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The best of yacht charter in Corsica.

Lying in the middle of the sparkling Mediterranean Sea, the island of Corsica offers the yacht charterer over a thousand kilometres of beautiful and wild coastline to explore. Burgess seeks out the best locations that the island has to offer.

Chart your course

From wild and windy Cap Corse in the north to the port of Bonifacio on the southernmost tip a stone’s throw from Sardinia, there is a lot to discover during a Corsican yacht charter. Despite being a popular holiday destination for the past few decades, the French island is environmentally well protected and remains largely unspoiled, with hidden coves and pristine deserted beaches providing some of the most stunning anchorages in the Mediterranean. The west coast is generally the most popular for cruising, and provides a stunning backdrop with deep bays and plunging cliffs. Right at the southern tip, famed Bonifacio is one of the most picturesque seaside towns in the world, with Napoleonic ramparts high up on the cliff overlooking the Straits of Bonifacio on one side and possessing a very sheltered port which is almost unique in its aspect, being located up a kind of fissure in the coastline.

Napoleonic ramparts overlook Bonifacio
Napoleonic ramparts overlook Bonifacio

Drop anchor and get out on the water
Drop anchor and get out on the water

Top anchorages

A short hop from Bonifacio, the sheltered anchorage of Santa Manza is located in a deeply indented, narrow bay edged by white beaches and unspoilt coves. Further up the west coast, the Scandola Nature Reserve also has a number of beautiful anchorage spots, the best of which has to be Girolata Bay. Located on the park’s southern edge, the bay is backed by red rock cliffs, and although it is not sheltered as such it still offers some protection from the swell and is a favourite spot for yachts to stop for swimming, diving and all manner of watersports. Only accessible by boat, tourists come by water to visit the small village of Girolata and its ancient fort. Once the masses depart mid-afternoon however, take your tender ashore and discover the local Scandola lobster at one of the rustic seaside restaurants.

Completing the trio of Corsica’s best anchorages is the private island of Cavallo. Home to a small hotel and spa (the latter of which is award-winning and worth stepping ashore for), the island boasts white sandy beaches, sheltered, rocky coves and clear, deep waters for diving.

Best beaches

Corsica’s beaches are so varied you could find yourself on a wind-swept stretch of white sand in the morning and then a sheltered, deserted rocky cove for lunch, in very different terrain. Many of the best can only be reached by boat, making them wonderfully private and exclusive. A trio of stunning beaches lie in the south of the island: Palombaggia, Santa Giulia and Rondinara. All three comprise perfect crescent-shaped stretches of sand. Palombaggia is a firm favourite with the superyacht crowd. Stretching three kilometres around the bay, the whole area is a protected nature reserve. Nearby Rodinara is one of the most secluded beaches, tracing a near perfect C-shape that culminates in two headlands that almost touch at the entrance to the bay. Last, but not least, the aquamarine lagoon waters that lap the sandy Santa Giulia beach are calm and shallow – ideal for families  with young children who like to paddle.

Hidden coves and crystal sands
Hidden coves and crystal sands

Book a table ashore for a meal to remember
Book a table ashore for a meal to remember

Where to eat

When cruising around Cap Corse, head ashore to Tra di Noi for truly authentic Corsican cuisine and stunning views over the Mediterranean below. Sharing plates utilise local produce, including cheese made in  the on-site dairy, and vegetables grown in the garden. Down in the south of the island close to Sardinia, Bonifacio has a stronger Italian flavour, and the fabulous restaurants here combine French cuisine with Italian influence. The current hot spot, favoured by the superyacht set for its fresh seafood, is Stella D’Oro. Head inland to the mountains for some of the best local cheeses, including Corsican brocciu, made with goat’s milk and herbs. A Pignata, an old stone farmhouse in the countryside in the Alta Rocca region is an exceptional showcase of this type of local food, with special dishes including lamb, and a home-grown cheese with wild herbs.

A spot of culture

Probably most famous for being Napoléon Bonaparte’s birthplace, Corsica has had a turbulent and colourful past, and its strategic position has meant that invasion and occupation has been a recurring theme in the island’s history. The people too are quite unique, although they bear comparison with their Sicilian cousins to the South, being proud, independent, and only loosely in thrall to their mainland parents.

Home of the great Napoleon Bonaparte
Home of the great Napoleon Bonaparte

Remnants of Corsica’s fascinating naval history are evident all along the coastline in the form of 16th century cliff-top towers and citadels. The medieval fortified town of Bonifacio is the best example of the island’s past, with narrow streets, massive fortifications and stunning vista from its clifftop setting. The view from the citadel over the surrounding town and the Bonifacio Straits in particular is worth the steep climb. The Citadelle de Corte with its 15th-century castle and barracks is another worthy climb for its spectacular views over the ancient town, while the 15th century Genovese-built Citadelle de Calvi towers over the bustling port.

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