Ask the Expert: Corsica
Kallisté, L’Ile de Beauté and ‘Mountain in the sea’, Corsica’s irresistible beauty has long been coveted by those seeking to claim their little piece of paradise. With spectacular mountains, lush forest and pristine beaches, it’s hard to resist Corsica’s siren call, says Simpson Exclusive’s Sales & Operations Executive, Alex Taylor.
“Perhaps most famous for its powdery white sands and Caribbean-esque clear seas, Corsica has a surprising diversity. Alongside over 200 beaches, two thirds of the island is dominated by soaring mountains reaching heights of 2,706 metres, a third is protected by National Park status, and its rural villages and charming coastal towns are host to a fusion of Michelin star food, historic cobbled streets, and international music festivals.
Hôtel La Villa overlooks the walled citadel of Calvi, where ancient streets wind past buildings behind whose walls Napoleon hid during the French Revolution, Christopher Columbus was rumoured to have been born, and Admiral Nelson lost his right eye. At night, the citadel and nearby Quai Laundry come alive with music, with highlights including June’s Calvi Jazz Festival and July’s Calvi on the Rocks. From Calvi’s citadel sweeps La Pinède, four miles of gently shelving white sand catering to sun-lovers seeking to relax with a glorious view. To the west of Calvi, the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Scandola Nature Reserve and Calanques di Piana inspire with striking rock formations towering over azure seas and brilliant white arcs of sand only accessible by boat.
To the south of Corsica, the elegant resorts of Porto Vecchio and Bonifacio combine ancient history with dramatic white-chalk cliffs and glossy marinas. Chic boutiques, art galleries and shaded cafés line cobbled streets and charming town squares; stunning sunsets reward leisurely strolls to the heights of Bonifacio’s citadel; and the impressive harmonies of Corsica’s famous polyphonic singing flows through fashionable Porto Vecchio. Southern Corsica’s beaches are renowned for their crystal clear sea and swathes of powdery white sand. Villa Palombaggia and La Luna are a short walk from stunning Palombaggia Beach, and the villas and hotels of Porto Vecchio are a short drive to nearby Santa Guilia and the family friendly beaches of Rondinara and Pinarellu.
Drive inland from Porto Vecchio or Bonifacio to encounter the breathtaking Col de Bavella, where the adventurous hiker can tackle a section of the infamous GR20 route, one of the most challenging walks in the Mediterranean, or even brave canyoning, climbing or the more accessible Via Ferreta near Zonza. Alternatively, take a gentler walk through the forest to the rock pools of Zonza and surrounding mountain villages where you can discover the delights of Corsican mountain food. For those who prefer cycling, Porto Vecchio was the start of 2013’s Tour de France with the route looping down to Bonifacio and back through the mountains. You can follow this spectacular route or cycle through the tranquil Forêt de l’Ospédale.
Sometimes, however, the only holiday that will do is a complete retreat. Cavallo Island is as close to a private island and the ‘no shoes, no news’ philosophy of the Maldives as can be found within a two and half hour flight from the UK. Once known as the Isle of Billionaires, the only visitors to this idyllic island are those resident in the private villas and welcoming Hôtel & Spa des Pêcheurs. Such exclusivity ensures Cavallo is the perfect place to recharge the batteries, relax and reconnect with friends and family. Laze on coves of golden sand, snorkel or dive in the glass-like water, and dine beneath the stars.”
To find out more about holidays to Corsica, please click or contact our expert team on 020 3642 2595.
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