In our travels, we ended up in the southern Mediterranean. From the Sardinia beaches to Corsica’s wild nature, we travel to see if it truly deserves the title The Caribbean of Europe.
Corsica and Sardinia need to be visited together, first because those two islands are separated only by a 15 Km channel, 1h hour trip by ferry or by a private boat in 30 min, and second because they will get you one of the most complete experience you can get in Mediterana (cristal waters, white/red sand beaches, mountains, waterfalls, lakes all-in-one).
For those who don’t know the history of the two islands, this is the long story short: Corsica belong to Italy for so much time, and Corsicans are more Italians than french. France received Corsica from the Republic of Genova (a province from today’s Tuscany, Italy) in exchange for its debts. There were fights between the Corsicans and the French regime, a conflict that is still burning today since you can see everywhere on roads, messages anti-french regime: “Statu Francese ASSASSINU!”. Today France it is very proud of its new crown jewel, because of its beauty and richness, however when you visit Corsica, although 90% of tourists are french and everywhere you hear the french language, you will always feel those french people don’t belong there. France boldly considers Corsica one of its own probably because Napoleon Bonaparte, who was a native Corsican, born in Ajaccio was Emperor of the French Empire. Napoleon’s ancestral home, Maison Bonaparte, is today a visitor attraction and museum.
Thanks to Corsica’s historical links with Tuscany, the island has retained many Italian cultural elements. The language spoken by Corsicans is the closest one to ancient Latin, so it’s like you hear the first Romans speaking.
How to get to Sardinia?
We arrived very late in Alghero, and here we took our rented car from Sicily by Car. Note: the rented cars in Italy are overpriced and they never gave you what you book in advance; so we got the smallest car on Earth at a price of 1600 EUR for 15 days. We drove to the Palau region, although we recommend also discovering Alghero, one of the most underrated cities but probably the most beautiful in Sardinia, as we discover later.
Sardinia Beaches with crystal clear water, white sand, and rounded rocks from La Maddalena are almost good as in Seychell.
Here is Spiaggia Testa del Polpo who looks better in reality than in picture.
Porto Torres beach
Calleta dela Pelosa
In the northeast of the island where we found a spectacular beach La Pelosa. The names everywhere in this region, have something Spanish in them, because that region was under Spanish occupation.
Calla Napoletana Beach (Caprera island, Sardinia) – you can reach here only by boat or by foot (1h walk)
Porto Cervo is one of the most luxurious and exclusivist ports and cities in Sardinia. A nest of rich and superficial people, a paradise for shopping and social status, escorts on the street, small, flirty, elegant, and expensive. Porto Cervo is a place where you can see Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maseratti, and Bugatti all expensive sports cars although you can never drive fast on those streets.
Pizzas taste like in Napoli (Napoli is a region with the best pizza in the world).
Sardinia has plenty of beautiful old ports, full of history – worth visiting for at least 1 day.
What we didn’t expect in Sardinia?
Seafood in Sardinia lacks variety and taste. Of course, everywhere is pizza and pasta, but when you go to Mediterana you expect more seafood and more fish than on the Continent. Sardinia compared with Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, and Turkey is very expensive and has nothing special related to seafood.
You can serve dinner only between 18:30-22:00. Outside this interval, the kitchen closes.
Italians drive like crazy, faster than they should, considering the traffic and poor infrastructure.
Honestly, we knew a lot about Sardinia and everything was as expected. We knew a lot of celebrities spent their holidays in Sardinia, secluded on some small islands around Sardinia, we knew the prices are higher than in Italy because most rich Italians have their second home in Sardinia, we knew that we have to pay for everything, including air, if possible, but what we didn’t know what to expect was Corsica.
From Santa Teresa di Gallura the easiest way to travel in Corsica is by ferry. Santa Teressa is also a custom border. Surprisingly you need to make a reservation in advance for the ferry if you travel by car because sometimes the ferry is full so you might miss it…
But when you reach Bonifacio all the wait and all the effort worthed. You are greeted by a majestic land, with high relief, a 100 m shore, and defense towers that can still be seen from afar, reminding you of the times when those lands were attacked from the sea with cannons.
We have reached the land of the Corsairs, the most feared pirates of the Mediterranea. If Caraibe is known for its Pirates, Corsica is known by its Corsairs (although we don’t know the exactly the roots of all corsairs they are most probably moors operating from North Africa).
Plage du Petite Sperone and Grande Sperone are one of the most spectacular beaches in the entire Mediterana because we never saw anywhere around such a variety of water colors: from blue turquoise, blue dark, white to emerald. The downsize of this place is unbelievable crowdy: there are hundreds of boats, and yachts, on on the coast you can bearly find a place to stay.
Plage di Rondinara is also exceptional and there is a small snack bar near this beach, called Chez Mina that serves probably the worst food in entire France, but at least offers a very good beer.
Plage di Santa Giulia is worth visiting because from north to south you may feel like in Seychelle, but extremely crowdy during the day.
We liked a lot Plage di Pinarellu, because of the shadows of the Pines and surprisingly very good beer on the beach. From north to south there are some good bars that welcome you with a cold beer in the hot season.
Although we have visited plenty of beaches along Corse, we don’t believe worth mentioning or visiting with one exception: Cappo di Pertusato or Plage de Saint Antoine. It is not a common beach, reached by feet, a place with caves, heaven for diving or snorkeling.
What we like most in Corse
Corsica has the most varieties of beaches in Mediterana due to luxuriant vegetation. It is by far more diverse than in Italy, Greece, Spain or Cyprus.
The variety of relief is enchanting: from the Caribbean-like beaches to amazing waterfalls in the mountains and natural lakes (note: most of the relief cannot be reached unless you have a helicopter).
Travel by boat discovers more than you can imagine (we highly recommend renting a boat in Corsica; please note, if you want to be Captain for a day you need to have a boat license otherwise you need to pay +200 EUR/day to rent also a captain with the boat; unfortunately it is not like in Greece where you can rent a small boat with just car license; But if you are in a group of 6-8 people the cost of renting a boat is worth considering what you will see…)
Natural waterfalls from Sari Solenzara or Purcaraccia in the mountains is a must-see. The waters are deep enough and clear you can swim and even make snorkeling…
Food in Corsica is better than in Sardinia because of influences from Tuscany and France.
The sunset in Bonifacio is magnificent. Sunset seen from the high cost seems like it lasts more than usual and the sun goes down very slowly into the sea like a melting fireball, a celebration at the end of a good day in the land of the corsair.
What we didn’t expect from Corsica
Corse is a hippy island. A lot of blogs describe Corse “wild”, but we remained with a different impression: a lot of rullotes near the beach, no proper infrastructure, and too much dust. We expected nature “untouched” by humans however general impression was Corsica is a hipiot island.
Although families prefer Corsica, it is not a place for parents. Because it is the cheaper version of the French Riviera, doesn’t mean is better for families with children. We understand why French people prefer Corsica, but it is not a place where you can find true peace and relaxation in the summer season because it is always crowdy.
Roads are extremely poor. If you want to visit all the hidden places you need to walk on foot for 30 min-1h or by car through rocks and dust if you have an off-road vehicle; also the average velocity you can travel is below 50km/h, i.e. a 130 km distance (i.e: Ajaccio-Bonifacio) will last 3-4 hours because the roads are curvy, nearly impossible to overtake slower cars.
All the beautiful places are confiscated by private properties. Everywhere, on the roads, see privé, meaning the roads are shared only between private properties. If you want to reach Little Sperone guess what: either you are a local, either you are hosted at one of the expensive golf club properties, or you are near to walk 2 km from Grand Sperone to Petite Sperone. It is obvious locals don’t enjoy tourists too much, as they want privacy, which they hardly got since France sends there several million tourists every year.
Mountains are nearly impossible to climb without proper equipment; we have tried and regret it after 4 hours of hiking since there are no markings, no help, and no maps, just lucky visitors can reach natural waterfalls hidden deep into the mountains.
You can park everywhere around the island, for free, but in cities, parking is extremely difficult to find. We recommend buying a parking card for multiple days if you travel a lot by car.
You need to make a reservation if you want to dine. While in most of the Mediterranean countries serving a dinner doesn’t require a reservation, here in Corsica it is mandatory. Several times, we almost left without eating because we arrived later than “expected”. The expectation seems to be dinner is served until 22:00. We observed all french serves lunch between 13-15, no earlier and no later, and dinner from 19:00 to 22:00. If you reach the restaurant after 21:30 you may find out the kitchen is closed and you can only serve some snacks. The bars also close at 00:00…
With one of the most beautiful places in the world, with a variety of sights, both natural and historical, Corsica and Sardinia represent the all-in-one experience that you need to put on your bucket list.
Rent a Car in Sardinia and Corsica: Rental Cars or Discover Cars (try renting from companies with a large fleet and good reputation, because small and local companies have hidden terms that y). Other rent-a-car companies popular in that region: , , , , , or search all .