What to do in Bastia | Must-sees

What to do in Bastia | Must-sees

Are you visiting Bastia and wondering what you can discover? Discover our must-sees in this pretty Corsican town


I’ve often been told that Bastia isn’t a pretty town, but I wanted to make up my own mind and I don’t regret having stopped there at all. I found it very similar to Italian towns: aged, colorful facades, a historic citadel, charming squares, narrow streets, a relief layout and beautiful architecture. Bastia has a singular authenticity unlike any other Corsican town.

It is also the ideal starting point for discovering Cap Corse and the Agriates desert (40 minutes by car), as the town has a port where ferries arrive from Marseille, Toulon and Nice, as well as an airport. The city isn’t very big, but you’ll need a good long day to explore it on foot, especially if you want to do a bit of shopping, stop off at charming cafés or restaurants and take a leisurely stroll.


Good Plan: The town’s tourist office, located on Place Saint Nicolas, provides you with a rather well-done map of the town, with an itinerary to follow so as not to miss the main places of interest.

To help you prepare for your trip to Corsica, take a look at our articles on the destination:




Discover our walking itinerary




We started our visit to Bastia with the pretty and emblematic Place Saint-Nicolas, opposite the ferry terminal and recognizable by the statue of Napoleon right in the middle. It’s the kind of square we love, a place where life is good, where locals gather on the terraces for lunch, a drink or simply a chat in the shade under the hundred-year-old plane trees.

This large square is also the venue for numerous events throughout the year: the chocolate and Corsican delicacies fair in October, concerts in summer, an ice rink for Christmas. For vintage enthusiasts, a large flea market and brocante are held on Sunday mornings.

This is also where we discovered the beautiful Mattei boutique founded in 1872 and famous for its inimitable aperitifs, including Cap Mattei, made with Corsican mistelles, cinchona and a host of exotic plants. You’ll need to step inside for the decoration, but also to sample the various bottles on sale at the bar. The welcome was warm and the Corsicans gave us some great tips and addresses to try out.

It’s also from this square that you can board the little train for a 50-minute guided tour of Bastia’s main sights. All information on the Ticket sales are on their official website.




From Place Saint Nicolas, two parallel streets are a must for shopping: Boulevard Paoli and Rue César Campinchi. Here you’ll find island designer boutiques, big brand names, stores selling local produce, tea rooms and cafés.



Continue your visit by la rue Napoléon, as an extension of Place Saint-Nicolas, you are now entering the authentic Terra Vecchia district, the oldest in Bastia.

This inviting pedestrian street is home to artisan and designer boutiques, as well as stores selling local products and souvenirs. We stopped for a few minutes in front:

  • L’Oratoire Saint-Roch with its pale yellow façade, 4 columns and interior lined with gilding and red silks.
  • The oratory of the Immaculate Conception and its cladding of Carrara marble slabs. The square in front of the oratory is made up of a mosaic of pebbles, a traditional Genoese practice that forms a beautiful sunburst.

For a gourmet break, stop off at the boutique A Biscutteria (3 Rue Napoléon) to buy Corsican cookies, but also in the concept store In Tinella (15 Rue Napoléon) to bring home some good Corsican cheese and U Country (4 rue Napoléon) to buy farmhouse and PDO charcuterie, artisan jams, PDO honey, olive oil, etc…




The market square called by Corsicans « u mercà »is located halfway between the Old Port and Place Saint-Nicolas. You can also take the little ruelle de la Création to get to this picturesque district, where the Bastia market takes place every weekend. This lively traditional market once again brings together local producers delighted to share their delicious local produce with you. Brocciu doughnuts, coppa and lonzo! This is also where we bought delicious canistrellis from an artisan patissier (9 place de l’hôtel de ville ).




At the end of the market square, you’ll come across one of Bastia’s unmissable religious monuments, the 17th-century Church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste , considered Corsica’s largest church and a listed historic monument. Its imposing Baroque façade is highly visible from the Old Port and the Citadel. The two 70-metre-high coachmen are clearly visible. We didn’t go inside, but apparently the richly decorated interior is worth a visit for its many works of art and the decoration of its nave.




Situated between the Citadel and the Place du Marché, Bastia’s old port is one of the city’s must-sees, a place to relax and enjoy life, especially early in the morning. Sitting on a terrace, enjoy a cup of coffee as you watch the fishermen return with the day’s catch, take in the first glimmer of sunlight and watch the town slowly come to life. At the end of the day, it’s best to choose an artisanal ice cream while gazing at the boats and strolling along the quays.




I’d spotted this little corner of Bastia linking the Citadel and its colorful streets to the Old Port. Located between the Terra Vecchia and Nova Vecchia districts, the jardin de Romieu is a peaceful place surrounded by vegetation and ideal for strolling in the shade of the trees. It would be a shame not to stop there. You can reach the South Quay of the Old Port via the imposing and beautiful Romieu Staircase, which offers a magnificent view of the whole city of Bastia. The city’s young people gather in this photogenic spot for a chat. You’ll pass through pretty, colorful cobblestone streets that reminded me of Italy.




The Citadelle of Bastia, built on a rocky promontory in 1380, is located in the Terra Nova district. It’s a real favorite for us, and one of the city’s main attractions. We loved wandering through the narrow streets and colorful facades of this peaceful “little village”, which reminded us of villages in the south of France or Italy. I recommend taking the time to stroll down Rue Notre-Dame, the main street, and linger on a terrace, drinking a coffee with a view of the port. Getting to the Citadelle is easy: just follow the paths or climb the few wide steps in the Romieu garden.

Right in the heart of the Citadel, you’ll find many curiosities, such as the place du Donjon, the governors’ palace, classified as a Historic Monument in 1977, with its architecture and beautiful orange facade housing Bastia history museum dedicated to Corsican heritage and history. The museum’s hanging gardens apparently offer a magnificent view from Terra-Vecchia to the islands of the Tuscan archipelago. You will also find the Sainte-Marie Cathedral baroque style, as well as the beautiful Louis XVI door once the only access to the citadel.

If you wish to stay here, l’Hôtel des gouverneurs, a 4* hotel is conveniently located for easy access to the many restaurants and cafés.





For a taste of local specialties based on chestnuts, citron, clementine, Brocciu and lemon, head for the Ghisoni-Mariotti patisserie on rue Campinchi and the Leoncini patisserie or Chez Mireille, rue des terrasses

  • Pâtisserie chez Mireille for a taste of the canistrellis (5 Rue des Terrasses)
  • A Biscutteria (Rue Napoléon) to pack your suitcases with traditional cookies: canistrelli, cuggiulelle, croquants, biscuttini, panettes, brioches, migliacci, etc.
  • Rauggi glacier, an emblematic figure of the city. This delicious ice cream parlour on rue du Chanoine Colombani, not far from Place Napoléon, offers a variety of artisanal ice creams and flavours to die for!
  • Paoli Gourmet (rue Napoléon), an artisan ice cream maker also renowned for its Corsican farm milk ice creams (maquis, myrtle, muscat, citron) and sorbets.

Don’t forget to bring back Corsican charcuterie (farmhouse figatelli, Lonzu, Coppa, terrines and sausages), which you’ll find in several Bastia delicatessens.

  • A Campagna (25 Rue César Campinchi)
  • U Muntagnolu (15 Rue César Campinchi)
  • A Volta (24 Rue Napoleon)
  • Noi (45 Boulevard Paoli) for quality corsican products
  • Corsica Colis (8 Cours Favale, Citadelle side)







If you wish to spend a few days in Bastia, take the opportunity to go to the beach or visit the surrounding area, I recommend spending 2 or 3 days there. The city itself can be explored over a long day if you get up early.




Take advantage of your stay in Bastia to book a sea outing with family or friends. It’s easy to do. I recommend that you go to Samboat, a comparator offering the most complete selection of boat rentals with or without skipper. From small no-license boats to powerboats, sailboats and zodiacs…., you’ll be spoilt for choice.

So what are you waiting for?



If you want to avoid the tourist boats and want more privacy, if you are with family or friends and want to privatize a boat departing from Saint-Florent, with or without a skipper, you will be spoilt for choice. by clicking here on this platform: motorboats, sailboats, yachts, small unlicensed boats, with or without skipper. Don’t forget to book well in advance as everything fills up in summer and high season. You’ll have a hard time finding what you’re looking for.


➡️ Check availability of boats now and make a reservation





Just a 15-minute drive south of Bastia and at the foot of the village of Furiani, you can discover the Etang de Biguglia nature reserve. This 1,450-hectare lagoon on the Bevinco river is the largest wetland in Corsica, and a vital habitat for aquatic fauna and flora, as well as 224 species of waterfowl, including kingfishers, cormorants, herons, marsh harriers, coots and flamingos…

A discovery trail takes you along the banks of the Biguglia pond for just over 1 km through rich vegetation. Beware, it is impassable out of season as it is flooded in places!

  • Rates : self-guided tour 2€/person; guided tour on reservation + 2h walk in the reserve: 4€/person.
  • Opening hours : 9h00-12h00 / 13h00-17h00 Monday to Saturday (01/09 to 30/06) and 9h00-16h00 Monday to Saturday in high season (01/07 to 31/08).





The Pays Bastiais, with its 150 kilometers of coastline, is home to the Cape Corse, the largest in mainland France: 85 identified bottlenose dolphins, 236 bird species, hectares of coralligenous atolls…. If you’re looking for the most beautiful beaches in Corsica, it’s best to go to the Agriates desert (I talk about it in this article) or more towards Cap Corse, with its beautiful sandy and pebble beaches.

There are, however, a few small beaches or coves close to Bastia where you can enjoy the pleasures of swimming:

  • Arinella beach, a pretty, large sandy beach south of Bastia, quite family-friendly overlooking the citadel and mountains. Many activities available: kayaking, paddle, windsurfing, etc. To get there, take the free shuttle bus departing from the tourist office. In season, departures are every 20 minutes between 8am and 7:30pm.
  • Furiani beach just off the Arinella beach.
  • La Marana beach, Marine beach in Borgo and Lido Marana beach: vast sandy beaches bordered by pine forests. These are the most popular with tourists, with restaurants and numerous water sports activities. Sun loungers and parasols are also available for hire.
  • Toga beach, a small pebble beach just 5 minutes’ walk from the center.
  • The small cove of Ficaghjola, accessible via a staircase that leads about 300 meters from the citadel.





Bastia is a good base for discovering the Agriates Desert, as it’s only a 40-minute drive from the town. You’ll need to add an extra day to your program to discover this unique and unspoilt place, and swim among others in two magnificent beaches ranked among the most beautiful in Corsica: Saleccia and Lotu.

I invite you to read our detailed article on different ways to discover the Agriates Desert.


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! Prices are €45 for children aged 4 to 12 and €90 for adults.


I book here the catamaran cruise and check availability






If you’re looking for more privacy, if you’re with family or friends and would 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, small unlicensed boats, with or without skipper. Don’t forget to book well in advance because everything is full in summer and during the high season. You’ll have a hard time finding what you’re looking for.


➡️ Check availability of boats now and make a reservation




  • From Bastia, discover some of Corsica’s most beautiful panoramic views and relax on the beach at Saleccia

➡️ Check availability for this day trip and make a reservation




practical information Bastia


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






Comme dans toutes grandes villes, vous trouverez un large choix d’hébergements pour vous loger. Je vous invite d’ailleurs à profiter de notre réduction sur Airbnb si vous recherchez davantage un hébergement de charme. Gros coup de coeur pour l’hébergement la Marana à 150 mètres de la plage.


💰 Profitez jusqu’à – 40€ sur votre réservation Airbnb en cliquant ici





  • Chez Vincent, face à la mer et vue sur le port (12 Rue Saint-Michel) pour un repas assez copieux. Les pizzas sont réputées pour être les meilleures de la ville
  • Karma Sushi (2 rue de la Marine)
  • La boutique-restaurant U Paisanu pour ses plats corses préparés avec amour, la gentillesse et la convivialité du patron.
  • Restaurant Osteria A Scudella (rue Pino) pour une cuisine familiale corse. Il faut apparemment goûter le veau aux olives, et le fameux Casgiu Minatu.
  • Restaurant Sampiero dans la Citadelle, belle adresse et belle terrasse pour goûter en famille aux spécialités locales.
  • La Table de Nathalie (boulevard Paoli) pour l’accueil sympathique et la cuisine originale, fait maison à base de produits frais.
  • Le petit Zinc (1 rue de l’Ancienne Poste) pour la cuisine raffinée et le cadre assez chic et branché.





  • Se rendre à Bastia en avion 


L’aéroport de Bastia se trouve à 20 km au Sud du centre-ville. Plusieurs compagnies desservent l’aéroport de Bastia donc pour trouver le meilleur tarif, comparer les meilleurs vols et obtenir le meilleur prix. J’utilise souvent le comparateur de vol Skyscanner.

Les prix des vols pour la Corse varient énormément donc pensez à vous y prendre à l’avance.


Trouvez votre vol pas cher pour Bastia avec Skyscanner


  • Se rendre à Bastia en ferry


Vous pouvez également rejoindre Bastia en bateau depuis Marseille, Toulon, Nice mais aussi depuis l’Italie.

Je vous recommande de comparer les prix des ferrys pour aller en Corse au départ des différentes villes et de réserver à l’avance.

Vous pouvez aussi comparez les prix des traversées en ferry sur DirectFerries !



  • Location de voiture


A votre arrivée à l’aéroport de Bastia, le plus simple est de louer une voiture pour sillonner la région. Sans véhicule, c’est très compliqué, voire quasiment impossible de visiter les environs de Bastia. Je vous conseille de passer par le site de Bsp Auto et Carigami, c’est ici que j’ai souvent trouvé les meilleurs prix. Ce comparateur de prix vous permet de trouver les meilleurs tarifs dans le mois auprès des différents loueurs du pays.


➡️  Trouvez ici votre location de voiture au meilleur prix avec Bsp auto

➡️  Trouvez ici votre location de voiture au meilleur prix avec 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 Bastia. To request a quote and a tailor-made trips to discover the authentic Corsica, contact me by email at contact@mademoiselle-voyage.fr. 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:









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