Corsica’s history is mostly one of conquest and colonisation. The list of those who have ruled this island is an A-Z of Mediterranean history: Etruscans and Romans, Visigoths and Vandals, Saracens and the Genoese. And when the British tried to take the island in 1794, one Horatio Nelson lost his right eye in battle. And so it goes.
The small coastal towns with their ancient citadels bear testimony to this history, but the newest invasion to settle on the island is tourism. In the days before tourism the beaches were worthless - wastelands on which you couldn’t grow a thing. Now they attract the French in their thousands, and although the season is relatively short, the effect of tourism on the island’s economy has been profound.
If the tourists tend to stick to the coast, it is not without reason: sun, sand and aquamarine waters have an addictive effect on hard-working city souls. But those in the know also make sure they spin into the mountains, and now that a number of good hotels have opened in the hills it’s easier to explore. You’ll also find the most beautiful landscapes here: chestnut forests, switchback roads, tiny villages perched high in the sky, mountain peaks sculpted by the wind. What’s more, you’ll pretty much have the place to yourself.