Calvi

One of the main towns on Corsica, Calvi is one of those places that combines a distinctive Gallic feel with more than just a hint of Italian flair. The result is wholly pleasant, and creates a mix that makes this beautiful little port one of the most appealing anywhere in the western Mediterranean.

The island as a whole is ruggedly mountainous, swathed in pine forests, and is singularly beautiful. Calvi itself can essentially be divided into two parts; there is an upper level, ancient citadel, and the town that spreads out across the waterfront and its back streets.

The citadel is quite hard to walk to In summer, especially during the long, hot mid afternoon hours. There are many steps, and a lot of cobble stones. Halfway to the top, there is a nice art gallery that is definitely worth a look. Once at the top, you’ll find some nice bars and restaurants.

Probably the main attraction for many will be what locals call the ‘big pink church’. L’Eglise Santa Maria, to give it the full name, is unmistakable; an excellent example of old, Orthodox style Catholic church.

Down in the yacht filled harbour, the town revolves more around a burgeoning beach and resort lifestyle scene. If you are lucky enough to be there in mid August, there is usually a fantastic, themed firework display that draws literally thousands of people.

Eating and drinking here is practised like a religion, and raised to the level of an art form. In the long, light filled summer evenings, dining on the floodlit waterfront acquires a special kind of timeless magic.

You could also take the four hour round trip to Scandola, a gorgeous nature reserve, set on an island a few miles offshore. With beautiful and extensive coral, it is definitely worth the trip.

As another option, you could take the train ride to Bastia, or even nearby Ile Rousse.

On the Calvi waterfront itself, you can hire snorkelling gear, or simply hire a kayak or sail boat straight off the main beach itself. You can even hire a catamaran from the local marina.

Being a relatively small port, Calvi is unable to accommodate large cruise ships. Vessels arriving off here will tender their passengers ashore to the quayside at Quai Landry.

Along here, there are numerous waterfront bars and restaurants.  This faces onto what can be a very busy road, as the centre of all the town’s night life lies just beyond it.

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