Bonifacio, also known as the City of Cliffs is probably France’s best-kept secret, despite being the oldest town in Corsica (founded at around 830 A.D.).
A combination of cobblestone alleyways, a sparkling shoreline, and white limestone cliffs make it a rewarding escape.
Bonifacio is also known as the “Citadel of Cliffs” or the “Mediterranean’s Sentinel”.
It is surprisingly untroubled by summer crowds.
Bonifacio and Sardinia were once joined, but were torn apart by volcanic activity. The evidence is the huge shards of granite rock in the turquoise sea.
The Mediterranean Sea is surrounded by the enormous limestone cliffs. The various caves and grottoes are fascinating, to say the least.
The sea floor is a mecca for divers because of the many wrecks of pirate ships that crashed against the crags. Ancient vessels are also buried in this stretch of waters. The area is known for its strong winds, causing high waves and even stronger currents.
Most residents are Italian or French speaking. So, communication at times may be challenging but not impossible. At times Bonifacio may feel more Italian than French with all the monasteries, Roman cisterns, chapels and prehistoric sites.
There is plenty shopping to do for sweet delicacies and many more in the caves of the limestone cliffs.
Cork is big in Bonafacio, so make a point of buying cork souvenirs. The range is huge, from clothing, to stationery to cheese boards.
The restaurants are plenty and great in terms of both food and service.
The walk up to the Citadel (or “Haute Ville”) of Bonifacio is not for the faint-hearted. Wear comfortable shoes, apply a sunscreen and wear a hat. It is a breathtakingly beautiful walk and worth every step. You may want to do this activity in the earlier part of the morning because it may get too hot later in the day.
L’Arinella is the town’s secluded beach and you can reach it via a coastal hiking route. It is one of the highlights you should fit in your trip.
Alternatively, you can hang out with the locals in the caves or hidden coves for a skinny dip. In the distance you will see Sardinia’s La Maddalena archipelago.