Corsica with steep, gray cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean and sandy beaches attracting summer visitors, is a French-governed island sometimes confused with Sardinia and Sicily, Italian islands to the south. Fortunately, all three islands share the same love for good wine, food and sun-splashed beaches.
Corsica boasts two main cities — Ajaccio with about 70,000 residents and Bastia with 48,000 — plus hundreds of small towns and villages scattered in the mountains (20 peaks rise above 6,500 feet) and along the stunning coast, each with its own unique neighborhoods.
Ajaccio, the island’s capital and birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte, sits on the southwest coast. The city offers several
interesting districts, including Plage Saint-François, a Mediterranean beach in the city center, with the famous Citadel as a backdrop. Locals go to relax at the beach while out shopping or taking a break from nearby offices. A short walk from the beach, the colorful Marché d’Ajaccio sells an amazing selection of olives, cheese, ham and much more.
Bastia, founded in 1378 in northeast Corsica, boasts an Old Town filled with narrow streets and alleys where incredible 18th-century buildings still fulfill residential and commercial purposes. Restaurants in the Old Port district include Le Panda Féerique, for French and European fusion cuisine, and upscale Le Divino, serving seafood fresh from the docks. At the LVP Café enjoy good seafood, especially the mussels, in a more casual setting.
A one-hour drive south of Ajaccio gets you to Olmeto, a quiet, rural town offering memorable scenes, from cobblestone streets and tilted stone houses to breathtaking views of the surrounding hills. A 20-minute drive farther south lies the medieval town of Sartène, where you reach the Vielle Ville (Old City) area of Maniguedda through a vaulted passageway next to the Town Hall. Explore narrow streets with ancient houses linked by arches, arcades and alleys, occasionally blocked by unexpected outcrops of mountain terrain.
Continue south on the winding, oleander-lined road leading to Bonifacio, founded in the ninth century and one of the world’s most dramatically situated cities. Teetering perilously atop an eroding limestone promontory, Bonifacio provides extraordinary 360-degree views including Corsica’s coastline, the vast Tyrrhenian Sea and the Italian island of Sardinia.
Bonifacio’s Vielle Ville neighborhood sits within a ninth-century fortified citadel, beautifully restored and featuring a fascinating
maze of streets and alleyways. Brasseries, cafés and bars spill onto the pavement; piazzas, craft shops and boutiques show off their colorful items; and churches and palazzi (residential palaces) display intriguing medieval architecture. Enjoy an espresso or bar drink at 100-year-old Café Niçois on Rue Saint-Jean Baptiste, offering plenty of Corsican atmosphere.
After a stressful pre-holiday season and a busy work schedule, there was no better time for a relaxing spa experience than during my recent trip to Pasadena with the FXExpress Publications, Inc. team. We headed to The Langham Huntington, Pasadena for the 20th anniversary of the GT Tested Reader Survey awards, which meant a jam-packed trip, but I managed to carve a little time out of our busy schedule to visit Chuan Spa at the hotel.
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The Saronic or Argo Saronic Islands of Greece call travelers to explore its seven small islands and islets brimming with history, natural sites and more. With most easily accessible by boat, the islands’ proximity to ports of Athens make the Saronic Islands an ideal destination for those preferring shorter boat rides. In fact, trips from Athens ports to the islands take only between 10 minutes and two hours, depending on the island you choose, making them perfect for day or weekend trips. From Piraeus port, you can access Hydra, Spetses, Aegina and Poros directly. Come explore these stunning islands with us and find the inspiration to plan your next trip to these islands. Hydra Hydra town curves around a slope overlooking the Argosaronic Gulf like an amphitheater and is considered one of the most romantic destinations in Greece. Most unique to the island is its lack of vehicles. People on the island get around on mules and donkeys as well as water taxis, making for a peaceful and laid-back day. Hydra lies a two-hour ferry ride from Piraeus port in Athens.
Known as one of the best airports in the world and voted Best Airport in the Middle East by Global Traveler readers, Hamad International Airport aims to set new standards for the airport industry that exceed the expectations of travelers through its facility.
In time for peak travel season to Italy’s picturesque Amalfi Coast, the region will welcome its own airport as early as this July. Salerno Costa d’Amalfi Airport is not only undergoing renovations but it also plans to open as a commercial airport.