Corsica is an island of mountains, where walking and hiking have been a way of life for centuries. (These days younger islanders have added mountain biking to the regimen.) With more than 20 mountains over 6,000 feet high and scores of glacial lakes, this is a landscape meant to be seen a step at a time, notably on a number of Mare a Mare (“sea to sea”) trails. And the reward for all that exertion? Ah, the pleasures of the table…this is a French island, non?
Geographically closer to Italy than France, Corsica is really its own world, holding onto cultural values rare in the modern Mediterranean. Country fairs and festivals here tend to celebrate food (notably the artisan cheeses) and traditional music (ethereal polyphonic chants), while the old quarters of Bonifacio, a fortressed city on the southern coast overlooking the island of Sardinia, are a vivid window to Corsican past.
National parks and nature reserves that cover about a third of the island are another cause for celebration. Even from offshore the island seems a part of an earlier Mediterranean from times past. The diving is remarkable, particularly on the southeast coast near Porto Vecchio (which also has some fine beaches), and cruising sailors can still find some of the last truly “hidden” coves in this well-traveled sea.