The ancient Greeks, well acquainted with the attractions of the Mediterranean, referred to Corsica as the Isle Kalliste: The Most Beautiful, and this sobriquet led to Corsica’s more modern moniker, L’Ile de Beaute: The Isle of Beauty.
Corsica stands as the Mediterranean’s fourth largest island, and its turquoise waters encompass a largely untouched wilderness of secluded islets, towering red rock spires and jagged cliffs, and lush green forests. It is little wonder that the play of colors and light on this prismatic island caught the artistic eye of Henri Matisse.
In part, Corsica’s intrigue lies in its haunting history. Ancient Greeks and Romans, Italians and the French have colonized the island, and their entwined cultures can be seen across the island’s historical landmarks. Today, Corsica still embodies its own mythology and identity separate from metropolitan France. History lines the valleys and stone pathways in Corsica; its streets have been walked by Victor Hugo and saw the birth of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Though technically a part of France, Corsica and its people have an attitude and culture uniquely their own. They are proud to point out that there is no Starbucks or McDonald’s to be found on the island, allowing the country to remain purebred Corsican through and through. Cheeses, honey, meats, and wines are all produced using local ingredients, including the country’s iconic chestnuts. Interestingly, the relatively small island boasts three climate zones from sea to summit. This not only allows the growing of various crops for food and wine, but also serves as an adventure enthusiast’s playground. Home to the renowned GR20 hiking trail and UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Reserve Naturelle de Scandola, Corsica is a bucket list destination for hikers and paddlers alike.