Southern Corsica's top ten beaches
Three of southern Corsica’s beaches – Santa Giulia, Palombaggia and Petit Spérone – regularly make it onto the Best Beaches in France lists. Here's our guide to these special spots, plus a few others you might not have heard of.
Fall in love with… The crystal clear water and fine white sand. Pretend you’re in the Caribbean – the photos won’t suggest otherwise.
The beach experience… This long, horseshoe-shaped bay has a ‘lagoon’ feel, with calm waters and shallows that are perfect for paddling – and during peak season there’s a lifeguard on duty too. You’ll also find a variety of restaurants, cafés and bars, with loungers and parasols to rent at the Bar de la Plage. Most watersports are available here and, in August, the beach ups the ante with the Porto Vecchio Music Festival.
Fall in love with… the high life. This is the place to be seen, with beach clubs, waiters bringing drinks out to your sun lounger and on-beach massages and manicures.
The beach experience… The most famous beach on Corsica, Palombaggia also echoes the Caribbean with its pale sand and clear, shallow waters, making it particularly child-friendly. Pine trees provide shade and the red-hued rocks are a haven for sea life. Asciaghju (or ‘Acciaju’), the western-most cove, is the quietest. Come evening, you can sit and listen to live music, Corsican style, in one of the romantic beach-side restaurants.
Fall in love with… the peace and quiet.
The beach experience… It’s more remote, but this beautiful cove is worth the effort. You’ll pass Golf de Spérone, the Robert Trent-Jones-designed course, and walk along Piantarella Beach, which is also the departure point for the boat to the private island of Cavallo. Petit Spérone itself is further on, past some Roman ruins. It’s small with a backdrop of hills, fine white sand and deeper water for swimmers. There are no facilities here, so don’t forget water and a picnic.
Fall in love with… miles of fine sand, with restaurants and watersports at one end.
The beach experience… St Cyprien is a beach of two halves, extending several kilometres around a sheltered bay. At the southern end you'll find restaurants, watersports and a few village shops, while at the northern end, away from the parking areas, the feeling is much wilder. As it's a little further from Porto Vecchio than the other popular beaches, it tends to be a little less busy.
Fall in love with… the family-friendly, laid-back atmosphere.
The beach experience… Generous shallows made for paddling, over a kilometre of fine, soft white sand and plenty of shade make this sheltered gem a lovely spot for a relaxing day with little ones. Pinarello also has a small water sports school which offers sailing lessons in high summer, or you can rent a little motor boat to putter around the bay. The attractive and surprisingly sophisticated village has a small selection of tempting places to eat and drink.
Fall in love with… the tranquillity and sunset views.
The beach experience… Located on the south coast of the Valinco Gulf and backed by the small sleepy seaside village of Campomoro, this secluded bay is one of the most peaceful in Corsica. Its warm, shallow waters and soft, golden sand make it an ideal spot for younger children, and outside of July and August there are hardly any tourists to be seen. In the cool of the evening, take a walk to the Genoese tower for sweeping views and stunning sunsets.
Fall in love with… the adrenaline rush.
The beach experience… A beach very different from the others, it’s surrounded by rocky outlets and windswept maquis. Pretty but wild, La Tonnara is one of the best places on the island for kite-surfing and windsurfing, and watching it is almost as thrilling as actually taking part. There's a smart seafood restaurant here open in high season.
Fall in love with… the snorkelling.
The beach experience… The boat from Bonifacio takes you to this nature reserve – made up of an archipelago of tiny boulder islets scattered amid the straits – and it’s teeming with sea life. Wade in with your snorkel and mask from one of the little bays and look out for the shoals of friendly grouper fish. As it’s a nature reserve there are no facilities, so don’t forget to pack whatever you need for your day out.
Fall in love with… the beautiful natural environment, ideal for families.
The beach experience… In the Bouches de Bonifacio Nature Reserve, this rugged-looking, uniquely shell-shaped beach lies between Porto Vecchio and Bonifacio. Sheltered from the wind, the lovely turquoise waters are calmer and the gently shelving shoreline make this beach ideal for little ones. If you want to stay for the day, there’s also a restaurant and, in high season, a small snack bar which hires out sun loungers and parasols.
Fall in love with… the laid-back lounging, perfect for couples.
The beach experience… Still relatively undiscovered, in peak season you’ll find a relaxed beach bar and restaurant for ambient evenings of chilled-out music and big cushions to sink into. Make a date there for an aperitif or two. Set amongst red rocks, the sand isn’t powder-soft white but slightly coarser with a pinkish hue and there are parasols for shade.