If you're looking for an alternative to your usual summer vacation plans, consider the island of Corsica. The unique topography, rich cultural history, beautiful landscapes, and lively coastal towns of Corsica offer plenty of opportunity to relax, refresh, and revitalize in a place that truly has earned its nickname of "L'Île de Beauté" – Isle of Beauty. This guide will give you all the information you need to start planning a Corsican getaway.
It's often said that Corsica looks like a "mountain in the sea" because it's blanketed by an abundance of native plants. With an altitude of 2,000 meters, there's always a bit of snow on the 120 mountain peaks of Corsica. Of course, the snow is what makes all the greenery possible – the melting snowcaps provide 25 watercourses that make the island the most well-irrigated in the Mediterranean basin. In addition to the flora, the waterways also are responsible for creating the sparkling mountain lakes and high altitude pastures.
Because of it's unique landscape, Corsica offers a whole host of diverse recreational activities to suit every taste. In the mountain region, climbing is popular in the summer while skiing takes precedence in the winter. The coast is a great place to try your hand at paragliding, jet skiing, windsurfing, and water skiing. For those who want to catch a glimpse of life beneath the waves, Corsica is famous for it's world-class diving. And, of course, there are many small villages and coastal resort towns with great food and historic neighborhoods to explore. The best part? Because the island is so small, it's possible to try a bit of everything in the space of a single trip.
Getting around Corsica is a non-issue thanks to the rail system, which has been ferrying guests around the island since 1878. Take a seat, relax, and watch some of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe float by your window.
One particularly special part of Corsica is known as The Balagne. It's located in the northern part of the island and it's main town (and airport) is the charming coastal town of Calvi (allegedly the birthplace of none other than Christopher Columbus).
Just outside of Calvi, the natural bounty of Corsica really come into its own. Called the "garden of Corsica," the Balagne is dotted with medieval mountain villages that are famous for producing regional specialities from locally sourced produce – olive oil, wine, wild boar sausage, and cheese to name a few.
The Boutique Homes collection has several cool rentals in the Balagne region of the island. Pictured above is Bergerie Above Calvi, located 10 minutes (by car) away from Calvi and tucked up on a remote hillside surrounded by maquis. The Bergerie is made up of 4 traditional stone houses set on 70,000 square meters of natural land and gives guests amazing panoramic views of Calvi and the Mediterranean sea.
Pietra Nova is an architectural home built on a large rock formation in the Balagne near the village of Lumio. This spectacular property has a living room that opens up to an outdoor deck, which is a great place to take advantage of the long summer days and warm nights. Both the Bergerie and Pietra Nova, while private, are located close to the ocean and to Calvi. Bergierie Above Calvi or Pietra Nova are good options for travelers who want to experience the best of Corsica, both on the beach and in the mountains.
For those who want to get away from the usual tourist sites, our collection offers several properties that are geared towards individuals who are looking for a more authentic Corsican experience. Argeno Windmill has lots of romantic charm and rustic simplicity that's a perfect reflection of the relaxed Corsica lifestyle. As the name suggests, this is an old windmill that has been restored for modern travelers. An outdoor terrace is furnished as a place for guests to unwind and watch the sunset over the ocean. Aregno Windmill is notable for it's current low rates. Corsica can be very pricey, especially in the summer months.
Like Aregno Windmill, La Torra is also tucked away in more remote area of Corsica, about 45 minutes from Calvi Airport. But remote doesn't mean rural – La Torra is located very near to Ville di Paraso, an authentic and picturesque village surrounded by pine trees. The amazing view from the house includes a panorama of the village and the mountains. La Torra's proximity to Ville di Paraso means that guests in the house can hear the village church's bells marking the hours as they've done for hundreds of years – it doesn't get much more authentic than that!
For our last property, we have a 15th century Franciscan monastery that has been sensitively restored to become a 17-room rental property with an orange tree orchard, herb garden, and olive grove. This rental is available only for groups and the spiritual tranquility of the property makes a wonderful setting for yoga classes and writing seminars, but it's also a nice place to relax with friends and family while drinking in the beauty of Corsica (and also a bottle of Corsica wine!). Read an in-depth article about the 15th Century Monstary on our travel blog.
We hope you enjoy your stay in Corsica!