Calvi, arguably the most beautiful town on the Mediterranean island of Corsica, is a great holiday destination for families, groups of friends and couples alike. Whether arriving by plane into Calvi St Catherine airport (7 km from Calvi) or Calvi ferry port, nestled beneath the impressive Genoese citadel, a visitor’s first impression is likely to take their breath away. Set on the tip of a crescent-shaped bay with snow-capped mountains on one side and Calvi’s 6 km long sandy beach sweeping round to join the town on the other, it really is idyllic.
In the town itself there is plenty to see and do. The restaurants and cafés on the harbour side are perfect for taking a break and watching the world go by. The marina attracts a lot of luxury yachts and the general ambience is one of relaxed, Mediterranean chic. The maze of cobbled streets in the lower town are lined with boutiques, delicatessens and other shops. Up in the citadel you can take an audio walking tour which takes in the spectacular cathedral and Christopher Columbus’s birthplace. There are a variety of restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets, many offering a very good value fixed price menu. Be sure to try some local specialities such as sanglier (wild boar) and fiadone (a flan made from brocciu cheese. The charcuterie is excellent, as are the local cheeses, and virtually every restaurant has its own secret recipe for soupe de poissons (fish soup). Corsican wines are really starting to make a name for themselves, and are generally of a very high quality. Names to look out for from the Calvi appellation include Clos Landry, who have an excellent gris rosé, Domaine Alzipratu and Clos Colombu. There are Corsican beers as well, including Pietra which is made from chestnuts.
Calvi’s main beach is gently-shelving with fine sand, and so is particularly great for young children. There are restaurants offering sunloungers and parasols, and the beach is backed by shady pines. In the pines there are tennis courts, a playground and also an adventure course set up in the treetops. There are a variety of watersports on offer, including windsurfing, waterskiing, jet skis, kayaking and a sailing school where both adults and kids can learn to sail a catamaran. There are several dive schools in Calvi too, and the dive sites include an old B52 bomber. Horse riding is also available. Corsica attracts a lot of walkers, and there are several walks ranging from easy to more challenging which can be done from Calvi and in the surrounding area. Nature lovers will be impressed by the diverse flora and fauna, much of it indigenous to the island, and birdwatchers will also be in for a treat.
While staying in Calvi there are plenty of day trip opportunities. For a day out on the sea take a catamaran trip down the stunning UNESCO nature reserve of Scandola, or a boat trip to the island’s capital, Ajaccio. The ‘Trinighellu’ train runs along the coast to the market town of Ile Rousse, stopping at various beaches and the small town of Algajola along the way. Our favourite out-of-town beaches are on the other side of Calvi bay, Ste Restitude and Arinella, and both have excellent restaurants. A drive along the Route des Vins (wine route) takes you through many beautiful mountain villages – it’s particularly worth stopping at Sant’Antonino and Pigna. Another inland recommendation is the Fôret de Bonifatu. Just 20 minutes from Calvi but a world away, the forest has hiking trails and rock pools which are great for cooling off.
Written by Nicky Taylor - Owner of Property 6597 in Calvi, Corsica