• The island of beauty boasts a thousand kilometres of exquisite coastal landscape and magnificent shores, including the beautiful Scandola nature reserve. Listed as a world heritage site, this jewel of red rock, with its wonderful sea and land biodiversity, is not alone. From Cap Corse to the cliffs of Bonifacio, via the Calanche de Piana, the Lavezzi islands and the beach at Palombaggia (Porto-Vecchio), Corsica is a series of idyllic pictures.
• But Corsica is also a "mountain in the sea", boasting summits equal to those in the Alps, and culminating in Monte Cinto at an altitude of 2,706m no less! The mountain streams and forests, the prairies and mountain lakes in the Restonica Valley (near Corte) are just one example. But there are also slightly lower yet just as harsh ranges, such as the Castagniccia (land of sweet chestnuts) to the north or the Alta Rocca (a chaos of sun-burnt rocks) to the south, etc. And you will also see some natural extravagances like the "désert des Agriates", near the harbour of Ile Rousse. A regional nature reserve
will help you to explore these exceptional regions. Gastronomy and local produce
• The Balagne hillsides, overlooking the port of Calvi, are a perfect illustration of the generosity of the Mediterranean region. Planted in terraces, the tangerine trees, olive trees and vines thrive in the warm climate, around picturesque villages like San Antonino. Flocks of sheep graze on the slopes of the maquis (the characteristic, drought-resistant vegetation on a granite soil). The whey from the ewe's milk is used to make the famous PDO Bruccio
(or Brocciu as they say!). And no Corsican snack would be complete without its traditional charcuterie like Figatellu (pork sausage) for example. Hiking
• Corsica is unequalled in its blend of gentle seas and harsh mountains. And the least journey on foot leads you in just a few kilometres to seemingly antagonistic landscapes. One example is the "Mare e Monti" trail running north between the gulfs of Girolata and Galeria and then to the vallée du Fango
(listed as a UNESCO biosphere reserve). Hikers also particularly appreciate (except in the middle of summer when it is really too hot!) the solitary landscapes of the Alta Rocca to the south, following the "Mare e Mare" route.
• There are many themes which encourage tourists to explore the region on foot. Prehistoric
sites from the Mesolithic (8,000 years BC) in Curacchiaghju (near Levie) or Neolithic (4,000 years BC) in Filitosa and elsewhere, tell the story of an amazing era. Just as the sixty or so little round towers (often in ruins) bear witness to the Italian control between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries. On each cape or promontory along the coast, these watchtowers were used to warn the islanders of attacks by pirates from the Barbary Coast.
• The magical scene of the "aiguilles de Bavella", a lacework of rocky peaks rising up to an altitude of between 1200 and 1800 metres, is an invitation to other hikes around Zonza. But the highlight of long-distance hiking remains indisputably the crossing of the mountains of Corsica, diagonally, from the mountain village of Calenzana (in Balagne) to the village of Conca (near Porto-Vecchio). A trek of around 200km, to be hiked in stages, following the marks of the famous GR 20
: the trail has even become the star of its own film! But Corsica in its entirety is the real star of the Mediterranean...