0 In Corsica/ Destinations

A Quick Guide to Ajaccio, Corsica

Basking in the Mediterranean sun south of France and west of Italy lies the enigmatic island of Corsica. At first glance, Corsica’s glittering bays and resort towns feel reminiscent of many other renowned seaside towns in the Mediterranean, but look a little further and you’ll find something entirely different.

I don’t remember the exact moment I first dreamed of visiting Corsica some years ago, but I do remember the exact instant I fell in love with the island. Upon setting foot on Corsica’s shores in the Gulf of Ajaccio back in the early Autumn of last year, the very first thing that struck me was Corsica’s astounding geographical diversity, and just how quickly the topography of the island changed.

 

Tyrone and I were lost for words. Quite literally the landscape morphed before our eyes; the glittering beaches and popular resort towns quickly give way to a different Corsica, where soaring mountain ranges, impenetrable forests, deep valleys and precariously-perched hilltop villages abound.

This is what really sets Corsica apart from the rest of the Mediterranean and what convinced me from the very moment of our inevitable departure that we would definitely return again some day. Next time, we will hire a car and spend five or so days zipping around the coast line and delving into the island’s wild interior. This time though, it was all about the beautiful seaside town of Ajaccio.

Getting There

Ajaccio is located on the western side of Corsica and is easily accessible by plane from cities in France and elsewhere in Europe. Ferries are also an option if travelling from Nice, Toulon or Marseille, and the city is a popular destination on select cruise ship itineraries.

Top Reasons To Visit

Discover Corsican goodies at the farmer’s market

It was a sunny Mediterranean morning that we arrived in the bay. The harbour glistened a stunning sapphire blue as we made our way towards the pretty market square and the farmer’s market in the centre of town. Quaint and colourful, this market is stacked with great local specialities like fig, myrtle or plum liqueur, spicy Corsican sausage, maize and honey cakes, pungent cheeses and delicious Corsican wine. Held at Place Foch and open Tuesday to Sunday from 7am to 1pm, this gorgeous market is bursting with Corsican goodies and mustn’t be missed!

Explore the Old Town

A cluster of ancient streets that centre around Place Foch, the Old Town is a very picturesque part of Ajaccio. Here you will find gorgeous Mediterranean-style buildings in mellow colours and narrow, tree-lined streets, that open out to the seafront and gorgeous marina. A great spot for a wander and a coffee in the sunshine.

 

Frolick at the beach

St Francois Beach is less than a 10 minute walk from Place Foch and is a beautiful spot to take a dip and bask in the gorgeous Mediterranean sunshine.

Visit the 15th Century Citadel

Overlooking the sea, the imposing military fortress not only provides a little insight into Corsican history but also some stunning water views.

 

Meet the local donkeys and goats

Yep, right in the city centre, you’ll find donkeys and goats roaming free, munching themselves silly on the perennially green grass surrounding the citadel. On our visit, we saw two donkeys and a handful of goats – one had managed to scale the citadel walls and was having a nice little snooze about half way up!

 

Find a cafe with a view and sample the Corsican wine

Ajaccio’s waterfront pavement cafes are the place to be seen. If that’s not your inclination, then be sure to go for gorgeous views of the Bay and to sit and watch the sun set while sipping a local Corsican wine.
So what do you think? Is Corsica on your travel wish list? 
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