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5 Reasons Why You Should Visit This Underrated Island Destination In France This Summer

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France may be the number one destination in the world, but that doesn't mean a majority of its 100 million yearly visitors are doing it justice.

Paris is indeed beautiful, and summers in Côte d'Azur are nothing short of stellar, but there's a whole lot more they're missing out on.

Aerial View Of Bonifaccio, A Hilltop Town In South Corsica, France, Mediterranean Sea

For instance, one of the largest, most culturally-charged and beautiful islands in the Mediterranean belongs to France, and though it is not as popular as Italian Sicily, Spain's Balearic collective, or Greece's trendy Crete, it's just as incredible a sunny getaway.

Underrated Corsica and its shiny blue waters are calling, and here are 5 reasons why you should answer:

It's Just Different From Everywhere Else In France

Mountain Road In Corsica, An Island In France, Mediterranean Europe

Corsica is a unique destination in the sense that it is separated from the mainland, and as indisputably French as it may be, it exists in an entirely different microcosm than that of elegant, Haussman-dominated Paris, or Northern France's Celtic and Germanic roots.

In fact, it belongs to the Southern European group, and over the centuries, it's developed closer relations with Italy, so much so that it has its own language, which some may argue is an Italian dialect, and it couldn't be further culturally from the capital.

Instead of leafy boulevards lined by stately buildings, expect to find ocher-colored narrow lanes; less of Paris' haute cuisine, more elements of the Italian diet and a plethora of seafood; none of the fast-paced capital life: this is a Mediterranean island, after all, and life unfolds much more slowly.

Corsica Is Lovely And Warm

Aqua Waters Off The Coast Of Corsica, South France, Mediterranean Europe

As it is located in Europe's South, where the climate is subtropical, Corsica boasts a year-round balmy weather, with mild winters and scorching-hot summers, and alongside Côte d'Azur, it's one of the hottest destinations in France.

On average, it's a pleasant 82°F in Ajaccio in the warmer months, the Corsican capital, while Bastia, the island's main port and one of its cultural centers, sees temperatures soar above 83°F frequently, with only a 16% chance of an overcast day.

The best time for visiting is undoubtedly between May and September when precipitation is low and the sun is at its peak: in other words, it is extremely unlikely your beach day will be ruined by rain, or those sweeping mountain views will be covered by gloomy clouds.

The Nature Is Breathtaking

Woman Relaxing On A Paddleboard In Corsica, An Island In France, Mediterranean Europe

Speaking of nature, Corsica is best known for its coastal landscape, unspoiled preserves, and mountainous North.

It is where some of France's, if not Europe's most picturesque sceneries are located, and you'll definitely want to take your time exploring them in depth.

Top sights include the Piana calanque, a narrow inlet of water flanked by towering limestone cliffs, the scenic Girolata, a UNESCO-protected gulf, the desolate Agriates Desert, and the Cascade des Anglais, a crystalline waterfall found at the end of a verdant hike.

Corsica's main attraction, however, is its Maldives-like beaches bounded by aqua waters: mile-long Palombaggia is the most famous, though other powdered-sugar virgin sands can be found near Santa Giulia, Ostriconi, Sperone, and even the rugged north in Saleccia.

An Overlooked Cultural Hotspot

The Busy Marina In Ajaccio, The Capital Of Corsica, A Mediterranean Island Off Southern France

France is known the world over for its cultural heritage, with Paris being the quintessential European capital, and the country as a whole littered with fairytale cities and castles; Corsica clearly leans more towards its Italian side, but that's not to say it doesn't have something to add to the mix.

Ajaccio, the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte, is an open-air museum of Baroque art; the aforementioned Bastia is a heavily fortified Mediterranean harbor surrounded by Genoese walls; on the southern tip of the island, a tranquil Bonifacio is perched atop small cliffs overlooking the azure sea.

On the ancient side, the Aleria archaeological zone near Bastia offers a glimpse into life on the island during Roman times, and it's only one of many: all around Corsica, there are postcard-ready, pastel villages nestled in lush-green mountains and historic sites begging to be discovered:

It's More Exclusive Than The Azure Coast

A Beach Filled With Loungers With A View Of A Historic Fortress In Corsica, France, Mediterranean Sea

Finally, Corsica can feel more exclusive than other French destinations, particularly tourist-packed Côte d'Azur, where celeb-frequented Cannes and Saint-Tropez are located; despite its marvelous nature and pristine beaches, it's not nearly as crowded.

The largest conurbation (Ajaccio) is pretty quaint, home to only 70,000 inhabitants, and other cities feel more like small towns, with limited traffic pollution, pedestrian-friendly lanes, traditional local markets, and green spaces everywhere you turn.

Don't get us wrong, Corsica does get relatively busy in the summer months by any normal tourism standards, but considering this is France we're talking about, which tens of millions of people visit each year, its timid share of 6 million hardly spells bad news for crowd-wary guests.

How To Get To Corsica From The U.S.

Palombaggia Beach In Corsica, France, Bounded By The Crystal Clear Waters Of The Mediterranean Sea In Southern Europe

There are four main commercial airports in Corsica, the best-connected being Ajaccio Napoleon Bonaparte Airport, with flights arriving from Paris (Orly) and Nice, two popular entry points for Americans visiting France in summer, and other seasonal nonstop links offered from a host of European hubs.

The other airports are located near the cities and resort zones of Bastia, Calvi and Figari, and are mostly served by low-cost carriers during the busy summer months, connecting the island to other European (mostly Northern) destinations.

Currently, there are no Transatlantic flights between the United States and Corsica, meaning a U.S. originating trip will inevitably include a stopover in a secondary hub, likely in Paris, where the most frequent Corsica-bound service is.

If you're already in Europe, nonstop flights from Paris (Orly) to Corsica (Ajaccio) start from as cheap as $47.

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Thursday 16th of May 2024

Great article of discovery for a world apart just off the coast of the French Riviera.