The best things to see near Ajaccio

The best things to see near Ajaccio

Ajaccio is the capital of Corsica, with a population of 72,500 habitants. It is also the birthplace of Napoléon Bonaparte, which is why it is known as the Imperial City. But, after you visit Napoleon’s city, I encourage you to explore the surrounding area.

What to see near Ajaccio? Here are my favourite spots near Ajaccio. These amazing sites make Corsica a destination for every type of traveller!

The Bloody Islands (Îles Sanguinaires)

This natural site near Ajaccio is famous for its sunsets. The archipelago, which is made up of four rocky magmatic islands, turns a flaming red at dusk.

Alphonse Daudet mentions them in Letters from my Windmill, where he describes a mysterious spot and 16th-century remains. This natural site is now a hiking destination. Routes are easy, with paths along the coastline. You will find small information signs about the local flora, which comprises 150 different species.

In terms of animal life, Parata is home to colonies of sea birds, like the yellow-legged gull, but also the black-headed gull, Audoin’s gull, and Cory’s shearwater.

iles sanguinaires

The Piana calanques

68 km north of Ajaccio is one of my favourite spots! The road there is a natural beauty in itself. After going over a small hill, you will have a plunging view of the emerald sea, where you will be able to walk along an untouched coastline.

On the road

Among the things worth seeing on the road, make a stop at Cargèse. This village is home to two churches that face each other: a Latin church, the church of the Assumption, and a Greek church, the church of Saint Spyridon, built by the Ottoman community of 600 Greeks who settled in the village in the 17th century.

Drive along the Mediterranean coastline to reach Piana, ranked as one of the most beautiful villages in France.

An exceptional site

Then you will reach the Piana Calanques, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is one of the marvels of Corsica, described by Guy de Maupassant in his travel diary, The Monastery of Corbara.

calanques de piana

These 400-metre pink granite walls constitute a small mountain range by the sea. Imagining what these rocks look like is an amusing game!

The calanches (their original Corsican name) can be reached by road, by sea from Sagone or Cargèse with Isula Croisières, as well as through the many routes I told you about in my post on Ideas for hikes in Corsica.

I’ve taken all three options, and cannot decide which one I prefer! Every time, I discover something new. So why not take your time and enjoy every option?

Silver beach

The silver beach, also known as Mare e sol, is in Pietrosella.

This wonderful beach is named for its characteristic colours. Its sand is fine and white, the water is turquoise. Whatever the season, you are guaranteed an amazing backdrop that will allow you to imagine you are on a Caribbean beach!

plage d'argent

I recommend walking up to Coti Chiavari prison, in the middle of a eucalypt grove. There you will have a stunning view of this cove and its gradation of hues. Moreover, you will have a wonderful view of the gulf of Ajaccio, as far as the Bloody Islands, during your stroll.

Bride’s Veil Waterfall

The Bride’s Veil Waterfoll is near Bocognano, 40 km from Ajaccio. This village is ensconced between Monte d’Oro and Monte Renoso.

A piscia di a sposa (which literally means “the wife’s piss ” in Corsican) can be accessed turning right at the Bocognano roundabout and following the A piscia di a sposa sign. It takes about fifteen minutes to reach this amazing site. You’ll have to acknowledge that its French name is nicer than the original Corsican! This waterfall, some 70 metres high, wears its most beautiful veil in the spring.

If you are looking for other waterfalls, I talked about the most beautiful natural pools in another post.

Prunelli valley

The five villages that constitute this valley are Eccica Suarella, Bastelicaccia, Ocana, Bastelica, and Tolla.

Bastelica is the highest of the five villages, at an altitude of 850 metres. It is also the farthest from Ajaccio at 36 km. Ese ski resort is only a few kilometres away. Yes, there are ski resorts in Corsica! The famous Sampieru Corsu, the leader of the 1533 rebellion against Genoa, when Corsica was still Italian, was born here – you can visit the house where he was born. It is said that his tragic marriage was the inspiration for William Shakespeare’s Othello.

Tolla is known for its lake and its boating activities. The EDF dam built in 1956 created this 115-hectare body of water, where canoes, kayaks, pedal boats, and paddle boards can be used. Tolla’s Via Ferrata offers a magnificent view of the lake for those who are not afraid of heights. The church houses interesting Italian paintings.

lac de tolla
Lac de Tolla


Ajaccio is a wine-growing region, and I recommend visiting one of its wineries. Visits are offered for couples as well as for families.

Most wineries grow organic wines, so this is a chance to learn a bit more about the methods used to create a high-quality wine. The winegrowers’ passion for their wines is contagious. I recommend several wineries you can visit near Ajaccio: Domaine de Pietrella in Cauro, Clos Ornasca in Eccica Suarella, Domaine de Tremica in Casaglione, and Domaine A Peraccia in Peri.

Travelling through a region means also discovering its gastronomic and artisanal offerings.

The ridge route

Why not go a little higher to admire Ajaccio’s stunning views?

The ridge route is accessible to everyone. When you go up higher from the Bois des Anglais, you will be able to admire the city, but also the south side of the bay of Ajaccio, the Bloody Islands, and the mountain ranges. From the city centre to Parata, this trek takes 3 hours end-to-end. But you can shorten your route taking various detours. You can find information on the signs you will see along the way.

sentier des cretes ajaccio

The best things to see in Ajaccio

I have selected outdoor areas because Corsica is a showcase for nature, displaying a wide range of very different gems.

If you want to visit Ajaccio, you will find a plethora of possibilities: museums, churches, squares and statues, the city market, and many more.

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