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The southern side of the island of Beauty offers its share of heavenly beaches. I therefore present to you my personal top 10 of the most beautiful beaches of South Corsica, with a particular attention given to the Côte des Nacres. A coast which does not take its name from the whiteness of its rocks, but from a shell, the nacre, which is in fact… red! The coast extends over several villages from Sari-Solenzara to Conca, and has the particularity of marrying land and sea. It’s a good thing, we’ll discover the best hikes to do in this region in another article… But for now, let’s relax to the sound of the rolling waves.
Côte des Nacres
The beach of Canella
We start with the crème de la crème, considered as one of the most beautiful beaches of Corsica, no less, I named the beach of Canella. The fine sand and turquoise sea are yours, provided you arrive early in the morning (as the two small car parks along the road fill up quickly with eager holidaymakers). The beach is nestled in a small cove, which allows it to remain sheltered from the wind, which sometimes blows hard on the nearby beaches of Porto-Vecchio, and makes the posidonia twirl. Posi-what? What looks like dry sepia-coloured algae are in fact leaves, which come from marine plants that grow in the sea and fall in the autumn, like trees. They are called “benches” because they offer a comfortable repose for the weary walker and are supposed to be a sign of good water quality.
The beach of Solenzara
The major advantage of this beach is that it is the most accessible of our list, and one of the quietest. Indeed, it is not far from the free parking at the port but if you don’t have a car, you can also walk directly there from the town. Go to the end of the marina and take the small steps on your right. Here you will find a wide stretch of sandy beach with the mountains at the horizon. Here time passes slowly to the rhythm of the paddles gliding along the water.
This beach is less frequented than its neighbours. Its sand is somewhat coarser (tiny pebbles, let’s say) but you’ll find the same beautifully turquoise water in which the odd little boat comes to anchor. There are several straw huts (paillotes), including the very nice restaurant La Siesta, where you can sip cocktails with your toes in the water. If it’s too windy, you can enjoy the swimming pool at the U Veniqui restaurant and, while you’re at it, their wood-fired grills and pizzas, washed down with a Pietra beer, naturally.
The beaches of Fautea and Lavu Santu
The beach takes its name from the Tower of Fautea, a Genoese tower, which overlooks it. The Corsican coastline is dotted with such towers, which have become one of the symbols of the island. Discover also the Lavu Santu Beach, wild and almost deserted, since it is only accessible by the customs path from the Fautea beach, about ten minutes on foot. It is also known as the Beach of the Americans, because it has hosted NATO manoeuvres in the past.
The Beach of Pinarello
If most Genoese towers are round, there are two square ones to discover in South Corsica! And the good news is that you can admire one of them in front of Pinarello beach, while sipping a drink from the terrace of the Vig Vog for example, or closer if you take the hiking trail, but this will be the subject of another article, because for the moment, we are enjoying the peaceful charm of the beaches of South Corsica.
The beach of Santa Giulia
To the south of the gulf of Porto-Vecchio you will find the bay of Santa Giulia. To the north, it comprises the small beach of Petraggione and further south of the beach of Santa Giulia, one of the most famous in Southern Corsica. It’s easy to see why: a lagoon of turquoise water bathing at the foot of a mountain on miles of fine white sand… On this chic beach, where tanned and muscular bodies recline, you’ll also find most water sports, as well as trendy bars and restaurants.
The beaches of Palombaggia and Tamarriciu
You may already know the most photographed beach in the area, Palombaggia. It is said that with its turquoise water and fine blond sand contrasting with the red rocks, it transports us straight to the Bahamas. But a beach not far away, which takes its name from the African Tamarisk, offers a compelling alternative: the beach of Tamarriciu. After 5 minutes on the path, the view is breathtaking: a long stretch of fine sand bordered by pine trees, with shallow turquoise water, ideal for families.
The beach of Saint Cyprien
You will also find it under its Corsican name San Cipriano or Ciprianu. The bay of Saint Cyprien, a stone’s throw from Porto-Vecchio, bordered by the Etang d’Arasu, is a stretch of fine sandy beach in the shape of a crescent. In the distance, a Genoese tower, of course. As you pass the canal lined with colourful houses, you may observe overtones of Venice Beach, the seaside district of Los Angeles. This beach is a paradise for water sports: skiing, mono, wakeboarding, pedal paddling, or even towed buoys. You may be surprised to find many hunched over people poking around in the sand. They are looking for the eyes of Saint Lucia, a small shell rolled by the sea which is the Corsican good luck charm to ward off the “evil eye”. In reality, it is only the lid of a shell, “the rough turgot”. This name comes from a legend of the 4th century which tells the story of a young girl of the nobility of Syracuse who obtained the miraculous cure of her mother by praying to the Virgin. In order not to be diverted from her faith and to keep her suitors away, she gouged out her eyes and threw them into the sea. To thank her for her devotion, the Virgin Mary restored her sight and gave her even more beautiful and luminous eyes…
As a bonus,
Located not in Southern Corsica, but in Haute-Corse, it is characterised by its wildness, with its sea-bleached pieces of wood sunning on the golden sand. Stop by the restaurant Le Bounty, to enjoy fresh oysters or mussels with curry and coconut, picked fresh from the nearby Etang de Diane.
Now that you’ve had your fill of beaches, it’s time to discover some inland beauty spots. Put on your walking shoes and discover the paths and trails in the next article.
* Music: Mister Bojangles, Nina Simone *
Good to know
Find the complete map of all the beaches here.