News & resources

The latest from Portman
Corsica's hotels are generally small, often boutique and sometimes very exclusive and that's the way the island is staying. There aren't many places in the Med that said no to mass tourism, but Corsica has made a virtue of it and let's all be thankful for that.

At roughly two and a half times the size of Majorca and mainly mountainous, Corsica is never going to feel overrun with tourists. You're doubtless mostly thinking about the coastal area, which amounts to more than 1,000km. One day you're in a scaled down version of St Tropez, the next looking at the white sand and azure sea you once went all the way to the Caribbean for; and then another day approaching a cove accessible only by boat against a backdrop of vertiginous cliffs.

When it comes to cliffs and mountains, Corsica does it so well. The island is a giant uplift of granite (the highest point, Monte Cinto, is nearly 9,000 feet) and its centre resembles the southern approaches to the Alps, complete with pine trees, ravines and gushing rivers. Some of the landscapes are UNESCO World Heritage sites and in winter, you can even Ski here, although Alpine resorts have nothing to worry about.

In complete contrast, the north of the Island contains the Desert des Agriates, a 40km stretch of protected arid scrub coast dissected by just one road. The best way to see it - and much of Corsica, is on foot, as a coastal path runs the entire length. Hiking is huge here - and if you have the time and energy, you can walk the 112-mile GR20 trail. It should take you a fortnight, slicing north to south through the centre of the island and staying in mountain gites en route. Be warned however. It's no walk in the park.

If it's just a taste of wilderness that you want, try a day's excursion to the 10 uninhabited Lavezzi islands. They lie between Corsica and Sardinia and give you the chance to snorkel, sunbathe and really escape, but still be home in time for tea.

You get the idea by now; Corsica is the sort of place that can be languidly luxurious, or physically very challenging. The compromise option can mean days on a beach coupled with trips inland for canyoning, kayaking or rafting, your exertions come with the promise afterwards of Corsican food - something that, given the proximity to Sardinia, means an Italian influence on an already great cuisine. Throw in the local wines, artisan goat and sheep's cheese and you've got the ideal holiday recipe.

Whether you're a couple wanting a romantic break or a family looking for uncrowded beaches, Corsica will win you over. The French like to keep the island for themselves, so don't go telling anyone how wonderful it is.