Corsica with your family: a practical guide

07/06/2021

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    Breathtakingly varied landscapes featuring lush forests, rugged mountains and bucolic coastal towns such as Porto-Vecchio make Corsica a unique experience in France. The Mediterranean island is full of wild and preserved nature as almost half of its territory is classified as a natural park. A postcard setting in Bonifacio or a trip back in time in the historical corners of Ajaccio, Corsica is a perfect destination for families looking for a change of scenery but also for gastronomic adventures and joie de vivre, which are always present on the Isle of Beauty.

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    Located in the south of France in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, the famous « Île de Beauté » bears its name well and offers heavenly landscapes: entrancing beaches, a wild nature, a strong cultural identity and activities for the whole family. What more could you ask for? Your children will discover the emblematic gastronomy of Corsica, a delicious mix of France and Italy, before visiting the Bonaparte House or the park in the west of the island, home to hundreds of turtles. Already convinced? But what is the best kid-friendly hotel in Ajaccio? Which hiking trail in Corsica for kids ? Don’t panic, we will answer all your questions in this practical guide written just for you, for a unique experience of Corsica with your family.

     

    The 10 must-do activities on the Isle of Beauty

    • Visit the very dynamic capital, Ajaccio, and stroll through the historic streets of the 16th century city. Don’t miss the city’s market, rich in discoveries, and the many cultural activities available such as a visit to the Cathedral of Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption or the citadel.
    • Escape for an afternoon of memorable cruising to nearby islands such as the Lavezzi Islands for a day of paradise on one of the archipelago’s isles or even a quick trip to Sardinia, the beautiful Italian island south of Corsica.

     

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    • Discover the gorgeous beaches in the south of the island, especially in Porto-Vecchio. The marina of the Cité du Sel is a place not to be missed during a boat trip for a gastronomic stop in the many bars and restaurants there.
    • Work out in a liberating and sublime setting during a hike to the Aiguilles de Bavella for a walk in the shade of the maquis but filled with Mediterranean colors of the mountains in the heart of the Isle of Beauty.
    • Wander the streets of the picturesque village of Sartene, west of Porto-Vecchio, and discover the medieval roots that still permeate the town. The old city is full of history and stories that will be good to exchange around a glass of wine emblematic of southern Corsica.

     

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    • Push your limits (and entrust your little ones to a nanny if necessary) with the most mythical trail in Corsica: the GR20. Considered as the hardest hiking trail in Europe, the 200 kms walk is done in 16 stages through the mountains and the regional natural park of Corsica.
    • Explore Corsica’s second largest city, Bastia, and while you’re there, discover Cap Corse, the island’s northern peninsula. This is one of the wildest places in Corsica, with lush landscapes and bucolic villages.
    • Embark on a tour of Corsica by bike for another perspective of the Isle of Beauty. Discover exceptional landscapes with views of turquoise waters and typical Mediterranean greenery. Stop whenever you want for a picnic on the island’s coast.
    • Walk in a postcard setting in Bonifacio with its characteristic houses perched in the cliffs. Stroll through the citadel and then go down the Roy d’Aragon staircase before settling down on a terrace on the port and admiring the docked boats.
    • Take a boat to the Agriates Desert from Saint-Florent and join the two beaches recognized by many as among the most beautiful on the island: the beach of Saleccia and the beach of Lotu, for a day of relaxation and swimming in the warm waters of northern Corsica.

     

    In which hotel to stay in Corsica ?

    Le Pinarello Hotel ****

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    Located less than 20 minutes from the beautiful seaside town of Porto-Vecchio, in the south of the Mediterranean island, in a landscape of steep hills and lush forests, is the Hotel Le Pinarello ****. Its modern and bright rooms all have a terrace with a breathtaking view of the turquoise waters of the bay of Pinarellu. The bright southern sun is reflected in the waters of the infinity pool, inspiring calm and relaxation in a luxurious setting with Mediterranean accents.

    The Corsican climate remains pleasant and perfect for outdoor activities all year round, and your little ones will love it. As soon as they arrive, they’ll be given a glass of their favorite juice, a jar of candy and a great beach bag, which they can take straight to the beautiful beach just minutes away from the hotel. The perfect place for a family sand castle contest that they are sure to win, thanks to the beach accessories such as shovels, buckets and rakes that are provided.

    Corsica is the perfect place for kayaking, scuba diving and many other water sports. The beaches of the south coast of the island are waiting for you, but if your young swimmers are still afraid to jump in the water, private swimming lessons are given by qualified instructors. After hours of swimming or hiking, you can stop by the Cinq Mondes Spa fo the Pinarello for a well-deserved moment of relaxation.

     

    The Radisson Blu Resort & Spa **** 

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    The capital of the Isle of Beauty is full of French history and culture that must be explored. The perfect place to stay in Ajaccio? The Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, an intimate hotel that promises luxury and relaxation, just minutes from the city center on the island’s west coast. The 170 rooms and suites at the Le Radisson Blu Resort & Spa **** have a private terrace, ideal overlooking the magnificent beach and its turquoise waters and soaking up the southern sun.

    The heated infinity pool will delight families with children all year round, for a diving competition or just basking in the Mediterranean sun. To make your most beautiful sand castles, go to the Agora beach, located just a few minutes from the hotel, ideal as a starting point for a hike in the Corsican nature, or a picnic with southern flavors to share with the family.

    Family vacations are a time to recharge and strengthen relationships. For this, there’s nothing better than an appointment at the spa with the whole tribe, thanks to the « kids special » packages that allow your toddlers to be pampered as well. If Mom and Dad want to have a -grownups only – relaxing time in the hammam or sauna, the babysitting service is available 24 hours a day for a well-deserved break.

     

    Le Golfe & Spa Hotel *****

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    In the sumptuous setting of the west coast of Corsica, in the heart of the marvellous Mediterranean maquis, is set the decor of theLe Golfe & Spa Hotel *****.  The warmth of the service and atmosphere of this establishment is equal to the place itself, which enjoys 300 days of sunshine a year. The architecture and decor designed by the owner and chef Antoine Garaudelle, give a modern and design touch to an intimate and family address.

    The hotel is located just a stone’s throw from the unspoiled beaches of Porto Pollo, a peaceful, preserved sanctuary in the southwest of the isle of Beauty. The many white sandy coves and Cupabia beach are accessible by the hotel’s own boat drop-off service. For a family vacation you’ll never forget, take your budding explorers on a boat trip to the dozens of nearby islands, which promises to be spectacular.

    The Isle of Beauty is a paradise for history fans and the perfect place to bring a cultural touch to your children’s vacation. Don’t miss the chance to take them to the prehistoric site of Filitosa, located only 10 km from the hotel Le Golfe & Spa *****.  It is classified as a historical monument and considered to be one of the most important sites in Corsica.

     

    Where to enjoy corsican cuisine ?

    At the crossroads of the best of the gastronomic worlds is Corsica: its inspirations and expertise combine France and Italy for a culinary symphony that will delight your taste buds. Corsican cheeses such asbrocciu or cabrettu are a must in the island’s cuisine, and are a must-have during your vacations in Corsica. The charcuterie is also an unforgettable part of the Corsican gastronomy: figatellu, coppa, lonzu and many others are waiting for you, and promise emblematic and delicious flavors.

    If like your children you have more of a sweet tooth, we have just the thing for you. Any good Corsican knows that coffee is not coffee without canistrelli. This shortbread like cookie accompanies your days according to your favorite declinations, at the time you wish it. A lemon canistrelli for breakfast or an aniseed canistrelli for a snack with a delicious cup of tea or coffee? The choice is yours. This Corsican specialty will delight every âge with its sweet and delicious flavors.

    Of course, we can’t talk about Corsican desserts without mentioning the fiadone, which is THE emblematic dessert of the Isle of Beauty. A classic cake of the winter season that gives you an excuse to visit Corsica during the cooler months.

     

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    In Bastia, the Café des Gourmets welcomes you all year round, from breakfast to dinner, including snacks, for a zen and gourmet moment. Located in the heart of the city, its incredible view of the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea completes a menu that sings the praises of French cuisine, allowing you to enjoy this phenomenal address all together. You are invited for a brunch with generous portions and flavors enriched by the sun-drenched ingredients of the south, before an ideal afternoon for exploring the north of the Isle of Beauty.

    In the center of Corsica, surrounded by steep hills and maquis, is a culinary favorite: the Eterninsula.  Located in the heart of Zonza, this intimate and warm restaurant, installed in the old school of the village, proposes delicious dishes and fragrant wines. You can meet with friends and family around generous dishes to share. On the menu: salads, charcuterie boards, zucchini fritters from the garden, bruschetta, club sandwiches, typical Corsican cheeses and many other specialties, in a relaxed atmosphere that will give you the impression of being part of the locals who meet there every week.

    Treat yourself to a moment of happiness in Ajaccio and something to please the stomachs of the whole family in the Corsican capital: the Bistrot Gourmand lives up to its name and promises a symphony of gastronomic flavors. No need for a passport for your taste buds, they already travel. Thanks to a menu mixing French, Mediterranean and European cuisine, you will embark on a culinary world tour that you will remember for a long time. The dishes that are constantly reinvented thanks to the fresh produce used from the daily marketand the warm service make this address a rare gem in Ajaccio.

     

    Our best tips for family activities

    The Corsican fauna and flora are not to be missed during a vacation on the Isle of Beauty. With the A Cupulatta Park you are sure to please your children and offer them a chance to learn something in the Corsican language. A Cupulatta translates to turtle in Corsican and this unique park in Europe is home to 170 species of turtles and over 3000 animals. Nature lovers can learn more about the life of land and water turtles in this magical place, open from April to October. If you prefer our honey-making friends, the Jardin des Abeilles is waiting for you. The educational trail is perfect for answering all the questions of the little ones curious about beekeeping, thanks to a path that you can take at your own pace and according to your desires to learn as much as possible about our little friends.

     

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    If you want to discover the culture of the island and learn about the history of the city and the island you are visiting with your family, there is one place to go. The National Museum of Bonaparte House is a favorite of many families and will make you want to learn more about the famous French emperor. Visit this historic monument: the house of Napoleon Bonaparte’s youth. This one is full of details that history buffs won’t want to miss. The Palais Fesch, on the other hand, is perfect for learning more about the reign and history of the Bonaparte family, but from a more artistic perspective. It has dedicated an entire wing to the painters, draftsmen and portraits of the Bonapartes. For a more international outing, don’t forget to check out the Italian works of great painters such as Botticelli, which are also housed in this fine arts museum.

    Thanks to crystal clear water as far as the eye can see and an ideal temperature that makes you want to swim for hours, the many water sports that can be done in Corsica are an unmissable activity to do with the whole tribe. Underwater or on the water, you have the choice. Scuba diving will reveal brightly colored fish in the most beautiful underwater bottoms of Corsica, especially in the nature reserve of the Cerbicales Islandswhich welcome beginners and experienced divers. Another dream destination for scuba diving is the Gulf of Porto, which is located on the western side of the island. It is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which makes it an ideal place for this practice. A desire to let off steam in the waves? Jet-skiing, surfing, water-skiing, kayaking and many others are perfect for the rough waters of Corsica’s coasts. Hours of endless fun are waiting for you.

     

    What to bring on holidays for children ?

    The Mediterranean climate of the Island of Beauty is perfect for a family vacation because even in winter it remains mild. But beware of the sun for the little ones because Corsica is essentially a mountain in the sea: the sun beats down hard even when you don’t realize it. Check out our article on how to protect baby from the heat and choose the right sun protection for a successful vacation.

    The holidays are approaching and your toddlers are already ready to pack their bags. To include them in the preparation of your dream vacation and to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything at the same time, browse our family travel checklists for toddlers 3 to 6 years old and children 6 to 12 years old. For the youngest, don’t forget to check out the travel checklist for 0 to 3 year olds.

    For a hassle-free arrival and a worry-free start to your vacation, our team of Little Concierges will accompany you from before your departure until the end of your stay for a tailor-made vacation with more than positive memories.

     

    Bon voyage !

    Little Guest Yvanne

    Yvanne, 25 years old, travel enthusiast, from Vannes, France

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