A wild French beauty situated in the Mediterranean Sea, Corsica does not let you down with dreamy blue skies, magnificent pink and red cliffs dropping down sharply into the turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, and tiny seaside villages. The French call it l'Ile de Beauté or The Island of Beauty and it definitely stands true to its name. It's a perfect blend of cosiness and adventure. Let’s find out why Corsica should be next on your next vacation list:
With a dramatic coastline of 1,000 kilometres, Corsica is dotted with close to 200 beaches. The pebbly seashores are filled with multi-coloured sea-moulded stones, and fine as well as coarse white, golden sand. If you’re an explorer and want to have a dose of vitamin-sea, we suggest you take a boat, or walk, as many of the Corsican beaches are hidden coves, owing to its rigid landscape. This little adventure will give you unparalleled views. The azure sky with turquoise water stretching far into the horizon makes it look more iconic than a Microsoft Windows’ background picture. You can engage in a variety of water sports, thanks to the great winds due to the country’s unique position in the Mediterranean Sea. There’s swimming, surfing, canoeing, windsurfing, kayaking and snorkelling. You can also challenge yourself and pump up your adrenaline with complex pursuits like kitesurfing, fly-surfing and wakeboarding.
Gastronomy like no other
Get ready to give your taste buds an experience like never before with Corsica's traditional cuisine, influenced by France and Italy. Not only does the this island offer a good selection of fresh seafood like rock lobster, beautiful red mullet (rouget) fish, blissful oysters (huitres), sea bream (loup de mer), Corsican bouillabaisse (aziminu) and heavenly crayfish (langoustine), but it is also a paradise for red meat lovers. Half-wild pig saucissons or sausages are bliss and an island speciality. Look out for civet de sanglier (wild boar casserole), arguably Corsica’s signature dish. Some of the other gastronomic delights include slow cooked stew with tender and juicy veal full of flavour with olives, tomatoes, onions and herbs (veau aux olives) and lamb roasted with whole garlic cloves, fresh rosemary and potatoes (agneau corse). When it comes to desserts, the enormous variety of options will leave you confused about what to opt for. Some of the traditional desserts found in local boulangerie and patisseries are milk, egg and chestnut based. We recommend the melt-in-your-mouth mi-cuit au chocolat or the molten chocolate lava cake to satisfy your sweet tooth.
A glass of wine or two, along with the lavish three-course-meal, will not come as a surprise when in Corsica. Corsican wine comes from locally bred varieties of grapes which taste a tad different because of the soil and altitude. Even if you pass by a winery, the aroma around will give you a sense of taste as to what the island holds for you. Unique to Corsica, the eateries and restaurants offer three kinds of traditional wines: Nielluccio or Sangiovese (black and dry grape), Vermentino or Malvoisie (white grape) and Sciacarello (red grape). They serve as excellent rosé wines. With frequent consumption, you can easily differentiate between the taste, balance and body of these wines. This opens a whole new chapter for the wine connoisseurs. As a quick guide, wines from Patrimonio, Ajaccio and from near Sartène are outstanding, and the Domaine Vico wines are notable. And hey, there is nothing like too much wine! Give your wine-tasting skills a test run at The Corsican Wine Festival in Cap Corse in mid-July when producers from all across the island showcase their award-winning wines.
A treat for history lovers
If you have a keen interest in history, Corsica is just the place for you. Get your hands onto the The Maison Bonaparte tour in Ajaccio. Strolling inside this residence-cum-museum will take you back to 1769, the year when the French statesman Napoleon Bonaparte was born. It has preserved period furniture and Bonaparte family's personal belongings. Walk across a tiny village to get a trace of the Corsican culture. Even though the localities are fluent in English, French and Italian, the mode of communication amongst people is in their native language, Corsu. It is complex to understand as some words sound Italian but write French, some sound French but write Italian. The history of this language remains obscure. While vacationing in Corsica, you are bound to come across a significant symbol used on everything. The Moors Head is used as an emblem on this island. This symbol dates back to the 13th century when the Aragonese occupied Corsica. Locally produced goods, Corsican owned boats, aircrafts, properties and even the official buildings carry this symbol.
Have a go at bursting your reel vs. real bubble by experiencing the centuries-old Citadel in Corsica. Travel to the Calvi in the north and Bonifacio in the south, to get a whiff of the island’s rich past. Narrow lanes, colourful houses and giant granite buildings, the fortress towns won’t fail to give you Game of Thrones feels. These old buildings are still used for administrational purposes.
Shoppers, don’t stop!
The shops and markets in Corsica offer a mix of traditional and contemporary items. Even though you will see all kinds of famous brands in the newer parts of the cities, it is the older ones which’ll which have souvenirs with character. Head to the vibrant town of Bastia to discover the Saturday and Sunday flea market on Place Saint-Nicolas. The market sells everything from food to shoes to clothes to anything you may want. You name it, they have it. You would also not want to miss the annual Col de Prato country fair. Held in the last week of July, local producers and craftsmen exhibit products from Corsica's traditional cuisine including cheese, honey, pastries (and even knives and, jewellery) along with entertainment and fun activities for adults and children.