Southern CorsicaCopyright: Evannovostro/Shutterstock.com
Southern CorsicaBirthplace of Napoléon Bonaparte and home to some awe-inspiring natural landscapes, Southern Corsica (or Corse-du-Sud) entices with outdoor pursuits, remnants of prehistoric settlements and stunningly diverse scenery. From the dramatic white cliffs of Bonifacio to the whimsical rock formations of Piana to the uninhabited Lavezzi Islands and white-sand beaches, Southern Corsica has plenty to capture your imagination.
The RegionSouthern Corsica's visitor hot spots are Propriano and Porto-Vecchio (known for its lively nightlife), along with the capital of Ajaccio, the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte, whose family home, Maison Bonaparte, has now been transformed into a public museum. The western coast of Corsica boasts numerous sandy beaches that stretch down to the southernmost point of the island. The region's highlights include the impressive Citadel of Bonifacio, situated atop steep white cliffs, and the pristine, uninhabited Lavezzi Islands located just off the coast. Sartène, although situated away from the frequented coastal areas, is a quintessential Corsican town with a rather grim past–it had notoriously struggled with gang crime–that has preserved a good amount of its medieval charm. It is primarily known for its annual Good Friday procession, an event that aims to recreate Jesus' journey to the Calvary. The 35-kilo cross and 17-kilo chain used in the procession are on display year-round at the Sartène church of St Mary.
Do & See
Southern Corsica boasts a wealth of natural beauty, ranging from the imposing Bonifacio cliffs to the majestic landscapes of the island's interior, as well as its idyllic white-sand beaches and deserted islands just a stone's throw from the coast. With its vibrant hues of yellow and orange, Ajaccio is yet another captivating highlight of this region. Outdoor enthusiasts will find no shortage of activities to enjoy amidst these awe-inspiring landscapes.
Corsican charcuterie is renowned worldwide for its exceptional quality, thanks in large part to the island's unique breed of pigs, which are cross-bred with wild boar and fed on natural chestnuts — a traditional staple that has also made its way into modern cuisine in dishes such as "pulenta" (chestnut porridge) and "fritelli a gaju frescu" (chestnut fritters). Additionally, the island's cuisine features a variety of other local specialities, including fish, seafood, and game. One of the most famous dishes on the island is the "civet de sanglier," a casserole made with wild boar.
Cafe tables spill out onto palm-tree-lined boulevards and squares of the capital, Ajaccio, and aren't tough to find one in most of the island's settlements either. Corsica has a thriving coffee culture, with locals frequently gathering in bars and cafes to savour their coffee or indulge in a late afternoon aperitif.
Bars & Nightlife
Porto-Vecchio is the nightlife magnet of the Corsican south. Celebrity appearances aren't uncommon, and world-renowned DJs are invited to host parties — especially during the high season. For those who prefer a more relaxed evening, there are bars serving Corsica's own wines — there are four wine regions in the south alone — and beer. Pietra, the island's own brand that brews beloved beers from chestnuts.
Farmers' markets are held in most larger settlements, but Corsican deli shops do well in lieu of those. The array of quintessentially local edibles is impressive: charcuterie (meats and sausages that rank among the world's finest), cheeses, jams and marmalade made from organic fruit and berries, olives and olive oil, and sweet treats. The north of the island is famous for its wineries, whose products are readily available in the shops of the south. Traditional handicrafts, such as pottery, basket-weaving, and knife-making, are kept alive by local artisans.