Visit Porto-Vecchio: Top 17 Things To Do and Must-See Attractions

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Things to Do in Porto-Vecchio: The 17 Best Places to Visit (All Highlights)

You’re going to Porto-Vecchio and you’re looking for the best things to do?

You’re at the right place!

In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared this guide of the 17 best things to do in Porto-Vecchio, with all points of interest and must-see attractions.

In addition to this list of things to do and activities, I will also tell you everything you need to know about the amazing beaches of the surroundings: they are simply some of the most beautiful in Corsica!

And at the end of the article, I will give you itineraries to visit Porto-Vecchio in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 days (or even a week!) as well as my selection of the best accommodations depending on your budget.

So, what are the best things to do in Porto-Vecchio? Where to stay?

Visit Porto-Vecchio: All Must-See attractions

1. The old town and the Citadel

Let’s start this Porto-Vecchio travel guide with its small old town and citadel

You can start your walk from République square, the city’s main square.

There, you will find a few bars and restaurants. If you’re looking for home-made ice cream, you should definitely try the “Glacier de la Place”, the best ice-cream shop in Porto-Vecchio.

Continue your stroll in the city’s paved alleys to discover a few small shops and historical buildings:

  • The Church of St. John the Baptist, located on République Square.
  • The Genoese gate: along with the “5 bastions”, it’s one of the ancient fortifications’ only remains.
  • The Bastion de France: its panoramic terrace offers a magnificent 360° view of the Gulf of Porto-Vecchio. The entrance costs 2€.

Once you’ve finished visiting the old town, walk down to the marina. With its many bars, restaurants and ice-cream shops along the quays, its the perfect place to enjoy a meal or a drink on a terrace.

Voyage Tips - Advice

As the road between the port and the citadel is quiet steep, you can take the small tourist train, departing every 20 minutes in summer and connecting Porto Vecchio’s lower and upper town.

You can also opt for the cheaper shuttle bus doing the same trip.

Porto Vecchio
Porto Vecchio

2. Rondinara beach

No matter if you’ve decided to go on a 1 week vacation to Porto-Vecchio, or if you plan to just spend a few days there during your itinerary in Corsica, you really have to discover the splendid beaches located in the city’s surroundings.

Many of them are ranked among Corsica’s most beautiful beaches!

The first beach you can discover near Porto-Vecchio is Rondinara.

This beautiful fine sand beach offers calm and translucent waters. It’s the perfect place for a relaxing swim!

With its large ocre rocks on the water’s edge, the centre of the beach is really pretty, and therefore very busy during high season.

If you are looking for calm, you should thus head to the northern side on the beach, which is much quieter.

On the beach, you can also rent deckchairs and umbrellas and enjoy a beach restaurant. 

If you want to reach Rondinara from Porto-Vecchio, it’s very simple:

  • Take the T10 road towards Bonifacio for 13 km
  • Turn left towards Suartone/Rondinara.

Voyage Tips - Advice

You’ll find a large paid parking lot (5€/day) close to the Southern entrance of Rondinara beach, but there is another small free car park (at least it was free when I went there 😄) on the left, next to the Northern access to the beach.

Rondinara Beach Porto-Vecchio
Rondinara Beach, near Porto-Vecchio

3. Palombaggia beach

During your stay in Porto-Vecchio, you should also go to Palombaggia Beach.

Just like the other beaches in the area, this beautiful beach bordered by pine trees features turquoise waters and white sand. As it’s the most famous beach in Southern Corsica, you’ll find it on many postcards of the island.

This magnificent beach is often ranked among the most beautiful in the world. It’s therefore very busy, but clearly worth a visit!

There are several trendy bars and cafés all along the beach, and you can also rent deckchairs and umbrellas. The place is rather chic and trendy.

From Porto-Vecchio, it takes about 15 minutes by car to reach Palombaggia:

  • Take the T10 roads towards Bonifacio
  • Then, follow the Palombaggia signposts for about 10 km.

Voyage Tips - Advice

As in Rondinara, there is a paid parking lot (5€/day) near Palombaggia beach. You can also park on the free parking spaces along the road, then walk to the beach.

You should arrive early if you want a free parking space, especially during summer!

Palombaggia Beach Corsica
Palombaggia Beach, near Porto-Vecchio

4. Tamaricciu beach

Tamaricciu Beach is located only a 5-minute walk through the pine forest from Palombaggia.

You’ll love this long white sand beach, with its big rocks and small islets in the water. It looks a bit like the Lavezzi Islands!

There, you’ll enjoy a great family atmosphere, completely different from Palombaggia.

Voyage Tips - Advice

During your short stroll between Palombaggia and Tamaricciu, you’ll discover a small cove, with big rocks at the water’s edge and a huge pine tree overlooking a stone wall.

This place illustrates many postcards from Palombaggia!

Tamaricciu
Tamaricciu Beach

5. Santa Giulia beach

Santa Giulia beach is another renowned beach located close to Porto-Vecchio. It’s a great place to spend a relaxing afternoon swimming and sunbathing.

Bordered by mountains, this beautiful beach offers shallow and calm waters, and is therefore ideal if you’re on a family holiday in Corsica. Just like Rondinara and Palombaggia, this beach is very busy during summer.

In Santa Giulia, you can enjoy a wide range of nautical activities, such as water-skiing, towed buoys and stand up paddle.

There are also a several bars and restaurants along the beach, and you can rent deckchairs and umbrellas. 

Drive for about 15 minutes from Porto-Vecchio to reach Santa Giulia beach:

  • Take the N198 road towards Bonifacio and reach Precojo
  • There, take the second left in the direction of Santa Giulia.
Santa Giulia Beach Corsica
Santa Giulia Beach

6. San Ciprianu beach

Let’s continue this guide of Porto-Vecchio’s most beautiful beaches with San Ciprianu.

This long white sand beach located in a sheltered bay offers beautiful shallow waters. It’s thus a great place if you’re travelling to Corsica with children.

The Southern part of San Ciprianu beach, where the bars and restaurants are locaed, is often very crowded. It’s however a greatplace to enjoy many nautical activities, such as parasailing.

If you’re looking for a quieter and wilder environment, you should go North of the beach, towards the ponds!

To reach San Ciprianu beach from Porto-Vecchio:

  • Drive north on the T10 road for about 4.5 km, then turn right on the D468 road towards Saint-Cyprien.
San Ciprianu Beach Corsica
San Ciprianu Beach, in Corsica

7. Pinarellu beach

Located North of Porto-Vecchio, Pinarellu beach is a large white sand beach bordered by the pine forest. 

Right next to the beach, you will discover a small port. There, you can enjoy a wide range of nautical activities: water-skiing, wake-boarding, towed buoys or jet-skiing. And if you want to rent deckchairs and umbrellas, go to the small private beach located nearby.

You can also take a short stroll to the old Genoese tower, built at the end of the peninsula. As it’s located on a small islet, so you’ll have to get your feet wet!

From Porto-Vecchio, drive North on the T10 road towards Sainte-Lucie. Then, follow the signposts to reach Pinarellu beach. 

Pinarellu Beach
Pinarellu Beach

8. Carataggio beach

It’s time to conclude this list of Porto Vecchio’s most beautiful beaches with Carataggio.

Its clearly the less crowded beach in Porto Vecchio’s surroundings, as it isn’t well indicated, and as you can’t get there by car. Often nicknamed “Tahiti Beach”, this wild beach offers fine sand and turquoise waters. 

Park your car along the road, close to Foce Inglesa and Campo Ranch. From there, walk for about 20 minutes through the maquis to reach Carataggio beach.

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you do some research on the Internet, you might see that Carataggio beach has some bad reviews.

It has nothing to do with the beach itself!

Someone recently built a small beach restaurant there. It’s completely illegal, as this beach is located in the Bouches de Bonifacio Nature Reserve.

The restaurant’s owner destroyed most of the maquis to make a 4WD trail to reach his restaurant. He’s also quite aggressive towards naturists, even if they were tolerated on this beach before.

The local environmental organizations have sued him, hopping he’ll be forced to demolish his restaurant.

Carataggio Beach Corsica
Carataggio Beach, in Corsica

9. Boat trip around Porto-Vecchio

Now that you’ve discovered the splendid beaches around Porto-Vecchio, how about doing a cruise to the Lavezzi Islands?

These islands are offering magnificent beaches and coves. It’s the perfect place to take a dip!

From the port of Porto-Vecchio, you’ll sail along the coast, towards Palombaggia and Rondinara beaches. Then, you’ll reach the Cape of Pertusato and discover an exceptional panorama over the cliffs of Bonifacio.

After a typical lunch served onboard, you’ll get off the boat to discover the Lavezzi Islands. There, you will enjoy a relaxing afternoon swimming and sunbathing!

You’ll find more about information about these cruises on the official website.

And if you’re looking for a more intimate trip, you can opt for a sail boat cruise to the Lavezzi Islands, for up to 12 people.

Visit the official website if you want more details about these boat trips.

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

Lavezzi Islands
The Lavezzi Islands

10. The best outdoor activities to do around Porto-Vecchio

During your holidays in Porto-Vecchio, you’ll certainly spend a lot of time at the beach. But did you know that you can enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities in Southern Corsica?

  • Tree Climbing, near the Cavu river
  • Canyoning in Porto-Vecchio’s surroundings. You’ll have the choice between the Pulishellu canyon, ideal for beginners, or Purcaraccia or Vacca canyons if you’re more experienced.
  • Downhill mountain biking: there are 30 tracks in Zonza and the Aiguilles de Bavella, 40 km from Porto-Vecchio.
  • Hiking: you can opt for a guided day walk to discover the Coscione Plateau or the “Pozzines”
  • A helicopter flight to admire Corsica from the sky!
  • Quad biking in the Ospedale forest
  • A 4WD excursion to discover Alta Rocca’s typical villages
  • A 1 hour boat-trip with underwater vision starting from the beach of Pinarellu
  • Horse riding
  • Seabob, an electric vehicle going at more than 20 km/h above or under the surface.
  • Diving in the Cerbicale Islands Nature Reserve, facing Palombaggia beach
  • Enjoy many nautical activities, such as kayaking, water-skiing, paddle, jet-skiing,…
Quad biking Corsica
Quad Biking in Corsica

The 7 best things to do around Porto-Vecchio

You’ve already discovered Porto-Vecchio’s best beaches and the Lavezzi Islands? Let’s continue your itinerary in Corsica and visit the city’s surroundings!

Here is a list of the best places to visit around Porto-Vecchio.

11. The Cavu Valley

The Cavu Valley is located a 35-minute drive from Porto-Vecchio. 

In this forest, you’ll discover a beautiful river with many natural swimming pools. Take a dip in its cristal clear water, enjoy refreshing waterfalls, and spend the afternoon sunbathing on the huge granite slabs!

The place offers a magnificent scenery and is clearly worth a visit.

This beautiful natural site looks a bit like the Fango Valey (between Calvi and Ajaccio) and the forest of Bonifatu (towards Calvi). You’ll notice that if you’ve already visited these places during your road trip in Corsica!

The Cavu Valley is very popular with locals, as it’s the perfect place for a family outing near Porto-Vecchio.

The river is located right next to the road, and there are many free parking spaces. There is also a bar-restaurant if you want to have lunch on the spot.

You can also enjoy many other outdoor activities in the valley, such as tree climbing, mountain biking or hiking.

Cavu Valley Corsica
The Cavu Valley, in Corsica

12. The Ospedale

The Ospedale forest, located 30 minutes by car from Porto-Vecchio, is the perfect place if you want to enjoy a refreshing day in a beautiful natural site.

On the road to the Ospedale, you’ll admire splendid viewpoints of the Gulf of Porto-Vecchio. Don’t forget to stop for a souvenir photo!

Continue your route to discover a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains. It looks a bit like Canada and Quebec.

You can also enjoy several hikes in the Ospedale forest. The most famous trail goes to Corsica’s largest waterfall: the Piscia di Gallu.

The 45-minute walk to the waterfall isn’t really difficult, but there is a very steep (but short) descent at the end. It’s even harder to climb back up, but don’t worry, I’ve seen some people doing it with a baby carrier.

The Ospedale forest and lake Corsica
The Ospedale lake, in Corsica

13. The Aiguilles de Bavella

The Aiguilles de Bavella are clearly among Corsica’s best places to hike.

There are many marked trails starting from Bavella Pass, in the Regional Natural Park of Corsica. During your hike, you’ll discover splendid views of the mountains and the Aiguilles de Bavella.

You should do the “Trou de la Bombe” (literally “Bomb Hole”) trail. This easy hike in the shade of a pine forest takes you to a 8-meter diameter hole, named tafonu in Corsican. This impressive hole carved into the rocks is overlooking a large cliff.

Count about 2h30 for the round trip.

And if you’re looking for a thrilling experience, you can also enjoy downhill mountain biking on one of Bavella’s 30 marked trails. You’ll find more information on this website.

aiguilles de Bavella
The Aiguilles de Bavella

14. The villages of Alta Rocca

During your holidays in Porto-Vecchio, you should really visit the authentic villages of Alta Rocca. These typical villages are located in the middle of the mountains and bordered by the Aiguilles de Bavella, the Ospedale and the Coscionu plateau.

During your visit, you’ll discover ancient bridges, mills, fountains and many beautiful small churches!

The best places to visit in Alta Rocca are:

  • Carbini and its 11th-century Roman church with an impressive 7-story bell tower.
  • Levie: there, you can discover the Alta Rocca Museum, dedicated to the village’s History and heritage.
  • Sainte-Lucie-de-Tallano, renowned for its excellent olive oil, produced in an old mill.
  • Altarène and its beautiful panoramic view.
  • Zoza: discover the old bridge and take a dip in the river’s many natural swimming pools.
  • Quenza, the starting point of the Coscione Plateau hikes.
  • Zonza, Alta Rocca’s most visited village with its few hotels and restaurants. Don’t miss the Resistance Museum, dedicated to the local Resistance during the Second World War.

Voyages Tips - Advice

You can also opt for a guided tour of Alta Rocca’s mountain villages.

The driver picks you up at your hotel, and takes you to Carbini, Sainte-Lucie, Quenza and Zonza. During this full-day trip, you’ll also stop at the Bavella Pass and Ospedale lake.

Click the button below to book this guided tour from Porto-Vecchio:

Zonza Corsica
Zonza, in Corsica

15. Bonifacio

If you want to do a great day-trip from Porto-Vecchio, you should definitely go to Bonifacio, located only 40 minutes away by car.

During your visit, you’ll discover Bonifacio’s impressive citadel, perched on white limestone cliffs and overlooking the sea. It’s clearly one of the best places to visit in Southern Corsica! 

You’ll find every information you need to plan your trip to Bonifacio in my article: Visit Bonifacio: the definitive guide.

Voyage Tips - Advice

You can also opt for a full-day trip to Bonifacio.

A guide will pick you up at your hotel, and you’ll enjoy a guided visit of the city, in a group of up to 8 people only. This excursion also includes a short cruise. 

Click the button below to book your tour:

Bonifacio
Bonifacio

16. The archaeological sites around Porto-Vecchio

There are several small archaeological sites you can visit in Porto-Vecchio’s surroundings:

  • Cucuruzzu and Capula: there, you’ll discover the remains of an old fortified house dating from the Bronze age, and a medieval stronghold from the 10th century. Count about 1h30 for the visit. The entrance costs 5€50 per person, including an audio guide.
  • Ceccia, renowned for its 1,350 BC circular monument and beautiful view! Count about 40 minutes for the round trip. The entrance is free.
  • Araghju and its prehistoric fortress with a dungeon and a fortified wall. The round trip takes about 1 hour, and the entrance is free.
  • Tappa, an ancient site dating back to the 4th millennium BC.
Cucuruzzu Archaeological Site Corsica
Cucuruzzu archaeological site

17. The Heritage Trails

If you’re a hiking lover, you’ll certainly go to the Aiguilles de Bavella and the Ospedale during your stay in Porto-Vecchio. But you can discover many other nice trails in the city’s surroundings!

The other best places to hike around Porto-Vecchio are:

  • Oriu di I Canni trail: from the hamlet of Canni, walk on the old sheperd’s path to discover the Oriu, a massive rock carved by erosion and used as a shelter for shepherds!
  • I Strittoni: from the village of Monaccia d’Aullène, follow the marked trail to reach the Orii. As in Canni, these rocks carved by erosion have been transformed into houses, graves, silos,… You’ll also discover the village’s 14 mills.
  • Giovannali path, starting from the village of Carbini. There are several signposts along the trail, if you want to learn more about the village’s history.
  • Serra di Scopamena Heritage Trail, to discover Chjaspula mill and the old chestnut washing and drying room.
Oriu di I Canni
The “Oriu di I Canni”, on the Heritage Trail

How many days to visit Porto-Vecchio?

Well, the answer is simple: it only depends on how much time you want to spend at the beach!

If you want to have a short glance at Porto Vecchio’s best beaches, or if you want to spend a relaxing day at only one of them, you won’t need to stay more than 1 day in Porto-Vecchio.

On the other hand, if you’re staying in Porto-Vecchio for 2 days or more, you’ll have some time to discover the region’s most beautiful beaches, and also hike in the surroundings.

Here are my recommandations to make the most of your stay in Porto-Vecchio:

1 day in Porto-Vecchio

If you only have 1 day in Porto-Vecchio, you should discover:

  • Rondinara beach
  • Santa Giuilia beach
  • Palombaggia beach

After visiting these 3 beautiful beaches, you can end your day swimming and sunbathing towards Palombaggia, Tamaricciu or Carataggio!

In the evening, take a stroll in Porto Vecchio’s old town, and enjoy a nice meal in a restaurant located on République Square or in the Marina. 

2 days in Porto-Vecchio and its surroundings

If you’re staying in Porto-Vecchio for 2 days, in addition to the first day above, you can add:

  • Another day at the beach: choose the one that suits you best! You can also discover a wide range of nautical activities, such as kayaking or towed buoys.
  • A day in the Cavu valley to take a dip in beautiful natural swimming pools. There, you can also opt for a tree-climbing experience in the adventure park located nearby, or for a nice walk in the forest.

3 days in Porto-Vecchio

If you spend 3 days in Porto-Vecchio, in addition to the 2 days above, you can add a full-day cruise to the Lavezzi Islands.

4, 5 days or a week in Porto-Vecchio

If you’re planning to spend 4, 5 days or even a week in Porto-Vecchio, you should:

  • Visit Bonifacio
  • Go tothe Ospedale forest and lake. There, you’ll discover many marked trails. Don’t forget your picnic!
  • Hike to the “Trou de la Bombe” from the Bavella Pass
  • Visit Alta Rocca’s authentic villages, and discover the archaeological sites of Cucuruzzu and Capula (located between Levie and Zonza)
  • Go canyoning, mountain biking or quad biking for a thrilling experience.

And at the end of each day, take advantage of your accommodation in Porto-Vecchio to relax at one of the beautiful beaches located nearby!

Where to stay in Porto-Vecchio

  • Residence Marina Di Santa Giulia: Located 800 metres from Santa Giulia beach. The modern and bright apartments and villas, fully equipped with dishwasher, barbecue, and a private terrace are starting from 70€ per night. Strong points: the swimming pool, the location, the sea view, the comfortable apartments. A great choice in Porto-Vecchio for its exceptional value for money!
  • Hotel Costa Salina: Located at the end of Porto Vecchio’s marina. This hotel offers modern and spacious double rooms with balcony and a sea view for most of them. The prices starts at 115€ per night. Breakfast for 16€. What I loved: the swimming pool, the free private parking, the comfortable bedding, the kind staff.
  • The Balamina: Located 2 km away from the port. The spacious and bright double rooms with a refined decoration are starting from 140€ per night, breakfast available for an extra 17€. Strong points: the indoor swimming pool, the rooftop terrace, the kind staff.
  • Residence Santa Giulia Palace: Located 800 metres from Santa Giulia beach. You’ll love these modern and comfortable apartments, well-equipped and for up to 6 people. The prices starts at 160€ per night. Strong points: the swimming pool, the great location close to the beach, the beautiful view of the bay, the quiet environment. It’s my recommendation for a family holiday in Porto-Vecchio!
  • Hotel Le Roi Théodore & Spa: Located only a 5-minute drive from the city centre. This luxury hotel offers spacious double rooms starting from €200 per night. Breakfast for 12€. What I loved: the beautiful garden and outdoor swimming pool, the Spa, the heated indoor pool, the excellent breakfast, the delicious restaurant. It’s my recommendation for a luxury stay in Porto-Vecchio!
Hôtel Le Roi Théodore & Spa - Porto-Vecchio
Hôtel Le Roi Théodore & Spa – Porto-Vecchio

Where to eat in Porto-Vecchio

  • L’Alivi: this restaurant is located on the road between Porto-Vecchio and the Marina Di Fiori, in the Pezza Cardo locality. It offers a beautiful setting and a very good menu, based on local products, excellent meat and homemade french fries! Everything is delicious, copious and the staff is really kind. Don’t miss their homemade desserts, they’re also excellent!
  • At Casa Corsa: located on the port of Porto-Vecchio. This restaurant serves great specialties from Corsica, including stir-fry veal and brocciu cannelloni. You’ll love these tasty and copious cuisine, directly served in the frying pan! The staff is also very kind and efficient. You should book your table in advance.
  • Pizza du Bastion: Located at the foothill of the Bastion de France, in Porto-Vecchio’s old town. If you’re looking for a great pizza, made with fresh products, you’re in the right place! You can eat on the spot or take away. They also deliver in the surroundings.

How to get to Porto-Vecchio?

By plane

The nearest airport to Porto-Vecchio is Figari airport, located about 20 km from the city centre.

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

If you want to visit Porto-Vecchio and its surroundings, you should really rent a car. It’s the only way to reach most of the places I’m talking about in this article!

To get the best price for your car rental, you should use Rentalcars.com website. It will allow you to compare prices between all the car rental companies in Figari or Porto-Vecchio.

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

By ferry

There are several ferry boats connecting Porto-Vecchio to France and Italy.

Tourist map of Porto-Vecchio

I have created for you a tourist map of Porto-Vecchio 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 stay in Porto-Vecchio?

Book your trip now and save money!

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Visit Porto-Vecchio
Visit Porto-Vecchio: the 17 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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