Holiday apartments and villas in Calvi are some of the most desirable among HomeAway rentals in Corsica; it's possibly the busiest tourist resort on the island. The super-rich sail from Cannes for a look at the magnificent citadel lording over the harbour, backed by snow-peaked mountains and to sample the wines, cheeses, olive oils, honey, and wild boar sausage for which Corsica is famed. The five-mile-long bay also inspires droves of visitors to Calvi holiday rentals, though in the off-season, it's easy to find the entire beach to oneself. The seafront promenade provides a succession of cafés, bars and restaurants from which to watch the world go by, though for a more authentic Corsican experience, the mountainous hinterland beckons. Summer visitors to Calvi villas can enjoy one of the many music festivals, and the regular art exhibition in the 13th-century citadel.
When surrounded by the attractions of Calvi, it's difficult to stay indoors for long. The beach is one of the finest on the Mediterranean, with more than enough space to find a quiet patch, and the mountains ache to be explored. Most Calvi accommodation comes with a fully kitted kitchen and air-conditioning, and a few have access to a pool.
Beaches: The sandy beach at Calvi is a wonder, arcing around the coast to the east, but anchored in the town's scenic marina. There are all kinds of watersports facilities available, of which sailing is particularly popular. Scuba diving is also available at the tourist office by the marina, and there are several kayaking/windsurfing outlets along the beach.
Food and drink: Over recent years, Calvi has been reinventing itself as a cultural centre, and one method was to focus on the culinary delights of Corsica. As well as the local wines (Corsica is the third-largest wine producing region in France), the pork, honey, world-beating olive oils and chestnut flour (and beer) are definitely worth sampling.
Outdoor pursuits: Aside from the proliferation of watersports and mountain activities, the UNESCO Marine World Heritage Site of Scandola can be visited by glass-bottomed boats right out of Calvi. Dolphins and seals play above amazingly pink rocks on the sea bed, and red volcanic cliffs tower half a mile high above the waves.
Shopping: The varieties of dried meats, honeys, olive oils, wines and herbs make Calvi a gourmand's paradise for the self-caterer. Boutiques and souvenir shops also abound, but not to be missed is the Crafts Trail through the local mountain villages. Centred on Pigna, it encourages and supports local craftsmen, and there are some unique items to pick up.
Culture: The locals claim Christopher Columbus was born here, and there's not much evidence to say he wasn't. The summer-long art exhibit in the citadel is a must-see, and the summer months from June to September see a procession of music festivals, usually centred around the citadel.
Calvi experiences the typical Mediterranean climate of idyllic summers and mild winters. It never gets quite as hot on Corsica as it can on the mainland because of the cooling effect of the sea. High temperatures average 28-29°C during the summer months, and 13-14°C during the winter. What little rainfall there is generally falls in the autumn.
Calvi does have its own airport, but this is primarily for charter and private flights. Bastia Airport is fairly close by, however, which is the largest airport on Corsica and has regular direct flights to the UK. Both towns have ferry connections to mainland France, which adds the major Nice Cote d'Azur Airport as an additional possibility. HomeAway also offers luxury accommodation in Bastia for a quite different Corsican experience.