My husband and I woke up this morning to see thru our porthole window cloudy skies. Today, our Windstar Yacht was scheduled to arrive at Porto Vecchio, Corsica France, a lush island paradise, known as the birth place of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Among European Tourists Porto Vecchio is known as "St Tropez" of Corsica, a fashionable resort town dotted with art galleries, boutique shopping, gourmet dining and night life
A complimentary shuttle arranged by the cruise line took us to the Old Town, which was about 10 minutes uphill ride from the modern marina. We started wondering thru narrow cobblestone streets (the town is best explored by foot), and found the Place de Republique ( the main square), visit the imposing St Jean-Baptiste Church dating back to the 19th Century and made our way to the Genoise Gate which offered panoramic views of the Harbor, sea and surrounding mountains.
Our last stop was the Tourist Bureau, where we arranged a Taxi to take us to Bonifacio- a must -see popular medieval town located in the southern tip of the island. The total taxi cost one way was 60 Euro, on the way back a different taxi driver asked for 84 euro.
Travel Tip: If you plan to visit Bonifacio independently, try to arrange a round trip taxi as soon as you get off the ship! Ask the cruise director to help or the port person. We couldn't find any taxi stands in Porto Vecchio and trying to arrange it on your own can be a challenge if you don't speak French language (the official language in Corsica) We had to wait 45 min at the Tourist Bureau before our taxi arrived.
Leaving Porto Vecchio on our way to Bonifacio, the real Corsica start unfolding- a mountainous lush, green island with a rolling hills and happy grazing cows. For some reason reminded me of Maui, Hawaii....
Passing thru Porte de Genes (the only way to enter Bonifacio) , our taxi driver dropped up off in the Citadel since it is a steep uphill climb to the Citadel and the Old Town from the Marina. A little tourist train also runs in the summer from the Marina (5 Euro)It didn't take us long to realize that the taxi left us at a vintage point overlooking the Marina and it's jet-set yachts- a perfect picture opportunity!
Travel Tip: Ask your taxi driver to drop you off in the Citadel
We started making our way to the top of the town to the entry of King Aragon Steps. After paying admission 2.5 Euro we start descending. Legend has it that this 187 steps carved into the limestone cliff face were built by the Aragonese in a single night in their failed attempt to gain the town in 1420.
Travel Tip: Climbing the steps require to be physically active- the steps were uneven and at places, slippery. However this was memorable experience and the views of the gleaming Mediterranean Sea and the cliffs were stunning!
Bonifacio's Old Town, with a labyrinth of narrow streets and historical buildings was built by Genoese and its great place to wonder around. After exploring King Aragon's Steps, we stopped by chic boutiques and passed trendy restaurants. In addition to the Old Town, the Harbor also offers a wide choice of restaurants and shopping.
Mid afternoon was time to go back to Porto Vecchio and board our Windstar Yacht because the next port of call was waiting!
Are you ready to plan your small ship voyage?