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Corsica is wonderful – scenic, not crowded, wonderful food, friendly people. It’s a dream summer destination straight out of a 1960s French film. Four days would work if you’re a quick flight away, but it deserves a week at least. Choose your hotels and locations carefully. We read that that the food is “Italian prepared with French precision” – does it get better than that?

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Bonifacio

Heading South on the main (eastern) road is a bland experience, nothing to compare with the other roads on the island. There are many beaches, many campgrounds, I’m sure plenty of excellent options for breaks. The scenery gradually transitions towards the ‘hills of Santa Barbara’ look.

***Bonifacio – why is this not on every top 10 list? It’s staggeringly beautiful, with white cliffs, a major fortress, views to die for. I’d stay two nights at least to take advantage of the beaches, town, and food. Do visit the cemetery, and walk all over the town. Staying outside of the citadel would be a mistake.

  • ***Hotel Le Genovese was a dream. The website doesn’t do it justice – it’s in a great location, with a large pool and recently renovated rooms (and parking). I’d definitely stay here again. There are cats!
  • ***Stella D’Oro was a highly recommended, family run place in an old mill – it definitely lives up to the hype. One of the best meals we had, in a place where all the food is excellent.

Calvi

Calvi is a major summer destination, but many of its businesses are open year-round and the town is all the more delicious without the crowds. This is especially true of the citadel, Calvi’s pièce de résistance: a fortified labyrinth of cobblestone streets with impressive views of the city and the sea. We found it charming, with a great beach and many, many excellent restaurants. The views are fabulous. You don’t need a hotel with a pool here – the beach is enough. I’d stay two days.

Our hotel was a few notches short of a recommendation. I’d recommend staying somewhere within walking distance of the town/beach, perhaps a house rental. We didn’t see a ton of great options (there are many condos and run down hotels).

  • ***Restaurant La Boheme was excellent, with a patio overlooking the harbor. Huge portions as usual.
  • The **Manor B&B was just a bit odd. It has a great pool, most (but not all) rooms have bathrooms, it feels slightly like trespassing at someone’s house. The owner is somewhere between awesome and super weird – her recommendations, however, were all very good. Too far away from town to walk. Wouldn’t stay again.
  • ***A Candella, up in the citadel, has a stunning view over the bay of Calvi. Food was amazing, service just slightly surly. Loved it.
  • ***L’Ange des Mers was a random find I would recommend. It’s outside of town – way outside – but worth it for a glimpse of the very pretty interior valleys and hills. The restaurant is clearly the family’s house (though nicely set up) and they fish for the food themselves each day. Some of the best food we had.
  • Hostellerie De L’Abbaye looked high end, potentially a place to stay in the center of town.

Cap Corse

After a 5 hour ferry ride to Corsica, we drove North to ***Brando, on Cap Corse. This was an inspired choice – after exploring the Cap Corse peninsula, we are fairly confident we chose the best town, and best hotel, to stay in. It’s not big, but there are plenty of restaurants in the area, some swimming, low key vibe. Two nights and a day was the right amount of time.

Cap Corse itself is rural, reminding me of Majorca without the crowds. It’s very hilly and scenic from just about every angle. Would be a great biking or motorcycling destination. Note that while you can swim just about everywhere the water is pretty rough, and there’s nothing that’s particularly beach like (despite many places called beaches). It’s more rocks and cliffs.

  • ***Hotel Castel Brando was perfect – cozy and elegant rooms, good food, two swimming pools, charming staff, great location. The onsite restaurant is quite good, focused on local seafood and regional dishes.
  • ***Le Pirate, 3 minutes walk away, has lost its Michelin star, but you wouldn’t know it. Elegant food and a waterside setting.

We drove over the mountains to **Marine de Scalo, which is a very pretty and isolated town with an abandoned convent. Worth a stop for the views.

The town of ***Centuri might be worth a night – it’s a little crowded and lovely harbor packed with restaurants. We had an excellent and overly large meal of lobster and shrimp at ***Le Vieux Moulin

We walked to *Plage de Tamarone, perhaps not worth it (no real place to relax once you’re there).


Conca

**La Siesta in Conca was a nice break for lunch, on a cute little beach (good salads and burgers). It’s almost not worth a mention, aside from the fact that this area is camping central and probably where you’d want to be parked.


Corte

On our way north again – the interior roads are beautiful, with the scenery changing quite a bit. The only surprise was *Corte, which the guidebooks hype a lot – it’s a rather grim little industrial town. Definitely don’t stay there.


L’ille-Rousse 

Nothing particular to say about this town; it feels like a lower rent version of Calvi. I’d just stick with Calvi. We had a good lunch at **Marinella on the beach.


Porto-Vecchio

We drove through *Porto-Vecchio – I think it’s a skip (Galen thinks one night). It’s hard to make sense of this place – a big harbor, 1960s houses in every direction, basically a massive suburb. The small old town does look cute, a warren of restaurants, but I’m not sure it balances out of the inconvenience of having to drive to it.


Saint Florent

Galen and I have slightly different opinions about this place – it’s not a particularly notable location, with a big bay and not much of a beach. It’s probably a skip (he liked it more – perhaps one day). It’s pleasant, our hotel wasn’t bad, we had good food, the road in and out is amazing! Great views and winding perfect roads.

  • **Hotel Dolce Notte was a good find – out of the main town, but still close enough to walk. It’s a bit 1960s, but in a fun beach way. Most rooms have private ocean-facing balconies and there’s direct water access (no pool). They had canoes and SUPs for the guests.
  • *La Table de la Roya was a fancy option on the other side of town. It deserves more than 1 star – the food was good – but it was trying way too hard in a rather annoying way. The hotel it’s in (**Hotel La Roya) was another option for lodging, on the more premium side.

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