Visit Porto, in Corsica: Top 12 Things To Do and Must-See Attractions

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Things to Do in Porto, Corsica: The 12 Best Places to Visit

You’re going to Porto, Corsica and you’re looking for the best places to visit?

You’re at the right place!

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Gulf of Porto features 2 of the most beautiful coastal area of Corsica: Scandola Nature Reserve and the Calanques de Piana. There are however a lot more places to visit in the surroundings!

In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared this guide of the 12 best things to do in Porto Ota, with all points of interest and must-see attractions as well the best beaches around.

In addition to this list of things to do and activities, I will also give you itineraries to visit Porto and its surroundings 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 Porto? Where to stay?

Visit Porto (Corsica): All Must-See attractions

1. The village of Porto Ota

The Marina of Porto Ota is a small seaside resort welcoming many tourists every year during summer.

The town is best known as the starting point of the boat trips to Scandola Nature Reserve and the Calanques de Piana.

In Porto Ota, you will find many hotels, restaurants and shops, as well as an Old Genoese Tower. It’s the village only historical building! You can climb to the top for 2.50€, and enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of the entire gulf.

In Porto, there is a large beach if you want to go swimming. Even if this beach isn’t among the most beautiful you’ll discover during your road trip in Corsica, it’s more than enough to take a refreshing dip!

Voyage Tips - Advice

There are only paid parking spaces on the road down to the marina.

The only free parking lot is located close to the beach, only 100 metres away from the cruises’ starting point.

Porto Corsica
The small seaside resort of Porto, in Corsica

2. The Calanques de Piana

You should definitely go the Calanques de Piana during your stay in Porto. It’s clearly one of the best places to visit during your itinerary in Corsica!

This natural site listed as a UNESCO World Heritage offers a magnificent scenery. There, you’ll discover sublime red cliffs, rocks sculpted by erosion and turquoise waters.

You’ll have different options to visit the Calanques de Piana:

  • By car: drive along the D80 road, connecting Porto to the village of Piana
  • On foot, to discover the Calanques’ many beautiful walking trails.

And if you want to discover the Calanques de Piana from the sea, without having to drive, you can opt for a 1h30 boat trip from Porto. In my opinion, this cruise is the best way to discover the Calanque’s magnificent landscapes!

These cruises are Porto’s must-see attraction and must be booked as early as possible. To book your cruise, you simply have to click on the button below:

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you plan to visit the Calanques de Piana, you should have a look at my detailed article: How to visit the Calanques de Piana?

You’ll find every information you need to visit the coves on foot, by car or by boat from Porto.

Boat-trip Calanques de Piana
Boat-trip to the Calanques de Piana

3. Scandola Nature Reserve

Scandola Nature Reserve is another beautiful place you shouldn’t miss during your holidays in Porto.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the reserve is also part of the Regional Natural Park of Corsica.

This splendid natural site hosts an incredible marine and terrestrial wildlife. If you’re lucky, you’ll even have a chance to discover its most emblematic bird, the osprey.

As it’s strictly forbidden to hike or drive in the reserve, the only way to get there is to do a boat-trip from Porto.

During this 3-hour cruise, you’ll admire beautiful volcanic landscapes with many caves, basalt columns and tafoni. Don’t forget to book your cruise in advance!

You’ll have the choice between 2 types of boats:

  • A hybrid boat: 

  • A semi-rigid boat:

Voyage Tips - Advice

You can have more information about Scandola Nature Reserve in my article: Scandola Nature Reserve: the definitive guide.

Réserve de Scandola Corse
Boat tour in Scandola Reserve

4. Girolata

If you’re doing a boat-trip to Scandola Nature Reserve, you’ll also have the opportunity to discover Girolata.

This former fishing village has only 20 year-round inhabitants, as it can only be reached by boat or on foot! There are no roads and you can’t get there by car.

Take a short stroll in the village’s narrows alleys to enjoy its quiet atmosphere and contemplate the view. There are also a few bars and restaurants, as many cruises are stopping in Girolata for lunch time. The village now only rely on tourism.

If you want to walk to Girolata, the 7-km long walk takes about 1h45 from the Col de la Croix. This trail is nicknamed the “Postman’s Path”, as the village’s former postman, Guy Ceccaldi, was doing this hike every day to deliver mail to the inhabitants.

He was quite famous localy and even had a few interviews on television and in newspapers!

During your visit to Girolata, you can also take a short walk on the old mule track. You’ll discover the wild beach of Tuara and admire beautiful views of the Gulf of Porto and the village. 

Girolata Corsica
Girolata – Corsica

5. Do a boat trip to Piana, Scandola and Girolata

Boat trips are clearly among Porto Ota’s must-see attractions. It’s the easiest way to discover the Gulf and its incredible landscapes.

I’ve already mentioned the boat trips to the Calanques de Piana, or Scandola Nature Reserve. But you can also opt for a combined cruise to visit Piana, Scandola and Girolata on the same day!

This excursion takes between 4 and 5 hours, and combines the 2 boat trips I described above. It’s the best choice to discover the most beautiful natural sites in Porto’s surroundings.

You can choose between an hybrid boat, or a semi-rigid boat:

  • Click the button below to book a hybrid boat trip:

Choose the number of participants, the date, and select the 2nd option: Scandola, Girolata and Calanche de Piana Boat Cruise.

  • And if you want to do this cruise in a semi-rigid boat, click there:

This boat trip to the Calanques de Piana, Scandola Nature Reserve and Girolata is the clearly the best thing to do in Porto, and without any doubt one of the most beautiful excursions you’ll do during your itinerary in Corsica!

Visit Scandola Calanques Piana
Boat trip to Scandola, Calanques de Piana and Girolata

6. Diving in Porto

Now that you’ve enjoyed the magnificent landscapes of Porto and its surroundings, how about discovering Corsica’s other treasures, located underwater?

If you’re spending a few days in Porto, you should definitely go diving.

You’ll dive in the Gulf of Porto, right next to Scandola Nature Reserve. The seabeds are among Corsica’s most beautiful, and you’ll discover an amazing wildlife. Open your eyes and try to spot groupers, moray eels or crayfish shoals!

And if you’re an experienced diver, you can even dive down to 20 meters and discover the remains of an old coal mine.

You’ll find every information you need to organize your diving excursion in Porto Ota on this website.

Plongée Scandola
Diving in Scandola with the diving center of Porto

The 6 best things to do around Porto

Now that you’ve visited Porto, the Calanques de Piana and Scandola Nature Reserve, you should take some time to discover Porto’s surroundings.

Here is the list of the 6 best things to do around Porto.

7. Spelunca Gorge

If you’re an hiking lover, you should really do the Spelunca Gorge Trail.

This path runs along the Gorge and connects the villages of Evisa and Ota. Count about 2 hours to reach Ota from Evisa, as you’ll walk down the gorge, and nearly 3 hours to walk back up, as the trail is quite steep.

And if you don’t feel like walking that much, or if you’re on a family holiday in Corsica, you can also opt for a much easier trail.

From the bridge of Ota, walk along the river for 30 minutes to reach the beautiful old stone bridge of Zaglia, listed as a historical monument.

This walk is quite easy, and you can take a refreshing dip in the river once you’re at the bridge!

Spelunca Gorge
Spelunca Gorge

8. The forest of Aïtone

The forest of Aïtone is another great place to visit in Porto’s surroundings.

This 40-hectare forest is renowned for its huge hundred-year old pine trees. In this shady forest, you can enjoy several beautiful short walks under the trees.

You can also opt for a refreshing swim in the river and its beautiful natural pools, accessible in less than 10 minutes on foot!

The forest of Aitone is also the perfect place to enjoy a family picnic during your holidays in Porto.

Forest of Aïtone Corsica
The Forest of Aïtone, in Corsica

9. The most beautiful beaches around Porto, in Corsica

During your holidays in Porto, you will certainly spend some time at the beach of Porto, as it’s the closest to the city.

If you want to go a little further, you can discover several other nice beaches to go swimming around Porto:

  • Ficajola beach, a small pebble beach located in the Calanques de Piana.
  • Arone beach, a large and very pretty sandy beach located after Capo Rosso, 15 km away from Porto.
  • Chiuni beach, a beautiful long beach. There, you can rent deckchairs and umbrellas.
  • Peru beach, a large sandy beach with several bars and a beach-volley court. You can also rent deckchairs.
  • Menasina beach, a wild and remote beach.
  • Capizollu beach, another quiet beach.
Arone Beach Corsica
Arone Beach, in Corsica

10. Calvi

Calvi is a small town located 1h50 North of Porto by car.

In the city, you can take a stroll in the Citadel, discover the old town’s paved streets, and have lunch in one of the many restaurants located on the port! 

Calvi is also renowned for its very large sandy beach. It’s a great place to spend a relaxing afternoon, or to enjoy many nautical activities, such as stand up paddle, kayak or windsurf.

And if you want to discover the city’s surroundings, you can opt for a hike at the Revellata peninsula or in the forest of Bonifatu.

To learn more about the best things to do in Calvi, you should read my detailed article: The 15 best things to do in Calvi.

Calvi
Calvi

11. Ajaccio

From Porto, drive South for 2 hours to reach the city of Ajaccio.

Here is the list of the best places to visit in Ajaccio:

  • The Fesch Museum and its beautiful collection of Italian paintings
  • The Ajaccio market: it takes place every morning on Foch square
  • The National Museum of the Bonaparte Residence, in Napoleon’s birth house
  • The Ajaccio Cathedral where Napoleon was baptized
  • Bonaparte’s cave and the Place d’Austerlitz
  • Parata Point
  • The Sanguinaires Islands

You’ll find every information you need to visit Ajaccio in my article: Visit Ajaccio: the definitive guide.

Voyage Tips - Advice

Between Porto and Ajaccio, you can also visit the small town of Cargese. This village is famous for its Byzantine and Latin churches facing each other!

Ajaccio Sanguinaires Islands
Parata Point and the Sanguinaires Islands, near Ajaccio

12. Corte

It’s now time to finish this list of the 12 best things to do in Porto and its surroundings with the city of Corte, located in the heart of the island.

During your visit, you will discover the only inland citadel in Corsica. You can also visit the “Musée de la Corse”, also called the Regional Anthropology Museum. This museum’s large collection is dedicated to the island’s history.

And if you’re an hiking lover, you should definitely go to the Restonica Gorge during your stay in Corte. Located in the city’s surroundings, it’s one of Corsica’s most famous hikes!

From the Bergerie de Grotelle (Grotelle’s sheepfold), you can reach the beautiful lakes of Melo (3 hour round trip) and Capitello (4:30 round trip).

If you want more information about Corte, you can read my article: The 20 best things to do in Corte.

Corte
Corte

How many days to visit Porto, in Corsica?

If you want to discover Porto, Scandola Nature Reserve, the Calanques de Piana and hike in the surroundings, you should stay at least 2 days there.

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

1 day in Porto, Corsica

You only have one day to visit Porto, in Corsica? Then, you should really do a boat-trip to discover the Calanques de Piana, Scandola Nature Reserve and Girolata. It’s simply the best things to do in Porto!

You’ll have the choice between a hybrid boat or a semi-rigid boat:

2 days in Porto, Corsica

If you’re staying in Porto for 2 days, you should do the Scandola and Piana cruise on your first day.

The next day, you can go to Spelunca Gorge for a hike (you can choose between the long or short version), and spend the rest of your day in the forest of Aïtone.

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you plan to continue your trip to Corsica after your stay in Porto,you should read my detailed itineraries to visit Corsica:

Where to stay in Porto, Corsica

  • Hotel and Residence Cala di sole: Located 1.2 km away from the port of Porto. The double rooms with balcony are starting from 80€ per night. What I loved: the swimming pool, the beautiful view of the sea and mountains, the warm welcoming staff.  It’s one of the cheapest places in Porto, and it offers a great value for money!
  • Hotel Le Romantique: Located only 100 metres away from the beach of Porto. This hotel offers spacious double rooms with a small balcony and a view over the port. The prices start at 90€, breakfast available for an extra 9.50€. Strong points: the kind staff, the perfect location close to the port and the beach, the generous breakfast.
  • Logis Hotel Le Lonca: Located 2 km from the port and 1 km from the beach. You’ll love the clean and spacious double rooms starting from 100€ per night. Breakfast for 11€. Strong points: the swimming pool, the private parking, the breakfast on the terrace, the helpful staff.
  • Les Flots Bleus: Located on the seafront. This hotel offers recently renovated double rooms with a balcony overlooking the sea, starting from 105€ per night, breakfast available for an extra 10€. What I loved: the magnificent view, the exceptional location, the warm welcoming staff. A great choice in Porto for its exceptional value for money!
  • Residence Hotel Capu Seninu: Located on the riverside, right next to the port. These modern and well-equipped studios and apartments with a dishwasher, a washing machine and a balcony are starting from 160€ per night. Strong Points: the spacious and well decorated accommodation, the private parking. It’s my recommendation for a family holiday in Porto, as you can rent an apartment for up to 6 people!

How to get to Porto, Corsica?

Calvi – Porto

From Calvi, drive for about 1h50 to reach Porto.

Ajaccio – Porto

It takes about 2 hours by car to reach Porto from Ajaccio.

Corte – Porto

Porto is located about a 2-hour drive from Corte.

Tourist map of Porto, Corsica

I have created for you a tourist map of Porto Ota, 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.


And you, what do you plan to visit during your stay in Porto, 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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things to do in Porto Corsica
The 12 best things to do in Porto Corsica

 

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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