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Corsica Yacht Charter Guide

If you’re seeking a luxury yacht charter that offers an entirely different experience than traditional Mediterranean hotspots such as the Amalfi Coast, French Riviera / Cote d’Azur or the Balearic Islands, then head to Corsica where you’ll be charmed by an island of diverse landscapes, vast history and robust cuisine.

Located at a maritime triangle between the coasts of northwestern Italy, southeastern France and the neighbouring island of Sardinia, Corsica is underrated and largely unspoiled by commercialism – imagine an island where herders still shuffle their mountain goats through the scented maquis of rosemary and lavender, crumbling Genoese fortifications line the wild coastline instead of glitzy resorts and wind-bent pine trees border the shores of spectacular beaches.

Inland, you’ll find an even quieter Corsica with pigs and donkeys roaming the twisting mountain roads, artisans selling almond cookies and hazelnut oil roadside and tiny villages staunchly professing their Corsican identity.

Scenic road on the island of Corsica

Thinking of booking a Corsica yacht charter? Here’s 12 amazing reasons why you’ll be convinced:

  1. Fantastic Mediterranean Climate

The climate in Corsica is mild and sunny with temperatures higher than Mainland Italy or France. Summer is the busiest time for Corsica yacht charters and guarantees excellent weather coupled with sea breezes with the sea warming up from May onwards.

Autumn is a pleasant time to also visit Corsica on a yacht charter because the sea is warm, the weather is still beautiful and most stores and attractions are open, with less crowds.

Luxury yacht at anchor in Corsica

From May through to October, temperatures range from 21 to 28 degrees Celsius and the topography creates mini-climates; Corsica is a mountainous island, yet even in winter it enjoys fine sunny days with fair temperatures on the coast for leisurely days on board your luxury yacht.

  1. Beautiful Beaches in Corsica

Corsica is a beach lover’s paradise with over 200 sandy or pebbly beaches, many with fine white sand and clean turquoise water that rivals the tropics. Corsican beaches are fantastic for swimming, or if you want a more active yacht charter the water is ideal for sea kayaking, diving, paddle boarding or wakeboarding.

Beaches in Corsica

Many of the best beaches in Corsica are accessible only by boat, making a Corsica yacht charter a flexible option for exploring the coastline.

Bespoke Yacht Charter’s pick of some of the top beaches to visit on a yacht charter in Corsica are:

  • Located on the east coast near to Porto-Vecchio, anchor in the clear waters of Santa Giulia Beach or Pinarellu Beach
  • Rondinara and Saint-Cyprien are great for families
  • If you visit Bonifacio, Roccapina beach and Petit and Grand Sperone are fabulous outside of peak season (July/August)
  • The small archipelago of the Lavezzi Islands in the Strait of Bonifacio
  • Mare e Sole at Pietrosella
  • Cala d’Aguila Beach in the Sartène province
  • Laurosu Beach in Propriano is a good choice if you like uncrowded beaches with a mountain backdrop
  • Lotu beach near Saint-Florent

Aerial view of Santa Giulia beach on the French island of Corsica

  1. Porto-Vecchio

Porto-Vecchio combines the attractions of a historic fortified town, beautiful southern beaches such as Palombaggia or heading ashore to enjoy the mountain scenery.

The marina of Porto Vecchio in Corsica

The busy marina has plenty of bars and restaurants overlooking the harbour and the citadel and Old Town streets are interesting to explore with specialty food stores, craft shops and late-night shopping in peak season amidst medieval buildings.

Don’t skip visiting Place de la République that is the real epicentre of Porto-Vecchio and a great spot to stop for an ice-cream, cool drink or plate of Corsican charcuterie.

  1. Best Restaurants, Bars and Clubs in Corsica

Forget pizza and pasta and delve into Corsican food and wine which is geographically distinctive. Typical specialities include wild boar, fiadone (Corsican cheesecake with lemon and brocciu cheese), chestnut soup and dishes enhanced with the native herb, nepita. Due to export laws, many Corsican cheeses can only be bought there so look for U Casarone, a sharp pungent goat’s cheese or Corse Vecchiu, a mild cheese.

For dining, make a reservation for the restaurant at the Hotel L’A Cheda in Bonifacio with inventive food served in a pleasant dining room overlooking a pretty garden.

Ten kilometres from Ajaccio in Piscia Rossa, head to A Vigna a traditional auberge overlooked by Mont Gozzi where you’ll be welcomed with impeccable service, a menu strong on Corsican ingredients and a wine cellar with a mix of Corsican blends and Grand Crus.

Restaurant at Roches Rouges in Piana, Corsica

The restaurant at the Hotel des Roches Rouges in Piana is worth a detour on land; alongside delicious cuisine you’ll be wowed by the panoramic views from the terrace.

Michelin aficionado’s will know about Le Pirate, with a charming setting beside the rustic fishing harbour of Erbalunga in northern Corsica. Open daily for lunch and dinner between June and September, this is one of Corsica’s best gourmet addresses where you can dine on cuisine such as langoustine tortellini infused with hazelnut or desserts enhanced by local herbs.

For a relaxed beachside bar, Bespoke Yacht Charter like Le Padula located halfway between Calvi and L’Île-Rousse at Algajola. Here you can watch the sun set without the tourists you’d expect in Ibiza or Pampelonne Beach as you sip cocktails at tables in the sand.

The Via Notte club near Porto Vecchio in Corsica

For nightlife, Via Notte just outside Porto-Vecchio is Corsica’s version of the super clubs in Ibiza or Saint Tropez. Arguably the best club in Corsica, there are a range of bars including a ‘Super VIP area’ and room for thousands of party animals who pack the dance floor nightly in summer listening to world class DJs.

  1. Bonifacio

Perched on dramatic limestone cliffs, Bonifacio is a memorable place to arrive on a charter yacht. As you approach Bonifacio, look for the diagonal stairway – the Escaliers du Roi d’Aragon (King Aragon Steps) – carved directly into the towering cliffs, where Corsican legend says that troops of the King of Aragon carved the 187 steps in a single night to reach a fresh water well.

The dramatic cliffs on Bonifacio in southern Corsica

Bespoke Yacht Charter recommend booking your Corsica yacht charter as far in advance as possible to ensure a berth in Bonifacio marina because it’s one of Corsica’s unmissable yacht charter destinations!

Bonifacio’s popularity in summer is clear to see by the number of sleek superyachts coming and going, so whether you choose to start your Corsican yacht charter there and explore the historic citadel or extend your Mediterranean yacht charter with a trip to nearby Sardinia you’ll be longing to return.

  1. Adventure and Outdoor Activities in Corsica

Corsica has excellent locations to enjoy nature and even in the height of summer, you can be surrounded by peacefulness and solitude in remote coastal areas, mountains, forests and river valleys with sparkling swimming holes.

Best reached by private yacht from Calvi, the Gulf of Porto is wonderful for cruising past the majestic calanques of Piana. Don’t miss the marine diversity in the UNESCO-listed Réserve Naturelle de Scandola where you can go sea kayaking and snorkeling in sea grottoes and coves with opportunities to glimpse dolphins or sea eagles.

The Scandola nature reserve in Corsica

It’s easy to stick to the coast but the real rugged beauty of Corsica lies inland. Try canyoning in the Bavella Mountains where qualified instructors can guide you down rock slides fringed by pine forests, go horse riding or hike through the Gorges du Tavignano to refreshing natural pools.

As home to one of Europe’s most difficult hiking routes, the GR20 trail, Corsica is an excellent yacht charter destination for active guests looking for wild and untamed landscapes. If the GR20 is too challenging, try a more sedate amble such as the ‘sentier des douaniers’ coastal path on Cap Corse or walk along to the lighthouse at Pointe de la Revellata at the western tip of the bay of Calvi.

  1. Ajaccio

Known as the birthplace of Corsica’s most famous son, Napoléon Bonaparte, Ajaccio is the regional capital of southern Corsica with great importance on the island.

History buffs can visit Maison Bonaparte which is dedicated to displays of Napoléon’s life and walk through the public garden at Domaine des Milelli where you’ll find the old summer house of the Bonaparte family; the public can’t enter the heritage-listed farmhouse but it’s a nice walk among the olive groves.

The seafront at Ajaccio, Corsica

The port at Ajaccio is enticing with a lively café scene and Ajaccio is easily walkable with tempting patisserie shops and enough history to believe you haven’t even scratched the surface. After a morning ashore, take the tender to lounge on the sand at Capo di Feno beach or Plage du Pero.

  1. Corsican Wines

On those days when you want to broaden your horizons beyond the aft deck, Corsica has nine AOC wine regions and an island-wide ‘vin de pays’ designation to discover ashore.

Venture to the Patrimonio region west of Bastia that was the first to receive AOC designation with the Niellucciu grape being the main variety for the rosés and red wines there.

Clos Culombu located inland in Lumio east of Calvi, has a modern tasting facility with a spectacular backdrop of mountains; buy a bottle or two of their rosé for light summertime drinking.

Vineyards on the island of Corsica

Clos d’Alzeto, about an hours drive north of the marina in Ajaccio is the highest Domaine in Corsica and highly recommended for their Prestige 2010.

Situated in the hills above Porto-Vecchio at Lecci, Domaine de Torraccia is one of Corsica’s most famous vineyards. As well as tasting their organic wine onsite you can try their olive oil too. Their wines such as Cuvée Oriu are present on the wine lists of top restaurants such as Bouley in New York and The Gilbert Scott in London.

Not partial to wine? You can find the island’s Pietra beer direct at the Pietra Brasserie at the brewery in Furiani, or head to the mountainous region of Castagniccia Mare e Monti where Brasserie Artisanale Lutina brew a range of six beers using the local Orezza natural spring water and island herbs.

  1. Calvi 

Dominated by an impressive Genoese citadel, Calvi is a popular stopover for superyachts with bustling nightlife, caféterias and a plethora of cultural sights. It also has easy accessibility to the Réserve Naturelle de Scandola and the small bay of Girolata with a historical Genoese fortress tower and hiking paths.

The pretty seafront in Calvi, Corsica

For shore excursions, grab a map and discover the Artisans’ Route that follows the mountain villages where you can stop into studios that sell cheese, honey, ceramics or paintings.

  1. Diverse Cultural Activities in Corsica

Corsican culture is a mix of influences from Italy, France, North Africa and the Far East with a hefty appreciation for religious processions and harvest celebrations. Whether you visit in the height of summer or the cooler autumn months, any yacht charter guest can find cultural interests.

Corsica hosts many music festivals throughout the year with everything for concert goers from rock music to choral concerts. Calvi On The Rocks is a 6-day electronic music festival held in summer with global stars headlining the festival. Calvi Jazz Festival is also held in summer and in September, you can hear the organ-like men’s voices of the choirs of the Polyphonic Singing Festival.

Calvi on the Rocks

There are numerous beautiful cathedrals and churches with magnificent mosaics and frescoes, and large celebrations such as Holy Week. Every year, villages and towns host traditional festivals such as the Feast of St John in Bastia on June 23, when a huge ‘fugare‘ (the fire of St John) bonfire is lit on the edge of the basin of the Old Port under the ramparts of the Citadel.

Across the island are lots of interesting museums including Musée de Bastia, Musea di a Corsica in Corte, the Departmental Museum of Alta Rocca with artefacts from the Iron Age and the Musée Fesch in Ajaccio with the most prestigious Italian art collection visible in France after the Louvre Museum.

  1. Bastia

Popular as a gateway for the Cap Corse, Bastia is the real Corsica with a mix of salty fishing boats and modern yachts in the old port. From the old port, explore the Citadel that is home to the Terra Nova (New Town) with the restored palace of the Governor’s of Genoa, now home to the Musée de Bastia. From its elevated position you’ll find plenty of restaurants with superb views over the port and sea such as Chez Vincent and Bar de la Citadelle.

Panorama of Bastia, Corsica

A few streets back from the port, go shopping on rue Napoléon and boulevard Paoli before claiming a table at Place Saint-Nicolas which is a super location to soak up the atmosphere of Bastia. While there linger over a glass of the local Cap Corse apéritif with a platter of olives, ewe’s cheese drizzled in thyme-infused honey and thick slices of cured meats.

Corsica yacht charter clients who come ashore will step back in time wandering the old district, Terra Vecchia, with vaulted passageways and narrow alleyways. Bastia is the Corsican city with the largest number of religious Baroque buildings including the landmark 17th century Église Saint-Jean-Baptiste and the historically-listed Oratoire de Saint Roch.

Quai des Martyrs de la Libération is the place to be for nightlife in Bastia; take your pick from any number of bustling waterside bars and pubs.

  1. Historical Buildings and Monuments

Corsica yacht charter guests interested in archaeological or prehistory will find Corsica is home to a number of significant sites including Filitosa and the fortifications at Cucuruzzu and Capula.

Churches are breathtakingly ornate and a window into the religious history of Corsica – marvel at the Ajaccio Cathedral, Cathedrale de Nebbio with the mummified body of Saint-Florent and the second most visited building in Corsica or the pretty churches Saint Sauveur and Église d’Olmeto in the Valinco area.

Aerial view of Sanguinaires in Corsica

Corsica has been the site of many defensive attacks and Barbarian invasions – evidence is seen in city remparts, fortifications and around 90 Genoese towers built along the coastline during the reign of the Republic of Genoa to defend Corsican invaders. You can see the towers from your charter yacht as you cruise the azure waters including the Tour de Turghiu at Capo Rosso, the Tour de Capannella on the western coastline and the ruined shell of Mortella near Saint-Florent.

Corte, at the heart of the island, is small but authentic with a number of historical buildings linked to the Corsica independence movement as well as an impressive Citadel perched high on a rock.

Sartène, southeast of Propriano, is steeped in history. Go there to learn about the piracy invasions that resulted in fortification of the terraced townhouses, wander through the Museum of Prehistory or soak up the past at the Megaliths of Cauria.

Luxury Yacht Charters in Corsica

Corsica is referred to as ‘L’Île de Beauté’ and for good reason because it has so many elements to ensure a great yacht charter.

A yacht charter guide for Corsica would not be complete without referencing the wild maquis, the scrubby vegetation cloaking much of the island in tangled bushes of aromatic herbs – eucalyptus, juniper, sage, rosemary, thyme, lavender, mint – wildflowers and brush. Wherever you roam ashore, you’ll notice the unmistakable scent of the maquis! The maquis is symbolic for much of what Corsica still represents today as a yacht charter destination – all-encompassing, distinctive and filled with secret spots to discover.

Beach restaurant at Palombaggia, Corsica

This article was written by Rebecca Whitlocke on behalf of Bespoke Yacht Charter.

Bespoke Yacht Charter has over 14 years experience arranging luxury yacht charters throughout the Mediterranean, contact us to book your next yacht charter in Corsica:

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