Visit Cap Corse: Top 15 Things To Do and Must-See Attractions

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Things to Do in Cap Corse: The 15 Best Places to Visit

You’re going to Corsica and plan to visit the Cap Corse?

Great idea!

The Cap Corse, one of the wildest places in Corsica, will allow you to discover numerous beautiful viewpoints, typical villages (Erbalunga, Nonza and more!), or take beautiful walks such as the famous customs officers’ path.

In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared this guide of the 15 best things to do in Cap Corse, with all points of interest and must-see attractions as well the best beaches of the region.

In addition to this list of things to do and activities, I will also give you itineraries to visit the Cap Corse in 1 or 2 days as well as my selection of the best accommodations depending on your budget.

So, what are the best things to do in Cap Corse? Where to stay?

Visit Cap Corse: All Must-See attractions

1. Hiking in Cap Corse: the customs officers’ path

If you’re an hiking lover, then you should definitely discover the customs officers’ path (“Chemin des douaniers” in French).

This 19-kilometre long trail connects Macinaggio to Centuri, in the North of Cap Corse. Don’t worry about the distance: if you don’t feel like walking that much, the trail is divided into 2 sections.

The most interesting part of this trail starts from Macinaggio Beach, next to the port. It isn’t really difficult, except for the lack of shade! Count about 3h30 to reach Barcaggio. 

During your walk, you will discover several splendid beaches, including the renowned Cala Geneovese and Cala Francese. It’s clearly one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve done during my road trip in Corsica!

You’ll have 2 possibilities to get back to Macinaggio:

  • Walk back there. You should take the shortcut through the Sainte Marie chapel. It’s at least 1 hour shorter!
  • In Barcaggio, you can take a boat back to Macinaggio. It’s a great opportunity to admire the Cap Corse from the sea.

There is only one boat company offering this cruise, and you have to book your trip at least 24 hours in advance. You’ll find every information you need on their website.

You can also do the whole hike.

The other section of this trail connects Barcaggio to Centuri in around 4h45. The path is steeper than the first section and mainly overlooking the sea. It’s harder to find a beach to enjoy a swimming break!

Always remember that you’re on a protected natural site. Camping, bivouac and fires are strictly forbidden!

Voyage Tips - Advice

You can get a customs officers’ path map at Macinaggio tourist office, located on the port.

There, you will also find free car parks. It’s the most convenient place to leave your car during your hike!

Cap Corse
View of Cap Corse from the customs officers’path

2. Boat trip to Cap Corse

If you don’t feel like walking for hours, how about a boat trip to discover Cap Corse’s magnificent landscapes?

These cruises are starting from the port of Macinaggio:

  • 2 departures per day in May, June and September (morning and afternoon).
  • 3 to 4 departures every day in July and August.

During this 2-hour commented cruise, you will discover Cap Corse Marine Park.

It features several Genoese towers and the Finocchiarola archipelago, 3 islands listed as a Nature Reserve. They host France’s most important colony of Audoin’s gulls, a very rare Mediterranean species.

You will then reach the port of Barcaggio, Corsica’s northernmost point. During this cruise, you will also enjoy a short stop to take a dip, so don’t forget your swimsuit!

If you don’t want to walk on the customs officers’ path, this cruise is clearly the best way to visit Cap Corse’s Northeast coast, as there are no roads in this remote part of Corsica!

If you want more information about the rates and schedules, you can visit the cruise company’s official website.

Voyage Tips - Advice

You should book your boat trip to Cap Corse at least 1 day in advance.

 

visiter le cap Corse en bateau

3. Erbalunga

If you start from Bastia, Erbalunga is the first village you’ll discover during your road-trip in Cap Corse.

Located only a 20-minute drive from Bastia, it marks the beginning of Cap Corse.

You’ll discover a beautiful small village with colorful houses, built on a peninsula. Take a stroll in its narrow streets, visit the port and continue your walk to the ruins of a Genoese tower. This small typical village is entirely pedestrian!

If you’re visiting Erbalunga in August during your itinerary in Corsica, don’t miss its famous Music Festival. Entirely dedicated to French and Corsican singers, it has welcomed many famous artists from France or Quebec, such as Coeur de Pirate and Julien Doré.

Voyage Tips - Advice

In Erbalunga, you can have lunch in one of Corsica’s most renowned restaurants, “Le Pirate”.

Located on the port, this restaurants serves a very refined local cuisine. It’s a bit expensive, but you will certainly enjoy an excellent meal!

Erbalunga
Erbalunga

4. The view from Mattei Mill

You’re visiting Cap Corse, and want to admire a magnificent panorama? 

Then, you should definitely go to the Mattei Mill viewpoint! It’s located on the D80 road, only a 20-minute drive from Macinaggio.

There is a large car park at the foothill of the mill. Park there and discover an incredible view over all the western side of the Cap Corse!

From there, you will see the village of Centuri, the small Capense islet and the Agriates desert.

Mattei Mill (the only windmill still standing in Cap Corse) is only a 5-minute walk from the parking lot, and offers an even better viewpoint over the region.

Going to the Mattei Mill viewpoint is clearly one of the best things to do in Cap Corse!

Mattei Mill Viewpoint
The view from Mattei Mill

5. Centuri

Let’s continue this travel guide with the village of Centuri.

If you went to Mattei Mill viewpoint earlier, you’ve already seen it from above!

Centuri is often considered as one of the most beautiful villages in Haute-Corse, and is definitely one of the best places to visit in Cap Corse.

With Macinaggio, Centuri is one of the 2 main fishing villages in Cap Corse, and is the only one specialized in spiny lobsters! 

You should simply walk along the port to discover its restaurants serving great fresh fishes and seafood dishes.

Centuri cap Corse
The village of Centuri, in Cap Corse

6. Nonza

Nonza is clearly a must see on the west coast of Cap Corse.

This small fortified village overlooking the sea offers a unique panorama over the Cap Corse and the Gulf of Saint-Florent. Don’t miss the magnificent view from the Paoline Tower, built in 1760 to protect the village!

According to a local legend, a captain defended this tower alone against 1200 Frenchmen in 1768, using an ingenious system to shoot from several points of the tower at the same time.

This village is also renowned for its large black pebble beach. Many people and artists are using lighter pebbles to create messages or drawings you can see from the top of the road.

The beach is located below Nonza and is accessible by steep stairs located at the entrance of the village, or by car as there is a small road leading there.

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you want to enjoy a drink in Nonza, you should go to “La Sassa”, the most famous restaurant of the village.

Located next to the tower, La Sassa offers a trendy and romantic atmosphere. You’ll for sure love the view from the terrace!

Nonza Corsica
The village of Nonza, in Cap Corse

7. Patrimonio and the Cap Corse wine route

Patrimonio is a small village located at the southwestern end of Cap Corse, close to Saint-Florent and the Agriates desert.

This village is mostly renowned for its PDO Patrimono Wines. You can drive along the Wine Route to discover the region’s many vineyards: the good news is that most of them offer tastings!

The most renowned wine estates near Patrimonio are:

Patrimonio Corsica
Patrimonio, renowned for its excellent wines

8. Cap Corse’s best beaches

During your trip to Cap Corse, you will discover several nice beaches. Even if these beaches are not ranked among Corsica’s most beautiful, it’s more than enough for a relaxing day swimming and sunbathing!

The best places to take a dip on Cap Corse’s East coast are:

  • Pietracorbara, a large sandy beach located a 40-minute drive from Bastia
  • Cagnano, next to the village of Porticciolo
  • The pebble beach of Santa Severa
  • Meria beach, sheltered from the wind and featuring a Genoese Tower.
  • Tamarone beach, the first on the customs officers’ path, right after Macinaggio
  • The beaches of Cala Francese and Cala Genovese, also on the customs offiers’ path, close to the village of Tamarone
  • The sandy beach of Barcaggio, bordered by dunes

As the western side of Cap Corse is much steeper, there are fewer places to swim. You can still discover:

  • L’Anse d’Aliso, 9 km south of Centuri. You have to take a secondary road to reach it.
  • The Marine de Scalo, 1 km from Pino
  • The Marine of Giottani, 11 km away from Pino. Leave the D80 road and take a small secondary road to reach this small pebble beach.
  • The black pebble beach of Nonza
Cala Francese Beach
The Cala Francese Beach and its Genoese Tower, in Cap Corse

9. The other best villages to visit in Cap Corse

During your trip to Cap Corse, you will certainly go to Centuri, Nonza or Patrimonio. But there are a few other small villages worth seeing in Cap Corse!

  • Luri, a small hamlet with a beautiful church
  • Rogliano, a village was built on a hillside. There, you will discover the remains of a castle.
  • Morsiglia and its 9 Genoese towers
  • Pino, a pretty village surrounded by a pine and eucalyptus forest. You should also visit the Marine di Scalo and the Saint-Francis convent, located on the shore next to the village.
  • Canari: there, you can discover the Santa Maria Assunta Church, and the Costume Museum. Don’t miss its collection of traditional costumes from Corsica!
Marine di Scalo Pino
The Marine di Scalo – Pino

10. Cap Corse’s theme walks and marked trails

If you want to discover Cap Corse’s most remote and beautiful places, you should definitely go hiking.

There are many marked trails starting from each village in Cap Corse. These walks will allow you discover the natural and patrimonial treasures of northern Corsica, which remained authentic and preserved from mass tourism.

These walks are quite easy and do not exceed 2 hours. It’s clearly a great way to visit Cap Corse on foot!

Here are some of the best theme walks:

  • The “Sentier de l’eau Vive” (whitewater trail) in Pietracorbara
  • The abandoned village, starting from Meria
  • The “Bergeries face à la mer”, to discover beautiful sheepfolds and sea views, near Centuri
  • The “Chemin des Barbaresques” (Barbarian’s trail) in Ogliastru
  • The villages of the forest trail, starting from Ersa
  • The terrace and the “Marina”, in Nonza

There are 18 theme walks in Cap Corse. You will find detailed information about these walks on the Cap Corse’s municipalities official website.

In addition to these 18 walks and the customs officers’ path I already mentioned, there is another popular hike you can do during your itinerary in Cap Corse.

This hike goes to the 1307 meters high Monte Stello, Cap Corse’s highest peak. At the top, you will discover a breathtaking panoramic view of Cap Corse and most of Haute-Corse!

This trail starts from a car park near Pozzo, a small village located above Erbalunga. The round trip lasts about 6 hours.

Voyage Tips - Advice

The Seneca Tower is the best place to admire the sunset in Cap Corse.

Drive to Santa Lucia pass, park your car and walk for about 20 minutes to reach the tower.

Mont Stello
Monte Stello

11. The other outdoor activities in Cap Corse

During your holidays in Cap Corse, you’ll drive on amazing scenic roads, discover beautiful walking trails and relax at the beach. But there are many other great outdoor activities you can do:

plongee corse
Diving in Corsica

The 4 best things to do around the Cap Corse

You’ve already visited most of the Cap Corse and enjoyed its exceptional landscapes and heritage? It’s time to continue your itinerary in Corsica and visit the best points of interest around Cap Corse!

Here is my list of the best places to visit nearby:

12. Bastia

Bastia is the largest city near the Cap Corse.

The city has an international airport and a port and you can get there by plane or by ferry boat from Nice, Toulon, Marseille and even Italy.

Bastia is clearly a great starting point for an itinerary in the North of Corsica!

During your visit of Bastia, you will see:

  • St. Nicholas Square and its many restaurants offering a nice view over the port
  • Napoleon Street: walk on this pedestrian street and discover 2 small oratories
  • The church of St. John the Baptist, Corsica’s largest church!
  • The Old Port
  • The citadel of Bastia
  • Bastia History Museum, located in the Governors’ Palace

If you want more information about Bastia, you can read my article: The 17 best things to do in Bastia. 

Bastia
Bastia

13. Saint Florent

Saint Florent is another place you should visit during your itinerary in Cap Corse and the Northern Corsica.

From the village of Patrimonio, drive for only 10 minutes to discover this small town and its magnificent gulf, often ranked among the most beautiful in the Mediterranean! 

Saint Florent, Corsica’s second largest marina, is often compared to Saint-Tropez as many tourists and a few french and international stars are spending their summer holidays there!

During your visit, you can take a stroll on the port, discover the city’s narrow streets and walk up to the citadel to enjoy the beautiful view.

Saint Florent is also the main departure point for the Agriates Desert cruises (I will give you more info just below).

You want to learn more about the best things to do in Saint Florent? Have a look at my article: Visit Saint-Florent: the definitive guide.

Saint-Florent
Saint-Florent

14. Agriates Desert

If you’re looking for the most beautiful beaches around Cap Corse, you’re in the right place!

The beaches of the Agriates desert are often ranked among Corsica’s most beautiful.

Take a boat from Saint Florent to reach the 2 splendid beaches of Saleccia and Lotu in less than 30 minutes. With their turquoise waters and fine sand, these 2 beaches are clearly heaven on earth!

For more information about Agriates Desert, you can read my detailed article : Visit the Agriates Desert: the definitive guide.

Agriates Desert
Agriates Desert

15. The Parc de Saleccia botanical gardens

If you’re on a family trip to Cap Corse, you should definitely visit the Parc de Saleccia botanical gardens.

This beautiful 7-hectare garden is located on the road between Saint Florent and L’Île Rousse.

During your visit to this magnificent gardens, you will discover the typical Corsican and Mediterranean vegetation. The park is really well-maintained and is labelled as a “Remarkable garden”.

You will also find a playground for children, a bird observatory and a small pedagogic farm in the park.

The Parc de Saleccia is open every day from April to October.

You can have more information about the rates and schedules on the official website.

Parc de Saleccia Botanical Gardens
The Parc de Saleccia Botanical Gardens

How many days to visit Cap Corse?

If you want to do a complete tour of Cap Corse, the best is to spend 2 days there.

You’ll discover the East Coast on your 1st day, and the West Coast during the second day!

Here are the best itineraries to visit Cap Corse in 1 or 2 days:

1 day in Cap Corse

It’s possible to do a complete tour of Cap Corse in 1 day.

From Bastia, drive along the East Coast to reach Macinaggio or Barcaggio, and then drive down the west coast to Saint-Florent.

In my opinion, it’s not the best way to visit Cap Corse, as you’re going to spend your whole day in the car, and you won’t have time to properly enjoy Cap Corse’s beautiful landscapes and typical villages!

If you only have one day to visit Cap Corse, you should rather visit only one of its coasts:

  • If you’re an hiking lover, you should visit the Northeastern coast of Cap Corse, and do the customs officers’ path I’m talking about at the beginning of this article (point 1)
  • Visit the west coast of the Cap Corse if you prefer driving and make short stops in the villages and at the viewpoints.
bay cap corse
Cap Corse’s beautiful landscapes

2 days in Cap Corse

If you plan to spend 2 days in Cap Corse, here is the best itinerary to make the most of your stay:

Day 1:

  • From Bastia, drive north along the East Coast,
  • Stop in Erbalunga for a souvenir photo,
  • Get back in your car and go to Macinaggio,
  • From Macinaggio, hike on the customs officer’s path and reach Barcaggio,
  • If you don’t feel like walking, you an do a boat tour between these 2 villages!
  • Spend the night in Macinaggio. (You will find a list of the best accommodations below!)

Day 2:

  • From Marcinaggio, drive to the Mattei Mill viewpoint,
  • Then head to Centuri,
  • Drive on Cap Corse’s scenic roads to discover its many typical villages. You can make a longer stop to do one of the short hikes starting from these villages.
  • Go to Nonza, and discover its black pebble beach,
  • Enjoy a wine tasting in Patrimonio,
  • Spend the night in Saint-Florent.

Voyage Tips - Advice

You plan to visit more places in Corsica in addition to the Cap Corse?

Excellent idea!

In that case, you should also read my itinerary to visit Northern Corsica in 7 days.

In addition to these 2 days in Cap Corse, you will discover the Agriates Desert, Calvi, Scandola nature reserve and the Calanques de Piana.

In this detailed day by day itinerary, I will tell you everything you need to know about the best places to visit and give you my list of the best accomodations in each town.

You can click on this link to read my article: Visit Northern Corsica in 7 days.

And if you’re staying even longer in Corsica, you can have a look at my 2 weeks itinerary:

Where to stay in Cap Corse

Best hotels on the east coast:

If you want to visit the east coast of Cap Corse, you should opt for an accommodation near Macinaggio. From there, you can easily do the customs officers’ path hike.

Here is my selection of the best accommodations in Macinaggio:

  • Marina D’oro: Located on the port of Macinaggio, 100 meters from the beach. This hotel offers classic doubles room starting from 70€, with breakfast available at an extra 7.50€. Strong points: the terrace with a jacuzzi, the location close to restaurants and shops. It’s one of the cheapest hotels in Macinnagio, an excellent choice for a budget stay!
  • Adonis Macinaggio: Located in front of the port. The studios or apartments with a small kitchen and a balcony overlooking the garden or the sea are starting from 75€ per night. Strong points: the recently renovated flats, the cleanliness, the free private parking.
  • Stella Marina: Located 100 meters from the port. You’ll love the recently renovated modern and bright double rooms with a large terrace. The prices starts at 78€ per night, and the breakfast costs 9.50€. What I loved: the swimming pool, the quietness, the private parking, the warm welcoming staff. A great choice in Macinaggio for its exceptional value for money!
  • Hotel U Ricordu: Located 150 meters away from the port. The comfortable and modern double rooms are starting from 80€, breakfast available for 14€. What I loved: the 2 heated outdoor swimming pools, the jacuzzi, the comfortable beds, the quietness.
  • The Tomino: This 4 stars hotel is located on Macinaggio’s heights. You will love its very comfortable and spacious suites with a private terrace and a sea view starting from 345€, breakfast at 19€. What I loved: the infinity pool, the exceptional view of the bay, the restaurant, the quiet and relaxing environment. It’s my recommendation for a luxury stay in Cap Corse!

Best hotels on the west coast:

If you’re visiting the west coast of Cap Corse, you should stay in Saint Florent, located south of the cape. You won’t find many hotels in Cap Corse’s other small villages!

  • Adonis Saint-Florent: Located 600 meters from the center of Saint Florent. The air-conditioned studios and apartments with a small kitchen and a balcony are starting from 70€, breakfast available for 9.50€. Strong points: the swimming pool, the cleanliness, the great value for money. It’s my recommandation for a budget stay in Saint Florent !
  • Hotel Tettola: Located 1.5 km from the port of Saint-Florent. This hotel offers double rooms starting from 90€ per night. Strong points: the swimming pool, the perfect location in front of the sea and close to the beach, the warm welcoming staff.
  • U Palazzu Serenu: This very nice and charming hotel is located in Oletta, only a 10-minute drive from Saint-Florent. This hotel is located inside a palace of the 17th century, overlooking the gulf and the Agriates desert. It offers splendid and spacious rooms, decorated with original works of art. As the hotel has only 6 rooms and 2 suites, it’s the guarantee to enjoy an intimate and quiet stay. You should book your rooms as soon as possible, to make sure it isn’t fully booked! The prices starts at 180€ per night in winter and 340€ in summer, breakfast included. What I loved: the large outdoor swimming pool, the magnificent view (even more at sunset), the warm welcoming staff, the quietness. It’s my recommendation for a luxury stay in Saint Florent!
U Palazzu Serenu - Oletta
U Palazzu Serenu – Oletta

Rent a car in Cap Corse

As there are no buses or public transport in Cap Corse, you’ll need a car to discover its magnificent landscapes and typical villages.

If you arrive in Bastia with your own car by the ferry boat, you can start your itinerary in Cap Corse right out of the boat!

Otherwise, you will have to rent a car to visit Cap Corse.

Personnaly, I always use Rentalcars.com website: it’s very convenient, as it allows you to compare prices between all the rental companies. You just have to choose the cheapest, or the one with the best customer’s reviews! 

If you don’t have an insurance included with your credit card, you can also opt for their “Full Protection Insurance”, to get fully refunded in case of accident or theft. You won’t need to get a much more expensive insurance from the rental company.

The good news is that this insurance is very effective: they have already refunded me more than 1300 euros to date!

And if you already know you travel dates, you should book your car as soon as possible to get the best price. Anyway, you can modify or cancel your booking for free, so what are you waiting for?😉

Click the button below to check rental cars prices for your trip to Corsica now:

Cap Corse
The customs officers’ path in Cap Corse

How to get to Cap Corse?

If you want to start your itinerary in Corsica with a road-trip to Cap Corse, you should arrive in Bastia.

Corsica’s second largest city is located only a 1-hour drive from Macinaggio, for example.

You’ll have 2 options to reach Bastia: by plane, or with the ferries from Nice, Marseille, Toulon or Italy.

Tourist map of Cap Corse

I have created for you a tourist map of Cap Corse and its surroundings, listing all the must see attractions and points of interest I have talked about in this article. You can display the map legend by clicking on the top left button, the one with a small arrow on it.

And you, what do you plan to see during your trip to Cap Corse?

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments section below. I will be glad to help you plan your trip to Corsica!

You’re traveling to Corsica? These articles will help you !

Discover all my articles about Corsica: All my articles to help you plan your trip to Corsica are listed there.

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visit Cap Corse
visit Cap Corse: the 15 best points of interest
Vincent

Creator of the Voyage Tips blog, travel and photography lover. I give you all my best tips to plan your next trip.

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