After a week spent in southern Corsica, here is my feedback on the different activities to do around Cargèse.
Already, I reassure you, you are not likely to be bored! The activities around the cute little port of Cargèse are numerous and diversified, something to please the whole family.
Cargèse and other typical villages
If you are staying in Cargèse or its surroundings, be sure to visit this charming little port rich in history.
Among the main points of interest, the two churches are undoubtedly the curiosity of this village. Indeed, from the coast impossible to miss these 2 bell towers which look at the heights of the village.
This double cult has its origin in the history of Cargèse, when in the 17th century the Genoese (to whom Corsica belonged) gave land to the Greek community. The latter therefore erected an Orthodox church in the middle of the village in order to practice their worship.
Then, with the withdrawal of the Greek community and the expansion of Catholicism, a second church, Catholic this time, was built opposite the first. Even today, the two cults are celebrated in Cargèse.
At the bottom of the village, the port is now mainly dedicated to recreational and tourist activities, in particular for excursions to the Scandola reserve. It is nonetheless very pleasant with its small restaurants by the sea.
Due to its particular position on the coast, Cargèse is surrounded by 3 rocky points. Each of them is surmounted by a Genoese tower whose purpose was none other than to protect themselves from barbarian attacks, common in the 16th century.
The Omigna Tower, the only one still standing, is listed as a historical monument. It can be easily reached by a path of several kilometers along the coast. I recommend that you go there at the end of the day to enjoy the magnificent colors of the sunset on the rock.
Finally, like all the villages located on the coast, Cargèse is bordered by several very beautiful beaches.
The large beach of Péru is the most accessible, but my preference goes to the small cove of Menasina located just south of the village.
The Gulf of Porto and the village of Girolata
A few kilometers north of Cargèse, after having taken the magnificent panoramic road of the Calanques de Piana, the hamlet of Porto is revealed before your eyes.
Although charming with its canal, this small port is best known for being the gateway to the Gulf of Porto and the Scandola reserve, classified on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
If you come to Porto, it will not be so much to visit the port and swim on its large beach, as to enjoy an excursion in the Gulf to discover this exceptional maritime heritage.
And on land, be sure to visit the charming village of Girolata, accessible only on foot or by boat.
Corte and its surroundings
So yes, I know, Corte is not the door to corté. Uh… nearby 🙂 It takes less than 2 hours to get there from Cargèse, and that’s without counting all the photo stops along the route or the stops to let the cochongliers pass!
Yes, but because Corte is Corte anyway, I find the trip worth it. More than going down to visit Ajaccio if you want my opinion.
To make the most of this day, my first advice would be to get up early. Already because the roads will be quieter and therefore you will avoid wasting time unnecessarily, but also to give yourself time to do the loop that I suggest you without stressing to return in time for the aperitif.
- The gorges of the Spelunca
From Porto, you can reach Corte by the D84 road. It’s not the fastest if you look on Google, but it’s by far the prettiest!
Indeed, this road follows the gorges of Spelunca for many kilometers and frankly, how beautiful it is! I swear to you that in the middle of these landscapes I told myself that I was very stupid to often want to go to the other side of the world because there, it sent pie!
Imagine a small mountain road, with a very clear view on the low side just to take advantage of the gorges below. In addition, as the road is very narrow, we take our time to let cars pass through. In short, happiness!
We even had the chance to meet a family of cochonglieres and a herd of goats.
After passing through several mountain villages, each as charming as the next with their old stones, you arrive at the large reservoir lake of Calacuccia.
The weather was with us that day because the surface of the lake was such that the Corsican peaks were reflected perfectly in this natural mirror. Can you recognize Monte Cinto?
After this beautiful immersion in the Corsican mountains, here we are in Corte.
The time to find a place to park (which is a mission impossible past 11am), and let’s go for the visit of the city. Finally… a visit which was limited to a short walk through the alleys and the climb to the citadel belvedere. The fault has a very urgent desire and no public toilet in one of the most touristic towns of Corsica. We think we are dreaming.
So yes, I could have gone to a cafe to get rid of € 5 for a soda. But no, when there is no service for tourists, the tourist is not providing any service either. Do not deliberately put a public toilet to encourage people to drink in a cafe … how can I tell you that there is no pigeon written on my forehead.
- the gorges of the restonica
Accessible on foot or by car from Corte, these gorges are among the sites not to be missed during a stay in Corsica.
After your visit to Corte, you can come and rest in the shade of the pines to enjoy the fresh water and the natural swimming pools.
The more athletic will be able to complete the loop of the glacial lakes of Melo and Capitello in one of the most beautiful surroundings of Haute Corse.
Besides the beaches, you can also refresh yourself in different ways around Cargèse.
- The gorges of Spelunca and its natural pools
The closest and surely the most frequented site in the region is the Spelunca Gorge in Evisa.
In the middle of the pine forest just a few hundred meters from the road, the Spelunca gorges and its refreshing natural pools are waiting for you. A word of advice, don’t wait too long to get there, the best places are very popular 🙂
One of the flagship activities in Corsica after hiking is canyoning. At the same time, with all these gorges and wild rivers, it’s not very surprising!
In the vicinity of Cargèses, several gorges lend themselves to this fun but nonetheless sporting activity. I remember having a great time in the gorges next to Vico. For several hours, and under the guidance of our state-certified guide, our small group of 5 followed the route that alternated between higher and higher jumps in the swimming pools, natural slides, via ferrata and descents. abseiling under the waterfalls. Not to mention the landscape which was just sublime!
My only regret being not to have thought to take my gopro to immortalize all this!
If you like hiking, you will be delighted to stay near Cargèse. Indeed, this region of Corsica is surely one of the most abundant in terms of hiking.
Cargèse is notably the starting point of the two great paths of Haute Corse, the Mare e Monti Nord and Mare a mare Nord, both renowned for crossing exceptional landscapes.
And if you want to see what the GR20, you will easily be able to complete a few sections of this legendary hiking trail.
Where to stay
There are many rental offers in Cargèse, but how everywhere in Corsica, it is advisable to book early enough to take advantage of the best accommodation. By taking it in January for a stay at the end of June, we were able to book a very nice apartment at a fair price in Cargèse in the Hélios residence with direct access to the small beach of Menasina.
The residence has a swimming pool and many shaded areas, and a significant point, accepts animals!
How to come ?
Several possibilities are available to you to come to Corsica and join Cargèse.
- by plane to Ajaccio (or Calvi) then with a rental car to reach Cargèse
- by boat with the company CorsicaFerries which allows you to reach Ajaccio from Toulon or Nice
Rent a car ?
On site, I strongly recommend that you rent a car to get around, because the availability of public transport on site is rather limited.
As is often the case in the islands, you have to do it very early to reserve a car at an advantageous price. Indeed, when there are no more cars available, it is impossible to bring in from the mainland. For my part, I recommend you to go through Europcar, a reliable agency with whom I have never had any problems either with the reception or the return of the vehicle.
If, however, you did not find your happiness, you can also look at car rental between individuals (often more expensive), or take accommodation with a private individual including car rental.
Do you know the Cargèse region? Do you have other activities to recommend? Do not hesitate to let me know in the comments!
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