Southern Corsica, from Bonifacio to Sartene

Reading time: 8 minutes

OUR TRIP: 8 days on site: 22-29 July 2020

WHY GO? For the heavenly beaches, the Lavezzi islands, the citadel of Bonifacio, Sartène and its old town.

ACCESSIBILITY: Find all our addresses on our Mapstr map!

After having surveyed the roads of Corsica from the west coast, the villages of Balagne and Nebbio, the Cap Corse, the centre and the east coast, we end our Corsican journey in the southern part of the island. The turquoise waters of the Mediterranean are ours!

Bonifacio is set ablaze at sunset

Stage 1: Bonifacio

From Aléria, we go directly to Bonifacio. We do not visit Porto-Vecchio during our stay in the south.

We spend 5 days at Villa A Manichetta, an idyllic guest house to rest and to go to the different beaches. We found it by chance and we couldn't have dreamt of anything better. A few kilometres from Bonifacio, Emilie and her husband welcome you in the middle of olive trees and let you taste their, yes their, sheep cheese! All this accompanied by a home-made tomato jam... divine!

Bonifacio is known for its many traffic jams but with the health situation when we were there, we were lucky to escape them.

The town overlooks the sea on top of vertiginous limestone cliffs. Its port, below, is in a natural enclave sheltered from the winds.
To reach the old town, you have two options:

    • For the more athletic: walk along the port to the stairs that lead to the ramparts. We warn you, it's quite a climb! It is better to do it early in the morning to avoid the heat.
    • For all others and our readers in wheelchairs: Take the road leading to the fire station. If you are driving, there are several parking spaces for disabled people.
The alleys of Bonifacio

To begin with, we advise you to go to the newly fitted out section of the ramparts (also for PRM) to take in the view! The view is breathtaking and in good weather, which is not lacking, you can see Sardinia in the distance!

Then take the time to wander through the sometimes steep streets, whose colourful houses give it its charm. Don't miss an ice cream at the Rocca Serra, the best ice cream parlour in town! If you prefer to sip a Capo Spritz, the Corsican Spritz, it will be at the Café Niçois!

On your way down to the port, jump on one of the boats of the Société de Promenades en Mer de Bonifacio (SPMB). One of their itineraries takes you to the "Bouches de Bonifacio" (classified as a Unesco heritage site) to discover the creeks along the cliffs. We were amazed when we passed the foot of the town... It is at this precise moment that you realise that the houses are built right on the precipice! You have to be well hung to live there!

To complete your visit in due form, go at sunset on the customs path along the cliff. You'll see the town set alight... You'll tell us all about it!

The beaches and the Lavezzi islands

Coming to the south of Corsica without seeing its beaches would be a big mistake! If you are told white sand, turquoise and transparent water, you will answer without hesitation the Seychelles, the Caribbean, right? Well, you should know that paradise is not that far away! And yes, it is in this part of the island that you can find beaches that would make the rest of the world envious... You can also find the Lavezzi Islands nature reserve, known for its biodiversity.

We give you all the details to make the most of it. Keep in mind that you have to arrive early (around 7.30-8am) to avoid the crowd and to be able to find a place.

15 minutes east of Bonifacio, this immense beach is a good introduction. From there, you can reach the beaches of Petit and Grand Sperone by walking along the beach and passing the rocks. Parking is along the road, so come early to avoid walking too much!

Lavezzi Islands

On the beach of Piantarella, the Bonifacio Sailing Club offers half-day (and full-day) excursions to discover the islands on board a catamaran. There are no more than 20 people on board, which keeps your visit intimate. The boat drops anchor twice for 45 minutes, giving you plenty of time to see all the fish around you! They lend you masks and snorkels if you need them.

For our readers in wheelchairs: these boats are not accessible, but the team will listen to you and carry you into the zodiac and then onto the catamaran. If you wish to go into the water, steps make it easier to get off. 

The Lavezzi Islands

In the direction of Porto-Vecchio, other beaches will fill you with happiness:

This beach has to be deserved after a 2 km long track in poor condition. At the end, a hut, fine sand and above all, fewer people! A first aid post is open from 11am to 6pm and has a tiralo. 

One of the best known and therefore one of the most popular! Walkers and bathers arrive here as early as 7.30 am. If you have a disability, you can drive to the end of the road. There are two disabled parking spaces and a concrete path to the first aid post. They have two tiralo's and a carpet leads to the sea.

The beach of Palombaggia

This beach is more remote than Palombaggia and Santa Giulia. Its disadvantage: it is compulsory to park in the paying car park at the end of the road. Unfortunately, it is not suitable for wheelchairs.

The bay of Rondinara

Villa A Manichetta: A haven of peace 10 minutes from Bonifacio. Relax on the terrace with a piece of home-made sheep's cheese! Rates (breakfast included) : Classic room between 90 and 119€/night and the Superior room (PMR) between 119 and 138€/night. Accessibility : 5/5

L'Émeraude: Not necessarily the best restaurant in the port but the food is fresh and good. Accessibility: 1/5 (only the terrace)

Da Passano: Good dishes to share. Take 2 per person, that's more than enough! We wanted to be clever, we almost ran out of room for dessert! Accessibility: 5/5

Emilie from Villa A Manichetta, gave us several addresses that we did not have the time to test. Four in the heart of the citadel: Aria Nova, Ciccio, Cantina Doria, L'Archivolto and three on the port: Les Quatre Vents, Kissing Pigs and L'An Faim

Bonifacio: Find all the town's points of interest on this map.

Bonifacio Sailing Club: Climb aboard a catamaran to discover the Lavezzi islands at the rhythm of the wind! Price: 65€ (1/2 day) or 95€ (day). Accessibility : 0/5

SPMB (Promenades en mer de Bonifacio): Embark on one of the excursions offered from the port of Bonifacio. You will see the cliffs differently! Price: from €18.50 / adult (reduced rate for PRM and accompanying persons). Accessibility: 5/5

Stage 2: Sartene

We leave Bonifacio for Sartene. On the way, we stop at the beach of Rocapina. It is the last heavenly beach before returning to a deeper blue sea. 

Sartène is a town where the medieval period has left some traces. There are thick fortifications sheltering a maze of paved streets. 

In the more recent part of the town, you can enjoy the rue des voûtes and the oil mill. Numerous tools are on display and good crafts and gastronomic products are on offer.

10 km from Sartene, the Spina Cavallu bridge is the ideal place to picnic and take a dip in the river. This bridge dates from the 13th century and is said to be one of the oldest on the island!

Hôtel des Roches: In the heart of Sartène, the hotel faces the valley. Don't forget to ask for a room with a view, it's worth it! Breakfast is served on the terrace. Accessibility: 5/5

La Bergerie d'Acciola: A few kilometres from Sartène, this sheepfold offers a restaurant with wood-fired cooking and a grocery shop with home-made products. A real treat with a splendid view! Warning: access to the car park just outside is quite dangerous as the road is very busy. Accessibility: 5/5

Jardin de l'Echauguette: A terrace has been laid out on top of an old rampart. Good typical Corsican food! Accessibility: 1/5 (Only the terrace is accessible and there is a lot of gravel) 

A Cantina: Here the products come from the grocery shop next door. Everything is good, we ask for more! Accessibility: 2/5 (only the terrace is accessible)

If you are looking for accessible toilets (there are not many in Sartene), don't hesitate to ask at the Piazza Porta. It is the only one in the main square to have one.

Our Corsican journey is extended by a week of rest and beach in Ajaccio after a busy month!

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