The Mediterranean is the go-to destination for Americans traveling to Europe over the summer.
There are over 6000 islands to pick from, all boasting a rich heritage and outstanding natural beauty, and picking one for a sunny holiday can be challenging, to say the least.
While a majority of travelers have already made up their minds about living it up in Santorini, Mykonos, Ibiza, and other party islands, others may still be wondering where to go to experience some of that laid-back Mediterranean living, preferably a not-so-obvious pick.
If you fall within the latter group, perhaps you should consider jetting off to beautiful Corsica instead:
France’s Mediterranean Jewel
An island that is part of France, located directly North of Sardinia, Corsica (or Corse, as the locals call it) is the fourth-largest island in the Mediterranean and the largest island in Metropolitan France (the French territories located in Europe).
Corsica is best known for its rich Franco-Italian heritage. Over the centuries, French and Italian powers fought over control of the island, and depending on the historical period, you will find Corsica is either ruled by the French Empire or an Italic state.
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The birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte, who would rise to become the last great French emperor, Corsica’s fame is not attributed solely to the weight of its history or famous characters who hail from there.
It is renowned for its stunning natural scenery.
Corsica Has Some Gorgeous Nature
Corsica is one of the most naturally beautiful islands in the Mediterranean.
Its rugged inland is a trekker’s paradise, comprising a mountainous center and several hiking trails, while the coastline is bounded by the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean, with plenty of white sand beaches and charming, centuries-old cobblestone towns begging to be explored.
This year, Corsica was listed as one of the top 5 island destinations in the Med, based on research divulged by CNews France, alongside the nation of Malta, the neighboring Italian offshore destination of Sardinia, the ever-trendier Cyprus, and yet another Italian island, Sicily.
With 28 criteria considered, such as the weather and water temperature, the cleanliness of beaches, the presence of cultural sites and ancient monuments, the number of five-star hotels and Guide Michelin restaurants, and natural wonders, we must urge you not to skip Corsica.
As the news outlet mentions, it may have come fourth in the general classification, but in the ‘natural wonders’ subcategory, it charts in the runner-up slot in recognition of world-famous locations like the creeks of Piana, deemed by UNESCO a World Heritage Site, the cliffs of Bonifacio, the Agriates desert, and many more unique landscapes.
What Are Some Of The Most Beautiful Spots In Corsica?
Some of the must-sees in Corsica are:
- Ajaccio, the island’s capital, home to a medieval Notre Dame Cathedral where Napoleon was baptized, and an enviable host of museums
- Bonifacio, a cliffside settlement with an Italian-like pastel-colored cityscape, with a busy marina and hilltop citadel for attractions
- Bastia, a city whose well-preserved defensive ramparts and medieval heritage have drawn in History enthusiasts for decades
- Porto-Vecchio, a lively port town with an Italian name sprawling out of a 16th-century citadel, with narrow alleyways for strolling and scenic vistas to be appreciated
- Corte, a natural park away from the crowded spots on the coast, where you can go hiking, camping, and soak up the Corsican nature
- Scandola, a postcard-ready marine reserve distinct for its dramatic, fortress-like rock formations, an acqua waters.
- Asco, the hilly northernmost portion of Corsica, dominated by lush green panoramas and offering scenic drives
How To Get To Corsica
There are four civilian airports hosting commercial flights in Corsica, serving different departments in the island. The busiest of them, Ajaccio Napoleon Bonaparte, is a hub for several low-cost carriers operating in Europe.
Nonstop flights depart regularly over the summer period from Paris and other major French cities like Lyon, Marseille, Nice, and Toulouse, as well as a handful of other non-domestic departure points, with Rome, Luxembourg, Amsterdam, and Oslo, all of which host direct flights from the United States.
Arriving from mainland France or other ports in the Mediterranean, you have the option to travel by ferry boat to Corsica.
France (which includes Corsica) has no COVID-related entry requirements for international tourists visiting this summer.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com