Bastia is the capital of the northern part of Corsica, and marks the point where the wild peninsula of Cap Corse joins the mainland. It’s closer to the Italian mainland than the French one, and you can see the island of Elba, where Napoleon was imprisoned for several years.

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Corte, in upper Corsica, is set among spectacular cliffs and gorges near the place where the Tavignano, Restonica, and Orta rivers merge. Paoli’s government was headquartered here in the 1700s, and it’s also the home of the Corsican University. This university was closed by the French when they conquered Corsica in 1769, but was reopened in 1981.

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Calvi is located in northern Corsica. The town owns the same fragrant smell of maquis, a blend of lavender, myrtle, and heather, that the rest of the island. Seafarers back to the time of the Greeks have exclaimed over the unique odor of Corsica, and it has long had the name “the fragrant isle.”

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Ajaccio is the capital of Corsica, on the west coast. It was the birthplace of Napoleon, and was originally the settlement of Ajax founded by the Romans. Ajaccio was Genoese until 1768, and still has a very Italian flavor to its Frenchness.

It is a beautiful and modern city filled with things to do, like visiting the food market or the many museums that dot the area.

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In Corsica, Bonifacio is most famous for its position in the southernmost tip of the island, sitting on a limestone outcrop with the Mediterranean surrounding it on three sides. The views are absolutely stunning. Its natural harbor forms an excellent and protected port for large and small ships, and the port area is lined with cafes, bars, restaurants, and nice boutiques. You can catch a boat from here to Sardinia and Lavezzi and Cavallo.

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Porto-Vecchio has long been known for tours from Italy, and unfortunately most of its quaintness has been destroyed by construction projects catering to the tourist trade. Nevertheless, you can find beautiful beaches in this area, and it makes a nice stop when you want to visit modern life again for a while.

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Cap Corse

Cap Corse is the northern tip of Corsica, and looks like a finger pointing toward the rest of France. This 25-mile-long peninsula is studded with beaches, quaint and ancient fishing ports, deep gorges, canyons, and sweet-scented forests.

In short, Cap Corse offers everything Corsica offers, in microcosm. If you want to know the real Corsica, this is the ideal vacation for you.

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