Reading time: 5 minutes
Stage 1: Cap Corse
We leave Saint Florent at dawn to drive along the winding and rugged road on the west coast of the Cape.
Nonza is famous for its black sand beach. It is better to go there early in the morning to avoid the influx of tourists.
The beach, below the cliff, is accessible from the village by a staircase of several hundred steps... So, even if we are a bit crazy, you can imagine that we weren't going to try it! If you look hard enough, a few kilometres from the village, you'll find a car park near the beach. Unfortunately, we have to pass several rocks before reaching it. We will only see it from afar.
Our enjoyment is in no way marred as the contrast of the sand with the turquoise water is visible from afar!
Beware, two dangers surround this place (swimming is clearly dangerous and not recommended):
- It is a former asbestos deposit
- The currents are strong and you lose your footing very quickly
Once your eyes have been filled with all these colours, you can go back up to the village. Take the stairs behind the main square to reach the Torre di Nonza. Finally, if, like us, you feel a little thirsty, the Café de la tour in the shade of the plane trees is perfect for that. At the time of our visit, the restaurant La Sassa was closed but its terrace overhanging the beach made us look at it!
As we go up the road to the north, we notice that the villages are split in two with one part in the mountains and the other by the water. We leave several creeks on our left before finally taking a turn for the Marine de Giottani. A real haven of peace, few people and turquoise water (showers are available on the pier).
Centuri and the Mattei Mill
During our visit to Centuri, we were rather badly received by some inhabitants and our visit was somewhat marred...
The village, classified among the most beautiful villages of France, is famous for its port and its lobster fishermen.
If you want to get some height, the Mattei Mill overlooks this side of the Cape and offers a magnificent panorama.
This village of a few houses is one of the few on the tip of the Cape. Here you can see goats in the surrounding bush and cows on the beach! You feel far away from everything, in the calm. It is the perfect place if you do not want to be disturbed!
For our able-bodied readers looking for a hike, Barcaghju (pronounced Barcaag') is halfway along the Customs Trail:
- Head west to Tollare (45 minutes) and Centuri (4 hours)
- Head east towards Macinaggio (3 hours)
You can return by boat to Barcaghju after your day's walk. Remember to take plenty of water, the temperature rises quickly in summer and there is no shade on the route.
For those of you who prefer the beach and lazing around, Tamarone beach is just right. Once again, the tranquillity of the beach belongs to the early risers. Otherwise, you may find yourself behind many cars on the chaotic way to the beach.
Before arriving in Bastia, you will enjoy strolling through the lively streets of this picturesque village.
Hotel Petra Cinta: On the port of Barcaggio, the hotel's restaurant is quite good. With the sanitary situation few restaurants were open when we visited.
Café de la tour: In the heart of Nonza, this small café is perfect for cooling off under the trees on a hot day. Accessibility : 0/5 (there is a step to get there)
Stage 2: Bastia
Bastia, the capital of Haute-Corse, is a lively town. Ferries from the mainland and from Italy dock there all day long, bringing their share of tourists each time. Luckily, we are still there early in the summer so we are not too bothered.
If you are driving, you should choose a parking space near the Place Saint Nicolas and walk around the rest of the city.
Stroll through the narrow streets of the old town. You pass through the market square which runs alongside thechurch of St. John the Baptist. It blends in with the buildings and can only be seen by a trained eye. On the quays of the Old Port, the damaged facades of the buildings fight over which one will keep its paint the longest. Continue along the Quai Albert Gillio until you reach a section now reserved for pedestrians. Just before the surrounding wall, a lift takes you up to the citadel. Up there, a breathtaking view awaits you from a terrace that is accessible to all.
To go back down, take the Passage Vauban which leads to the Cours Favale. On your right, the Romieu garden overlooks the old port.
On the way back, which can be a bit steep at times, stop at one of the many delicatessens in Rue Napoléon to make yourself a picnic based on local charcuterie and cheeses. We fell in love with U Paese and A Tinella!
This passage in Bastia is also the occasion for us to make a baptism of diving. On the advice of the association Comme les Autres, we choose the Bastia diving club.
The baptism takes place not far from Bastia. Each participant, valid or handicapped, is accompanied by an instructor. Their calmness reassures and gives confidence for what follows. For a first time, we dive to 6 meters maximum and the fish are already there! The dive lasts about fifteen minutes and we don't see the time passing.
For those of you who have already passed some of the levels, many wrecks from the Second World War are visible in the depths of the bay!
Hotel Mercure Bastia: The hotel is a 10-minute drive from the centre of Bastia. The accessible rooms overlook the goat pastures and the mountains, a real pleasure! You can also take advantage of all the services: swimming pool, hammam, sauna, massage room fully accessible by wheelchair. Accessibility : 5/5
Hotel Mercure Bastia: Simple and good food with a view of the mountains. Accessibility : 5/5
Le Conti: A brasserie on the Place Saint Nicolas that does the trick in the middle of a day's visit. Accessibility: 5/5 on the terrace. For our readers in wheelchairs, accessible toilets are available in the restaurant next door. Feel free to ask them for a hand if you need it.
U Paese: A typical delicatessen. Take a tray with you for a picnic. Accessibility: 2/5
A Tinella: A cheese shop to make you swoon! Accessibility: 5/5