The spectacular coastline of Corsica stretches 1,046 km, making it the third largest island in the western Mediterranean. It looks like ‘a mountain emerging from the sea’. Between mountain and sea the coast is alternately compose of sandy beaches, rocky inlets and isles, natural preserves and oceans marshes. The main resorts in Corsica are located on the west coast.
Given its complicated geological history, Corsica’s coastline is highly varied.
The rocky coasts of the west and southwest are crystalline in nature, largely granitic, but with superb volcanic formations in the gulf of Porto.
In northern Corsica, to the west of Cap Corse, lies Saint-Florent. The former Genoese city, built at the water’s edge in the gulf of Saint-Florent, is one of the most beautiful in the entire Mediterranean with its citadel. Today it has become a major sea resort. Further down the rocky façade of Corsica, but still in Balagne, is **Ile Rousse, the port of call for boats arriving from Marseille and Nice, in the wonderful setting of Ile de Pietra. Algajola and its fort, meanwhile, are halfway between Ile Rousse and Calvi**, the latter being the capital of Balagne. Calvi, with its citadel, is one of the key tourist attractions in Corsica.
Halfway between Calvi and Ajaccio, the gulf of Porto has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just a few miles away is the resort of Cargèse.
The Ajaccio area
Centrally located on the west coast is Ajaccio, the island’s second-largest city and main gateway, thanks to its airport and seaport. Ajaccio still bears the marks of its multifarious history – ancient, medieval, and Genoese. The birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte, Ajaccio is strategically located at the end of the island’s largest gulf. To the south of Ajaccio, the western gulf resorts of Porticcio and Propriano draw many tourists.
At the southern tip of Corsica, opposite Sardinia, is Bonifacio, whose port and aquarium are worth a visit. On the southeast coast is Porto-Vecchio, well-known for its beaches of Cala Rossa, Palombaggia and Santa Giulia. Figari airport serves southern Corsica.
The eastern coastline presents a contrast of strips of sand, marshes, ponds and rivers, a variety that is highly appealing to tourists. Only three resorts are located on the eastern coastline, if Porto-Vecchio is included. The two others are Moriani-Plage and Solenzara. Finally, Bastia is the capital of the department of Haute-Corse. Located to the south of Cap Corse, Bastia occupies a charming little bay on the northeast coast, marking the start of the famous cliffs of Cap Corse, which itself was formed by the rocky folds of the Corsican mountains. Miocene limestone formations, meanwhile, created the sloping hills of Saint-Florent and the spectacular cliffs at Bonifacio.