Corsica yacht charter itinerary

Imagine aquamarine water lapping against powder white sand framed with grey rock and emerald pines. Wild and untamed with corners barely touched by man; Corsica is completely unique. Vineyards abound as does the simple fresh seafood that will satisfy the heartiest of appetites. With equal measures of remote romance and sun gilded days Corsica is the perfect place for a luxury yacht charter holiday that mixes excitement with the exotic.

day 1   Ajaccio to Girolata

Meet the yacht in Ajaccio Napoleon Bonaparte’s home town, and visit the modest house where he was born. There are a couple of good museums, some good shopping to be done and dozens of cafes where you can sit and watch the Corsicans amble past.

Once the chef has returned from provisioning in the market, take a leisurely cruise up the west coast, pausing to admire the numerous 16th century cliff-top towers and the steep, multi-coloured porphyry cliffs that tumble into the sea.

The Golfe de Porto remains beautifully unspoiled with a nature reserve where you will spot cormorants and ospreys, while below in the crystal clear waters you can see sponges, anemones, corals, as well as abundant fish. Snorkelling here will undoubtedly be a highlight of your trip. As the sun begins to set, head for Girolata.

day 2   Calvi

Perched on a rocky promontory overlooking a sweeping sandy bay, Calvi is probably best known for two things: as the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, and as the place where Nelson lost an eye. A 15th century Genovese citadel towers over the bustling port and its marina, and along the waterfront are numerous cafes and restaurants. Take the tender and spend some time on one of the beaches, or strike out on foot up to the citadel, a strangely quiet and peaceful change from the bustle of the waterfront.

day 3   Calvi to Bastia

This is quite a long day at sea (around 85 miles), but a necessity if you are limited for time. If you can take an extra day, stopping at St Florent is worthwhile, as this is a charming little town, but otherwise press on round the Cap Corse and down to Bastia.

The old town is delightful so stretch your legs, wander aimlessly and soak up the ambience of this majestic old town. Stop at one of the bars on the Quai des Martyrs and try the local aperitif – Cap Corse – although it is something of an acquired taste.

The Etang de Biguglia, just south of Bastia, is a wildlife reserve where there is abundant birdlife in the marshes, and where it is possible to see flamingos and many other wildlife.

day 4   Porto Vecchio

Make an early start ready for a long cruise along the white sandy beaches of the East Coast.  Porto-Vecchio itself is a mixture of old and new, with the haute ville being a well-preserved example of Genoese medieval architecture. The narrow streets around the main square are fascinating, and the bastion has a commanding view over the port below.
The main square is flanked by cafes and restaurants, and in the early evening is a great place to watch the Corsicans promenade.

For a memorable meal, head a few kilometers south to the Plage de Santa Giulia and the highly acclaimed U Santa Marina restaurant overlooking the sea.

day 5   Porto Vecchio to Bonifacio

Porto Vecchio to Bonifacio is a very short hop (barely 30 miles), but you should definitely stop off at the Iles de Lavezzi and the Ile Cavallo which form an archipelago of granite rocks and boulders. Take the tender (the whole area is a marine reserve, so mooring is prohibited) and spend some time swimming and admiring these beautiful islands.
After lunch head for Bonifacio, one of the most perfectly preserved medieval fortified towns in Europe. Almost Disney-esque in its perfection, this amazing town at the southern-most tip of the island is built on an outcrop of rock that has the sea on one side and a deep harbour on the other.

Despite the apparently impregnable nature of a fortress on a high rock protected on three sides by sheer limestone cliffs and the sea, Bonifacio has nevertheless succumbed to siege on several occasions. These days the town is besieged by tourists and yachtsmen, but is still well worth a visit because the narrow streets, massive fortifications, and staggering views make this an extraordinary place.

day 6   Bonifacio to Ajaccio

Making the relatively short trip back to Ajaccio will complete your week-long circumnavigation of Corsica. But really you have only scratched the surface of this delightful island, and you might consider spending a few days in a hire car exploring the interior of the island, where you will find some fantastic hotels, beautiful hilltop towns, an abundance of prehistoric archaeological sites, and some spectacularly good restaurants.