If you can tear yourself away from the enticing beaches near Porto-Vecchio, you’ll be spoilt for places to visit near the town. Southern Corsica is not simply a beach destination and there are other options for holidaymakers in the nearby area. These include the captivating mountains which offer countless different outdoor activities and are just half an hour’s drive inland.
One of the many attractions of Porto-Vecchio is its proximity to the glorious Alta Rocca mountainous region of Corsica which is one of the best places to visit near Porto-Vecchio. In just a short drive, the hustle and bustle of the picture-perfect coastal resorts can be exchanged for breathtaking tranquil mountain scenery and sweeping panoramas, and a real sense of being off the beaten track. There are opportunities for hiking, rock climbing, fishing, horse riding, quad biking, taking a dip in crystal clear rock pools or picnicking by a mountain river.
The Ospedale Forest and Lake are great places for hiking or walking amongst the pines and granite boulders. Col de Bavella provides an excellent hiking or climbing base, and affords some of the best views of the towering, jagged granite Aiguilles de Bavella (Bavella Needles). Zonza is a fine example of the many quaint mountain villages in Alta Rocca.
Another memorable day trip is to the medieval citadel and harbour of Bonifacio right on the southern tip of Corsica, half an hour’s drive south from Porto-Vecchio (or a short boat trip away). Fascinating history, dramatic scenery and excellent bars and restaurants are all on offer here.
Inland, a basic understanding of French language or a French phrase book are useful in Corsica, as English is not as widely spoken as on mainland France.
The medieval town of Bonifacio, perched on the southern-most tip of the island, is Corsica’s most visually dramatic town and port. One of the top places to visit near Porto-Vecchio and indeed the whole of the island.
Steeped in history, the fortified labyrinthine Old Town (citadel) literally clings to the limestone cliff face, creating a unique visual feast that is best appreciated from the sea or along the nearby coastal path.
Chic boutiques, bars, restaurants and a harbour teaming with luxury yachts all add to the allure of this highly fashionable, cosmopolitan town.
The L’Ospedale Massif is a great destination if you fancy escaping the heat of the coast, then a trip up into the nearby L’Ospedale Massif (with its great range of outdoor pursuits) makes a refreshing change.
Just over 20 km, or half an hour, from Porto-Vecchio lies the enchanting L’Ospedale Forest, a walker’s paradise with excellent hiking for all abilities.
There are many clearly marked paths in this vast forest, set amongst laricio pines interspersed with huge granite boulders.
Zonza is a charming small mountain town (altitude 800 m), set against the magnificent backdrop of the Aiguilles de Bavella (Bavella Needles).
It is an excellent base for walks in the surrounding area, or just for stopping at for lunch en route to the Col de Bavella. Some of its buildings date from the 17th century.
The quaint granite town has no shortage of wonderful restaurants serving mouthwatering local Corsican produce.
The Col de Bavella (Pass of Bavella) is a great place to appreciate the stunning scenery of the Alta Rocca mountains and is a hive of outdoor pursuit activities.
Although the areas immediately around the main car-park do get very crowded in summer, it is not too long before you can have the beautiful wilderness to yourself as you set off on your chosen walk.
There are numerous walks from the Col de Bavella, catering for all levels of difficulty. A small “Information Point” at the main car park offers guidance on the options available.