Published on 07 september 2008 at 0h00
Need an idea for this summer’s holidays? What would you say to a trip to the ‘Ile de Beauté’..? Corsica really is an exceptional destination, and in addition offers a few anchorages which are still wild and almost deserted to those who know how to find them…
From the pink granite of the Lavezzi Islands to the Agriates desert; the Piana ‘calanques’ to the Golfe de Porto Vecchio (Porto Vecchio Bay), Corsica offers sumptuous scenery to lovers of the sea, over more than 1000 kilometres of coastline. A real paradise for cruisers, divers and, quite simply, lovers of beauty… Corsica is situated less than 100 miles from the Cote d’Azur, half that distance from Italy, and is an ideal cruising destination in the Mediterranean basin. Lovers of offshore cruising can quite easily set off from one of the mainland ports, where several charter companies offer a large range of catamarans, and even the possibility of a one-way charter, where you can leave the catamaran in Corsica after your holidays and don’t have to sail back. The other solution consists of going directly to the ‘Ile de Beauté’, either by air or by ferry (less than three hours from Nice on the famous NGVs (high speed ferries). Once there, most of the charter companies offer an attractive choice of multihulls. For perfect holidays, you need some wind, sunshine…and warm seas! In summer in Corsica, the average temperature is 27.7°C, whilst the water temperature is around 25°C. But even in winter, temperatures are rarely extreme, with an average of 13°C for both air and water in january…
Corsica has so many nooks and crannies that are best discovered for yourself, that it is difficult to give a sample itinerary. This is also why the island is magical!
Not to be missed :
The Sanguinaires Islands, which really justify their name when you arrive there at sunset. These small islands guard the northern entry to the Golfe d’Ajaccio and offer a daytime anchorage protected from the north-west.
The little port at Cargèse is one of the major destinations on this part of the coast. In other words, it is essential to arrive very early in the season if you want to stand a chance of finding a place to anchor in the ‘avant-port’.
The famous Golfe de Porto. At the head of the bay, there is the village of Porto, however access to the magnificent but tiny port is impossible as there is only 50cm to a metre of water. You will find everything in the village, even a way to visit the famous Calanque de Piana’ by car, an excursion which is well worth while.
Just north of the Golfe de Porto, the Golfe de Girolata opens up, offering many fine weather anchorages. Girolata port is the only real shelter between Calvi and Ajaccio when the weather deteriorates…
The Scandola Reserve is not to be missed under any circumstances… Without a doubt, the Scandola Nature Reserve is one of the absolute ‘musts’ on Corsica. The site has been an integral part of the Parc Naturel Régional de Corse (Corsican Regional National Park) since 1975. So in the marine reserve, both fishing and diving with bottles are prohibited, as are bivouacking, hunting and lighting fires ashore. You may anchor in the reserve for a maximum of 24 hours and must carefully avoid disturbing the fauna, in return for which you will visit a magnificent place with wild, grandiose scenery composed of rocky red-coloured walls, especially at sunset.
Calvi, with its citadel, is marvellous. Not to be missed !
Starting your cruise from Porto Vecchio is a good idea, as it is one of the few ports on the east coast where you can buy all the provisions you will need. It has many services for the leisure sailor (shops, restaurants, discotheques…) and an old town which is well worth a detour.
Santa Giulia and further on, the Golfe de Rondinara offer some beautiful anchorages, notably the latter, where the fine sandy beach and the lagoon could lead you to think you were really in the Tropics.
The Lavezzi Islands Reserve was created in 1982, to protect this exceptional beauty spot. The protection measures may appear draconian (limited anchorages, landing prohibited on certain islands – Piana, Sperduti, Porrigia – or severely controlled) but the beauty and state of preservation of this site are worth a few sacrifices. Divers can discover ‘Merouville’, a magnificent underwater beauty spot which is home to the ‘merou’ or grouper fish. A walk on Lavezzi Island is a must…
The town of Bonifacio is also very picturesque; its small port is enclosed in a channel surrounded by cliffs. You will find everything you need for a pleasant stay, from souvenir shops to restaurants and, of course, numerous diving clubs so that you can take advantage of the nearby Lavezzi Islands. This list is, of course, not exhaustive…
Corsica is accessible by air via Air France - Air Corsica - Easyjet - Volotea - XL.com to the airports in Ajaccio, Bastia or Figari.
Another solution: go there by ferry, with SNCM or Corsica Ferries, leaving from Marseille, Nice, Toulon or Savona, in Italy.
Finally, you can go to Corsica in your catamaran. Leaving from Hyères, allow one night at sea before you can enjoy the pleasures of the Corsican coasts.
The best period for cruising in Corsica stretches from May to October. Outside the summer season, you will have all the anchorages to yourself!
Corsica is France. For European Union citizens, valid passport
Official language: French.
The currency is the euro.
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