Seychelles ? Maldives ? Bahamas ? Bora Bora ? No, South of Corsica! Wonderland of infinite shades of blue, fine sand, rocky outcrops, secret coves, to be accessed from a well-marked road or along a steep path. The mountains that fall into the sea, the mysterious villages, the maquis in which to get lost… Southern Corsica is a bridge between Italian Sardinia and the rest of the island, a region with a strong personality, to fall in love with at first sight!
The author of this article, who collaborates with Elise the founder of Escadrille, is Corsican by origin and has spent most summers since childhood in this luminous and wild land of incredible beauty. She tells us about her southern Corsica, the long summers under the biting sun, and especially about the beaches, the busy and the (almost) secret ones. A list à la Prévert, which is not intended to be objective, because when you love, you always lose your objectivity, but which draws a map of the marvellous.
But hush! Some spots are not meant to be shared, keep them jealously to yourself…
Why South of Corsica ?
The truth is that all of Corsica is sumptuous, and with 1000km of coastline and natural wonders everywhere, the options are endless. The reason this article focuses on South of Corsica (the section between Porto Vecchio and Bonifacio) is because we believe that this is where the most beautiful beaches of the island are located, in all subjectivity! But also so many other wonderful sights, like the village of U Spidali (l’Ospédale) in the mountains, whose lights glitter at night from below, and its mysterious forest of pines and ferns, the lace of the Bavella pass, the mineral plateau of Cuscione, Porto Vecchio and especially Bonifacio, which alone justifies the trip.
La Rondinara, the shell and the little secret cove
In memories from childwood, la Rondinara is forever the ultimate beach, the one with a precise ceremony, climbing through the rocks to go to the extreme left (north) of the bay, where there was nobody (it was a long time ago!) and where whole days were spent happily lazing around.
It is without doubt the most perfect beach, with its ultra protected shell shape, its clear water, ideal with children (especially in its south part).
But there is also a secret cove not far from la Rondinara, discovered by boat but also accessible on foot even if you have to climb a bit (which is part of its charm): first you walk along the southern part of la Rondinara beach, then you cut across the land before reaching the end peninsula. You arrive on another small sandy beach, facing south, but you don’t stop there, you continue to go west along a small path overhanging the sea, for about 1km, and you reach a tiny sandy cove surrounded by rocks, with sumptuous translucent water. A few boats pass by from time to time, but otherwise it’s quiet, pure heaven!
Santa Giulia lagoon
This spot does not need introduction, it is a must-do when visiting southern Corsica. It is one of the most frequented beaches of the island, it is not always easy to enjoy it in full summer, with little spots left on the sand, even traffic jams of boats. So why put it on this list? Because Santa Giulia is so stunning it can bring tears to your eyes. When you climb up and see it in its entirety, its perfect curves, the transparency of its water, you realise that going to the other end of the world is irrelevant… It is the absolutely ideal beach with children, because on a very gentle slope, well protected.
On foot from Piantarella to Piana Island
Piana Island is tiny, lying just opposite the beach of Piantarella next to Spérone to the south. The island itself is not spectacular, but you come here for the shoal that faces it, accessible on foot from Piantarella beach (or, even better, by boat). A sandbank touches the water and all around is absolute transparency, with varying degrees of height. From a boat, you dive as if into a giant aquarium, and even if the place is well known, it remains extraordinary.
Lunch with your feet in the water at Maora Beach
The beach itself (in the gulf of Sant’Amanza) is very pretty but not spectacular compared to its neighbours, but is a great spot to enjoy, Maora Beach resturant, bohemian spirit with relaxed elegance, kaftan style, bare feet, a very well equipped beach (paying services), a restaurant that welcomes big happy tables and a pontoon to arrive by boat (the height of chic!). At one time there were even tables placed directly in the water, from which the feet splashed nonchalantly. Prices charged are similar to those in Paris but it is such a great place that we enjoy the moment more than anything else.
Porto Novo, guaranteed tranquillity
Porto Novo is easily accessible by the sea or by the road to Bonifacio (it is just south of Santa Giulia and before la Rondinara) but curiously it is not very busy, probably because it has no facilities, no houses around, only a few cows passing by from time to time, and therefore remains totally wild. The beach is not so big but enough to be quiet, and the water is very clear but a bit rougher than elsewhere at times, which usually delights children. It is on this beach that as children the most beautiful specimens of St Lucia’s Eyes were collected, these small flat shells with fabulous legends attached. Hours can be spent where the sea meets the sand, looking for them among the grains of sand. If you come to Porto Novo and find any, let us know !
And a few more to highlight
The list could go on and on : Trois Pointes in Bonifacio, below the Semaphore, where you can swim in caves, the U Capu Biancu hotel to have a drink above the sea and watch the changing colours at sunset…
But you should also stop for a moment on the Lavezzi islands, miracles of nature and spectacular sea beds. Note that there is talk of setting up quotas to limit access to the Lavezzi islands, which is an excellent news to protect them. The booking procedure (and the date when the regulation will be definitively applied) has not yet been finalised but will be managed by the Bonifacio tourist office.
And also, of course, a word about Palombaggia, a mythical beach if ever there was one, elected the most beautiful beach in Europe on many occasions. It will always be one of the most beautiful experiences in Corsica, not to be missed, walking along its coves, Acciaju, Tamaricciu and Palombaggia and swimming endlessly. Escadrille was not mistaken, by dedicating a pair of espadrille to this beach, the mythical Palombaggia.