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Corsica’s west coast – The best things to do
Corsica’s west coast
Corsica is full of magnificent cliffs, the bluest water and challenging hiking routes. A lot of the best spots in Corsica are actually located on Corsica’s west coast. In this guide we will tell you all about these beautiful spots!
Water & land adventures
The west coast has the perfect combination of water and land adventures. With an amazing blue clear coastline, it’s hard to not attract to the water immediately. But, don’t forget that there’s a lot of inland spots to explore as well!
You might also like this full Corsica – Explorer guide
Ajaccio is, next to Bastia, the main place to arrive by plane or ferry and start your trip. The city itself is not nearly the most beautiful part of Corsica’s west coast, but it’s the capital and there’s some nice things to see and do here.
If you like cultural history, you’re in the right place here. Ajaccio is the birthplace of Napoleon and his childhood home is now made into a museum. Spread around the city you’ll find more historical goods like old cathedrals, citadels and other historical buildings.
Diving around Ajaccio
The water around Ajaccio is amazing and there’s some fun water activities to do here, like diving the beautiful ‘Les Cathedrales’ dive site close to the bay of Ajaccio. Divers can go between 6m and 60m deep and see sealife, like morays, dentists and grouper.
This town is aesthetically beautiful and it looks like time has been frozen here. Cute little bakeries, a farmers market and the local police joining in for a cup of coffee with the old men on the corner of the street.
Calanques de Piana
These towering red rock cliffs that plunge up to 300 meters into the Mediterranean sea, are one of the most beautiful natural features of Corsica. They are situated between the town of Piana and Porto and make for the best views, from above and from sea.
Cape Rosso Corsica
A hike you can’t miss here is the one to Cape Rosso. This beautiful cliffside hike will take you in about 2.30 hours to the cape with amazing views over the west coast of Corsica.
Hiking trail – Cape Rosso
The trail leads you through stretches of forest, along the cliffs and at the end of the trail you’ll get to a steeper part. It is totally doable if you’re in normal condition! Getting all the way to the top will take you about 2.5 to 3 hours.
Vanlife tip: Cape Rosso has a fairly large sandy parking lot. In low season we were the only ones there to stay the night. Check if it’s allowed in high season though.
Capo Rosso dive site
This is the most beautiful dive site of Corsica and has incredible rock formations, impressive walls, rocky peaks and colorful corals. Which is no surprise when you see this place from above the water!
From Piana you can follow the road to Porto (Ota). The landscape between Piana and Porto is just amazing. The road will take you through a gorge with orange colored cliffs and amazing ocean views. This is one of the most spectacular drives you’ll have in Corsica.
The bustling port
In this town most of the activity is focused around the port, which makes it a great place for water activities. You can rent a boat for diving, snorkeling or just sailing along the cliffs.
Ota is the town that lies a little higher up than Porto and has some campings, restaurants and shops. From here, small roads lead you into the mountains and forests around Porto and are worth it to explore!
Make sure to check out the beautiful ‘Scandola Reserve’. It’s a 1900 hectare protected reserve with beautiful red rocks plunging into the sea and beaming with wildlife.
You are not allowed to go into the reserve from land or from sea. You are, officially, not even allowed to dive in the area, only along the borders. So, the best way to admire the beauty of Scandola is from the water by boat.
Diving around Scandola
This World Heritage nature reserve also covers about 1000 hectares of sea. Although it’s not allowed to dive inside the Scandola reserve, along the edges there’s plenty of ocean life to be found. Watch for stingrays, moray eels, swordfish and sometimes even dolphins.
One of the most exciting things around Porto and the Scandola reserve is that there’s a big pod of dolphins around this area. So you’ll have great chances to see them from a boat, beach or from the cliffs.
The harbor of Porto offers a lot of boat tours, for dolphin watching or to visit Scandola national park. It’s just a great place if you love the sea!
Go straight up into the mountains from Porto and you’ll find different towns, one of which is Evisa.
This place is very scenic and has a great range of natural pools to explore. Splash around in summer to cool down or take some cold dips in late summer or fall in this beautiful area.
Just behind Porto Ota you’ll find an amazing stretch of beach, called Bussaglia. This pebble beach is great to relax, it has a restaurant and it’s just beautiful.
Driving from Porto you will drive by a small balcony that overlooks this beautiful beach. You can see for miles and still overlook a part of Porto’s beach as well. It also is a great place to scout for dolphins!
Making your way up further to the north you’ll also pass the small town of Galeria. This town has a nice small shoreline, with a delta and great views.
Vallee du Fango – Galeria
A little higher up from the town of Galeria, there’s a beautiful river where many people go for a refreshing dip in summer. There’s a cute bridge overlooking the river, a small bar/restaurant and a large parking across the street. Also great for staying overnight in low season if you’re driving a van or camper.
Disclaimer: Looking at the number of parking spots, it might get really busy here in summer.
Food, drinks & culture in abundance here. Visit the old citadels or Calvi or take a walk through the centre and see where you’ll grab your next coffee or meal.
Adventures around Calvi
Calvi is a great place for adventuring. Popular things to do here are canyoning, hiking, climbing and mountain biking. The Fango valley has one of the most beautiful canyons and is perfect for canyoning. Want to do something a little more exhilarating? Try a 4WD tour through the Agriates desert!
This is a very well known dive site just north of Calvi. It’s a long rocky canyon with small caves between 15m and 35m in depth. The flora is amazingly colorful at La Revellata and some animals you might see are groupers, snappers, lobsters, rock cods, damsels and cray fish. You might even be lucky enough to see the Barracudas or stingray.
The waters around Corsica are also home to a lot of WWII shipwrecks. In the Revellata peninsula for instance, there’s a WWII bomber on the bottom of the ocean you can dive down to.
Hi! We’re Tim & Ilse
Together with our fluffy cat Snowy we travel around the world searching for adventures.