Even though it's shorter than most of Britain is wide, Corsica is twice as high, earning it the title of the most mountainous island in the Mediterranean; its highest peak, Monte Cinto, is a lofty 2,706 metres above sea level. Closer to Italy than to mainland France, Corsica villas give visitors the opportunity to explore the island's towering terrain and hybrid culture, which has developed its own unique identity over the centuries of territorial squabbles. With over 200 beaches to choose from, HomeAway's range of Corsica appartments is never far from the surf and sand. With such pervasive highlands and over 1,000km of coast, there's a rich diversity of geography, natural habitats, and enigmatic history to explore.
Corsica holiday rentals tend to congregate around the beaches, so only a few come with access to a pool. This proximity to the sea means there are plenty of aquatic activities to keep visitors busy, with fishing, scuba diving and sailing high on the list of favourites. Coastal self catering in Corsica doesn't restrict your inland options, however, as the mountains are laced with hiking, mountain biking and horse trekking trails, including the famous GR 20 route.
Beaches: Holidays in Corsica apartments tend to centre around a beach, and there are plenty to choose from. Over 200 ring the island, so they're usually the focus of most holidays. Swimming, sunbathing and snorkelling are typically available everywhere, while the more popular beaches have the infrastructure for equipment rental.
Nightlife: Corsica's nightlife reflects its independent ways. They have their own French/Italian hybrid cuisine, which heavily features pork and chestnuts. They also make their own wine, beer and even coke. Otherwise, the drinking and dancing scene is quite laid back; this isn't really a place to come to party, though there are nightclubs in some of the larger towns.
Outdoor pursuits: When days on the beach get boring or on a rare cloudy day, the mountainous inland terrain readily lends itself to exploration. Trails criss-cross the island, allowing access on foot, bike or horseback. There are some impressive peaks to tackle too, with at least 45 over 2,000 metres.
Shopping: Corsica isn't really a place to come for designer shopping, but crafts – there are all sorts of local products to be found in the markets, common to pretty much every town. The local honey and olive oil are particularly good if looking to get ingredients for supper. That said, there are a few upscale boutiques in Ajaccio, where HomeAway conveniently offers luxury holiday accommodation. Otherwise, the main tourist centres like Porto-Vecchio, where HomeAway has a selection of more affordable holiday homes, have the more usual touristy souvenir stores.
Culture: The independent culture of Corsica lies mainly in the cuisine and their own idiosyncratic language of Corsican. This bares some resemblance to Italian, but is distinct enough to be more than a dialect, and is classified separately. Architecturally, there are many interesting ruins to explore, tracking the waves of colonising cultures throughout the island's history.
Corsica enjoys one of the highest daily sunshine averages in all of France, at 7.5 hours per day. This is reflected in the temperatures, with an average summertime high of 28°C. Winter highs are not too shabby either, usually topping out in the low-teens. The characteristics of being in the middle of the Mediterranean are such that the holiday season extends slightly longer than elsewhere, feasibly lasting from April to November.
Direct flight options from the UK are sparse, with most trips requiring a connection through France or elsewhere on the continent, but the choice is extensive. EasyJet does fly direct from Bristol and Manchester and, along with Thomsonfly and Germanwings, from London. All three fly into Bastia, with EasyJet also servicing Ajaccio, two of the four airports on the island. There are also regular ferries from Marseille, Nice and Toulon, as well as from Italy, though these can be crowded and expensive in season.