Popular Ports in Corsica
Capital of Corsica, Ajaccio, is a classic cruise port with an historic town offering a maze of atmospheric lanes, pastel-coloured houses and historic monuments. The former residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, now a museum, is a top attraction worth exploring – that’s if you can bear to leave the beach. Cupulatta Park, Europe’s only tortoise protection centre, is a must for animal lovers.
With a charming old town and citadel, Bastia is the ideal place for leisurely exploration and people watching. Terra Vecchia is the main square which hosts a colourful morning market at the weekends and the Old Port is dotted with restaurants and bars. The Bastia Museum, situated in The Governor’s Palace, gives insight into the city’s history and offers a fascinating glimpse into Bastia’s past.
Situated on the southernmost tip of Corsica, Bonifacio has tonnes of charisma with its citadel walls, ancient houses and old quarter offering up an array of souvenir shops, cafes and seaside views. If you want a whirlwind tour of the town, hop aboard the mini-train which travels past ruined mills and the Church of St Dominique, as well as offering fabulous views across the sea to Sardinia.
It’s rumoured that Calvi was the birthplace of Christopher Columbus and the ruins of his house can still be seen in this charming town. With a five-mile stretch of sand, imposing citadel and backdrop of mountains, it’s easy to see why Calvi attracts the jet-set crowd who moor their sleek yachts here. Calvi is located on the edge of Scandola, a UNESCO Marine World Heritage Site only accessible by boat. It’s well worth the trip and, if you’re lucky, you might catch sight of seals and dolphins.
It’s all about the beaches in Porto-Vecchio and you’ll find it’s turquoise waters and sandy bays all the way in this charming port town. The narrow, atmospheric streets are lined with restaurants, cafes and bars while the yacht-filled marina attracts an international crowd. If you’re in need of some retail therapy, you’ll find a selection of small boutiques selling everything from clothes to arts and crafts.
Beautiful beaches, a bustling promenade and seafront cafes offer a taste of the relaxed lifestyle which is typically Corsican. This is the place to enjoy fresh seafood, so pick a restaurant and enjoy lobster or jumbo prawns with a crisp glass of white wine and a fresh salad. Town highlights include the Church of Notre Dame de la Misericorde, an atmospheric building with a colourful arched interior.
The small town of Saint Florent, with its attractive harbour and cafes, offers the chance for shopping and sightseeing. The 15th-century citadel offers impressive views and hosts numerous art exhibitions in the summer months. Nebbio Cathedral, while not quite as grand as its French counterparts, is also worth a look. There are several scenic beaches not far from town, too, including Plage de Saleccia.
What are the best cruise ships for a Corsica Cruise?
You could experience the delights of Ajaccio in Corsica, during a Treasures of the Mediterranean cruise onboard the Marella Dream. With a grand total of six restaurants, nine bars and 12 decks, you’ll find plenty to do between your ports of call. If you’re after elegant dining, Mistral’s restaurant is the place to go with it’s a-la-carte menu offering up an array of mouthwatering treats such as rack of lamb. If you want to ward off those holiday kilos, head to Oceans Gym then indulge in a treatment at the Oceans Spa and Beauty Salon. When the sun sets, head to the Broadway Show Lounge for dazzling West End-style entertainment.
You could also experience Ajaccio’s delights on the Mediterranean Cruise with P&O onboard the Aurora. With two spacious informal restaurants, a café and several bars, you’ll have plenty of refreshment options during your hours on board. There’s a pool to take a dip in or laze beside and Jumping Jacks children’s club for families. Head to the spa for some relaxation or watch a film during the evenings in the Playhouse Cinema.
Shore Excursion Ideas
Cruisers who dock in Propriano shouldn’t miss the chance to visit Sartène, described by French novelist Prosper Mérimée as ‘the most Corsican of Corsica’s towns’. With a labyrinth of cobbled lanes, quaint trinket shops and charming cafes, it’s a escapist retreat in which to absorb Corsica’s charms and enjoy the local beaches.
Saleccia Botanical Gardens
If your itinerary features Calvi, consider a trip to the Saleccia Botanical Gardens. Spreading across an idyllic seven hectares, these spectacular landscaped gardens are a feast for the senses with vibrant blooms, rock gardens and olive trees at every turn. Opened in 2005, this has fast become one of Corsica’s top nearby attractions.
Enjoy the mountain air on your Corsica cruise by taking a trip to Bastelica from Ajaccio. This forested region with its fragrant shrubbery and fabulous views is 800 metres above sea level and boasts several selfie-worthy settings as well as a charming village with a mini-train that can take you on a charming tour of the town.
Corsica’s rich, fertile soil and sunny climate make it the perfect destination for grape growing, so many cruise companies offer a tasting trip to sample the local vino. There are numerous wineries which offer an insight into the process and the chance to sample Corsica’s finest. Wine has been made on the island for 2,500 years.