Visit Corte: Top 20 Things To Do and Must-See Attractions

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

You’re going to Corsica and plan to visit Corte?

Great idea!

In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared this guide of the 20 best things to do in Corte, with all points of interest and must-see attractions.

Located in the center of Corsica, Corte is also the ideal starting point to visit other famous places in the surrounding area such as the Restonica Gorges, Bastia or Calvi.

In addition to this list of things to do and activities, I will also give you itineraries to visit Corte in 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 days as well as my selection of the best accommodations depending on your budget.

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

Let’s find out!

Visit Corte: All Must-See attractions

1. The Citadel

Let’s start this Corte travel guide with the Citadel, the main tourist attraction of the city.

There are 6 citadels in Corsica (the 5 others are in Bastia, Bonifacio, Ajaccio, Saint-Florent and Calvi), but Corte’s citadel is the only one located in the heart of the island.

Its construction was ordered in 1419 by the King of Aragon, Vicentello d’Istria, and supervised by the Viceroy of Corsica.

The castle, built at the same period and perched on its rocky promontory, is nicknamed the “eagle’s nest”. The citadel was modified and improved several times over the centuries, as it has been successively occupied by Corsican, Genoese and French lords.

The Citadel’s military buildings were used as barracks, but also as prisons, especially during the Second World War. During the Italian and German occupation of Corsica, many fighters from the local Resistance were imprisoned there.

Today, the Citadel is listed as a Historical Monument. It hosts the “Musée de la Corse”, also known as the Regional Museum of Anthropology. I’ll tell you more about it a bit below.

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The tourist office of Corte is located in the Citadel. There, you can get a map of the city or buy maps detailing the many walking trails around Corte.

If you want to learn more about Corte’s history, you can follow the “heritage trail” signposts to discover the city’s main historical buildings. You can also opt for a guided tour of the old town.

And if you don’t feel like walking, you can do a 40-minute commented visit to the old town with the small tourist train, starting from the tourist office.

The Citadel of Corte
The Citadel of Corte

2. The Musée de la Corse, or Regional Museum of Anthropology

The Musée de la Corse is clearly one of Corte’s must-see attractions.

This museum is located in the Caserne Serrurier, one of the Citadel’s former military barracks.

There, you will discover 3 different exhibitions:

  • The Doazan gallery, showcasing a collection of nearly 3000 traditional objects from Corsica. During your visit, you will learn more about the inhabitants’ way of life in the middle of the XXth century.
  • The “Musée en train de se faire” (Museum in the making) gallery focusing on the social, economic and cultural aspects of today’s Corsica. The main themes are mass-tourism and the industrialization of the island.
  • The temporary exhibition area, hosting a different exhibition every year.

If you want more information about this museum, you can visit the official website.

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With your museum’s entrance ticket, you can also visit the citadel of Corte and the eagle’s nest. From there, you’ll admire a beautiful view of Corte and its surroundings. You can’t access the eagle’s nest without visiting the museum!

There is a paid parking lot right next to the museum.

The Musée de la Corse
The Musée de la Corse, or Regional Museum of Anthropology

3. The Belvedere

The Belvedere is another place you should visit during your stay in Corte.

This promontory facing the Citadel and overlooking the city offers the best view over the eagle’s next. From there, you will also enjoy a magnificent 360° panorama of the Restonica and Tavignano valleys!

Corte
The view of the Citadel, from the Belvedere

4. Gaffory square

It’s time to continue your visit of Corte with the Gaffory square (“Place Gaffory in French), also located in the upper town.

There, you will discover the birth house of Jean-Pierre Gaffory, the leader of the Nationalist Government of Corsica in the middle of the 18th century. He led a successful revolution against the Genoese before being assassinated.

On his house’s facade, you can see many holes, attributed to bullets fired during the revolution. In front of the house, you can also find a statue of Gaffory, built to honor his memory.

On the square, you will discover a few bars and restaurants as well as the Church of the Annunciation. It was built in the 15th century, and has a huge bell tower dominating the whole town.

There are 2 other points of interest located next to Gaffory square:

  • The National Palace: the former seat of Corsica’s central government and the residence of Pascal Paoli, Gaffory’s successor. It sometimes hosts exhibitions about the city.
  • The house of the Arrighi de Casanova, a noble family from Corte. Bonaparte’s parents, Charles and Laetitia, lived in this house for a few years.
place Gaffory Corte
Gaffory square, in Corte

5. The Four Canons Fountain

The Four Canons Fountain is located close to Gaffory square, on the Commandant Ignace Mantei’s Ramp.

This pyramid-style fountain was built at the same time as the citadel’s walls.

The only reason why I’ve listed it in this list of the 20 of the best places to visit in Corte is that it’s mentioned in the heritage trail and in all Corte travel guides. In my opinion, this fountain isn’t particularly impressive nor pretty!

fontaine des 4 canons Corte
Fountain of the 4 cannons, Corte

6. The Cours Paoli

During your stay in Corte, you will also discover the Cours Paoli.

In Corte’s main shopping street, you will find many restaurants, shops, cafés and bakeries.

This street connects the Place du Duc de Padoue and the Place Paoli, where you’ll find a statue of Pascal Paoli.

This hero of Corsica’s independence is an emblematic historical character: you will see his name a lot during your trip to Corsica He’s nicknamed “the father of the nation”, and nearly every village has a square or a street named after him.

He is also considered as the precursor of democracy in Europe, as he mostly fought to give the power to the people.

He also founded the University of Corte, which still exists today and is the only university in Corsica.

Cours Paoli Corte
The Cours Paoli, in Corte

7. The Chapelle Sainte-Croix

During your visit to Corte, you could have passed by this small church without even noticing it, as the Chapelle Sainte-Croix has a really simple exterior.

Yet, the inside of this 17th century chapel is clearly worth a visit, as it houses a beautiful baroque altarpiece, and very interesting paintings on its ceiling. It was recently restored, and is listed as a Historic Monument.

Chapelle Sainte Croix Corte
The Chapelle Sainte Croix, in Corte

8. Ghionga grocery store

In Corte, you can also discover one of Europe’s oldest grocery stores.

Ghionga grocery store would date back from 1769 and is certainly Corte’s most famous store! There, you can find all the best typical products from Corsica: cheeses, delicatessen, liquors, jams…

It’s located at the 9 rue du Vieux Marché. With its bright orange facade and green storefront, you can’t miss it during your visit to Corte!

Epicerie Ghionga Corte
Ghionga grocery store, Corte

9. The Heritage Trail

The heritage trails are an initiative of the Environment Office of Corsica, to promote the island’s heritage and traditions. 

If you want to discover Corte’s heritage trail, you first need to go to the hamlet of Baliri.

From there, follow the marked trail along the Tavignanu River and through the former crops, vegetable gardens and mills. Then, cross the old Genoese bridge, and walk up towards the old town and the Belvedere.

This 2-km walk lasts about 1 hour, and is suited for everyone

Heritage Trail Corte
The Heritage Trail, in Corte

10. Discover Corsica’s best specialties

During your holidays in Corte, you should definitely taste some of Corsica’s delicious specialties.

In the city, you will discover several excellent bakeries and pastry shops:

  • The Casanova bakery, renowned for its amazing chestnut fondant and vegetable pies
  • The Grimaldi pastry shop, famous for its home-made chocolates and ice creams
  • The Fritelle Curtinese, if you want to discover the delicious brocciu donuts or the Canistrelli, Corsica’s typical biscuits
  • The Marie and Jean-Luc Delair‘s shop, where you can taste succulent brocciu cake (the falculelle) and amaretti.
Brocciu Donuts Corsica
The delicious Brocciu Donuts

11. The best outdoor activities to do around Corte

Thanks to its exceptional location in the heart of Corsica, Corte offers amazing natural landscapes. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities!

Here is a list of the activities you can enjoy in Corte and its surroundings:

  • Canyoning in the canyons of Verghellu, Coriscia or Vecchio
  • Climbing, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced climber!
  • Electric bikes
  • Tree climbing: in this adventure park, you can walk from tree to tree and experience thrilling zip lines
  • Hiking in the Restonica Gorge or in Vizzavona: I’ll tell you more about this below!
  • Caving, if you’re looking for an original activity
  • Horse riding.
Hiking Corte
Hiking near Corte

The 9 best things to do around Corte

Now that you’ve discovered Corte, you should continue your road trip in Corsica and visit its surroundings.

12. Restonica Gorge

If you’re an hiking lover, then you should really discover the Restonica Gorge, located only 16 km away from Corte. It’s one of Corsica’s most famous trails!

Start your hike at the “Bergeries de Grotelle” (Grotelle sheepfold), and walk up to Melo Lake, at 1,711 meters of altitude. Then, if you’re not tired, you can continue hiking to Capitello Lake, at 1,930 meters.

The round-trip to Melo Lake lasts 3 hours, and the one to Capitello Lake around 4.5 hours.

After your hike, don’t forget to take a dip in one of the many natural pools in the gorge!

Melo Lake Restonica Gorge
The Melo Lake, in the Restonica Gorge

13. Tavignano Valley

The Tavignano Valley is located at the foothill of Corte’s citadel. It is named after one of Corsica’s largest rivers, the Tavignano, originating at Nino Lake.

The valley is only accessible on foot. Walk on the marked trail running along the river to reach the Rossulinu footbridge. There are many beautiful natural swimming pools, perfect if you want to enjoy a refreshing swim during your hike!

The round trip takes about 4 hours.

You can also choose to do the “Loop of the 2 valleys”.

During this 2 days hike, you will discover both the Tavignano valley and the Restonica Gorge. To do so, you just have to continue your walk from Rossulinu footbridge to reach the Sega mountain refuge where you will spend the night (a 5-hour walk from Corte).

The next day, walk for around 1h30 to reach the Alzu Plateau and its sheepfolds, then continue for another 1h30.

You’ll arrive in Frasseta bridge and the Restonica Gorge. From there, walk along the road for 8 kilometers to get back to Corte.

Tavignano Valley
The Tavignano Valley

14. The Asco Valley and Monte Cinto

The Asco valley is another place you should visit during your holidays in Corte.

From Corte, drive north on the T20 road, then take the D147 road and follow the gorge for about 10 km. There are many beautiful swimming spots along the river!

One of the best places to take a dip in the Asco Valley is at the old Genoese Bridge, below the village of Asco. There, you will discover a large and beautiful natural swimming pool.

You can also continue your route to the ski resort of Haut-Asco. From there, you can climb the 2,706 meter-high Monte Cinto, Corsica’s highest peak. This very steep trail is for experienced hikers.

Asco and Monte Cinto
The Asco Valley and Monte Cinto

15. The forest of Vizzavona

Located a 40-minute drive from Corte, the forest of Vizzavona is the perfect place if you want to hike in a beautiful environment and take a refreshing dip in a crystal clear river.

There are several marked trails in the forest, and most of them are running along the river at one time or another. My favorite is the “Cascade des Anglais” (Englishmen’s waterfall) trail, it’s clearly one of the most beautiful!

Follow the path in the shady forest to discover a magnificent scenery: the river offers several small waterfalls and many natural pools. Your infinity pool with a breathtaking mountain view is waiting for you!

If you want to reach the Cascade des Anglais, you’ll have 2 options:

  • Follow the red and white marked trail from Vizzavona train station. This 3-km long hike lasts about 45 minutes. It’s ideal if you’re with children.
  • From the Vizzavona Pass parking lot, walk for 30 minutes to reach the waterfalls. The trail is harder and more rocky than from the train station, so don’t forget your hiking shoes!
Cascade des Anglais Corsica
The Cascade des Anglais, in Corsica

16. Nino Lake

Nino Lake is another beautiful place you should discover in Corte’s surroundings.

From Corte, you will need to drive to Popaghja forest house (1h20). From There, follow the marked trail to reach Nino Lake – The round trip lasts takes 4h30 or 5 hours.

The first hour isn’t very difficult, but once you’ve reached the Bergerie de Colga, it gets much steeper. Be careful, as it’s very rocky! You’ll even have to do a bit of easy climbing.

You’ll be rewarded by the beautiful view of Nino lake, Corsica’s second largest lake. Located at 1,743 meters of altitude, this lake is surrounded by “Pozzines”, the typical water holes in the middle of grass you can find in Corsica’s mountains.

The Tavignano river, running at the foothill of Corte’s citadel, has its source here.

Don’t forget your hiking shoes and many bottles of water. This hike is reserved for experienced hikers, and isn’t recommended if you’re with young children.

Pozzines Lake Nino
The “Pozzines” of Nino Lake

17. Bastia

Bastia is Corsica’s second largest city. It’s located 1h20 away from Corte by car.

The best places to visit in Bastia are:

  • St. Nicholas Square, ideal for a drink on a terrace!
  • Napoleon Street, if you’re a shopping lover
  • The market square to discover the best local products
  • The church of St. John the Baptist
  • The Old Port
  • The citadel of Bastia
  • Bastia History Museum, in the former Governors’ Palace

You’ll find every information you need to visit Bastia in my article: The 17 best things to do in Bastia. 

Bastia
Bastia

18. Ajaccio

If you want to do a great day-trip during your itinerary in Corsica, then you should definitely visit Ajaccio. Bonaparte’s city is located only 1h30 by car from Corte.

During your visit, you can walk around the old town, discover the birth house of Napoleon Bonaparte, and drive to Parata Point.

From there, you will discover a magnificent view of the Sanguinaires Islands. You can take a stroll along the seaside, or do a mini-cruise to discover the islands.

The place is truly magical, especially at sunset!

To discover all the best places to visit in Ajaccio, you should have a look at my article: Visit Ajaccio: the definitive guide.

Sanguinaires Islands Ajaccio
The Sanguinaires Islands, in Ajaccio

19. Calvi

Let’s continue this guide of the best places to visit near Corte with Calvi.

From Corte, you will need to drive for around 1h30 to reach the city of Calvi.

During your visit, you will discover the Citadel, the old town and the Quai Landry. You can also opt for relaxing afternoon at Calvi Beach, a superb 4.5 km long sandy beach bordered by a pine forest.

If you’re looking for more information about Calvi, you should ready my article: The 15 best things to do in Calvi.

Calvi Citadel
Calvi’s Citadel

20. Saint-Florent

It’s now time to conclude this top 20 of the best things to do in Corte’s surroundings with the small seaside town of Saint-Florent, located at 1h20 by car.

Saint-Florent is especially known as the starting point for the Agriates Desert boat trips.

During your cruise, you will discover the 2 magnificent beaches of Saleccia and Lotu. 

With their turquoise waters and white sand, it’s the perfect place to spend a relaxing day sunbathing and swimming!

You’ll find every information you need to visit Saint-Florent and Agriates desrt in my article: Visit Saint Florent: the definitive guide.

Agriates Desert
Agriates Desert

How many days to visit Corte?

If you only want to visit the city of Corte, you won’t need more than one day.

However, Corte’s central location is really interesting if you want to discover the city’s surroundings, and enjoy Corsica’s most famous hikes. You’ll need to spend at least 2 or 3 days in Corte to make the most of your stay.

Here are my best tips to organize your itinerary in Corte and its surroundings:

Visit Corte in 1 day

If you only have 1 day to visit Corte, no problem! Here is the best itinerary to discover the city’s must-see attractions:

  • Park at the large car park located rue du Donjon, right next to the “Musée de la Corse”.
  • Make a short stop at the tourist office, grab a map of the city or take the small tourist train
  • Visit the Musée de la Corse and the Citadel
  • Go to the Belvedere to admire a magnificent panorama over Corte and the mountains
  • Discover Ghionga Grocery Store
  • Walk to Gaffory square
  • Climb the Commandant Ignace Mantei’s stairs and see the 4 Canons Fountain
  • Discover the interior of the Chapelle Sainte-Croix
  • Take a stroll along the Cours Paoli, and buy some typical cakes in one of the bakeries
  • End your day with the 2-hour Heritage Trail walk.

Visit Corte and its surroundings in 2 days

If you have 2 days in Corte, in addition to the first day described above, you can add one of the following hikes:

  • Restonica Gorge
  • The Tavignano Valley
  • Nino Lake
  • The forest of Vizzavona and the “Cascade des Anglais”

Visit Corte in 3, 4, 5 days or 1 week

If you plan to spend 3, 4, 5 days or even a week in Corte, you will have enough time to enjoy several hikes and discover Corsica’s other cities such as Bastia, Ajaccio or Calvi.

There is more than enough great things to do in Corte and its surroundings to spend 10 days there!

Where to stay in Corte

  • San Giovanni House: Located 3 km from the centre of Corte. The nice and clean double rooms are starting from 60€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the great staff, the good breakfast made with fresh products, the quietness. A great choice in Corte for its exceptional value for money!
  • U Passa Tempu: Located in the centre of Corte, right next to the Chapelle Sainte-Croix. The well-equipped studios and apartments with a small kitchen are starting from 90€ per night. What I loved: the central location, the quietness, the private parking, the warm welcome.
  • Hotel Si Mea: Located a 15 minutes walk from the centre. This hotel offers spacious and cosy double rooms starting from 120€ per night. Strong points: the swimming pool, the generous breakfast made with local products, the beautiful location.
  • Casa di a Restonica: Located 1 km from the centre. The comfortable and modern double rooms  are starting from 140€, breakfast available for an extra 14€. Strong points: the swimming pool, the comfortable room, the quietness.
  • Hotel Dominique Colonna: This 4* hotel is located 1 km from Corte, on the river’s edge. You’ll love their beautiful double rooms starting from 400€, breakfast included. What I loved: the beautiful swimming pool, the terrace by the water, the idyllic setting, the kind staff.  It’s my recommendation for a luxury stay in Corte!
Hotel Dominique Colonna
Hotel Dominique Colonna in Corte

Where to eat in Corte

  • Restaurant La rivière des Vins: Located at 5 Rampe Sainte-Croix. This restaurant offers excellent meats cooked in a wood fire oven, accompanied by homemade french fries. Their homemade burger is really amazing! All the dishes are delicious and hearty, for a reasonable price. The homemade desserts are also very good and copious. The tiramisu is just incredible! It’s clearly the best restaurant I’ve discovered during my itinerary in Corsica. Don’t forget to book your table in advance!
  • La Trattoria: Located at 6 cours Paoli. This very nice restaurant offers a fine cuisine (pasta, meat, Corsican delicatessen). The service is fast and the waiters are very kind.
  • U Campanile: Located Place de l’Eglise. The restaurant proposes great local dishes, with a small touch of originality. All the dishes are homemade and the products are fresh. The staff is also very efficient and nice!

How to get to Corte?

As Corte is located in the middle of Corsica and has no airport, the only way to get to Corte is by car.

You’ll have to arrive in Bastia, Calvi, or Ajaccio and then drive to Corte.

If you’re getting a flight to Corsica, you can choose to land in Bastia, Calvi or Ajaccio.

As always, you should book your plane tickets as early as possible, as the flight prices to Corsica can vary a lot throughout the year!

Use our flight comparator, in partnership with Skyscanner, to check the rates and schedules. It’s a great way to get the best flight prices.

From France, you can also take the ferry to Bastia, L’Île Rousse or Ajaccio.

In any case, you’ll have to rent a car in Corsica.

To get the best price for your car rental, you should use Rentalcars.com website. This very convenient website allows you to compare prices between all the rental companies in Corsica and  also to have a look at customer’s reviews.

It’s the easiest way to find the best deal!

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

Tourist map of Corte

I have created for you a tourist map of Corte 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.


And you, what do you plan to visit during your stay in Corte and its surroundings?

If you have any questions to organize your stay in Corsica, do not hesitate to ask me in comments section below!

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Visit Corte
Visit Corte: the 20 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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