Corsica, France

Unlike the nearest stretch of mainland France, this little island isn’t ritzy in the slightest. In fact, it's closer to Tuscany than St Tropez both geographically and culturally: it’s laid-back, low-key and ever so outdoorsy, so hikers, cyclists and swimmers are all in their element. But beach bums will survive too, getting by on ravishing stretches of coastline and clear, inviting waters. History buffs will find the odd rustic rampart and foodies can venture into isolated hilltop villages for olives and wine in the soothing sun.

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Areas in Corsica

When to go

Active types will find the fresher spring and autumn air more conducive to hiking and biking, but September is sunny, blissfully crowd-free and even more affordable than July or August. If you can, do.

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Getting there

  • Planes

    Corsica has four international airports, of which two can be reached directly from the UK with easyJet. Fly to Bastia (in the north) from Manchester or Gatwick, or to Ajaccio (in the south-west) from Gatwick.
  • Boats

    There are boats from the French mainland from various ports, including Marseilles, Toulon and Nice. Several of the ferries from France carry cars, as does the ferry from Savona on the Italian mainland. Check www.corsica-ferries.co.uk for details.
  • Trains

    Take the Eurostar to Paris or Lille, catch an onward TGV to Nice and then take a ferry to one of four ports (www.corsica-ferries.co.uk). You can book the full train journey with Rail Europe (www.raileurope.co.uk). You may need to take a breather in Nice. On the island itself, there's a limited but scenic train service that's worth making a day trip for.
  • Automobiles

    If you want to explore this mountainous island, a hire car is your best bet; most of the major rental companies are represented at the airport.