Underrated Escapes: Why Corsica is the Hidden Gem of France

Underrated Escapes: Why Corsica is the Hidden Gem of France

Although it has been part of France for over 200 years, the Mediterranean island of Corsica has a very different feel from the mainland. One of the larger islands in the Mediterranean Sea, Corsica has been shaped both by its incredibly varied geography and by its tumultuous history, at some times part of Italy, part of France, and even (rarely) its own state. This history has defined the culture, language, music and cuisine of the islanders. Although tourism plays a large role in the Corsican economy, the island is often passed over for larger metropolitan destinations in Europe such as Rome, Naples and Paris. Unfortunately, that means that many, many people are missing out on an exhilarating trip; Corsica is a delightful Mediterranean gem with much to offer just about any tourist. From beaches to agro-tourism, Corsica has it all. Read on to discover 9 things that make Corsica an underrated escape.

Diverse Nature

In many destinations, you’ll have to travel far and wide if you expect to see a variety of different landscapes. If you want this same diversity without all the transit, schedule a stop in Corsica. This Mediterranean island is a study in variation, cramming mountains, plains, beautiful beaches and sunny seashores into 3,300 square miles. Corsica has more than 200 beaches along its 600-plus miles of coastline, but it is also the most mountainous island in the Mediterranean. Monte Cinto towers almost 9,000 feet above sea level, making it the highest of 21 Corsican peaks, all of which measure at least 6,600 feet.

About 20 percent of the island is forest and the Corsicans intend to keep it that way: almost half of the island is dedicated as a nature preserve, the Parc Naturel Regional de Corse. With most of its 1,450 square miles located in the interior of the island, the park serves as a home for many of the flora and fauna native to Corsica, such as the Corsican red deer. It also contains the Golfe de Porto and the Scandola Nature Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is accessible only by boat.

The cascades Corsica France

Mediterranean Climate

Corsica’s varied geography means that it has wildly variant climates, depending on where you are on the island. Corsica can be divided into 3 ecological zones: the coastal zone, the montane zone, and the high alpine zone. The alpine zone is inhospitable, with few animals and plants living above the treeline in the mountainous areas of the island. This zone is completely uninhabited by humans. Further down the slopes is the more temperate montane zone. The montane zone is cooler and wetter than the coastal zone, and is home to most of the island’s dense forests. Vegetation in this area is more typical of Northern Europe than of the Mediterranean. The coastal zone exhibits a typical Mediterranean climate: hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters.

Average temperatures in Bastia, one of the island’s largest centers, reach around 30 degrees Celsius in July and August, while January and February tend to average around 13 or 14 degrees. Corsica receives relatively little rain and enjoys almost 3,000 hours of sunshine every year. That means that, no matter when you want to travel or what you want to do on your vacation, the Corsican weather is likely to cooperate with you.

picturesque landscape Corsica France
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