Corsica: things to do in Bonifacio

33 million years ago, Sardinia and Corsica got unstuck. Sardinia is now approaching Italy. Meanwhile, the two islands still have common features. The dialect spoken in Sardinia’s northern region Gallura, is similar to the one in southern Corsica. Bonifacio is now the only Italian town left in Corsica. It’s a beautiful town with heaps to see and do.

Corsicans aren’t very friendly, I’d been warned. Not very welcoming. I ask Marco, our Sardinian guide, and by now, friend about this. “They say people don’t smile as much in Corsica,” he replies. “I don’t know. Some people smile. Some do not. Like everywhere else.” Then he continues, mischievously: “Of course, in Sardinia, people smile all the time. Even while robbing you. There you are, talking with smiling people and all of a sudden you’re wondering: Where’s my purse?” Seems Sardinians have self-irony.

Here are a few things to do in Bonifacio

Approaching the town from the sea is wonderful:

Bonifacio things to do

Bonifacio comprises porte and haute ville. A little train whisks you between the two for 5 Euros, commentary included going up. Commentary in French and Italian, that is. Natural enough, I think. But an English woman is very displeased indeed. “What? No English? Really!”

I’m secretly amused.

Porte is interesting enough; heaps of shops and cafés along the waterfront. Many of them look very inviting; great venues for people-watching on this busy day. But do go up to haute ville with its steep, narrow roads. Though stairs is a better word. Stairs with deep steps. Still, cars are allowed, driving up and down the stairs.

Walking around the back alleys (or back stairs, rather) of haute ville, we stumble upon interesting sights everywhere. Laundry drying, grannies knitting and chatting, old men playing chess, all very Italian. And the view… well, have a look:

Haute ville also has its touristic trade: t-shirts, bath towels, jewellery, post cards; the usual suspects are peddled within its ancient walls. My daughter takes a liking to corky souvenirs. We end up with a cork note book, a cork map of Corsica and several cork post cards. They seem fragile; I doubt they will remain intact through Europe’s postal system.

Again, I wonder what it’s like here out of season. Completely void of life? Like Sardinia, Corsica warrants a closer examination. On horse, by foot, bicycle or by car. It seems I just have to return. Some January.


Bonifacio harbour


Parting views

10 Responses to “Corsica: things to do in Bonifacio”

  1. Sonja 20 May 2011 0905 #

    Love this info on a place I’ve never been, but would love to visit.
    Sonja recently posted..Photo Friday- Blame It On the Rain

  2. Dominique 20 May 2011 1548 #

    Love the boat with its own little on-board garden!
    Dominique recently posted..Photo Friday- Sixties celebration in Canton- Ohio

  3. inka 22 May 2011 1401 #

    Thanks for this lovely post Sophie. Corsica is very high on my agenda of places to visit and this info is invaluable.
    inka recently posted..London’s most haunted house

  4. David from Quillcards 22 May 2011 1427 #

    Is the old city within the walls that we can see in the last photo?
    David from Quillcards recently posted..Canaries In The Coal Mines- Thoughts For Endangered Species Day

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 22 May 2011 2019 #

      @David – Yes, it is. Wonderful, isn’t it?

  5. Vera Marie Badertscher 22 May 2011 2110 #

    It occurs to me that I’ve never seen pictures of Corsica before. What a fascinating place. Thanks for the introduction!
    Vera Marie Badertscher recently posted..Questions and Winners

  6. Jason 27 May 2011 0144 #

    Corsica is lovely and your descriptions and photos certainly do it justice.
    Jason
    Jason recently posted..The La Paz Witches Market

  7. Don Faust 2 June 2011 2339 #

    I love all the old Italian narrow stone streets (most of which look like pedestrian only). I’d hate to compete with a car on the narrow streets – er… stairs.
    Don Faust recently posted..Cruising Carnival- Magic-style- Cruise Ship Excursion to Taormina

  8. Nancie 13 June 2011 1040 #

    I’ve been reading so many posts about Europe lately………..I want to go back. I’ve been so spoiled with the “cheapness” of Asia I’d probably have a heart attack in Europe :)

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