Corsica has 1000km of glorious coastline and close to 200 beaches; and thanks to the island’s diverse landscape there is a real variety in the style and makeup of the bays and coves.
There are fine and coarse white and golden sand beaches, plus pebbly beaches made up of millions of sea-moulded stones of every colour; and because of the nature of the landscape many of Corsica’s beaches are hidden coves accessible only on foot or by boat – there’s certainly something magical about exploring the coastal paths and stumbling across a deserted cove washed by the warm deep blue of the Mediterranean.
The beaches in Corsica are also incredibly clean and whether you’re in one of the secluded bays or on one of the busier town beaches you will always find a very good standard of cleanliness – both in terms of the beach itself and in the quality of the water. And because of the island’s position in the Med it gets some great winds and provides ideal conditions for a wide variety of water sports. There’s good surf here, perfect spots for windsurfing, not to mention the more esoteric pursuits such as wake boarding, kitesurfing and flysurfing.
There is a slight downside to all this in that many of the beaches (as many as 75%) are not patrolled by lifeguards and as such it pays to do a bit of research before you go to make sure the conditions are right for you and your family. Generally speaking the most popular beaches are patrolled but it pays to be safe and check.
Rather than give a long list of beaches we have broken them down into regions – please follow the links to your region of choice. Please be aware that this is far from exhaustive, we’ve just tried to give a flavour of the fabulous range of beaches Corsica has to offer.
Beaches of la Balagne
There are some fabulous beaches in and around the la Balagne region of Corsica, from the very popular, to the more quiet and secluded, including Lumio, Algajola, L’Ile Rousse, Davia and Ostriconi.
Calvi’s beach is a sweeping bay of powdered white sand fringed by woods of maritime pines and is lapped by some of the clearest water on the island. From here, the views across the bay and the picturesque backdrop of Calvi Citadel are simply magnificent. The beach stretches for 6km, so there is plenty of room for everyone even in the height of the summer months. With a gently shelving gradient as well as warm and protected waters, the beach is also ideal for children. There is a fine array of restaurants and cafés nearby – some of which serve directly onto the beach; not to mention a diverse range of water sports activities for the more energetic.
The beach at Lumio, Arinella Plage, is small with stunning views of Calvi Citadel across the bay. There is a small restaurant serving seafood on tables that spill out onto the coarse sand. Sheltered between rocky headlands there are opportunities to swim, paddle or snorkle.
The beach at Algajola (also known as Aregno Plage) is huge and wide and is close to the village and various cafés and restaurants. One of the longest beaches in la Balagne, the sandiest part is at the eastern end so requires quite a walk from the car parking area and the sea bed shelves quite steeply. The western end of the beach is more commercialised and rather rocky in parts, but the water is shallower and calmer. The weather conditions mean that it’s ideal for water sports.
There are two small, usually uncrowded beaches on the Davia peninsula, which is situated mid way between L’Ile Rousse and Algajola. They are accessed by driving down through the Marine de Davia which is just under 4km from L’Ile Rousse.
Just west of L’Ile Rousse, Bodri Plage is an unspoilt beach, a walk through the maquis and over the railway line. The walk is worth it, as the beach has almost white sand and a turquoise sea.
This is another town beach, and like Calvi’s main beach it can be quite crowded in the summer months – but due to its size, if you’re prepared to wander you can generally find a quiet spot. Another benefit of its size is that it is generally patrolled. It’s a fine yellow sand beach and the water is a gorgeous clear blue. There are good opportunities here for water sports.
A fabulous large beach which is hardly ever crowded. Access to the beach is between the turnings for Palasca and Belgodère and there is ample car parking. There are two beach café’s towards the western end of the beach. This beach is stepped and shelves quite steeply at the waterline and, in times of rougher seas, the undertow can be hazardous so may not be suitable for less accomplished swimmers and children.
Nestling between mountains and sea and situated just a short drive from L’Ile Rousse, Ostroconi is a spectacular beach that is off the beaten track and hardly ever crowded. This large stretch of sand is wild, beautiful and affords dramatic views across the rocky hills of the Désert des Agriates plunging into the sparkling turquoise waters of the Mediterranean. Situated at the mouth of the Ostriconi river, the setting is truly fantastic and is a real paradise for those looking for a more unspoilt and isolated beach away from the crowds. The beach can only be accessed via a steep path that cuts through the maquis for approximately 1km.
Beaches of St Florent & the north east
Beaches around St Florent and the north east of Corsica, including the famous Plage de la Royal and little known beaches of Plage de Saleccia and Olzu and Tettola.
St Florent & Oletta
There are several beaches in the resort that are worth checking out – and most are suitable for families. There are also those that are only accessible by boat (easily joined at the marina) and of these Saleccia is probably the best pick.
Plage de la Roya
The main town beach in St Florent can be reached on foot from the port de plaisance or by car just west of the town centre. There are a multitude of water sports available including windsurfing, sailing, canoeing, jet skis and diving. The beach does get busy in July and August.
Plage de Loto
One of the most wonderful, isolated beaches of the Désert des Agriates. With its white sand and clear turquoise water it is very popular in July and August though quite deserted the rest of the year. Access is by foot from St Florent (a five hour walk from St Florent) or by boat – U Saleccia (04 95 37 19 07) and Popeye (04 95 36 90 78). Bear in mind that there is no shade and no bar so you should take whatever you need for protection and your own refreshments.
Plage de Saleccia
A further hour’s walk along the coast of the désert, Saleccia is often less crowded but is equally stunning – it is a 1km long curve of pearl white sand with perfectly transparent sea. It can also be reached by the track next to the bar Relais de Saleccia on the D81 in the Désert des Agriates though it is not recommended with your hire car. The track is really only suitable for 4×4 vehicles, mountain bikes or Quad bikes and is 12km long (mountain bikes and Quad bikes can be hired from the above bar and in St Florent).
Plages d’Olzu and Tettola
Found 2km east of St Florent below the Patrimonio road, these are gently shelving to shallow water and have good expanses of sand and some areas of pebbles.
The coastline at Cap Corse is dramatic and there are no obvious, large beaches to point out. But that isn’t to say there aren’t any worth visiting – it’s more of a case of exploring and seeing what you find. Many of the beaches at this end of the island are shingle but there are a few with fine golden sand.
Plage de Farinole
Located past Patrimonio on the western side of the Cap Corse this is a fine sandy beach with a bar & restaurant, and which is generally not too busy. Please be aware that there are often some strong undercurrents and so it can be quite dangerous, especially when the sea is less than calm.
Plage de Nonza
This beach lies north of the village perched on its cliffs and appears black from there. It is in fact made up of green/grey pebbles, many of which are tinted black from asbestos waste, a result of the asbestos mining that previously took place near here. Locals use the beach (which is usually deserted due to its appearance). There are 600 steps leading down to the beach from the village but it is easier to drive to the far end of the beach.
The narrow road down to the golfe d’Aliso (just after the turn off for Luri) ends at a small, red, sandy beach.
Plage de Barcaggio
The most northern beach of the island is often windy but has lovely white sand.
Plage de Tamarone
Situated 2.5km north of Macinaggio at the end of a dirt road is the sandy and clean Plage de Tamarone that boasts deep and clear waters. From Macinaggio car park here, various walks are marked which take you through the Site Naturel de la Capandula. This reserve also includes the islands off the coast, which you can see. There is a coastal walk (sentier des douaniers) leading to Barcaggio (3-4hours one way) and also a shorter 1hr30 circuit that takes in many of the highlights and leads to a second beach Plage des Iles.
Plage de Porticciolo
A sandy beach near a small port which has turquoise sea and white sand. Its position means that it is rarely busy.
Plage de Pietracorbara
A sandy beach stretching the length of the bay. One of the most notable beaches of the Cap Corse, a little way from the town of the same name. It is very popular among locals and known for being a particularly safe beach and swim zone for kids and toddlers.
Pebbles and rocks behind a beautifully quaint port with paddling and swimming possible.
Plage de Miomo
A pebble beach with easy access in the heart of the village.
The main beach in the town of Bastia is a pebbly one, and the place can get very busy in the summer months.
Another town beach, the sandy Plage de l’Arinella, is the beginning of the long sandy shore that extends along the whole of the east coast. Although not the most stunning in Corsica, this beach does offer water sports and there are a couple of bar/restaurants.
Beaches of the Costa Verde
The narrow coast under the Castagniccia hills has been christened the Costa Verde.
The coastline of the Costa Verde nestles between the Castagniccia hills and the deep blue waters of the Tyrrhenian sea, and boasts a 14km stretch of golden sand with Moriani Plage as its main resort. There are various access points to the beach and several beach bars along this vast stretch. A couple of spots also offer water sports.
Plage de l’Alistro
South of Moriani Plage, and an expanse of sand, it is just north of the marina at Campoloro.
Plage de Prunette
A stretch of the east coast beach which is pleasantly lined with eucalyptus trees. It has a couple of bars and water sports facilities.
Plage de Bravone
A pleasant sandy beach with a restaurant and parking area.
Beaches of L’Extrême Sud
There are some truly extravagant beaches around the coastline of L’Extrême Sud region of Corsica – including Palombaggia, Pinarellu, Rondinara, San Ciprianu and Santa Giulia.
With some of the best and most accessible beaches on the island, Porto Vecchio has become Corsica’s number one tourist region.
Arguably the most famous beach on the island, the beach at Palombaggia is one of Corsica’s finest and therefore one of its most popular. It was recently voted France’s number one beach in the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice 2016 and as such it can be very crowded in peak season – and it’s easy to see why. An exquisite blend of fine white sand guarded by huge red granite rocks and fronted with gorgeous blue seas, and lined with beautiful pine trees. The access road may seem long and it can be crowded in high season, but at any other time of year is well worth a visit.
Santa Giulia is another very popular beach and arguably the most photogenic of all the beaches in L’Extrême Sud, voted as France’s eight best beach in the same Tripadvisor poll that awarded its neighbour, Palombaggia Beach, as the crowning beach in the country. It sits in a magnificent horseshoe bay with its shallow and translucent water making it the perfect swimming spot for the little ones. Around 10-15 minutes drive from Porto Vecchio, the beach has two access roads. The first road via Bocca dell’Oro offers spectacular views as you ascend to the Golfe de Santa Giulia. This will bring you to the northern part of the bay which is usually less busy. The second road, a little further south on the N198, brings you to the central part of the beach with car parking available alongside the pine trees that back onto the beach.
In contrast to Palombaggia it has pale yellow sand but it can be just as crowded as its more famous cousin. It has a good selection of shops and restaurants and it is also very popular with water sports enthusiasts.
This exquisite bay situated 7km north of Porto Vecchio with its fine sweep of yellow sand is more than worth a visit. While you’re there you can check out the near perfect Genoese tower which dominates the peninsula. It has a long sweep of soft white sand and is backed by a pine forest, ideal for any members of the party who need shade.
If there is a breeze on the day you plan to visit it is well worth taking a body board with you to surf some of the breaking waves. That said the beach is also great for younger children as there is a nice wide stretch of warm shallow water too.
Around a 10-minute drive north of Porto Vecchio, Cala Rossa is a picturesque beach with glistening turquoise waters and reddish sand. The beach is backed by a verdant hillside lined with prestigious villas and set against the beautiful backdrop of the mountainous Bavella Needles. On the main beach, there are two bars offering refreshments and sun loungers for hire as well as a sailing school and other water sports available.
Around 15 minutes drive north of Porto Vecchio, San Ciprianu is a beautiful half moon of white sand and turquoise water. Parking is available on the approach road to the beach or if you are lucky there may be space available in the smallish car park about 50m from the beach.
On arrival at the beach, turn left for the quieter section of the bay, where the sand is slightly less fine, but there are some areas where you can snorkel. Turning right on arrival and you will find finer sand, but inevitably a few more people. If you walk past the restaurants and sunbeds and beyond the red granite rocks at what seems to be the end of the bay, you will discover a second smaller and much quieter bay.
There are a number of lovely beaches within reach of Bonifacio.
Situated midway between Bonifacio and Porto Vecchio, Rondinara can be accessed off the N198 via the winding D158. This last stretch of road isn’t the greatest to drive on but the reward is the alluring crescent shaped stretch of golden sand at Rondinara.
There is a charge for parking although arrive after 6pm and it is free. It’s not as busy as the more famous Santa Giulia or Palombaggia but it can be a little busy in peak season. It is very popular with families as it very safe for toddlers and the turquoise sea is almost impossible to resist.
Gulf of Figari & Pianotolli
Bordering the Gulf of Figari and the village of Pianotolli, these secluded and unfrequented coves are just delightful – a gorgeous string of narrow sandy creeks spread around a shallow turquoise bay. If you can’t bear the crowds of the more popular beaches in the height of the summer season, then these will just be the perfect choice for you. You can access any of the coves via unmarked dirt tracks through the maquis and a few minutes walk.
La Tonnara is situated at the end of the D358 road, just off the main road between Bonifacio and Figari. This nice sandy beach is often windy and offers excellent water sport facilities such as windsurfing, kite-surfing and jet-ski hire. There is also a small beach restaurant serving refreshments.
Just outside of Bonifacio, conveniently enough, this is a gorgeous little inlet reached by walking ten minutes along Pianterella beach and a further two minutes more around the tip of the headland – a feast for the eyes when you arrive!
Golfe de Santa Manza
There are several beaches lining this gulf, including the Plage de Maora. The sand has large granules (ideal when windy) and there is a small snack bar. Further around the bay, views improve and there are many coves that attract bathers and water sports enthusiasts. The main beach Plage de Santa Manza is a great starting point for coastal walks – just follow the tracks through the maquis.
Perfect white sand and clear water but the beach is only small so, again, it can be crowded in July and August. About 20km south of Sartène, and midway between Bonifacio and Sartène, turn off the main road by the Auberge de Coralli and follow the dirt track down. The track to the beach may be very rough so drive carefully. Above the beach is the ‘Lion of Roccapina’, a natural rock sculpture, crowned by an old Genoese watchtower erected at the start of the 16th century, in the first construction phase involving twenty five towers. The romantic legend about this rock form is that a powerful noble, feared by the Saracen pirates (who called him ‘The Lion’), was in love with a beautiful young girl. When she refused his advances, from despair he died and was petrified in the form that you see today.
This little explored archipelago is in the Strait of Bonifacio that separates Corsica from Sardinia and boasts a number of secluded beaches and coves. They are relative easy to access and most boat companies operating out of Bonifacio will gladly take you there.
Beaches of the west coast
There are some beautiful beaches along the west coast of Corsica – some more well known than other, and some, around Portigliolo, Isolella & Ruppione, hardly known at all…
There are a number of town beaches including the main beach Hotel du Phare by the Hôtel de Valinco and the Plage du Lido which is supervised in July and August. The busiest of which is the Plage du Phare which has golden sand and a selection of cafés and restaurants. It can get very crowded during peak season. There are several other beaches along this stretch which are less accessible but worth the venture.
Plage de Baracci
Situated on the right hand side before Propriano coming from Olmeto. It is quite long and, when windy, the waves are huge! To get down here, follow the dirt track road down to the coast from opposite the “Total” petrol station. You may see tourists swim there but no locals as it is well known that there are undercurrents which can take one away from the shore. This beach is nice for a walk and to watch the sunset though.
Located in the pretty village of Campomoro, this beach has fine sand and turqoise shallow water making it an ideal choice for children and for snorkelling. There are a couple of restaurants on the beach and a water sports centre. Venture further afield along the coastline past the Genoese tower and you’ll find a string of smaller coves amid spectacular scenery (4h / 5h circular walk).
The stretch of coast here has a number of secluded bays, coves and larger beaches, with varying degrees of accessibility. Fringed by granite boulders, bordered by crystal clear water and with superb views across the Valinco gulf, they all offer a superb setting for swimming, snorkelling or simply whiling away the hours relaxing on the beach. Take a picnic in the evening, the sunsets here are spectacular!
Continue along the coast past Capicciolo and you’ll find more beautiful coves and beaches in the Abbartello area. There are several good pizzerias and restaurants along the coast to stop for a drink or a bite to eat. The paths are easy to find as the beaches are only 25m or so from the main road.
This is a busy little resort set on a horseshoe bay with a lively marina and a sheltered sandy beach. The bay is lapped by gentle shelving and very clear water, making it popular for families with young children. The water sports here are excellent and it boasts some of the best diving in the region. The beach is also frequented by the locals, so it gets busier at the weekends.
Plage de Cupabia
A beautiful beach, beyond Porto Pollo, which is fairly crowded during high season but quiet during lower season. There is a café which sells ice creams and drinks on the beach and windsurfer hire operator, head towards Porto Pollo and shortly before the village head towards Serra di Ferro. Drive through Serra di Ferro and go on for about 3km until you arrive at a T-junction signposted Ajaccio to the left and Coti Chjavari to the left. Turn left direction Coti Chjavari, then quickly after left again (by this point Cupabia is signposted). The road will continue for another couple of kilometres before you reach the beach!
Perfect white sand and clear water but the beach is only small so, again, it can be crowded in July and August. About 20km south of Sartène, and midway between Bonifacio and Sartène, turn off the main road by the Auberge de Coralli and follow the dirt track down. The track to the beach may be very rough so drive carefully. Above the beach is the “Lion of Roccapina”, a natural rock sculpture, crowned by an old Genoese watchtower erected at the start of the 16th century, in the first construction phase involving twenty five towers. The romantic legend about this rock form is that a powerful noble, feared by the Saracen pirates (who called him “The Lion”), was in love with a beautiful young girl. When she refused his advances, from despair he died and was petrified in the form that you see today.
There are two beautiful beaches “Plage de Tralicetu” and the “Plage d’Argent”. It takes about 20 minutes to Tizzano. Before you reach Tizzano take the dirt track to the left towards the campsite and continue along the main track. The first long stretch of sand is the “Plage de Tralicetu”. The “Silver Beach” or “Plage d’Argent” is the next small beach towards the left which you can reach on foot. There is also a beach in Tizzano itself. You will see it as you drive through Tizzano, on your left. It often has big waves as the area is windy.
A wonderful, sandy beach only about 20 minutes from Propriano. To get there follow the road out of town towards Sartène and turn right heading towards Campomoro. After 3kms you should park and take the small path towards a long sandy beach greatly appreciated by children as the water is shallow – at least on the first part of the beach. If you go further to the right, take care as the beach shelves steeply into the water. Further on is a beach for nudists. Avoid going even further as swimming becomes dangerous because of undercurrents which take one away from the shore.
This renowned family beach is a short drive from the centre of Ajaccio and it has a good suite of facilities including parking, lifeguards and toilets. Yet is also maintains a unique environment with the recent replanting of local plants and a strong sense of conservation for the local wildlife. All this and the beautiful pure blue of the Mediterranean.
A long sandy beach with water sports and other facilities, making it quite lively. It runs along the Porticcio road. The area of Porticcio and Agosta has the highest proportion of hotels in the whole of Corsica and so the area can be busy in peak season.
Portigliolo, Isolella & Ruppione
The area has abundant sheltered coves, highly rated in summer and virtually untouched out of season. You may have these pretty beaches to yourself!
Plage St François, Ajaccio
Against the backdrop of the Citadel in central Ajaccio, this is the city centre beach where locals go to relax while out shopping or taking a break from work. The view to the west is of the Iles Sanguinaires. Towards the end of the beach the sand becomes more pebbly.
The town beach is an exposed pebble beach situated south of the rock upon which stands the Genoese tower. It shelves steeply and can be dangerous if the sea is rough or it is a windy day. However, the crags overshadowing the shore set a spectacular scene and there is great snorkelling from the rocks to the south.
Plage de Bussaglia
Only 5km from Porto this is a pebbly cove and the first strand of beach accessible by car from Porto. There are a couple of pizzerias open in high season which also serve nice salads and seafood.
Plage de Caspio
A pebble beach, 3km down the road to the coast from Partinello. It is very popular with locals and has a beach bar. Be aware that the sun is obscured behind the cliff in the afternoons during the summer.
Plage de Gradelle
This shingle beach at Osani has a deep translucent sea and fantastic views of the Calanches and Capo d’Orto. However, due to a nearby campsite it can get busy during July and August.
Anse de Ficajola
This lovely cove was once Piana’s little port. It is reached by a short steep road (D624) that loops down to the shore from the central junction in Piana. Stunning views make it a lovely drive and 10 minutes walk along a stone stairway lead to the tiny cove of red rocks and limpid sea. Again, the sun disappears fairly early in the afternoon.
A superb, sandy beach with crystal clear waters. It shelves quickly so take care with non swimmers. Although it can get crowded in the summer, tracks lead through the rocks on either side to other, more secluded coves (where the snorkelling is excellent). There is also a pleasant pizzeria.
Plage de Lava
Nestling in the Golfe de Lava just north of Ajaccio, this lovely seaside resort with sandy beach is situated between Capo di Feno and la Liscia.
Plage de Liscia
This long strand of golden sand is the beach of Tiuccia and is one of the best in the area. It is framed on either side by two Genoese towers. The gentle slope of the sand and the calm, shallow water makes it ideal for young children.
Plage de Liamone
This vast sandy beach is the main attraction of the town of Sagone. There are many water sports facilities on offer during the season.
Plage de Stagnoli
At the northern end of the Gulf of Sagone near the town of Cargèse this lovely beach is blessed with sugary fine sand.
Plage du Menasina
Almost in the town centre of Cargèse, this beach can get busy in high season
Plage du Monachi
A secluded, small, sandy cove just south of Cargèse. The beach is reached by scrambling down the track at the side of the road and past the little chapel on the cliff-side.
Plage de Pero
This is found 2km north of Cargèse and is by far the best of Cargèse’s beaches. verlooked by a Genoese tower, this white stretch of sand has a couple of bars and water sports stalls but is large enough to absorb the crowds that come here in July and August
Plage du Chioni
Found a further 2km on from Pero beach, this beach does get busy due to its water sports activities and the proximity of Club Med resort.