Few things in life can evoke such varying and deep emotion as the ocean. A mere gaze from wave-battered shores can awash with humility, awe, excitement, intrigue, or fear. Its vast emptiness has the power to leave you feeling isolated, with nothing but a primitive sense of powerlessness. It has preoccupied the passions and ponderings of explorers and scientists, philosophers and artists since the beginning of time.
But its allure isn't limited to the introspective, the pious, and the reverent. Unique beauty and foreignness entice people from all across the world. Whole holidays often have at their centre the sandy beaches of these sacred seas: water sports, swimming, bathing and snorkelling. There is nothing quite like days of basking in the sun with your feet in the sand and the fresh sea breeze to invigorate a weary soul.
Corsica has unwittingly, innocently, fallen upon popularity amongst European holidaymakers: its natural splendour does all the talking. The rugged beauty which characterises Corsica belies the luxuriating hospitality and lifestyle that hides beneath. The entire island is skirted with wonderful hems of gold and white sand, frills of crystalline waters, and folds of lush foliage that spill down dramatic rock formations towards the sea.
Cradled in this landscape, though, you will find a quiet and modest plushness. Corsica is a place of great variety in its landscapes: the towering heights and dramatic pinnacles of Aiguilles de Bavella; waterfalls, cascading like sprung leaks, from sheer rock faces; sandy stretches of desert and beach.
But the Corsica beaches are a fundamental reason why so many people return to Corsica, or "the Isle of Beauty", time and again for their luxury France holidays. This article explores the many wonderful beaches on the southern side of Corsica.
This long, arching stretch of fine white sand makes up the most famous beach on Corsica. Palombaggia boasts 1.5km of beach that, without exception, is licked by the azure waters of the Mediterranean. The beautiful beach promises long and joyful days drifting between a lounger, the water, and some of the many restaurants scattered along the shorefront that serve crisp drinks and delicious food. Red-ringed rocks splash colourful borders between each stretch of beach.
Palombaggia was the first tobacco-free beach on Corsica, which, coupled with its gently sloping shores, makes for a perfect family-friendly destination, where you and your family can while away sunny days on your Corsica holidays.
Fringed by boulders and bordered by a rustling wave of pine trees, Pinarello beach offers warm, shallow water to swim in and a place of refuge from the sun's gaze beneath the pines. Pinarello is north of Porto Vecchio and Palombaggia on the eastern side of the island. At one tip of the bay is Pinarellu Island, on which you will find a 17th-century Genoese tower, which attests to the island's rich history.
Rent a kayak from the nearby rental shop and glide out on the rippling water until the sounds of frolicking children and the gentle hum of the beach fade into faintness.
This beach feels like it is taking centre stage in the natural amphitheatre that surrounds it. The mountains slope down like an empty auditorium framing the white sand and turquoise water, giving it an even greater sense of solitude than other beaches, even in the high season.
On the west coast of the island, Campomoro looks across the bay to the green silhouette of the coastal mountains on the other side. The flat blue of the sea is broken only by the occasional yacht with its mast jutting skyward. When the sun reaches its bright and hot peak, duck into Chez Pierre Paul U Spuntinu for incredible dishes of seafood and meat accompanied by the clinking of a cold glass of white wine.
The crystal clear
This small, sheltered bay just to the south of Campomoro effortlessly flaunts some of the clearest waters. On a still day, the narrow channel that forms part of the bay and the rocks that make the channel provide a quietude in the water. The beach is only accessible by boat or by foot, making it a peaceful beach.
The protection from the elements also makes it an anchorage point for boats. Plunge off the side of your boat to explore the clear water, so be sure not to forget your goggles for this one. The coastal path to the beach will take around two hours to walk, but vegetation and shade make it picturesque and cooler. Renting a boat is advised if you don't fancy the hike.
This scenic beach is a haven for sun worshippers and snorkelers, water sports enthusiasts and those with a carapace curiosity. Spend hours venturing the rocky parts of this otherwise unblemished stretch of soft sand that slips with ease between toes.
In the crevasses and nooks of the ochre pillars of stone that scatter the sand and sea, explorers, donning masks and fins or on foot, will find shells and a sea life that busies itself even when everyone else seems to be idling on languid summer holidays.
Grab an ice cream or sip on a cold beer from the nearby café. Or, organise an afternoon of activities on the water with Waterplay Cupabia. Water ski the glassy bay as the sun sinks beneath the horizon or bounce along at high speeds on the boat's wake, holding on for dear life, atop a biscuit.
At the end of the wending, winding coastal path from Bonifacio, on Corsica's southern tip, Fazzio beach emerges as a welcome destination of quiet relief from the heat of the day - a reward for the sheen of sweat built up on the walk. The Strada Vecia path guides you through the scrubland with its beautiful and piquant flora, hugging the coastal meanders, all the way to Fazzio.
The sheer cliffs that huddle over the bay make it not only a scenic place to swim and relax, but also a very sheltered and clear location of natural beauty. The viewpoints along the path and around the beach are stunning. The beach is about an hour's walk from Bonifacio and half an hour from Paraguan Beach. The added effort of the hike is well worth the trip if you want to escape the sometimes thronging beaches around Bonifacio.
People often talk of beaches in a particular area as being able to transport you to the Caribbean or some other distant land that belongs on postcards. Roccapina beach, however, doesn't need to transport you somewhere else. There is no invocation of imagination required, for you have found yourself in an idyll. A Corsican idyll. One that does not need to be reminiscent of any of these other places to find value.
The white sand disappears beneath an ebbing and flowing duvet of shimmering blue water; the air dances with the scents of pine and sea, with an intoxicating breath of wild flowers and herbs here and there. A Genoese tower and a lion-shaped outcrop are somewhere in the surrounding pink rocks overlooking the bay - see if you can spot them!
One needn't travel far to find paradisiacal settings on Corsica, which is why it so easily slots into our favourite luxury holiday destinations. The south alone has a plethora of beaches that this article has barely scraped the surface of. Explore Le Collectionist to discover our collection of luxury villas in Corsica.