DestinationsTravel

Insider’s Guide: Corsica

corsica6I have just returned from a blissful trip to Corsica (as you will know if you follow us on Instagram) where the beaches really do feel like you are stepping into a postcard. This was our third trip – and certainly not our last. There is a lot to love about this island. The beaches, the weather, the scenery, the wine, the cheese… Corsica10flipWe stayed in a little villa tucked into the hillside, with its own pool (swimming with a view of the sun setting takes some beating – especially if you’re accompanied by a small girl shrieking with joy and there’s a cold glass of rose waiting for you once the littles are abed…) surrounded by lavender, rosemary and fields of young vines. Should I ever have a pool (a girl can dream), I shall definitely surround it with fragrance. Our days settled into an easy rhythm – out early(ish) to the beach before the heat of the day set in (and so the littlest one could nap in his buggy on the beach or in a cafe as we breakfasted) and then back for a lazy lunch and not-so-lazy swim whilst nap no. 2 took place. (There were also ‘dance shows’ by the pool – as you can see.)

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Beachlife: Corsica is, quite rightly, famed for its beaches. Our favourites in the South are Pinarello – a looooong stretch of white sand fringed with pines (much less developed than nearby Palombaggia); Roccapina – turn left of the winding mountain road and down, down, down a rocky dirt track – and find yourself rewarded by a crescent bay guarded by a stone lion; and San Cyprien – a tiny bay frequented by locals (I kid you not: we saw a group of school children having a swimming lesson. How cool is that?) with a very chic beach cafe, Le Tiki Chez Marco – which we had virtually to ourselves for morning coffee, croissants and apple juice…Corsica8flip

 

Other Corsican hot beach spots: the Lavezzi Isles – accessible only by boat (you can book a trip if you don’t have a handy boat of your own) and Loto and Saleccia in the north of the island (take a boat from St Florent. Mind the cows upon arrival (seriously, they graze on the beach).Corsica7flip
Visit: We stayed near Porto Vecchio – avoid the modern marina and head to the winding streets of the old town for restaurant and chi chi boutiques (yes, where I found my Isabel Marant Etoile blouse) and a cafe-lined square with an old-fashioned carousel (possibly my daughter’s ideal set-up: a taste of the fun fair and pain au chocolat). Beautiful Bonifacio is a Genoese fortress town clustered on the top of a hill. If you have small people – park by the marina and take the little train to the top (highly thrilling) then explore the cobbled labyrinth of streets, opening up onto breathtaking views out to sea.

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Stay: Were I not travelling with children (we have always booked our villas through Simpson Travel), I would rather like to stay here or the Hotel Les Bergeries with its prime location above Palombaggia beach, infinity pools and super-chic rooms. It even has a shuttle service to the beach (although we love the walk through the shady pines). In the north of the island, I’d make a beeline for La Dimora – a converted 18th Century summer house with lush, lavender-lined gardens, stylish bedrooms, pool and hammocks in which to laze.

Eat/Drink: There are two things no right-thinking foodie should miss about Corsica: the wine and the cheese. The latter is gloriously stinky (if that’s your kind of thing). The must-visit vineyard (according to the experts, not just occasional wine drinkers (for which read ‘lightweights’) like me) is Domanie de Torraccia¬†nestled in the hills above Porto Vecchio. Try the rose and the muscat. We wore matching stripes to visit Domaine Fiumcicoli – I did glance at the regimented rows of vines marching into the horizon, but that little stripy boy was a pretty distracting prospect.Corsicaflip6

 

 

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