easily recognizable with its fountain of four Corsican granite lions encircling the commanding statue of Napoléon. The popular people-watching spot is surrounded by cafés, pharmacies, banks, and opens up to the Ajaccio port. Place Marechal Foch.
In a picturesque location on a limestone cliff, surrounded by its ancient walls, Bonifacio is a well-preserved fortified town that dates back to the 9th century when it was founded by Bonifazio, the Marquis of Tuscany. Bonifacio has a wonderful Old World ambience; the town is a charming maze of medieval lanes flanked by old houses. The Eglise Sainte-Marie-Majeure stands at the heart of this historic town. Built between the 12th and 13th centuries, the church has a simple exterior distinguished by its loggia, an arcaded covered porch with classical lines. The interior awes visitors with its serene Romanesque architecture of columns and arches. One of the highlights of the sanctuary is its 15th-century marble tabernacle. Another important tourist attraction in Bonifacio is the Eglise Saint-Dominique dating back to the 12th-13th centuries. This Gothic church has an impressive 15th-century tower and contains interesting groups of carved wooden figures, which are carried through the town during religious processions. Near the town are numerous beautiful beaches. Bonifacio is only 11 kilometers away from Sardinia, which is a 30-minute ferry ride from the port. Bonifacio is also near Corsica's largest nature reserve: The Bouches de Bonifacio.
This lively town boasts a spectacular setting on a crag projecting into the Bay of Calvi.
With a picturesque marina and five kilometers of beautiful beaches along the bay, Calvi is a popular holiday destination. Sunbathing and swimming are favorite tourist activities. The town also has many sites of cultural interest, such as an ancient citadel with its impressive protective walls that extend down to the sea. During the Middle Ages, Calvi was its own republic, and during the Genoese period, it was the island's most important city. The upper part of the town was fortified by the Genoese in the late 15th century, and in this area stands the Cathedral of Saint-Jean-Baptiste, founded in the 13th century and rebuilt in 1553. The cathedral contains a famous crucifix and other fine examples of woodcarving. Another one of the town's historic attractions is the 17th-century Church of Santa Maria near the harbor. The Maison Colomb on Rue Colombo, is said to be the birthplace of Columbus, although this hasn't been authenticated. Calvi is also renowned for its summertime jazz festival that draws top musical talent. Concerts are held at venues throughout the town as well as in the surroundings of Calvi.
Gulf of Porto UNESCO Nature Sites
The beautiful Gulf of Porto is a protected nature reserve that has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The seaside resort of Porto lies on the bay at the foot of a promontory, crowned by an old Genoese watch tower. Between the town of Porto and the village of Piana is a scenic coastal drive through the Calanques de Piana, which form part of the Regional Natural Park. The Calanques are spectacular red granite cliffs with stunning pinnacles that tower 300 meters above the sea. This rugged landscape features typical Mediterranean vegetation and impressive bird life. The cliffs drop off into sparkling blue waters that beckon from the distance. Another UNESCO-listed nature site in this area is Scandola Nature Reserve. The Scandola Peninsula is a mountainous region of steep cliffs overlooking the sea and offshore islands. Crystal-clear turquoise waters lap against the cliffs and hidden coves. This area is only accessible by boat and has amazing marine life because of its remoteness. Scandola Nature Reserve offers some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in Corsica.
Corsica's principal port, Bastia, lies at the base of the Cap Corse peninsula. Founded by the Genoese in 1380 and protected by a mighty bastion, Bastia was capital of Corsica until 1811 when Napoleon relocated the capital to his birthplace, Ajaccio. Bastia centers around a beautiful central main square, the Place Saint-Nicolas, shaded by plane-trees and palms with a marble statue of Napoleon. The town has a picturesque old harbor and a quaint old town, which was the old fishing village, the Terra Vecchia, with a maze of narrow lanes and tightly packed houses. The 16th-century Cathedral of Saint-Jean-Baptiste dominates the Place de l'Hôtel-de-Ville. Two noteworthy Baroque churches include the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception and the Chapel of Saint-Roch; both built in the early 17th century and sumptuously decorated. On a spur of rock to the south of the old harbor is the Genoese Citadel, dating back to 1378. Inside the citadel are the Palace of the Genoese Governor, the Church of Sainte-Marie, and the Chapel of Sainte-Croix built to house the Christ des Miracles crucifix.
Bouches de Bonifacio Nature Reserve 
Covering an impressive expanse of land, the Bouches de Bonifacio is the largest nature reserve in France. This unspoiled wilderness is in southern Corsica, and the terrain has a distinct North African influence. Corsica boasts the most varied vegetation of all the Mediterranean islands, and this landscape exemplifies the incredible biodiversity with more than 300 varieties of plants, along with amazing birdlife and rich marine life. Many rare, protected species of birds and fish thrive in this environment.
One of the highlights of the Bouches de Bonifacio is the Lavezzi Islands Marine Reserve, a top snorkeling and scuba diving destination in Corsica. This pristine environment in the Mediterranean Sea lies off the coast of Bonifacio. Protected as a nature reserve since 1982, the marine reserve is the site of many scientific studies because of its abundant marine life. Beneath the translucent turquoise waters, a magical underwater world awaits deep-sea divers. Sightings include colorful and exotic fish such as the rainbow wrasse and the silver bream. The Lavezzi Islands are rugged and remote; there are no tourist or toilet facilities. Snorkeling and scuba expeditions arrive by boat, and advanced booked is recommended. There are also half-day sailing tours that leave from the port of Bonifacio.
In a beautiful location above the Rizzanèse Valley in the fertile Sartenais region, Sartène prides itself on being the "most Corsican" of Corsica's old cities. This quintessential Corsican town is known as a "Ville d'Art et d'Histoire" (City of Art and History) and has a history dating back to the Middle Ages. The old town is entered through an arched medieval gateway, and remains of the 15th-century ramparts are still visible. Must-see attractions include the Eglise Santa-Maria-Assunta, the Town Hall (housed in the former Palais des Gouverneurs Génois), and the Musée de la Préhistoire (Museum of Prehistory). Every year in May, the town of Sartène celebrates the Carnival of Corsica. This four-day festival includes Corsican music concerts in theaters and in the streets, local markets, and nighttime shopping. Sartène also hosts an annual religious procession on Good Friday called the "Catenacciu," which is one of the oldest and most famous religious traditions in Corsica. The Catenacciu is a procession that reenacts the events of the Passion of Christ. One of the "Penitents" carries a heavy cross and a chain, and the procession lasts for around three hours. This event attracts many pilgrims from all over Corsica.
Beaches near Porto Vecchio
Some of Corsica's most popular beaches are around Porto Vecchio, the port town on a lovely bay. The town was established by the Genoese and still has remains of the protective walls and an 18th-century citadel. Most tourists come to Porto Vecchio to enjoy an escape to nature at one of the beautiful sandy beaches nearby. The most famous beach is the Plage de Palombaggia, renowned for its wide sandy shore and calm crystal-clear waters. Another excellent beach is the Plage de Santa Giulia with fine white sand and turquoise blue waters. Both of these beaches are in lagoons, which provides a protected environment that is ideal for swimming.
Castagniccia Region
About 20 kilometers south of Bastia is the hilly region of Castagniccia, which takes its name from the chestnut trees that grow abundantly here. The traditional stone-roofed houses all have chestnut-drying rooms. This peaceful area of dense forests is dotted with quaint hilltop villages, small hamlets, and magnificent churches. Many of the churches, such as Saint-Pierre and Saint-Paul in Piedicroce and Notre-Dame-du Mont Carmel in Stoppia Nova, have beautiful ornate interiors and are listed as historic monuments. The Alesani convent is also worth visiting. The main town in Castagniccia is Piedicroce d'Orezza, which is a good place to begin a climb of Monte San-Pietro. The climb takes about two and a half hours.
Désert des Agriates
The Désert des Agriates is a vast protected wilderness of 15,000 hectares with a diversity of landscapes. The micro-regions include shrub lands and rugged coastline; the arid landscape extends to agricultural plains and cream-colored sandy shores. There are also some meadows and fields used for herding animals. Many tourists visit the Désert des Agriates because of the pristine sandy beaches. Two favorite beaches are the Plage de Lotu and the Plage de Saleccia, which are prized for their soft white sand and transparent water-perfect for sunbathing and swimming. Other picturesque beaches are the Plage de l'Ostriconi and the Plage de Malfalcu. The scenery here is wild and beautiful. Hiking, nature walks, and fishing are also popular activities in the area.
GR20 Hiking Trail
Extreme outdoor-adventure enthusiasts and advanced hikers hold this trail in high esteem. Corsica's GR20 trail traverses the island of Corsica from north to south, covering an inspiring landscape of rugged hillsides and wild gorges. The trail is considered to be the most difficult long-distance hike in Europe. Not only is the trail extremely long, the terrain is rugged, remote, and dramatic. Those who are sufficiently conditioned to attempt the hike will ultimately be rewarded with breathtaking natural scenery and exceptional panoramic views.
In an idyllic mountain setting, the little village of Piana definitely merits its title as one of France's "Plus Beaux Villages" (Most Beautiful Villages). The village is at the entrance to a stunning rose-colored granite "calanche" (rocky inlet); the area is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site because the landscape is so distinctive. From its spectacular vantage point, Piana overlooks the mesmerizing blue waters of the Golfe de Porto. Wandering around at leisure allows for a delightful discovery of the old village-from its quaint narrow streets to the pleasant town square. The village has many lovely pastel-colored houses and the beautiful Church of Sainte-Marie is built in the Italian Baroque style.
Perched like an eagle's nest on a picturesque hilltop, the ancient walled town of Sant'Antonino, at almost 500 meters, offers sensational views of the surrounding landscape and the sea. In the Balagne region, the historic village is designated as one of France's "Plus Beaux Villages" (Most Beautiful Villages) because of its splendid setting and charming architecture that seems to blend in with the granite rock backdrop. Sant'Antonino delights visitors with its beautiful old houses, quaint alleys, and covered passageways. From the old castle, there are exceptional panoramic views. To the north of Sant'Antonino is the 15th-century Dominican monastery of Corbara.
Cap Corse
At the northernmost tip of Corsica, the Cap Corse peninsula is one of the most picturesque areas of the island. The peninsula is covered by a range of foothills and fertile valleys where vines, fruit, and olives are grown. One of the top attractions on the Cap Corse peninsula is the Plage de Farinole. This gorgeous sandy beach boasts an expansive 100 meters of shore with plenty of space for sunbathers. The beach is also popular with surfers because of the waves. Surfboards are available for rent and instruction courses are offered. Another highlight of the Plage de Farinole is the restaurant right on the beach.
The little village of Belgodère in the Balagne region sits on the slopes of a hill near the coast. The crag of the hill is crowned by a 13th-century castle. Traveling farther inland by car, visitors will reach the Forêt de Tartagine, one of the finest forests in Corsica.
Col de Bavella
For those traveling by car, the scenic drive through the Col de Bavella is highly recommended. The road travels through stunning scenery and along the path of an ancient Roman road, continuing up to the mountain pass at 1,243 meters. From that point, there are breathtaking views of the forests and plains, the mountains, and the sea.
Forêt de Valdo Niello (Valdo-Niello Forest)
The Valdo-Niello Forest is a pristine environment of shady Corsican pine trees. In the Niello basin, Calacuccia is an ideal starting point to climb Corsica's highest mountain, Monte Cinto, which soars to 2,710 meters and affords magnificent panoramic views. The summit of Monte Cinto is snowcapped even in
Bonifacio has some stunning beaches, with beautiful turquoise waters and whitened sand. Plage p Sotta Rocca and Tornara are two finer ones, and among the best sights in most of Bonifacio reaches the Arch of Rondinara, a partly enclosed cove, with nearby beaches almost developing a circle around an ideal ocean. While you mind towards Porto-Vecchio, you will find an execllent place, Palombaggia.
Outside Hobbies
Cycling from Bonifacio to nearby Porto-Vecchio is a well-liked pastime, as well as an excellent workout. It is a 16 mile ride over moving hillsides. Divers are particularly keen on Bonifacio, and you will find a number of dive shops open to serve them. The Barakouda Club  is trustworthy, but a good option to visit for all your diving needs is Club Atoll. Golfers is going to be challenged at Sperone, an attractive course set beside Piantarella beach.
Dining & Night life
Cantina Dora, just a little no-nonsense devote Old Town, is a great place for homemade dishes. It is also quite friendly to vegetarians. If you would like something a bit more elegant, try Hôtel du Center Nautique. The lobster this is actually the meaning of fresh, and viewing beach is amazing. L'ensemble des 4 Vents features food having a Germanic influence, including sausage and sauerkraut. Even though it is in no way a celebration town, Bonifacio has ample evening spots, thinking about it is a relatively tiny town. One of the better spots to head to are Amnesia and Le Langoustier.
Until the mid-20th century most Corsicans had to be relatively self-sufficient, and this has led to all manner of crafts from knives and walking sticks to warm winter sweaters. The island's known for its pottery, and Corsican knives are a specialty item-the finest examples have exquisite blades and handles. Also look for items carved from wood and bone, some practical, some ornate. Because food had to be put back for the winter, preserved foods became very important parts of the Corsican diet, and are now well known; the charcuterie is excellent and you'll find aromatic dried herbs, numerous cheeses, plus fragrant jams and honey. Don't forget to sample a bottle of Corsican wine. Haute Ville is Bonifacio's response to Rome's Piazza di Spagna, with a lot of small boutiques and shops clamoring for the attention. Sample a number of Corsica's prize items, including rare sheep and goat cheeses and Corsican chestnuts, one of the world's finest.

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