It is said that Napoleon found his way to his native island of Corsica thanks to the scent of thyme spread across the Mediterranean Sea. Most likely, you will not need this scent to find this French island – as the beautiful nature, interesting architecture and a, always close, blue sea will tempt you enough.
The first thing that will hit you about Cap Corse, if you like me arrive by ferry to Bastia, is the lush greenery. From the beaches to the mountain tops, this part of northern Corsica is full of trees in all it forms, and of course the thyme bush. As you get further in to this area you will discover hidden villages, stunning views, dangerous roads, fascinating history and lots more – and this is your starter guide to Cap Corse.
There are two main ways to get to Corsica. Firstly, you can fly. To Bastia, which essentially is the “starting point” of Cap Corse, there are flights from a variety of European cities, with an emphasis on Paris of course. You could also fly to Ajaccio, on the southern part of the island, but the variety of airports connected is practically the same. Another option is to take the ferry. There are several connections between Bastia and France respectively Italy, for example to Nice, Marseille, Genoa and Livorno.
Cap Corse is almost always beautiful, but I could recommend to visit the island during the late spring/early summer, if possible. Its greenery is already blossoming and the sea is hot enough to swim in, while it is not yet too hot. In addition, many european tourists have there vacation during the late summer, so it will not be as crowded.
What to do?
- Explore the nature by foot
To hike on Cap Corse does not have to be, while it of course could be, weeklong hikes discovering every single thyme bush of the peninsula. Really, all you have to do is to get out of the civilization, and start exploring. Wherever you are the nature is both beautiful and varied, and there are breathtaking views wherever you look. As Cap Corse is rather narrow, there is also the benefit of the continual view of the Mediterranean Sea.
- Visit Bastia
On the south-eastern side of Cap Corse, the city of Bastia is located. With its 50 000 inhabitants it is a rather small city, but it still feels like a “typical French” city. Here, you could find old churches and cathedrals, dine seafood by the water or just take in the history of an, almost, 1000 years old city.
- Take a roadtrip around the peninsula
From Bastia, around the whole of Cap Corse, and back to Bastia over the mountains, the distance is 130 kilometers. In other words, it is perfect for a roadtrip. How long you want it to be? Honestly, you decide. While you could spend a month, spending time in every little fishing village and taking a picture every 5 meters, you could also drive the whole stretch in a day, and still have plenty of time to stop wherever you want.
In my opinion, the western side of Cap Corse is the most beautiful, where you drive, almost, on the top of steep mountain walls, stretching all the way down to the sea. However, this side might not be the one if you are easily scared. The road is very narrow, and on some parts it has collapsed. As mentioned though, the view is, without doubt worth it. If you get further down south on this side of Cap Corse you will also start to find sand beaches, in opposite to the stony beaches of the eastern and northern parts.