Road-trip to Cap Corse | Must-sees in northern Corsica

Road-trip to Cap Corse | Must-sees in northern Corsica

Fancy a beautiful roadtrip on the Isle of Beauty? Head for Cap Corse for a change of scenery combining beautiful beaches, steep cliffs, charming little villages and authenticity.


It’s hard not to fall under the spell of Corsica, an easily accessible island of beauty with many facets, driven by the pride of its people and unveiling magnificent wild landscapes between sea and mountains. This island of character never ceases to amaze us with the diversity of its landscapes, and it was during a road trip to Cap Corse that we came to appreciate all its beauty. The one of Corsica’s most famous roads. and what a slap in the face! We loved driving along this magnificent coastline, passing from one landscape to the next and being amazed every time: cows on the beach, sheep and pigs along the roads, endless sinusoidal roads, white and black sand beaches and incredible panoramas. Little did I know that we were going to love it here!

Find out more in this article, our favorites and our itinerary in northern Corsica for a change of scenery and a voyage of discovery.

40 km long and 10 km wide, Cap Corse stretches from east to west, and boasts beautiful unspoilt beaches, coves, small fishing ports and unspoilt nature. There’s only one road to go around it: the D80, but know that it is impossible to discover the north of the island in one day or else you have to be crazy and drive for 4 hours without stopping or taking the time! We did it over several days, returning each evening to Erbalunga, our starting point. It is of course possible to take a roadtrip over several days and sleep in stages.

You can consult all our articles on Corsica to help you prepare for your trip:








Erbalunga marks the start of Cap Corse. This charming little port village on the east coast of Cap Corse has inspired many island painters. It’s an authentic pedestrian village, very popular in summer: you’ll find a wide choice of small restaurants and cafés, as well as cobbled streets, vaulted passageways and a square pleasantly shaded by plane and palm trees. Located just 10 kilometers by road from Bastia, the village stretches over a tiny outcrop of land that ends in a ruined Genoese tower, classified as a historical monument in 1995. It’s pretty crazy, but the houses and some of the restaurants are almost right in the water. You’ll get around the village pretty quickly, but I really liked the big flat black rocks on the seaward side. A perfect spot for a sunrise or sunset.

It was here in Erbalunga that we also did our diving refresh, at the diving club Calypso Marine. We wanted to see the famous airplane wreck at a depth of 30 meters, but the weather wasn’t with us on the day. Rym, our instructor, is very professional and attentive, and I would recommend this center with my eyes closed.

We tested several addresses here, including thee restaurant bar U scalu, le pirate restaurant by the sea, U Fragnu and la Terrasse.

→ To stay in Erbalunga you have the magnificent hotel 4* Castel Brando, the Suites Erbalunga a little higher up. Don’t hesitate to look around too, as I’ve seen some lovely B&Bs like The 5 Arches or the Ferme U San Martinu in Sisco.

→ If you’re looking for a small beach not far from Erbalunga, I’d recommend heading to Lavasina beach, a small pebble beach.


Lavasina beach



On our discovery day, a 25-minute drive north of Erbalunga, we made a quick stop at Pietracorbara to discover one of the most beautiful sandy beaches on Cap Corse and easy to do with children. It was very windy and grey that day, so we forgot about swimming, but the view was pretty cool. A short hike of 2.8 km (approx. 1 hr.) is available on the Whitewater Trail along a river. You can also visit the distillerie de Pietracorbara, where you can discover local aperitifs and liqueurs made on site.

→ If you’re looking for a very, very nice hotel where you can rest along the way, I recommend the magnificent 5* Misincu hotel, named after the river that runs through this 22-hectare estate facing the Mediterranean Sea.




From Erbalunga, you can make a short 1h30 loop that takes you through some very beautiful countryside. It’s impossible to miss the small through road to the west coast, which is very narrow and winding, but also very wild. No dwellings, just free-roaming goats when you’re lucky enough to see them.

The route starts at Meria to Morsiglia then continues to Centuri, a cute little fishing village specializing in lobster. We stopped off in Centuri for lunch and a taste of this crustacean. We wanted a table on the terrace at the restaurant le vieux Moulin, but unfortunately everything was fully booked until the end of the service so think about booking in advance.

→ If you want to swim in Centuri, there is the Mute beach.




The Moulin de Mattei, at 365 meters above sea level, is truly one of the most beautiful sights on Cap Corse and a must-see. A 20-minute drive from Macinaggio, you’ll arrive at a parking lot below the Moulin. Just park your car, go through the scrubland and take the little path that takes you to the top in just a few minutes on foot. Access is free of charge.

From the top, thethe 360° view that opens up before you is sublime: the view is unobstructed over the western Cap Corse.

For your information, this ancient windmill is sometimes presented as the emblem of Cap Corse. In 1930, François Mattei bought it and restored it as a showcase for this famous Corsican aperitif., Cap Corse Mattei, founded in 1872 by his father-in-law and cousin.

You’ll continue on your way, passing through Ersa, before reaching Barcaggio. This village is an ideal base for visiting Cap Corse and spending the night.




This wild beach is located at the very end of the island, at the tip of the Corsican peninsula, a 1h20-minute drive from Erbalunga. This white-sand beach with its crystal-clear waters is ideal for snorkeling. It’s also known as the cow beach, where you’ll find wild cows, very quiet and not shy. This beach offers an exceptional view of the Iles Finocchiarola, a protected nature reserve for numerous endemic bird and plant species. It’s a short, easy walk from the parking lot (for which a charge is made in season) along the coast from the beach to Barcaggio. Continuing a little further on foot past the beach, along the customs path, you can reach the very pretty Agnello’s sponge tower. A snack restaurant is hidden behind the dune.




Rogliano is a fairly extensive area, comprising several hamlets and part of the coast, as well as the Finocchiarola islands. You can explore the hamlet of Vignale then Bettolace, one of Cap Corse’s most beautiful mountain villages, with several historic monuments. There’s the beautiful convent of St. Francis to discover, but above all a magnificent panorama of the coast and the Tuscan Archipelago.



By road, take the track indicated at the Macinaggio exit. You’ll arrive at the beautiful beach of Tamarone, a nature reserve home to magnificent birds. Not too crowded, except in August, it remains very wild. There’s a friendly restaurant, the U paradisu open seasonally, serving pizzeria-grilled meats and hearty meals overlooking the sea. Take the short, easy hike (approx. 1.5 hrs), which starts at the beach and follows the coast to the Sainte Marie tower. Tamarone beach can be reached on foot by taking the customs trail from the port of Macinaggio, a 30-45 minute walk. From Tamarone, other beaches are within walking distance, such as island beach facing the Finocchiarola islands, a secluded beach just a 20-minute walk away. Discover also other very quiet beaches and coves that deserve to be discovered: the Santa Maria beach, the Cala Genovese beach or the Cala Francese beach.

From Erbalunga, it’s a 50-minute drive to Tamarone beach.



For hiking enthusiasts, Cap Corse can also be visited by the customs path from Macinaggio to Barcaggio via Centuri. This 19km path runs along the Cap Corse coastline, crossing scrubland, beaches, beautiful coves and cliffs. We promise you beautiful shades of blue, green and ochre all along the different sections! The portion of Macinaggio à Barcaggio takes 3hrs/3hrs 30mins one way to the beach of Baracaggio and would be the most fun and well-known to do.

For those wishing to take a dip in one of the coves or beaches, access on foot is via the customs path. Since the Tamarone beach, continue on your way past the Finocchiarola islands then in front of the Santa Maria de la Chapelle Tower then on to the Cala Genovese Beach, Punta Vecchia and just behind you, the secret beach of Cala Francese.. It is located on the customs path towards Barcaggio, 30 minutes after the Santa Maria de la Chapelle tower. It’s apparently a little haven of peace on 200 meters of sand, as it’s very little visited and known. Don’t forget a hat and plenty of water!

You can also start the hike on foot and then take a boat shuttle from Barcaggio (the only one offering this service) to the San Paulu company which will take you back to Macinaggio. You just need remember to book 1 day in advance on their website.

For the second section from Barcaggio to Centuri, allow around 5 hours’ walking on a steeper path overlooking the sea for much of the way.

More information at the Macinaggio tourist office, which will give you the customs trail map. You can leave your car free of charge at the port, just long enough to make your hike.









In the heart and west of Cap Corse lies Nonza, a charming medieval village perched on a promontory a hundred meters high, overlooking a long black sand beach. It extends over 1.4 km of small grey pebbles and black sand.

It’s not very easy to park in Nonza, as the road is narrow and the place quite well known, but in the end we did what everyone else did, and pulled off to the side of the road (Please note that the village is very busy in summer, making parking difficult, so be sure to arrive early.)

We took advantage of this sunny day to discover this small village on foot, wandering through the narrow streets and admiring the incredible view from the Genoese tower over the turquoise-blue sea, cliffs and mountains. This infinite black sand beach and contrasting raw landscape reminded me of Vik in Iceland, having seen photos of it.

Passing in front of the tower and gaining height, there’s a very nice place for lunch and dinner, the restaurant la Sassa, which also becomes a trendy night spot for young Corsicans. Come and listen to music while sipping cocktails. The restaurant of course serves Corsican specialties, and their menu is quite simple but very good and elaborate. Expect to pay at least €40/p for a starter and shared dessert, a main course and rosé. You can even stop here to quench your thirst, as the setting is truly perfect for admiring the immensity of this beach!

Incidentally, the special feature of this beach, in addition to being black, is that you can leave messages. In fact, you can read them from the restaurant. Thanks to the various flat pebbles and lighter-colored rocks found here and there, travelers can draw or inscribe names. I saw the Eiffel Tower, first names, a religious cross and several hearts.

If you’re motivated to reach the black-sand beach, simply take the stairs and going down the 500 steps. Please note that the beach is not supervised. Access is via a staircase from the roadside.

We spent the whole afternoon in Nonza and returned to Erbalunga in the early evening. We wanted to take advantage of the late afternoon light that accentuates the contrast of the sunset on the other side of the beach. The lights are beautiful and there’s really no one around. You feel you’re all alone in the world.

For us, the beach at Nonza is the the most original beach on Corsica’s west coast.

For the less adventurous, you can head to the Albo pebble beach just before Nonza. Easier access.


Suggested looping route by car: Nonza → Erbalunga

If you’re spending the night in Nonza, I’d advise you to make a dinner reservation at the Table Bocca Fine, summer’s best address. It’s a chef’s cuisine, simple and refined, you’ll love it.

Continue on your way to Canari, there’s a river that’s perfect for swimming in the cool, white water. Enjoy the view and stop wherever you like. Pino Marine is a great stop-off for a coffee break. Go for a swim at the beautiful Anse d’Aliso beach and its turquoise waters, then take the Meria through road back to Erbalunga.

Bear in mind that it’s a 1h20-hour drive from Nonza to Erbalunga, so you can either sleep in or drive there during the day, as we do, because at night you still have to be careful with your driving.




Patrimonio is about a 30-minute drive from Nonza. Known for its vineyards, which stretch over 7 communes, Patrimonio is a must for wine lovers and those wishing to sample wines at estates such as Antoine-Marie Arena, Clos de Bernardi and Stéphanie Olmeta’s estate. The list of the 10 wineries can be found on this site.

You can stay at Hotel Lusticone or the casa Eva Maria with its beautiful swimming pool.





It’s also possible to visit Cap Corse by boat, and you’ll have another viewpoint that’s just as spectacular! Several alternatives are available: from boat hire with or without skipper to organized sea outings, discover the different possibilities.


From Macinaggio : there’s a 2-hour sea walk to Barcaggio, with swimming in the Cap Corse marine park. From May to September, you can spot dolphins and whales offshore! A family outing too. All the information for this outing can be found here on the website


From Bastia: it’s a good compromise that I suggest for discover the Cap Corse coastline by boat if you’re short on time. Leaving from Bastia’s Old Port, sail for 4h30 on a small boat (12 seats) towards the tip of Cap Corse and its protected natural areas and beaches. Magnificent scenery also awaits you, including the beaches of Lavasina, Erbalunga and Tamarone, as well as the Finocchiarola islands and Santa Maria Bay.

➡️ Check availability and book here

→ If you’re looking for a shorter ride of 1h30, I propose this boat trip along the Cap Corse coast from Bastia to the Genoese tower of Sacro.

➡️ Reservations here



→ If you’re looking for another option that offers greater flexibility and freedom, I’ve got the solution you need. It’s perfectly possible to take a trip around Cap Corse, by renting a boat (with or without skipper if you don’t have a license). You’ll be able to sail with complete peace of mind, and stay as long as you like! You’ll be among friends, sharing special, unforgettable moments.


Check availability of boats with or without skipper and make reservations





On our trip to Cap Corse, we had to fly a microlight and discover the beauty of these landscapes from the air. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate that day and we had to cancel the outing! It is also possible to fly a gyrocopter, an unusual activity on Cap Corse but you can also go for a ride stand-up paddle in the Gulf of Saint-Florent

It is imperative to book in high season as these activities are often fully booked. Check departures and availability here









Saint Florent is a very pretty little seaside resort to discover, and an ideal base for your vacation thanks to the many hotels, boat shuttles and restaurants on offer. The heart of the village is very charming with its stores, bars and ice-cream parlors, but don’t miss the view from the Citadelle over the Gulf of Saint Florent at sunset.

→ Je vous conseille ces quelques adresses de logement sur Saint Florent : Hotel Dolce Notte, Hotel Tettola, the Bleu Azur apartment, or even Hotel La Roya



The Agriates desert is a must-see from Saint Florent, on your roadtrip to Cap Corse. This idyllic spot covers an area of around 15,000 hectares and combines maquis, paths and beaches of white sand and turquoise waters. Quite simply, it’s a little paradise on earth, with 40 km of unspoilt, unspoilt coastline that’s well worth the effort, as access to it is sometimes complicated and requires the use of trails.

Don’t forget to stop off at Saleccia beach or Lotu beach, two of Corsica’s most beautiful beaches.

Excursions to the Agriates Desert are generally made from the following 3 towns:

  • Saint-Florent: the most convenient and easy to reach
  • Bastia
  • Calvi


From Saint Florent, you will leave discover the Agriates Desert in different ways, an absolutely sublime place! I tell you all about it in this article.

The perfect way to discover the agriate desert this summer by boat at a very affordable price!

From Saint-Florent, set off for a 6-hour cruise on a 20-meter catamaran, with lunch and swimming break throughout the day in warm, translucent waters! On the programme: sailing along the Agriates desert and its magnificent wild white sandy beaches: Lotu beach, Saleccia beach or Ghignu beach. The catamaran will then set sail for the west coast of Cap Corse and its beaches, as well as the charming village of Nonza. It’s a beautiful, beautiful day ahead, I promise!

⚠️ Remember to book in advance, as this cruise is in great demand. and they sell out fast in high season!


I book here the catamaran cruise and check availability





If you want more privacy and freedom, if you’re with family or friends and you’d like to privatize a boat departing from Saint-Florent, with or without a skipper, you’ll be spoilt for choice by clicking here on this platform: motorboats, sailboats, yachts, boats without a license, with or without a skipper, it’s up to you. Don’t forget to book well in advance as everything is full in summer and high season and you’ll be hard pressed to find what you’re looking for.


➡️ Check boat availability and book now





You can begin or end your discovery of Cap Corse with the beautiful Italian town of Bastia. With its colorful walls, winding alleys and magnificent Citadel, the town boasts some not-to-be-missed sights. It’s a must-see during your stay!

Read the full article on Bastia, our favorites and our best addresses




useful information to prepare your trip to cape corsica



Don’t forget travel insurance!

Before you leave, make sure you’ve taken out travel insurance to avoid any unpleasant surprises! If you’re planning a short break, a long-haul trip or even a round-the-world tour, travel insurance will provide you with the essential cover you need to enjoy your stay with complete peace of mind: cancellation, baggage, assistance, medical expenses, hospitalization, death, repatriation and all the hassles you could avoid. Also opt forCovid cancellation insurance and border closures. Find out more in our article dedicated to helping you to find the best insuranceand on the Chapka, notre partenaire de voyage depuis notre Tour du Monde





In my opinion, the best time to visit Cap Corse is from May to June and from September to October to avoid the tourist flow of July and August. Cap Corse may not be Corsica’s most crowded region in summer, but the désert des Agriates remains popular for its warm turquoise waters.




  • By plane


Bastia airport lies 20 km south of the city center. Many airlines serve Bastia airport so to find the best fare, compare the best flights and get the best price. I often use the Skyscanner flight comparison service.

Flight prices to Corsica vary enormously, so plan ahead.

➡️ Find your flight to Cap Corse with Skyscanner


  • By ferry


You can also to Bastia by ferry since Marseille, Toulon and Nice, but also from Italy.

I recommend that you compare ferry prices to Corsica and book in advance. This site will help you find your crossing at the best price.

You can also compare ferry fares at DirectFerries !



  • Car rental for Cap Corse


You need a car to discover Cap Corse. The roads are in good condition and there’s nothing complicated about driving. Just beware of the more or less wild animals that may be in your path and the winding bends in the north of Cap Corse. On arrival at Bastia airport, the easiest thing to do is rent a car to explore the region. Without a vehicle, it’s very difficult, if not virtually impossible, to visit Bastia’s surrounding area. I advise you to go through Carigami, or compare comparator BSP auto. I use it every day as a travel agent. It allows you to better target your request, compare prices and cars, and select the best-rated rental company. It’s here that I’ve often found the best rates in the month from different rental companies in the country.


➡️ Find here your cheapest car rental with BSP auto

➡️ Find here your cheapest car rental with Carigami



Don’t forget travel insurance!

Before you leave, make sure you’ve taken out travel insurance to avoid any unpleasant surprises! If you’re planning a short break, a long-haul trip or even a round-the-world tour, travel insurance will provide you with the essential cover you need to enjoy your stay in total peace of mind: cancellation, baggage, assistance, medical expenses, hospitalization, death, repatriation and all the other hassles you could avoid. Opt for cancellation insurance in case of Covid and border closures. Read more in our dedicated article to help youfind the best insurance and on the Chapka website, our travel partner since our Round the World Tour



I hope this article has helped you plan your trip to Cap Corse. To request a quote and a tailor-made trips to discover the authentic Corsica, contact me by email at I invite you to read the customized travel where I present my business as a licensed travel agency.

Before you leave, read our other articles on Corsica:






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.