The Balagne region of Corsica is one of the island’s most popular tourist destinations not only for its proximity to mainland France but mostly for the stunning scenery it offers. Its lush and fertile topography earned it the nickname, “garden of Corsica”. This the perfect…
The Balagne region of Corsica is one of the island’s most popular tourist destinations not only for its proximity to mainland France but mostly for the stunning scenery it offers. Its lush and fertile topography earned it the nickname, “garden of Corsica”. This the perfect spot for those who are into verdant rolling hills dotted with orchards, vineyards and olive groves. Stunning fine sand beaches are also aplenty for that perfect Mediterranean vacation. Choose from the main towns of Calvi, L’Ile-Rousse, and Cargese for your base and you are minutes away from exhilarating side trips to charming hilltop villages.
Calvi’s bustling port is one of the busiest in Corsica. It is not only the hub for major ferries going to the island but also for various cruises plying the Mediterranean route. The town’s waterfront promenade, Quai Landry, is the best place to start your exploration.
Enjoy its scenic marina, savor delectable French or Italian cuisine in one of the many restaurants in the area, or simply hang out in a lovely outdoor cafe. From there, head to the northern end of the town to visit the 13th century citadel where you can walk around its ramparts and soak up the breathtaking vistas of the town against the deep blue of the ocean. Unfortunately, the castle is off-limits to the public so just make do with the visual treats outdoors.
From there, follow the narrow cobbled thoroughfares to the 16th century baroque cathedral of St. Jean Baptiste. Its facade is impressive enough, but wait till you get inside to fully appreciate what the cathedral is all about. Of course, you cannot leave Calvi without taking full advantage of its sandy beach known as La Pinede. It stretches several miles long but only a portion of it is available for public use, so be on the lookout if you want to avoid paying a high price for your beach day outing.
Approximately 13 miles north-east of Calvi lies the picturesque town of L’Ile Rousse. It boasts of a pleasant beach – Plage de Rindara, elegant shops, gorgeous 18th-19th century architecture and an overall sophisticated atmosphere that delights the discerning tourist. Take in the town’s charms at Place Paoli where a wonderful view of the ocean is best admired under the shade of a tree. You must explore the covered market if you want to experience the local flavor of this part of Corsica.
Also, make sure to venture into the old town if you are looking for a scenic setting for a photo shoot or to simply go for a stroll. If you are looking for rugged terrain and dramatic scenery, then off you go towards the lighthouse to wait for the sunset and the spectacle of breathtaking colors that go with it. Also, make sure to visit the botanical gardens of Parc de Saleccia and see for yourself why the Balagne region is called the “garden of Corsica”.
Finally, Cargese is beautifully perched on a rocky promontory, putting it at a strategic location for nostalgic views of the vast cerulean sea. It offers several beaches where you can work on your tan in peace and quiet such as the beaches of Monachi and Stagnoli. But, if you are looking for a popular jaunt, then off you go to the beaches of Plage de Pero and Plage du Chiuni. For the ultimate party scene, the Club Med resort is definitely the place to go. If you love old churches, there are two splendid cathedrals in the area, one is Latin and the other is Greek. The best part is that they are facing each other like two sentries guarding the town of Cargese.