Venture into Corsica’s “city of salt” with our ranking of the 11 must-sees and things to do in Porto-Vecchio .

At the foot of the Aiguilles de Bavella, on a vast rocky outcrop, Porto-Vecchio overlooks the bay. Dominated by its citadel, Corsica’s third-largest town is one of the island’s most popular tourist destinations, thanks to its exceptional heritage and breathtaking scenery. A harmonious blend of sumptuous pine-fringed beaches, ancient Genoese fortifications and a magnificent mountainous hinterland, Porto-Vecchio is sure to enchant.

To help you make the most of your stay, we have put together a guide to the 11 things to do in Porto-Vecchio!

1. The town of Porto-Vecchio

The town of Porto-Vecchio

The old town of Porto-Vecchio, the former capital of the piève of the same name, retains its picturesque charm. Visitors can enjoy an authentic stroll through its narrow streets and squares. But holidaymakers also enjoy the magnificent Mediterranean coastline.
There are many places of interest to discover during your visit:

  • The marina: with its modern, environmentally-friendly facilities, it can accommodate around a hundred passing boats;
  • The salt marshes: the town owes its nickname of “City of Salt” to its old salt works at the mouth of the Stabiaccu river;
  • Casa di Lume: Corsica’s audiovisual heritage is preserved in this regional film library. There are screenings, exhibitions and numerous meetings.

2. The Bastion of France

The town’s main tourist attraction is the Genoese citadel called the bastion of France a must-see in Porto-Vecchio.
Built by the Genoese in 1542, this veritable fortress boasts elaborate architecture. There are large loopholes, a large vaulted room leading to a small round courtyard and a strategic watchtower.
For travellers, it also offers a host of bars, restaurants and shops, as well as squares filled with the rhythm of local life.

3. Saint-Jean-Baptiste church

Saint-Jean-Baptiste church porto vecchio

Right in the centre of the citadel, the church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste is a superb granite edifice. It was built on the foundations of a 19th-century Genoese church.
Its elegant bell tower is reminiscent of that of the village of Quenza in the Alta Rocca. Inside, you can admire the magnificent sixteenth-century processional Christ, as well as the beautiful stained glass windows dating from 1960.

🔗 Read Also: 10 Best things to do in Bonifacio for first time visitors

4. The beaches of Porto-Vecchio

Returning to the old town, a spectacular panorama awaits you. Take to the footpaths beside the warm sand and visit the many beaches along the Porto-Vecchio coastline!

Palombaggia beach

porto-vecchio palombaggia beach

A little corner of paradise, Palombaggia beach combines turquoise water and white sand, bordered by a forest of umbrella pines. Framed by red rocks, this must-visit beach in Porto-Vecchio offers a sumptuous view of the Cerbicale islands.

Santa Giulia beach

Santa Giulia beach

To the south of Porto-Vecchio, this beach of fine sand stretches for miles. It is one of the best-known beaches in southern Corsica. To make the most of the bay’s coastal atmosphere, stay in one of the local residences!

Cala Rossa beach

Close to Porto-Vecchio, Cala Rossa beach is renowned for its luxury residences, built in the 1970s. There are also a number of beach restaurants where you can sample the local cuisine.

Tamaricciu beach

Less well-known than its neighbours, Tamaricciu beach is still a must-see in Porto-Vecchio. As well as its white sand and sparkling turquoise waters, it boasts a dune belt planted with oak, pine and juniper trees.

5. A boat trip

rent a boat during your stay in Porto-Vecchio

If you’re visiting the Isle of Beauty, there’s one thing you really shouldn’t miss: hiring a boat in Porto-Vecchio! You’re in for a dream afternoon…
On the programme, you’ll be able to admire the Gulf of Porto-Vecchio, and understand why this destination has become one of Corsica’s real must-sees. Just off the Gulf of Porto-Vecchio are the 8,000 hectares of the Bouches de Bonifacio Nature Reserve. But that’s not all: with a little more time, you’ll even have the chance to reach the famous Lavezzi Islands, that sublime Corsican archipelago…

6. The Pointe de la Chiappa

The Pointe de la Chiappa

To the south-west of the Gulf of Porto-Vecchio, the Pointe de la Chiappa is a magnificent coastal area with a multitude of tourist attractions.
From the Chiappa semaphore, admire the view over the Gulf of Porto-Vecchio, its mountainous hinterland, the San Ciprianu headland and the Bay of Stagnolo. But the most famous monument on the headland is its lighthouse. It signals the approach of the Bouches de Bonifacio further south.

7. Lake Ospedale

Lake Ospedale

Half an hour from Porto-Vecchio and its beaches, l’Ospedale is the first small mountain village at an altitude of 900m. It owes its name to the former local hospital that once stood here. A sumptuous 733-hectare state forest is also Porto-Vecchio’s green lung.
But the highlight is the Ospedale lake and dam. Used to supply the region with drinking water, bathing is therefore prohibited in the basin. You can, however, take a walk in the surrounding area for a nature break.

8. The Piscia di Gallu waterfall

waterfall Piscia di Gallu

In the heart of the Ospedale forest, the Piscia di Gallu or Piscia di Ghjaddu waterfall is one of Corsica’s most popular natural sites.
Easily accessible, this 80-metre-high waterfall can be discovered after walking along the Ospedale dam. In high season, this natural site is very popular with tourists. We therefore recommend that you visit the waterfall in early September.

9. Prehistoric sites

Prehistoric sites close to Porto-Vecchio

Another special feature of the Porto-Vecchio region is its many prehistoric sites. Here are just a few of the must-see sites in Porto-Vecchio:

  • Castellu d’Araghju: this ancient fortress boasts complex architecture. With its ramparts over 2 m high, it has dominated the vast plain below it for over 4,000 years;
  • The site of Ceccia: with its superb remains dating back to 1350 BC, you can get there on a small path in the heart of the village;
  • The Cucuruzzu and Capula sites: despite a €5.50 entrance fee, these two sites are well worth a visit for their Bronze Age fortress and medieval fortifications built in the 10th century;
  • The Tappa site: climb to an altitude of almost 60 m to discover its treasures and find yourself facing a circular enclosure around a small village and a huge tower.

10. Water sports

If you want to make the most of Porto-Vecchio’s coastline and beaches, there’s no better way to do it than by taking up one of the local water sports!

  • Diving: Porto-Vecchio’s waters are renowned for their diverse fauna, which is a big draw for visitors. Come and meet them on an introductory dive or an aquatic excursion;
  • Windsurfing: this sensational alternative to surfing exploits the sea breeze off the coast. Break the waves at full speed in the company of an instructor;
  • Jet skiing: set off from the marina to explore the coastline. You don’t need a boat licence to enjoy this essential water sports activity!

11. Porto-Vecchio’s culinary specialities

gastronomy of Porto-vecchio

Let’s end this guide with a gourmet break! The local cuisine includes fish, cold meats and pastries. Here are a few examples of dishes to try on your own or with friends:

  • Prisuttu: this dry cured ham, fairly flat and coated in fat, is one of the jewels in the crown of Corsican charcuterie;
  • Denti: whether grilled over an open fire, fried in fillets or baked in the oven, this fish always has an exquisite flavour;
  • Canistrellu: this small dry cake, made with white wine and oil, is perfect for any occasion.

How to go to Porto-Vecchio?

There are several transport options available to get to Porto-Vecchio.

By ferry

From the south of France, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to taking a ferry to the island of Corsica:

  • From Marseille: from the city’s port, 8 crossings a week are organised to take you to the island. Allow 11 hours on average to reach Île Rousse, Bastia and Ajaccio;
  • From Nice: 5 ferry departures a day from the port of Nice to Corsica. You can take your own vehicle on board;
  • From Toulon: the port of Toulon is the least frequented of the group. With a 6-hour journey, the boat also takes passenger cars.

By plane

However, the quickest and most efficient solution is to fly. We recommend the following two airports:

  • Ajaccio-Napoléon Bonaparte airport: this is the best airport for travellers coming from Paris;
  • Figari-Sud-Corse airport: closer to Porto-Vecchio, it can accommodate flights from Marseille, Nice and Paris.

Your choice of airport will depend on your geographical location. If you want to find the best flight deal, don’t hesitate to consult a flight comparator such as Skyscanner.

But one of the best ways to visit Corsica is by car! There’s nothing quite like an authentic road-trip along the island’s territorial roads. Drive under the Corsican sun and discover sublime coves and picturesque villages along the coast. If you weren’t lucky enough to come to Corsica with your own vehicle, you can still hire a car at the airport!

Where to stay in Porto-Vecchio?

The town of Porto-Vecchio has no shortage of hotels, residences and Airbnb accommodation to welcome you during your stay. Whether you’re staying in the old town or in the citadel, you’ll be spoilt for choice. For more information, it’s always a good idea to consult a hotel comparator!

But we also advise you to stay in the various towns along the coast to see the sights and enjoy a more picturesque atmosphere. We particularly recommend Sotta, Lecci or Palombaggia on the seafront.

Accommodation we have selected based on price and quality of service.

From now on, play the star and come and revel in the heavenly surroundings of Porto-Vecchio!

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