A short guide to Corsica

photo by Fabrice Terrasson on Flickr

Throughout known history, Corsica has passed through more hands than many other luckier European regions. Corsica has belonged the Italian city states of Pisa and Genoa, and finally ended up under French rule in 1768, but although it was conquered repeatedly, it was never subdued, they say. The homeland of Napoleon Bonaparte is often called the Island of Beauty, and this nickname is by no means undeserved. Visiting Corsica is not like visiting any other French department, because as French as Corsica has become, it has definitely not let go of its own culture and language. Here’s a short guide to Corsica, for those who want to sample the delights of this interesting French island.

Culture and cuisine

photo by Dante Guazzo Giogio on Flickr

Although several French regions had their own language at some point, Corsica is the only place when the original language is actually spoken widely. Corsican language, which sounds more like Italian then French,  is spoken by two thirds of the population. Not only the language of Corsica is different than in mainland France, but the cuisine as well, and as a visitor to France you have the moral obligation to taste the local delicacies :). Wild boar from the mountain regions is quite popular, although not cheap and not as widely available as in the past. Seafood dishes are common along the coast, but the best treats you can find in Corsica are the salamis, cured meats and cheeses. Try the figatelli, pig’s liver sausages, prisuttu (cured ham of wild pig that has been fed only on chestnuts and acorns) and the chestnut flour polenta.

What to visit

photo by Dante Guazzo Giorgio

A short guide to Corsica could not possibly have a list of all the nice places that are worth visiting in Corsica, because there are too many. Needless to say, Corsica is an incredible destination for walking and hiking, with winding scenic trails that can take more than two weeks to complete. The Aiguilles de Bavella  are the most popular attraction in Corsica, which makes sense, seeing as these sharp mountain peaks that change color depending on the time of the day are simply incredible.  In terms of historical attractions, Corsica is a great destination. Walk around the picturesque Bonifacio Citadel in the city of Bonifacio, from the top of which you can see the island of Sardinia from across the strait. However, if your purpose in Corsica is to relax completely and forget all your cares, then you should head down to the beaches, which are some of the best in the world. Almost every beach in Corsica is great for snorkeling and scuba diving, and in the more popular beaches you also have the opportunity to rent windsurfing and kitesurfing boards.

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