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

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Things to Do in Calvi : The 20 Best Places to Visit (All Highlights)

You want to visit Calvi during your trip to Corsica?

Great idea!

This beautiful sea-side city surrounded by the mountains and forest is for sure one of the best places to visit in Corsica.

In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared this guide of the 15 best things to do in Calvi, 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 Calvi in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 days (or even 1 week!) as well as my selection of the best accommodations depending on your budget.

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

Visit Calvi: All Must-See attractions

1. The Citadel of Calvi

The citadel is Calvi’s main point of interest.

When you will arrive in Calvi, the large citadel perched on a rocky promontory is the first thing you will see!

This impressive stronghold, with its 2 towers and 5 bastions, was built by the Genoese between the 13th and the 16th centuries. It has resisted many times to the French, but they finally conquered it at the end of the 18th century.

With Bonifacio, Calvi is the only city in Corsica which remained faithful to the Republic of Genoa until the very end. It illustrates perfectly the city’s motto, engraved at the Citadel’s entrance: “Civitas Calvi Semper fidelis” – The city of Calvi, always faithful.

During your stroll in the Citadel and along its walls, you will enjoy many beautiful viewpoints over the city and the sea. In addition, you will discover:

  • Saint-John the Baptist Cathedral: there, you can admire a very beautiful wooden triptych as well as 2 statues venerated by the locals: the Christ of Miracles and Our Lady of the Rosary. It’s listed as a historical monument.
  • The former Genoese governor’s palace or “Caserne Sampiero”: built in the 15th century, it now houses the French foreign legion officers mess
  • The Saint-Antoine oratory and its collection of sacred objects
  • The birth house of Chrisophe Colombus: according to a local legend, it would be the house where Christopher Columbus was born in 1441 (he was officialy born in Genoa 10 years later). Today, it is in ruins.

If you want more explanations about the Citadel’s History and main buildings, you can rent an audio guide at the tourist office, located on the port.

Voyage Tips - Advice

As Calvi is a rather small town, you won’t need your car to visit it. You will find paid parking lots at the entrance of the citadel, or in front of the Super U supermarket, close to the port.

Citadel of Calvi
The Citadel of Calvi

2. The port of Calvi

The port is another great place to visit in Calvi.

During your walk on the Quai Landry, you will find many trendy bars and restaurants. While enjoying a meal or a drink on a terrace, you can admire the yachts and the beach in the distance.

From the port, you can also do a boat trip to discover Calvi’s surroundings or Scandola Nature Reserve. I will tell you more about it later in the point 5 of this travel guide.

At the end of the port, the Salt Tower marks the boundary between Calvi’s lower town and the Citadel. This former watch tower was also used to store salt, and is now listed as a historical monument.

Voyage Tips - Advice

During your walk on the Quai Landry, don’t forget to go to the tourist office to get a map of the city! 

Calvi
The port of Calvi, from the Citadel

3. The old town of Calvi

The old town, or lower town of Calvi is located at the foothill of the citadel.

Take a stroll in its charming paved streets, and discover many typical shops, selling local crafts and souvenirs.

The church of Santa Maria Maggiore is one of the best places to see in Calvi’s old town. It has a beautiful pink and beige facade, and a well-decorated baroque interior. The entrance is free.

Right next to the church, don’t miss the covered market. There, you can buy all the best specialties from Corsica, such as local cheeses and delicatessen.

It’s the perfect place if you want to make a 100% Corsican sandwich for your  lunch!

Good to know: The producer’s market is open every morning.

Calvi Old Town
The old town of Calvi

4. Calvi Beach

During your stay in Calvi, you will certainly want to enjoy its large sandy beach.

This 4.5 km long beach, bordered by a pine forest, starts at the port’s entrance and stretches all along Calvi Bay.

Even in the middle of summer, you’ll always find a spot for your towel. Calvi beach is also ideal if you’re on a family trip to Corsica, as it has more than fifty meters of shallow water!

There, you can also enjoy several restaurants, rent deckchairs and beach umbrellas, or practice many nautical activities.

It’s clearly the best place to take a dip in Calvi!

Calvi Beach
Calvi Beach

5. Do a boat trip from Calvi

Boat trips are among the best things to do in Calvi.

From the port, many boat companies are offering day trips to discover magnificent places in the city’s surroundings. You can choose between several excursions and types of boats.

As these boat trips are extremely popular, you should definitely book your tickets in advance online!

The best cruises starting from Calvi are:

And if you’re looking for something different, how about a fishing trip? You can have more details on this website.

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you continue your trip to Corsica and go South, you can also do a boat-trip to Scandola Nature Reserve from Porto.

If, on the other hand, you decide to go North and continue your itinerary in Corsica towards Saint-Florent, you can opt for a cruise to the Agriates desert from there.

 

Scandola Nature Reserve Corsica
Boat trip in Scandola Nature Reserve, in Corsica

6. The best outdoor activities to do in Calvi

If you’re staying in Calvi for a few days, you should take some time to enjoy outdoor activities in the city’s surroundings. It’s a great way to discover the island’s magnificent landscapes!

Here is a list of the best outdoor activities you can do during your holidays in Calvi and your trip to Corsica:

  • Canyoning in Fango valley, Mélaghia or Ruda. It’s the 3 most beautiful canyons near Calvi.
  • Climbing: there are many climbing routes in Balagne, whether you’re a beginner or an experimented climber!
  • Hiking: you can enjoy more than 30 marked trails in Balagne. The best place to get more info is Calvi tourist office.
  • Mountain biking: there are about 15 bike paths around Calvi and in Balagne. As for hiking, you will find more information about those trails at the tourist office. All the paths are really well-explained with details about the distances, the elevation, the route to follow, and the difficulty (ranked from green to black, as ski slopes!)
  • Quad bike excursions to the Revellata peninsula
  • Horse riding in the pine forest and by the sea, or in the mountains.
  • Nautical activities: jet-ski, towed buoys, water skiing, windsurfing, kayaking, paddle and much more on Calvi beach.
  • 4WD tour to the Agriates desert. During this full day guided tour from Calvi, you will discover the exceptional landscapes of this part of Corsica. It includes a swimming stop at Ghignu beach, a beautiful remote beach. Click the button below to book your tour:

If you enjoy this kind of activities, you should know that there is another great 4WD excursion you can do from Calvi. During this guided tour, you will discover the magnificent Asco valley and enjoy refreshing moments in natural swimming pools!

Quad activity Corsica
Quad biking in La Revellata, near Calvi

7. Diving in Calvi

Diving is another great activity you should do during your trip to Calvi.

It’s the best way to discover the island’s magnificent seabed, as well as some wrecks.

One of Corsica’s most famous diving sites is located right next to Calvi’s citadel: the wreck of a B17, an American bomber, shot down during the second World War and now lying 28 meters deep.

In Calvi, you will find 5 diving centres in the marina and the beach, offering first dives, initiations and underwater explorations.

All those centres offer quite the same rates and services. Visit their websites to choose the one that suits you best!

Diving Corsica
Diving in Corsica

8. Take the train to L’Île Rousse

If you’ve already visited most of Calvi and also enjoyed the beach, how about a train ride to discover the city of L’Île Rousse?

You should know that taking the train in Corsica is a real adventure!

This small 2-carriages train, nicknamed “Trinichellu” by the locals, runs along Calvi Beach and its pine forest and takes you to L’Île Rousse.

During your trip, you will stop several times to take some pictures of the beautiful beaches located between the two cities.

From Calvi, it takes about 45 minutes to go to L’Île Rousse, and the round trip costs 12€. There are several departures each day, you can get the schedules directly at Calvi train station.

Once you’re in L’Île Rousse, walk along the port and visit the Place Paoli and the city’s old town. There, you can enjoy many restaurants and shops.

You can also discover Pietra island, located a 15-minute walk from the city centre. Walk up to the lighthouse and admire the breathtaking view!

L'Île-Rousse
L’Île Rousse

9. Calvi on the Rocks

If you’re planning a trip to Calvi during July, don’t miss the “Calvi on the Rocks” music festival!

This festival attracts thousands of people from all over the world every year, at the beginning of July. The concerts featuring renowned artists and DJs are held in exceptional locations, such as the beach, the port and the outdoor theater.

You should book your tickets as early as possible, as soon as they go on sale. The 1-day pass costs around 50€.

You will find every information you need on the official website.

There is another completely different music festival you shouldn’t miss in Calvi, the Polyphonic Song Festival.

This festival gathers, during five days in September, the best polyphonic singing groups from Corsica and all over the world, in the beautiful Saint-Jean Baptiste Cathedral.

You can’t buy tickets online, you will need to send an e-mail or call the Calvi tourist office to book them. You can also directly contact the association organizing this festival.

calvi on the rocks
Calvi on the rocks

The 6 best things to do around Calvi

You’ve already visited Calvi’s main points of interest, and you want to discover its surroundings? Continue your road-trip in Corsica with the best places to visit around Calvi!

Here is the list of the best things to do around Calvi:

10. The perched villages of Balagne

During your stay in Calvi, you should visit Balagne’s most beautiful perched villages.

Drive to the village of Moncale, and take the beautiful road connecting the region’s typical villages and offering splendid views.

During your road-trip, you will discover:

  • Calenzana: the starting point of the mythical GR20 hiking trail, but also of the Mare e Monti Nord trail, connecting Calenzana to Cargese. The village’s main points of interest are the Saint-Blaise church and the Chapel of Sainte-Restitude.
  • Zilia, famous for its spring water sold everywhere in Corsica!
  • Montemaggiore and its magnificent view of the bay of Calvi and the Revellata.
  • Speloncato: this small village offers narrow paved alleys, a baroque church and beautiful views.
  • Pigna is mostly renowned for its artists and craftsmen: cabinetmaker, ceramist…
  • Aregno: don’t miss the Trinity and San Giovanni church, classified as a historical monument.
  • Sant’Antonino and its exceptional panorama over the Balagne region. This village is often ranked among Corsica’s most beautiful!
  • Occi: this abandoned village is only accessible by foot, from Lumio or from the “Panoramic Campsite” on the Lavatoggio Road. The trail is a bit steep, but you’ll be rewarded by the splendid view over the mountains, Calvi Bay and the Revellata peninsula. It’s the perfect place to watch the sunset, but don’t forget to walk down before dark!
  • Lumio, a pretty village overlooking Calvi Bay, where Laeticia Casta spent a part of her childhood.

In every village, you will discover talented craftsmen, such as jewelry creators, biscuit makers, potters, sculptors, or olive oil producers. They are referenced under the label “Route des Savoir-Faire de Balagne”.

Visit the label’s official website to discover a complete list of these craftsmen!

If you haven’t rented a car for your stay in Calvi, you can opt for a guided tour to learn more about the perched villages of Balagne and their heritage.

The best one is organized by Serge, an amazing guide! It needs to be booked by clicking the button below:

Montemaggiore village balagne corsica
The perched village of Balagne, in Corsica

11. Bonifatu Forest

If you want to enjoy Corsica’s beautiful natural landscapes, you should go to the forest of Bonifatu, in Calvi’s surroundings.

From Calvi, drive for about 30 minutes (20 km) to reach the forest. There, park your car at the paid parking lot (only in summer, 4€ for a car and 7.50€ for a camper van), next to the Auberge de la Fôret, a small restaurant and bed and breakfast.

The 3000-hectare forest of Bonifatu is clearly an hiker’s paradise!

There are 7 marked trails starting from the Auberge de la Fôret:

  • Calatoghju: an easy 2.6 km walk lasting about 1 hour
  • Ficaghjola: walk for 2 hours and enjoy relaxing swimming breaks in the river! It’s an ideal walk if you’re with children.
  • Candia, this trail is more difficult than the 2 previous ones. Count about 2h30 for 4.1 km.
  • Finochi: this 4-hour long trail is quite steep, but it offers a panoramic view of the forest of Bonifatu.
  • Erbaghjolu: A 5-hour walk, reserved for experimented hikers!
  • Ortu di U Piobbu refuge: you can reach it in 3h30. It’s the first stage of the GR20.
  • Carozzu hut: Count about 2h30 to reach it.

From the car park, there is also a path taking you to the river in less than 5 minutes. It’s a great place to swim in big natural pools, or to enjoy a family picnic in the shade of big trees.

Voyage Tips - Advice

Always check the weather reports before hiking in the forest of Bonifatu. Beware of the fire and storm risk!

In case of a thunderstorm, don’t stay near the river. Even if it doesn’t rain where you are, the water level may rise suddenly.

The forest of Bonifatu
The forest of Bonifatu

12. The Revellata peninsula

The Revellata peninsula, located 10 km North-West of Calvi, is another place you should visit during your itinerary in Corsica.

This wild peninsula offers beautiful remote coves and a white sandy beach. It’s an ideal place to spend an afternoon sunbathing and swimming!

There, you will also discover a lighthouse, as well as the STARESO Oceanographic Center, studying Corsica’s marine biodiversity. They are also organizing diving excursions during summer.

The walk to get there is really beautiful, and is part of the customs officer’s path. During your hike, you will discover splendid viewpoints over Calvi and the coast.

There are 2 different starting points for this hike:

  • Park in the parking lot at the top of the Revellata, walk down to Alga beach and follow the coastal path to the lighthouse.
  • From Calvi, leave your car at the citadel and take the customs officer’s path to Revellata peninsula. (starting point here – Google Maps link).
The Revellata
The Revellata peninsula, near Calvi

13. Our Lady of the Serra

After a great day enjoying the Revellata peninsula and its beach, you should discover Notre-Dame de la Serra (Our Lady of the Serra), located nearby.

The chapel of Our Lady of the Serra was built in the 15th century. It offers a breathtaking view of the whole Calvi bay and the surrounding mountains. It’s clearly the best viewpoint near Calvi!

You will also discover a statue of the Virgin Mary, considered as the protector of the city, perched on a large rock. A dedicated pilgrimage is organized every year in September.

Our Lady of the Serra
Our Lady of the Serra

14. The Fango Valley

If you want to take a dip in freshwater in Calvi’s surroundings, you will have the choice between the forest of Bonifatu I mentioned earlier and the Fango valley.

This splendid natural site is listed as a Natural Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO, and also labelled as a “Wild Rivers Site”. It covers more than 26,000 hectares of preserved landscapes.

From Calvi, drive for around 40 minutes and park your car at the “Ponte-Vecchio” to access the Fango Valley.

From there, you’ll have a direct access to the river and its beautiful natural swimming pools. And if you want to enjoy a quieter environment, take the path along the river to reach the valley’s most remote places.

There are many marked trails and hikes in the Fango valley. You can have detailed information about the different routes at the small tourist information point located at the valley’s entrance. Don’t worry, you can’t miss it!

You can also discover Galeria, only a 10-minute drive from the Fango valley. One of the best things to do there is a 1-hour canoe trip in the Fango Delta to discover its remarkable flora and fauna.

Try to be quiet, and keep your eyes wide open: will you be able to spot the cistude turtles, grey herons, egrets and kingfishers living in the Delta?

These canoe trips are only available between June and September, and costs 6€ per hour and per person. You can’t book these excursions in advance, but you can check the official website for detailed information.

Fango Corsica
The Fango Valley, in Corsica

15. Algajola

Algajola is a small seaside resort between L’Île Rousse and Calvi. This pretty village is located a 20-minute drive from Calvi.

There, take a stroll in the city’s narrow paved alleys and discover its fortified walls. Have your lunch in one of the old town’s many restaurants, and spend a relaxing afternoon on the large sandy beach located nearby!

Algajola beach also offers a great range of outdoor activities:

  • Scuba diving and snorkeling
  • Rent a bicycle, starting from 15€
  • Do a guided tour by bike, starting from 38€
  • Windsurfing
  • Stand up Paddle
  • kayaking
  • Surfing

You will find all the information you need on this website.

Algajola
Algajola

How many days to visit Calvi?

If you only want to visit the town of Calvi and discover its main points of interest, you won’t need more than one day.

Of course, if you want to discover the city’s surroundings, enjoy the beaches and the many amazing outdoor activities, you should spend at least 4 days in Calvi.

Here are my recommended Itineraries in Calvi depending on the duration of your stay:

1 day in Calvi

If you only spend 1 day in Calvi during your itinerary in Corsica, that’s enough to discover the city’s best places to visit!

Here is the best itinerary to visit Calvi in 1 day:

  • Visit the Citadel and its beautiful viewpoints
  • Discover the lower town
  • Take a stroll on the port and have your lunch in one of the many restaurants there
  • And in the afternoon, relax at Calvi Beach, or do a boat trip to Scandola Nature Reserve, the Revellata peninsula or Agriates Desert (departure at 2.30 pm)

2 days in Calvi

If you have 2 days in Calvi, in addition to the first day described above, you can add:

  • A road-trip to discover the perched villages of Balagne in the morning or a guided tour with an amazing guide! (You need to book it here)
  • An afternoon in the forest of Bonifatu. There, you can hike and swim in the river’s beautiful natural swimming pools.
Forest Calvi
The forest in Calvi’s surroundings

3 days in Calvi

If you’re spending 3 days in Calvi, in addition to the 2 days above, you can:

  • Discover the Revellata peninsula. There, you can walk to the lighthouse and enjoy Alga beach or the peninsula’s remote coves.
  • Go to the Our Lady of the Serra chapel, to admire a magnificent view over Calvi bay.

4 days in Calvi

If you plan to stay 4 days in Calvi, you can also:

  • Enjoy a relaxing day at the Fango Valley: swim in the river and have a picnic!
  • Do a one-hour canoe trip in the Fango delta

if you prefer, you can also opt for an organized day trip to the famous Asco valley. It needs to be booked there!

5, 6 days or 1 week in Calvi

Are you planning to spend 5, 6 days or a even a week in Calvi? Here are my best ideas to make the most of your stay!

  • From Calvi, take the train to reach L’Île Rousse. You can also stop at Algajola, or at one of the many beaches along the way
  • Go diving and admire Corsica’s magnificent seabed
  • Hike and discover Balagne’s many marked trails!
  • Opt for a Canyoning day
  • Spend relaxing afternoons at Calvi beach, and discover many nautical activities

Don’t worry, you will always find many great things to do in Calvi, even if you’re spending a week in Corsica!

Where to stay in Calvi

  • The Holy Erasmus: Located 850 meters from the port, on the seaside. This hotel offers well-equipped double rooms with comfortable bedding. The prices starts at 70€ per night, with an extra 10€ for breakfast. Strong points: the swimming pool, the free private parking, the kind staff.
  • Camping La Pinède: Located only 200 metres away from Calvi beach. The air-conditioned and fully-equipped chalets and bungalows with a private terrace are starting from 70€ per night. What I loved: the swimming pool, the tennis courts, the playground for children, the free parking. It’s my recommendation for a family holiday in Calvi!
  • Hotel Revellata: Located 450 meters from the port. The design and comfortable double rooms are starting from 85€ per night. The breakfast will cost you 12€ per person. Strong points: the outdoor and indoor swimming pools, the Spa, the gym, the magnificent view, the excellent breakfast. A great choice in Calvi for its exceptional value for money!
  • Hotel Casa Bianca: Located 250 meters from the beach. You will love the spacious and modern double rooms starting from 100€,with an extra 12€ for breakfast. Strong points: the great location, the welcoming staff, the comfortable rooms.
  • La Signoria: This 5* hotel is located 3 km away from the beach of Calvi. It offers beautiful and spacious suites with a dressing room, a marble bathroom and a terrace. The prices starts at 320€ per night including breakfast. What I loved: the gastronomic restaurant, the Spa, the swimming pool, the quietness, the exceptional breakfast.  It’s my recommendation for a luxury stay in Calvi!
The Revellata peninsula Calvi
The Revellata peninsula, near Calvi

Where to eat in Calvi

  • Pizzanotte: Located on the road to Calvi airport. This restaurant serves excellent pizzas. Some regular customers even told me it was the best in Corsica, but I can’t confirm that, as I haven’t tried all the island’s pizzerias! You will love these pizzas, filled with the best ingredients, and served in a rustic setting. Try the “Pizzad’elo”, with honey, goat’s cheese, parmesan, coppa and almonds, it’s delicious! The other pizzas are, of course, just as good. You can eat on the spot or take away.
  • Via Marine: This restaurant is located Rue Clemenceau and offers a great view of the port. The dishes are copious and well presented. There, you can enjoy a varied menu, with fish, meat, pasta and pizzas, served by a really kind staff. The homemade desserts are also excellent!
  • Aux Bons Amis: also located rue Clemenceau, this restaurant is specialized in fish and seafood. It’s mostly reputed for its famous bouillabaisse T he products are always fresh and the dishes are well presented and really tasty! You should book your table in advance.
Voyage Tips - Advice

If you want to eat a pizza in Corsica, you may notice that Corsicans are using grated Emmental cheese instead of mozzarella for their pizzas.

If you prefer mozzarella cheese, that’s not a problem! Don’t forget to ask them while ordering your pizza. Most of the time, it won’t cost you anything 😊.

Where to go out in Calvi

  • Chez TAO: Located in the heart of the citadel, it’s clearly Calvi’s most famous place to go out at night! There,  you will enjoy a piano bar, DJ nights in a chic setting, and a breathtaking view from its terrace.
  • Bar de la Tour: located on the Quai Landry, this bar hosts concert nights, with the best local bands every Tuesday, and DJ sets every other nights. There, you will also enjoy a beautiful view and good cocktails!
  • Citadella da Fà: Located on the Avenue de la République. This authentic place offers themed evenings and quality concerts in a friendly atmosphere.
  • L’annexe: Located
Calvi Corsica
View of Calvi and its beach

How to get to Calvi?

By plane

The fastest way to get to Calvi is by plane, as the city has a small airport. From there you can rent a car or take a taxi to your hotel, as there are no shuttle buses going to the city centre!

If the prices are too high, you can also compare the prices with the airport of Bastia

If you’re landing in Bastia, you will have several choices to reach Calvi:

1. Rent a car

During your holidays in Corsica, you should really rent a car. It’s really complicated to visit the island and Calvi’s surroundings without a car. It’s the best way to discover the island forests and mountain hikes!

Whenever I’m renting a car abroad, whether I’m in Corsica, Sardinia, Greece, or even Thailand, I always book my cars on Rentalcars.com. It will allow you to directly compare prices between all the car rental companies in Corsica.

You can also modify or cancel your booking for free (most of the time). Book your car in advance and get the best prices!

Calvi is located about a 2-hour drive from Bastia.

Click the button below to check rental cars prices in Corsica now:

2. Take the train: from Bastia, the train reaches Calvi in 3 hours.

By ferry boat

The only ferries to Calvi are the ones from Genoa, in Italy.

From Marseille or Toulon, you can take a ferry boat to L’Île Rousse, a 30-minute drive from Calvi. There, you can rent a car to go to Calvi.

You can also take the boat from Nice, Toulon and Marseille to Bastia. There, rent a car or take the train to reach your final destination!

Tourist map of Calvi

I have created for you a tourist map of Calvi and Corsica, 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 do during your trip to Calvi?

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 Calvi
Visit Calvi: 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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