One of the first trips I ever took with my adorable husband was to the French island of Corsica. I have to admit - I might have fallen in love with him right there and then. Situated off the Southeastern coast of France, La Corse is a Mediterranean gem that needs to go on your bucket list, and heck why not consider plans for next summer? Before having kids, we'd spend our time lazing on the beach, exploring beautiful little medieval villages perched on the mountainsides or wining and dining at delicious seafood beach shacks.
Fast forward a few years and we now come back with two munchkins in tow, so our holiday looks... slightly different, so put it mildly. I've come to appreciate how lovely the place is for children and families. There are options for everyone, whether you prefer five star beach resorts or exploring the island by camper van. Here are our top things to do in Corsica with kids:
1- Go to the Beach
Endless stretches of white sandy beach? Check. Sparkling turquoise water surrounded by dramatic red cliffs? Check. Nearby spots for kite surfing, diving or sailing? Check. You could spend your entire trip along the South and Southwest coasts just hopping from one stunning beach to the next, or renting a boat and exploring the hidden inlets that are not accessible by road (no boat license, no problem! Many rental agencies can provide you with a skipper too!) What I appreciate is that many beaches are actually quite shallow so small children can still wade in and splash around comfortably. Older children will love that you can rent kayaks, windsurf equipment or surfboards on many of the larger beaches on the island.
2- Discover Some History
Once ruled by the Greeks and Genoans, the island was briefly independent before the French came a conquerin’ in 1769. Corsica is birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte and also claims to have produced Christopher Columbus. With the different Mediterranean influences and all that attacking that went on back then, Corsica is a cultural treasure; explore the ancient sites and watch for the crumbling Genoise towers at all of the extreme points of the island (built to watch for oncoming warships from, well, Genoa. Duh.) Stroll through the old towns of Bonifacio, Porto Vecchio or Bastia and soak in the cobblestone streets, medieval battlements and centuries-old buildings.
3- Eat all the food. All of it!
Be prepared to gain a few ‘cuz every meal will be a feast. Local delicacies abound – my favourites include anything with local chestnuts, honey or Brocciu (goat cheese). The abundance of wild boar in the woods make for some delicious stews and charcuterie (French cured and dried sausage). If you’re a seafood fan, try the local fish stew, catch of the day, local lobsters or just get a gigantic fish platter, as pictured above. If your kids are not adventurous eaters, don't fret - most restaurants have a kid-friendly menu enfants.
4 - Go for a pony or horseback ride
A highlight of our trip was the pony ride along the river trail for the kids. They rode ponies (and a donkey!) across the hillside and swam with the ponies in a shallow river. There are many options across the island for pony and horseback riding, and many places offer sunrise or sunset horseback rides on the beach for adults too.
5- Explore the great outdoors
Corsica is heaven for outdoor enthusiasts. Aside from the water sports on the beach (see #1!), there are also many places across the island offering canyoning, river rafting, climbing, scuba diving, camping and fishing! There is even skiing in the mountains in the winter. If you have active teenagers, this is an amazing place for them to get out and get moving.
Tips for Your Trip:
- To avoid the crowds (and get better prices), don't visit in July or August when the island is in peak tourist mode. The best months to go are June or September.
- If you do need to go in peak summer, book everything early, at least 4-6 months in advance. Do not start looking in June for August and expect to find any good options for hotels or rental cars.
- On that, you will need to rent a car. Taxis are incredibly expensive and need to be booked in advance, and there are no other options to get around besides driving.
- If your children (or you for that matter) are prone to motion sickness, bring along some medication. The roads are extremely winding, and we have never met a kid who has not gotten car sick on long rides across the island.
Ready to head to La Belle Corse? See you there next year!
August Society Founder & Creative Director