Your Holidays in Corsica
Corsica is a gem to be absolutely discovered in the Mediterranean. Easily accessible from the mainland by boat or plane, a change of scenery is guaranteed during your stay.
1 - Cervione (25 kms)
A small jewel perched on the mountain, Cervione is the ideal starting point for an excursion in the Castagniccia region. Apart from visiting the historical centre and its narrow streets, Cervione is also the ideal place to taste culinary specialities based on chestnut and hazelnut flour. You will find a handful of cheap restaurants. Feel free to extend your day by visiting the Ucelluline waterfall and take advantage of the natural swimming pools to refresh yourself. You will find the waterfall between Cervione and San Nicolao. Park just after the tunnel, there are some parkings places. The short 10-minute walk to the pool is not very difficult, but make sure you bring good shoes.
2 - Ghisoni (45 kms)
Capital of the Fiumorbu sub-region, Ghisoni is distinguished by the splendid mountains that surround it. To get there, take the Inzecca Parade Road. This magnificent canyon is bordered by a river that will allow you to take a refreshing swim in an entirely natural setting. Look out for the parking places along the roadside, they usually lead to some tracks to the river.
3 - Tox, Campi, Moita (22/26/29 kms)
A succession of authentic villages in the heart of Eastern Corsica. The ideal place for a half-day getaway. The three villages will allow you to discover cheese dairies, wine estates and surely to cross the road of black pigs, sheep or goats.
4 - Linguizzetta, Canale di Verde, Tallone (22/26/29 kms)
Less than half an hour from Riva Bella, plunge into the heart of authentic and restful Corsica. The villages of Linguizzetta, Canale di Verde or Tallone offer exceptional panoramas over the entire eastern plain. Don’t hesitate to stop at the local cheese and olive producers and wine-growers along the way. A change of scenery guaranteed!
Ancient and modern Aleria at the same time
Aleria, founded by the Phocaeans, was a prosperous city during antiquity. Greeks, Etruscans, Carthaginians and then Romans succeeded one another. The ancient site can be visited as well as the archaeological museum retracing the historical life of the city. Just like the town of Mariana, the beautiful Aléria preserves the vestiges of its fascinating past.
+ To go further
Impossible to leave Corsica without passing through the island’s former cultural capital, Corte. Situated 56 kms from Riva Bella, there is enough to spend a full day. On the programme: Corsica museum, citadel, discovery of the Tavignanu or Restonica gorges, Lake Melu / Capitellu, Corsica railway, etc. Impossible to get bored!
You can also visit the incredible region of Castagniccia that counts numerous villages of character : La Porta (52 kms), Piedicroce (55 kms) or Orezza (58 kms) will amaze you far off the beaten track.
Of course, we love the beach, its turquoise waters and the warmth of the water but... the Corsican rivers also have their attractions! In the heart of the mountains, they offer hikers and visitors a bit of freshness. From small basins to huge natural swimming pools, you will find a small classification of places not to be missed in the surroundings.
1 - Inzecca Canyon (40 kms)
Beautiful swimming can be done all along the Fiumorbu river which runs through the Inzecca canyon. For an easy access you can park at the car park of the restaurant A Vecchia Mina and go down to the surrounding natural pools.
2 - Verghellu Canyon (60 kms)
A true haven of nature and tranquillity is offered to you in the Verghellu canyon. Although it is only an hour and a half from Riva Bella, the river in the Verghellu forest is almost worth keeping it a secret as the place is so magical. To get there, spot the big bridge between Vivario and Venaco and follow the D623, a small winding but not dangerous road. A car park awaits you 13 kms later. Go down near the bridge and go up the river to find a beautiful waterfall.
3 - U Mulinu (16 kms)
This is the closest swimming spot to Riva Bella, exactly 18 minutes away by car. You can enter the coordinates 42°13’30.1 «N 9°26’49.0 «E or follow the road towards Tallone and park in the car park of the old restaurant U Mulinu near the bridge. A beautiful small freshwater pool awaits you there. Ideal for a short trip by car or bicycle.
4 - Ucelluline Waterfall (28 kms)
On the road between Cervione and San Nicolao, the Ucelluline waterfall allows you to enjoy an exceptional panorama over the whole Moriani plain. The climb is quite adventurous, although very short, so bring good shoes. Coming from Cervione, you will find some parking spaces just after the tunnel dug in the stone. Refreshment is guaranteed!
5 - Pont de l’enfer (34 kms)
There is nothing dark about the bridge of hell! On the contrary, it is one of the most beautiful natural swimming pools in the surroundings of Riva Bella. Located in the village of Velone Orneto, you will find a car park nearby, a restaurant on the riverside and a path for a donkey ride. Ideal for a day out with family or friends!
+ To go further
It is well known that Corsica abounds in bathing spots, rivers and lakes, each one more breathtaking than the next. If you decide to take a slightly longer trip, take a look at the places written below, you can’t be disappointed!
Purcaraccia natural pools (on the road to the Bavella Pass), Chisa natural pools, Cavu pools (both on the way to Porto Vecchio). Don’t miss the warm waters of the traditional thermal baths of Pietrapola. Finally, if you are in the area of Corte, refresh yourself in the waters of Tavignanu or Restonica.
Needless to say, Corsica’s coastline has long been unanimously acclaimed thanks to its fine sandy beaches with turquoise waters. Thanks to the varied relief and the changing vegetation of the island, the beaches follow one another but do not look alike. Here is a small summary of the beaches that are worth a look.
1 - Riva Bella (On the spot)
Of course, we recommend Riva Bella beach. Not to brag, but you will soon see that it has its advantages: very peaceful even in high season, wide, clean and shallow and above all naturist from April to November! There is even a great snorkeling spot 100 m in front of the restaurant. A real pleasure!
2 - Rondinara (103 kms)
Much more popular and better known than the previous one of course, the Rondinara would almost transport you to the Caribbean by the colour of the water and the fineness of the sand. The Rondinara beach, surrounded by purple rocks, is located south of Porto Vecchio. At the end of a small road, you will find a paying car park (5€ in season).
3 - Saleccia and Lotu (100 kms)
Isolated beaches accessible only by boat or 4x4 that plunge you into the heart of the Agriates desert. Don’t forget your mask and snorkel.
4 - Fautéa (60 kms)
Just one hour from Riva Bella, the Fautéa beach located between Solenzara and Porto Vecchio stands out for its breathtaking view of the Genoese tower. It is less crowded than the famous beaches near Porto Vecchio in high season and therefore more enjoyable.
5 - Nonza (92 kms)
Certainly, quite a long way from Riva Bella, Nonza beach stands out from other beaches. In fact, it is a real pebbled shoreline of a lunar grey colour that can be observed from the charming village overlooking it. Nonza is a great spot to consider when making an excursion to the Cap Corse!
Top boat excursions
This list would not be complete without adding the beautiful beaches of the Lavezzi Islands, which can only be reached by boat. To embark on a cruise, go to the beach of Pinarello, the port of Porto Vecchio or Bonifacio. From the islands you can see the contours of Sardinia and the steep limestone cliffs of the Bonifacio coast on the horizon.
If you are spending a few days on the west coast of the island, we recommend that you go to the port of Porto to embark on a discovery of the Scandola nature reserve, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its biodiversity and unique geological features. A must during your trip to Corsica!
1 - Walks and hikes
The list of hikes in Corsica is so long that it could be the subject of a complete guide. Here are a few ideas for unmissable walks in the vicinity of Riva Bella:
- A walk along the path of the ponds (4 kms walk - starting from Riva Bella, detailed map available at the reception): a walk in the middle of a nature reserve to discover the plants of the maquis, the pond of Diane where mussels and oysters are raised. An immersion in the Corsican maquis.
- Lac de Mélo / Lac de Capitello (Corte - 73 kms from Riva Bella) : starting at the end of the Restonica gorges road, this one and a half hour hike (allow 45 minutes more for the Lac de Capitello) immerses you in a high mountain setting. You should bring a jacket, as it is cooler by the lakeside.
- Buja waterfall (San Gavino di Fiumorbu - 43 km from Riva Bella): Unknown and yet so beautiful, the Buja waterfall can be earned after a short 30-minute walk.
- Les Pozzis (from the Col de Verde - 62 kms from Riva Bella) : Discover these surprising pools of water and this surprising grassy plateau in the middle of the high mountains. A fairly long hike (4h30 return - 14 kms). A sheepfold is waiting for you at the arrival, yum!
- Piscia di Gallu (103 kms from Riva Bella) : This 4 kms (45 mins) walk will allow you to observe the 80m waterfall which is one of the highest on the island.
- Trou de la bombe (72 kms from Riva Bella) : Once parked at the Bavella pass, follow the signs to this huge hole in the rock, located 6 kms from the car park. Beware, even if the final view is worth the effort, the last climb is very steep and sometimes you have to ‘climb’.
They are no longer presented, but you can still consider the GR20 or the Mare & Monti hike for a complete immersion in the Corsican mountains.
2 - Water sports
Corsica is the ideal place to discover or rediscover many water sports :
- Diving : Practicable in the Linguizzetta area when approaching marine fauna and underwater caves and caverns.
- Paddling : You can even practice paddling at Riva Bella, this sport activity allows you to fully enjoy the wonders of nature while having fun at the same time.
- Canoeing : Also possible from Riva Bella, the canoe will allow you to reach the beautiful snorkeling spots (200 m in front of the restaurant) but also to discover the east coast from the sea. Canoe kayak or rafting departures are available all over the island. Another way to discover the most remote corners of Corsica.
- Boat hire : With or without a licence, this is an opportunity to see the coastline at your own pace
- Canyoning : Between land and river, canyoning ensures you strong sensations in a breathtaking scenery. A must try!
3 - Guided tours
Don’t leave the island until you have visited some local producers. The region of Aléria features many local factories that can be visited where olive oil, wine, essential oils, sheep’s cheese, distillery, honey or mustard workshops and many others are produced. Consult the ecotourism-corsorientale.corsica or gustidicorsica.com websites for a complete list of the estates. You can also plan a short outing to the historical museum in Aléria or the Corsican museum in Corsica to learn more about the island’s past. You can also discover the botanical gardens which will teach you more about the island’s endemic vegetation. Music lovers? We highly recommend a Corsican song concert, often organised in churches in high season. A treat for the ears!
Itineraries from Riva Bella
The diversity of the island’s landscapes, the variety of activities and the cultural richness make Corsica the ideal place to spend holidays while respecting everyone’s expectations and interests. You will find below a non-exhaustive list of itineraries that can be done by the day. Of course these itineraries are suggestions for spending balanced days in terms of activities. Be aware of the weather and equip yourself appropriately, make sure you are in good physical shape before undertaking this type of itinerary.
Purcarracia - Bavella - Zonza - Piscia di Gallu - L’Ospedale
Mountain, river and waterfall tour - 1 day
Riva Bella - Solenzara - Stop near the restaurant U Gaglioli where you will find splendid natural swimming pools (possibility to dive from rocks) - Continuation to the Bavella Pass - Stop at the Bavella Pass - Possibility to hike to the bomb hole (see previous page) - Panorama on the ‘aiguilles de Bavella’ (Bavella’s needle) - Continue the road towards Zonza - Follow the direction of Porto Vecchio - Car park at the Piscia di Gallo waterfall - 1h30 round trip to the Piscia di Gallo waterfall - Continue towards the Ospedale - Photo stop of the lake on the way - Evening in a restaurant in the Ospedale commune to enjoy the panorama - Return to Riva Bella.
Bonifacio - Rondinara Beach
The City of Cliffs - 1 day
Riva Bella - Bonifacio - follow the direction of the semaphore in order to enjoy a superb panorama of the cliffs and the citadel of Bonifacio - Parking at the semaphore and - possibility of a walk along the customs officer’s path - Drive along the coast - Return by car to the citadel - Visit of Bonifacio, the port, the citadel and the stairs of the King of Aragon - Return road to Riva Bella - Possibility to stop at the Rondinara beach - Evening meal on Porto Vecchio - Riva Bella.
Corte - Restonica - Ghisoni
Lakes, rivers and mountain - 1 day
Riva Bella - Road to Corte - In Corte, head towards the Restonica gorges road - Parking at the Grotelles sheepfold - Hike to the lake of Melo (see previous page) - Return to Corte - Visit the citadel of Corte - Road to Ghisoni - Stop near the restaurant A Vecchia Mina for a swim in the river - Return to Riva Bella.
Escapade en Castagniccia
Corsican Authenticity - 1 day
Riva Bella - Chiatra - Petra di Verde - Swimming at the Struccia waterfall - Piedicroce - Source of Orezza - La Porta - Then take the D506 to Pruno (GPS coordinates 42.427983 9.433713 exactly), possibility to park on the side of the road in order to enjoy a swim in a splendid canyon - return via the T10 - Riva Bella.
Pinarello - Excursion en bateau Lavezzi et Bonifacio
Adventure on the islands - 1 day
Riva Bella - Pinarello (in season) or Porto Vecchio - Embarkation for the Lavezzis Islands - Observation of the cliffs of Bonifaccio - Free time on the islands - return to port - Riva Bella.
Cape Corsica Tour - 1 long day
Riva Bella - Nonza - Visit the village of Nonza and the grey sandy beach - Centuri, visit the port - Panorama at the Mattei Mill - Encounter the wild cows on the beach of Barcaggio - Stroll and swim in Macinnagio - Pietracorbara - Visit the typical port of Erbalunga - Return to Riva Bella
Cervione - San Nicolao - Pont de l’enfer
Swimming and sightseeing in Castagniccia - 1/2 day
Riva Bella - Cervione, visit of the village and panorama of the Oriental plain - Swimming at the Ucelluline waterfall (towards Santa Maria Poggio) - Road to Velone Orneto - Swimming at the Pont de l’Enfer - Back to Riva Bella.
Vizzavona - Verghellu Canyon
Between Mountains and Rivers - 1 day
Riva Bella - Road to Vizzavona - Car park of the Cascade des Anglais on the T20 - 30 minute walk to the waterfall - Swimming and return to Venaco - At the bridge between Vivario and Venaco on the T20, take the road on the left (coming from Vizzavona) towards ‘Forêt du Verghellu’, D723 - 13 kms later, you will find after a small stone bridge the car park - Swimming in an exceptional setting in the canyon - Possibility of aquarando up to the waterfall 1 km later - return to Riva Bella.
Corte - Ajaccio by train - Corte
A day in the footsteps of Napoleon - 1 day
Riva Bella - Corte Gare - a train leaves in the morning direction Ajaccio (2 hours of journey) splendid sight on the valley and the mountains - Arrival in Ajaccio, visit of the old centre and possibility of excursion to the bloodthirsty islands - Return in the afternoon by train on Corte - Evening in the citadel then return on Riva Bella.
Pietrapola - San Gavinu di Fiumorbu - Prunelli
Thermal baths and waterfalls - 1/2 day
Riva Bella - Pietrapola - Swimming at the Pietrapola hot spring - Continuation to San Gavinu di Fiumorbu - Walk for 30min to the Buja waterfall then return - Prunelli, visit of the village and panorama - Return to Riva Bella.
+ Travelling to Corsica with kids
Corsica is also an ideal destination for families: water sports, acrobatic courses, donkey rides, boat trips, animal parks, horse riding etc. There is no shortage of activities!
Think of course of the children’s club at Riva Bella and the llama and donkey park to entertain your toddlers.
Dinner is ready!
1 - Delicatessen
The Corsican pork industry is the heritage of an ancient pastoral tradition, traditional know-how and very specific products: figatellu, lonzu, coppa, prisuttu or sausage, etc.
2 - Brocciu specialities
Brocciu is an integral part of the Corsican gastronomic culture. It is a cheese made from raw goat’s and/or ewe’s milk. It benefits from an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) since 1998. It can be found in many traditional sweet or savoury recipes: fiadone, cannelloni, migliacci, doughnuts... To be tasted without delay!
3 - Specialities based on chestnut flour
The chestnut tree holds a real place in the history of Corsica which even gave its name to the region ‘castagniccia’. Under the Genoese influence during the Middle Ages, Corsican owners had to plant at least 4 chestnut trees to pay their taxes during the famine. Today, chestnuts can be found in many dishes (pulenda, migliacci), in sweet specialities (canistrellis, chestnut moelleux) and even in typical Corsican beer (la Pietra).
4 - Myrtle
During your stay, you will surely be offered to drink ‘a little myrtle’. Myrtle is the liqueur and myrtle is the shrub of the maquis which produces small purple berries from September onwards and generously season typical dishes.
5 - Sparkling Muscat
Lovers of sparkling aperitifs, you should not leave the island without a glass of sparkling Muscat. This ‘Corsican champagne’ comes from the wine estates of Eastern Corsica. A real local delight!
6 - Corsican Wines
Thousands of hectares of vineyards are spread throughout the island of beauty, giving its wines a holiday atmosphere and the scent of wild flowers of the maquis. With its 9 appellations d’origine contrôlée, Corsica offers a wide variety of wines with unique flavours. To your health!