Cap Corse Corsica

If you can imagine giving someone the finger, or the bird as some people call it, when you look at a map of the island of Corsica it resembles a closed fist, and the Cap Corse Peninsula at the north eastern end of the island looks exactly like the finger you extend when expressing your disgust at another person.

The peninsula is 40kms (25 miles) long and at its base is Bastia, the second biggest city on Corsica.

The peninsula was once home to the noble families of Genoa, who made their fortunes trading in the Mediterranean staples of wine and oil. These Genoese left their mark by building watchtowers along the peninsula with the intention of protecting the area from raiding Berbers from North Africa. Many of these sentinels are still intact today, quietly watching over the many charming fishing villages which dot the coastline.

There are 18 communities located on Cap Corse, and a lovely way to see them is to hire a car and drive yourself along the D80. Although the trip can be completed in four hours, it is best to plan to be away for a couple of days so as to fully enjoy the stunning scenery and the amazing hospitality of the locals.

A good tip too is to drive in a clockwise direction. This is because the road is both narrow and winding and by taking a clockwise route you stick to the inside lane where you can still enjoy the lovely views with less chance of inching close to the precipitous cliffs which mark the route.

The west coast route is more exciting than its east coast counterpart, as the land is generally hillier and the curves can be more treacherous, with a number of switchback corners. The east coast countryside is gentler and driving is more relaxing. Many of the most popular resorts are situated on the east coast, and the ruggedness of the west coast means it is generally less crowded.

Start your trip at Bastia, on the east coast and head over to St Florent, which after Bastia, is the largest community on the cape, even though it has a permanent population of just 1500. St Florent is a very popular holiday spot that is tucked away between the mountains and the sea and a town that is well known for the beauty of its nearby beaches and the high values of the luxury yachts which crowd its small harbour.

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