Known for its beautiful beaches, the great south is also the jet-set preferred place on the island. The trendy clubs, luxury seaside hotels and expensive private villas of the stars are all there. It is also one of the most frequented areas with Bonifacio as the most popular tourist attaction on the island (and for good reasons). Inland, the Sartenais and the Ospedale forest both offer a different side to the region, more peaceful and with scenic sightseeing and walking trails.
Top 5 things to do in the Great South
Boat trip around the cliffs of Bonifacio and iles du lavezzi – Boat tours from
Bonifacio is probably the most popular tourist activity in Corsica. It is busy, all year round. It is important to watch for the weather and make sure the sea will be still on the day you want to take the tour. the tours provide access to two main sights: the cliffs and the Lavezzi islands. The cliff tour is short but stunning. The limestone cliffs standing at the extreme south of the island are a geological anomaly on a granit island. The tour will start from Bonifacio Harbour, sail through the
Natural reserve, where the limestone area starts, and then head north to discover the two caves. The boat will enter into one of them (the Dragon’s cave) where the seabed turns turquoise and is illuminated by the sun that pierces through a hole dominating the cave. Further north, Bonifacio comes into sight, impressively standing at the edge of the cliff, with the popular stairs of the “Roi d’Aragon” coming all the way down from the city to access a hole that used to be a water well for inhabitants of the city. Legend (and legend only) has it that the stairs were built overnight by invaders to penetrate the city. Finally, the “grain of sand”, a massive stone that stands detached from the cliff, opposite the city and was probably created by erosion is the place for postcard-like pictures.
Lavezzi is a slightly longer tour where one can take a walk/ have lunch on the Lavezzi
island, with their lunar-like landscape. A combined day-trip giving you sight of both is advised! Boat trip access will be signposted from the entrance of Bonifacio and will also enable you to benefit form free parking for the day; useful when one knows how difficult it can be to park in Bonifacio in summer.
Palombaggia and the beaches of the south east – The Great South does have some of the best beaches of the island so it is worth taking a “beach tour”, starting from Pinarellu further up north of Porto-Vecchio and then heading south to Palombaggia, Santa Giulia, then Rondinara and finish with the beach of the little Sperone at the extreme south. for more details about these beaches, see the beach (link to beach section) section of the site.
Party in Porto-Vecchio and the Via Notte
– If you are keen to spot celebrities and beautiful people, the Great South and Porto-Vecchio in particular might just be the place. There are numerous trendy bars and fancy outdoor restaurants in the town center to kick off the night. However, it will have to end up at the Via Notte club to come full circle. Probably the most popular club in Corsica, La Via Notte is located a few kilometers outside of Porto-Vecchio and offers a superb open air setting for summer partying. It also hosts a raft of very good guest DJs all over the peak season. so if you wnat a piece of the party action, it is the club to go to.
Porto-Vecchio also hosts a music festival in early September that mixes rock, polyphonies and electro. an interesting mix that really gets the city going during this period.
Diving at the “Danger de la Vacca” – The site of La Vacca, known as “Danger de la Vacca” because the site is dominated by a rock that reaches close to the water surface, 4km
from the coast, is one of the best diving sites in Corsica. It is accessible to beginners and reaches 25m depth with an average diving depth of 15m. Groupers, Barracudas as well as a multitude of other fishes will peacefully be roaming near you in a scenic surrounding of seamounts, canyons and rock holes. The colourful fauna that covers the rocks only adds to the beauty of the site. Several companies offer boat trips fro Porto-Vecchio to the site. In general, the Great South offers a lot of great diving sites with several areas protected from fishing (see Diving
L’Ospedale – 20km from Porto-Vecchio, the village of L’Ospedale lies at 800m of altitude. It is a popular getaway from Porto-Vecchio. Its lush forest, mountain peaks and
cool air make it a great place for hiking. One of the most popular walks is the (gentle) climb to A Vacca Morta (1315m), which offers a fantastic panomara over the coast (starts from the hameau of Cartalavonu). Another popular walk provides access to the highest cascade in Corsica (60m), Piscia di Gallu. Above the village, a dam was built and has created a nice artificial lake.