France’s largest Island, Corsica

Corsica is an Island in the Mediterranean Sea, counted as one of the 18 regions of France. It is the 4th largest Island in the Mediterranean and it is certainly the most mountainous one. It has an area of 8,680 square kms and is populated by around 330,000 people.

The Island is situated south east of the French mainland and is just north of the Italian Island of Sardinia. In fact, the island retains many Italian cultural elements and it has extra power to self-govern itself on certain issues.

The Island is often described as a granite mountain emerging out of the sea. However, it is home to over 200 beaches and the inland natural environment has proved to be a major attraction to the Islands visitors.

The Napoleon Bonaparte Airport at Ajaccio

People arrive by a variety of ways. There are four airports on the Island at Ajaccio, Bastia, Calvi and Figari. However, tourists also arrive by sea as there are a number of ports with the same towns having seaports. The services include car ferries arriving from many French and Italian cities.

Tourists have a number of different activities on the Island. The huge numbers of beaches give access to some of the cleanest and warmest waters in the Mediterranean. The usual activities are available to visitors with many water sports being on offer.

There are 360 different settlements on the Island and due to the mountains of the interior, many of these are found on the coast. Tourists are given ample opportunities to charter the fishing vessels and take advantage of the rich abundance of fish found just off shore.

Corsica has a long history and is has managed to retain much of its culture over the years. One of the most popular museums on the Island is the Bonaparte House National Museum which is found in Ajaccio. It is the house where Napoleon Bonaparte was born in 1769 and he lived there in his early years.

The house is now used as a museum, celebrating both the history of the family as well as the events that have shaped the Island. Ajaccio is the capital city and has almost 90,000 inhabitants. The city’s lay out is based around the port area and many of the population are employed in the service sector and the tourism industry.

The Corsican Railway circumnavigating the Island

The island has a narrow-gauge railway that circumnavigates the island, joining the major population areas. The southern-most populated area is Porto Vecchio which is situated on former marshlands. The area used to be mosquito infested but the draining of the region has resulted in the Corsicans being able to make the most of the deep water port.

One of its most popular attractions is its beach, Palombaggia Beach, which is found 3kms to the south-east of the city. In the summer the population rises from 11,000 to as high as 50,000 because Italian tourists flock into the city.

The close Italian influence is seen in the Island’s cuisine, with many dishes descending from neighboring Sardinia. However, there is a real local feel to many products that are produced on the Island. Many cheeses are created from both cow, sheep and goat’s milk. The local wines are of a high quality and the local meats are often naturally flavored by the animals feeding off the local herbs. Corsica offers a unique vacation that other areas on the mainland cannot offer.

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