11 stunning villages in Balagne, Corisca

11 stunning villages in Balagne Corsica

Planning a trip to Corsica in the near future? Make sure to include a stop at the stunning villages of Balagne in your Corsica travel itinerary. Situated amidst the lush greenery between the Mediterranean Sea and mountain landscapes adorned with olive groves, this captivating region encapsulates the true essence of authentic Corsica that you won’t want to miss.

Disclaimer: This blog post contains interesting affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something through my recommendations, I receive a small reward. The best part? It doesn’t cost you anything extra and it helps my blog continue to grow. A win-win situation, so thank you!

Balagne Corisca

Nestled in the northwest of Corsica, between the serene Mediterranean Sea and majestic mountain ranges, you’ll discover the picturesque region known as Balagne. Spanning between Calvi and L’Île Rousse, it curves like a gentle crescent around the base of the imposing Monte Cinto massif.

The Balagne is also called the garden of Corsica because of its extremely fertile soil. Olives were cultivated here since Roman times. The many olive groves and vineyards are therefore tthe Balagne’s signature. Alongside this scenic backdrop, the Balagne is rich in echoes of yesteryears such as numerous beautiful, historic villages. 

In recent times, this area has magnetized an influx of artists, craftsmen, and eco-conscious farmers, all committed to preserving Corsica’s time-honored customs. Amongst the lush hills you can still see how local specialties are made according to those ancient traditional methods.

How to get to Balagne Corsica?

The major cities in this region such as Calvi and L’Île Rousse are easily accessible by public transport. Calvi even has an airport and from Brussels S. Charleroi you have the option to fly directly to Calvi naar Calvi. Several ferries also travel to the port of Calvi from France and Italy. Ideal if you want to start your road trip here.

To explore the unspoilt inland of the Balagne, it is best to rent a car. There is public transport to some villages, but because of the winding mountain roads and many stops, these trips take a lot of time. Therefore, renting a car is the best option. We always choose Sunny Cars when renting a car. The big advantage at Sunny Cars is that all insurances are already included in the price. So you will not be faced with unpleasant surprises in the form of extra costs when you pick up your car.

Do you want to know more about driving a car in Corsica? Then be sure to check out 10 Corsica travel tips you need to know before you go.

If you don’t want to rent a car, you can opt for one of the many day excursions of Getyourguide where you can experience the charm of the Balagne region. Below you can find some of my favorite tours.

How many days do you need to discover the Balagne region in Corsica?

We traveled to the Balagne from the Gulf of Porto as a day trip, but we had definitely underestimated the amount of driving along the winding roads of the west coast. This made our trip feel a bit too rushed.

We also visited many Balagne villages in one day, which made this trip a bit one-sided, while this region is oh-so-beautiful and has much more to offer. In retrospect, I regretted that we didn’t take more time to explore Balagne more extensively.

That is why I would advise you to take at least 2 days to discover this region. This way you can explore the various villages in Balagne at your own pace and even have time to enjoy the breathtaking landscape with beautiful beaches, green hills and local delicacies. 

Where to stay in Balagne? 

In my quest to ensure your Balagne getaway is truly unforgettable, I went looking for the most authentic and unique accommodations to stay.

Campo Di Fiori

Campo Di Fiori is an enchanting property located in Calvi. Inspired by Mediterranean charm and rich local traditions, Campo Di Fiori offers a collection of beautiful houses scattered amid lush gardens and green landscapes.

Each house has been lovingly decorated and equipped with modern amenities, while the traditional architecture and furnishings reflect the region’s rich history.

Campo Di Fiori, Calvi
booking.com

On the domain you can use the beautiful indoor swimming pool or relax in the extensive garden in the shade of the many pines and eucalyptus trees.

Campo Di Fiori, Calvi
booking.com

The charming Campo Di Fiori offers a great experience for travelers looking for peace, cosiness and authenticity.

Casa Legna

In the heart of the Balagne near the picturesque town of Pigna you can find the extraordinary residence ‘Casa Legna‘. With its 10 ecolodges, Casa Legna aims to create a new development of rural tourism in harmony with nature. These unique accommodations are all beautifully decorated with natural elements and are equipped with all modern comforts.

Casa Legna, Pigna, Corsica
booking.com

In addition, the ecolodges are also sustainable due to the low occupancy density and respect for the environment. This can be found in the materials used and the facilities that are aimed at using only elements that have a low impact on nature.

Casa Legna, Pigna, Corsica
Booking.com
Casa Legna, Pigna, Corsica
Booking.com

You can also enjoy a beautiful outdoor swimming pool in the form of a natural basin that blends into the landscape on the domain or how about a lovely evening walk through the olive grove?

Casa Legna offers a unique, authentic and above all sustainable experience for travelers looking for peace and comfort in the middle of the green hills of the Balagne.

Hôtel Restaurant Villa Joséphine

Just one kilometer from the bustling center and beautiful beaches of LʼÎle-Rousse you’ll find the elegant and charming Hôtel Restaurant Villa Joséphine. This hotel is named after the legendary Empress Joséphine de Beauharnais, who had a strong connection with Corsica.

Hôtel Restaurant Villa Joséphine, L'île Rousse, Corsica
booking.com

Exuding timeless elegance, this idyllic property reflects its refined taste and offers a harmonious blend of traditional charm and modern luxury. The hotel’s rooms and suites are decorated with care and provide a calming oasis for guests to relax. An absolute asset is the swimming pool surrounded by the beautiful, green hills of the Balagne.

Hôtel Restaurant Villa Joséphine, L'île Rousse, Corsica
booking.com

Moreover, Villa Joséphine’s restaurant is a real gastronomic gem, serving delicious dishes prepared with fresh local ingredients. Savor the refined flavors of Corsican cuisine while admiring the breathtaking view.

Hôtel Restaurant Villa Joséphine, L'île Rousse, Corsica

In short, at Hôtel Restaurant Villa Joséphine you can enjoy a luxurious stay in breathtaking surroundings.

Hotel A Piattatella

Indulge in complete relaxation at Hotel A Piattatella, situated in the delightful village of Monticello in the enchanting Balagne region. In Corsican, “A Piattatella” literally means refuge and this is also the mission of this property.

Hotel A Piattatella, Monticello, Corsica
booking.com

Hotel A Piattatellais nestled on a hilltop where you can admire breathtaking views of the shimmering Mediterranean Sea and the enchanting landscape of the region. From the moment you arrive you are immersed in a calm and serene atmosphere, perfect for relaxing.

The 17 rooms of this charming hotel are located in small villas scattered around the estate. They all have a unique atmosphere that combines vitality and tranquility and where comfort prevails.

Hotel A Piattatella, Monticello, Corsica
booking.com

Hotel A Piattatella boasts an array of facilities, notably two splendid swimming pools that offer sweeping panoramic views of Balagne’s lush hills. Moreover, the hotel’s restaurant is a true haven for connoisseurs, presenting a culinary journey enriched by the use of locally sourced, fresh ingredients complemented by exquisite Corsican wines. The added enchantment of dining while gazing upon the sea and the encircling hills imbues your dining moments with an extra layer of magic.

Hotel A Piattatella, Monticello, Corsica
booking.com

The enchanting Hotel A Piattatella offers an unforgettable experience in an idyllic setting, surrounded by the natural beauty of the Balagne.

Discover the most stunning villages in Balagne

When you decide to discover the enchanting Balagne region, it is a must to visit the most beautiful villages. The easiest way to do this is via the Strada di l’Artigiani or craftsmen route. In the Balagne there are many craftsmen, including artists and farmers who open their workshops to the public. This itinerary (see map) will take you along workshops located in some of the most beautiful villages in the Balagne.

Since there are many, you will probably run out of time. That’s why I provide an overview of the most beautiful places to visit so that you can decide which locations you want to explore based on your preferences.

1. Calvi 

This historical city surrounded by breathtaking landscapes and with the most charming atmosphere, attracts thousands of visitors every year.

The history of Calvi goes back to prehistoric times, but the city became particularly famous in the Middle Ages. The most striking feature of Calvi is the impressive Genoese fortress, the Citadel, which sits high on a hill overlooking the city and the sea. As well as offering spectacular views, the Citadel is a true architectural masterpiece and serves as a vibrant symbol of the city.

Calvi, Corsica
Calvi, Corsica
Calvi, Corsica

Another highlight of this town is the picturesque harbour, with colorful fishing boats gently swaying on the water and numerous cafes and restaurants serving local seafood.

Calvi, Corsica

Calvi unveils the exquisite Plage de Calvi, a stretch of beauty extending across several kilometers. Its crystalline turquoise waters and delicate white sands hold allure for both locals and tourists. Here you can enjoy swimming, basking in the sun, and engaging in waterborne activities. If the quest for an idyllic coastal spot beyond the city attracts you, then a must- do is the Tramway de Balagne. This coastal train embarks numerous times throughout the day between Calvi and L’Île Rousse, making a remarkable 14 stops along its mesmerizing route.

Besides natural beauty, Calvi also has a vibrant culture and a rich culinary scene. The old town center is dotted with narrow streets, cobbled squares and old buildings, including the baroque Saint-Jean-Baptiste Cathedral. The city comes alive in the summer when it hosts various festivals, concerts and events celebrating local traditions and culture.

Calvi, Corsica
Calvi, Corsica
Calvi, Corsica

Calvi is also an excellent starting point to explore the rest of Corsica. From the harbor you can take boat trips to other beautiful coastal towns and nearby islands. If the Gulf of Porto with attractions such as the Scandola Natural Park and the Calanches is not on your itinerary, be sure to check out these excursions from Getyourguide below. You should definitely not miss these sights on your Corsica vacation.

2. Lumio 

A little more inland along the coast road from Calvi to LÎle Rousse you’ll pass Lumio. In this picturesque village you can taste both worlds. It’s located in the hills and has breathtaking views of the Gulf of Calvi, but at the same time you are also close to the coast where you will find some of the most beautiful beaches in Corsica.

Lumio, Balgane, Corsica

Lumio is an idyllic village where you can get lost in the narrow, cobbled streets with old stone houses and charming squares. In addition, the village also has some historical sights, including the beautiful baroque church Église Sainte-Marie with its bell tower. The Romanesque chapel l’église San Petru è Paulu, which dates from the 11th century, is also definitely worth a visit.

From the central square near Église Sainte-Marie you can take a nice walk to the deserted village of Occi. The ruins of this medieval town are located on a hilltop, which offer fantastic views over the Gulf of Calvi.

Occi near Lumio, Balagne, Corsica

Lumio is also home to the famous wine estate Domaine Clos Culombu where you can taste the delicious wines.

Do you want to take a break on the beach? Then follow the road from Lumio to the coast and you will arrive at Plage de l’Arinella, one of the most beautiful beaches in Corsica. This fantastic sandy beach with shallow water is ideal for a day of water fun. From the beach you have a great view of the green hills of the Balagne.

3. Algajola 

Further on between Calvi and L’Île-Rousse you will also find the charming seaside town of Algajola. The history of Algajola dates back to ancient times, when it was an important trading post for the Genoese and Romans.

Algajola’s most notable historical feature is the ancient Genoese fortress, which proudly overlooks the Mediterranean Sea and the picturesque port. This fortress that once was a strategic defensive post, now offers spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding area.

Agajola, Balagne, Corsica

However, the real eye-catcher of Algajola is the beautiful beach, Plage d’Aregno. The fine white sand and crystal clear waters create an idyllic setting for sunbathers and swimmers. The beach stretches for a considerable length, providing ample space for visitors to relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. Water sports enthusiasts can also indulge in activities such as snorkelling, diving and windsurfing.

In addition to its natural splendor, Algajola has a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The narrow cobbled streets of the old town center invite leisurely strolls and are lined with cozy cafes, restaurants and boutiques offering traditional Corsican food and crafts. It is the perfect place to enjoy fresh fish dishes, local cheeses and fine Corsican wines.

Do you like hiking? Then you’ve come to the right place, as Algajola offers some wonderful hiking trails along the coast and through the surrounding countryside. The landscape is breathtaking and offers the opportunity to explore the unspoilt nature of Corsica including the spectacular cliffs that stretch down to the sea.

4. L’Île-Rousse 

L’Île-Rousse, named after the red color of Île de la Pietra at sunset, is one of the most popular seaside resorts on the island.

It goes without saying that the main attractions of L’Île-Rousse are the beaches. The expanded golden sandy beach, such as Plage de Bodri and Plage de Lozari, are surrounded by turquoise waters and provide the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun. Water sports enthusiasts can enjoy various activities such as snorkeling, kayaking and paddle boarding.

L'Île Rousse, Corsica

The center of L’Île-Rousse has a vibrant and charming appearance. Place Paoli, the main square, is surrounded by elegant buildings and shaded terraces. Here you can find countless cafes, bars and restaurants where you can enjoy delicious Corsican dishes and local wines. The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming, making it a pleasure to stroll the streets and enjoy the local culture.

L'Île Rousse, Corsica
L'Île Rousse, Corsica

Another attraction worth exploring is the covered market of L’Île-Rousse. Here local producers sell their fresh products, crafts and souvenirs. It’s the ideal place to experience the authentic flavors and crafts of Corsica and to buy some unique souvenirs to take home.

L’Île-Rousse also has a couple of historical sights. The town’s lighthouse, built in the 19th century, is a reminder of Corsica’s maritime heritage. From here you also have a breathtaking view of the surroundings. In addition, the old centre is home to numerous historic buildings, including The Church of the Immaculate Conception. Although it was built in the 19th-20th century it contains two notable 17th-century paintings.

If you love to know more about the local flora of this area of Corisca then you should definitely include a visit to Parc de Saleccia. This beautiful botanical garden is located about 4 kilometers from L’Île-Rousse. Here you can find wide variety of unique plants, both Mediterranean and from elsewhere with olive trees a specialty.

5. Corbara

When you leave the coast between Calvi and L’Île-Rousse and head inland, you arrive at Corbara. This picturesque village is located on a hilltop, so beautiful views of the surrounding landscape are guaranteed. In addition, Corbara is a super charming mountain village with a maze of narrow cobbled streets, cozy squares with fountains and lots of historic buildings.

Corbara, Balagne, Corsica

Corbara was founded in 816 by Guido de Sabellis. Since the village has a long history, you can find some beautiful historical sights including many churches. The most impressive is Église de l’Annonciation, a beautiful church with an elegant baroque interior. Here you can also enjoy the viewing platform from which you have the most stunning panoramic view.

Besides that Corbara also counts 2 Museums. In the Musée du Tresor you can admire religious art. Guy Savelli’s museum houses his private collection of objects, writings and historical photographs of Corsica.

About 2 kilometers outside the village on the way to Pigna  a monastery is located. The Monastery of Saint Dominic was founded in 1456. After being destroyed during the Revolution, the Dominicans rebuilt it as a place of study. From Sant’Antonino there is a pleasant hiking trail to the monastery, but I will come back to that later.

Couvent de Corbara, Balagne, Corsica

6. Pigna  

One of my favorite villages in Balagne is Pigna. Pigna is located approximately 8 kilometers from L’Île-Rousse. It’s especially famous for its artists and craftsmen. This village is home to numerous craft workshops where you get the chance to admire and buy handmade products and works of art. You can visit potters, engravers, painters and sculptors, but at Casa-Liutaiu you can see the famous string instrument maker Ugo Casalonga at work. If you don’t want to miss anything, get a map at the information point on which all workshops and shops are indicated.

Pigna, Balagne, corsica
Pigna, Balagne, corsica

One of Pigna’s most notable features is its architectural design. The winding cobbled streets, old stone houses and traditional Corsican buildings with bright blue painted shutters give the village an enchanting atmosphere. The old town of Pigna is well preserved and exudes a rustic charm that instantly transports you back in time. Because Pigna is located on top of a hill, you also have beautiful panoramas over the surrounding landscape full of olive groves.

Pigna, Corsica

Pigna’s cultural heritage can also be heard in the music. The village is home to the Centru Culturale di u Pighjolu, a renowned cultural center dedicated to Corsican polyphonic singing. This is a unique musical tradition that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During the summer you can enjoy live concerts and musical events that breathe life into this small town.

7. Sant’Antonino 

The next village is Sant’Antonino and is located on a hilltop of no less than 500 meters. The history of Sant’Antonino dates back to the 9th century and is one of the oldest villages in Corsica. In addition, it’s considered one of the most beautiful villages in France. With its rich history, picturesque architecture and beautiful location, Sant’Antonino attracts countless visitors every year.

The village is named after the patron saint Antoninus, whose name is still celebrated with an annual feast on September 2. The old center of Sant’Antonino has largely been preserved. Even though the village looks a bit run-down, there is still a cozy atmosphere.

Sant'Antonino, Corsica
Sant'Antonino, Corsica

The highlight of Sant’Antonino is definitely the panoramic viewpoint. This village isn’t called the eagle’s nest of Balagne for nothing. Make your way along the narrow, winding streets to the highest point of the village. There you have a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean Sea, Monte Grosso, Monte Padru and the Regino Valley.

Sant'Antonino, Corsica

From the village’s central square a delightful hiking trail leads to the serene Saint Dominic Monastery in Corbara. En route, you’ll encounter a cemetery, a historic threshing ground, and a charming fountain. All the while, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views that encompass Pigna and the Algajola bay. 

8. Belgodère 

The beautiful village of Belgodère is located at the end point of Balagne. It is one of the last villages you’ll pass before entering the mountainous inland.

Belgodère, Balagne, Corsica

Belgodère was founded on a mountainside in the 13th century when pirate raids were commonplace. Being close to the coast yet surrounded by mountains, this village had an extremely strategic location. It became an important center for the cultivation of citrus fruits.

Like the other typical Balagne villages, it consists of a pleasant center with narrow streets and alleys. The main attraction is the baroque-style Church of Saint Thomas. Here you can admire a special 16th-century painting of the Virgin Mary and numerous other important works of art.

Belgodère, Balagne, Corsica
Belgodère, Balagne, Corsica

Belgodère also offers plenty of opportunities for hiking and enjoying nature. There are several hiking trails in the area that run through the spectacular landscape of the nearby Regino Valley and Lake Codole.

From Belgodère you can also go down to Plage de Lozari. Here you’ll find a more than one kilometer long sandy beach where you can relax and swim. Besides that there are a few recreational opportunities such as snorkeling, sailing, mountain biking and hiking.

9. Speloncato 

Besides Sant’Antonino there’s  another eagle’s nest in Balagne named Speloncato. This village is located on a rock at an altitude of about 600 meters.

Speloncato, Balagne, Corsica

The history of Speloncato goes back more than thousands of years. Numerous traces from the Neolithic period were found here. Later, Speloncato formed a strategic stronghold and provided protection against invading enemies. The name “Speloncato” is derived from the Latin word “spelunca”, meaning “cave”, due to the presence of caves in the vicinity.

A sight not to be missed is the imposing Église Santa Maria Assunta. This is the main church of Speloncato. It dates back to the 15th century and is an absolute architectural masterpiece. Inside you can admire beautiful frescoes and religious artworks.

The absolute highlight in Speloncato is the panoramic view from the highest point in the Cima district. A feudal castle, built in the 10th century, once stood on this site. You can reach this spot by making your way through a maze of narrow alleys and vaulted passageways. It’s a bit of a climb, but you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view that stretches over the Reginu valley to the sea. In the west you can see Petra Tafunata, the famous pierced rock, through which the sun casts its rays once more on Speloncato twice a year (just before the moment when it is perpendicular to the equator) after disappearing behind the mountain.

10. Lama 

Another beautiful authentic village and, according to experts, one of the most beautiful villages on the island of Corsica is Lama. This town is located about 30 kilometers from L’Île-Rousse and therefore deviates slightly further from the craftsmen’s route. If you have time, Lama is definitely worth a visit.

Lama, Corsica

The village has a rich history that dates back to the 12th century and reached its heyday in the 17th century when it was decided to plant olive groves here. These quickly grew into the most important olive groves in France allowing Lama to benefit from opulence and wealth.

Unfortunately, a large part of the olive groves was destroyed by a fire in 1971. Today you can relax in the charming center and enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding area.

Lama is also a paradise for adventure seekers. There are countless opportunities for hiking such as several hiking trails that run through beautiful landscapes and unspoiled nature.

Lama, Corsica

A fun fact is that every year in July the European Film Festival is organized here, the ‘Lama Festival du Film.’

11. Montemaggiore 

Another gem surrounded by the green hills of Balagne is Montemaggiore. This beautiful village is located a little more to the west. Montemaggiore is best known for its olive production. You can still visit the old oil mill U Fragnu where olive oil is produced. In July, the annual olive fair ‘the Fiera di l’Alivu’ takes place here, which is really a real experience.

Montemaggiore, Balagne, Corsica

Furthermore, Montemaggiore is built like a typical Balagne village with a maze of narrow cobbled streets around a central square. One of Montemaggiore’s most striking landmarks is Saint Augustine, a beautiful church with a simple facade and an elegant baroque interior.

Here too you have several spectacular views over the surrounding landscape dotted with olive groves and surrounded by impressive peaks.

The most beautiful beaches in Balagne

There is definitely no shortage of beautiful beaches here either. Would you like to alternate your visit to the Balagne villages with a day at the beach? Then this is perfecty possible. I have already mentioned some beaches in the overview of the most stunning villages in this region. Yet there are a few that are a little further away, but should certainly not be missing from the list of the most beautiful beaches in Balagne. You can also find them on the map.

Plage de l’Ostriconi 

About 16 km north of L’Île-Rousse you’ll find one of the most beautiful beaches in Corsica, Plage de l’Ostriconi. This golden sandy beach, with clear waters and surrounded by lush vegetation, is known for its unspoiled character. Therefore, the beach is not accessible by car. It’s about a 15-minute walk from the car park, but the walking route through the greenery is already an experience in itself.

Plage de l'Ostriconi, Corsica

Once you have arrived at the extensive beach, it’s not difficult to find a good spot. Since the beach is not well known and less accessible than the beaches in popular beach cities such as Calvi and L’Île-Rousse, there are fewer tourists. You will mainly see locals who are well equipped for a day of water fun. And that’s normal, because you don’t have any facilities there such as a bar, restaurant or toilets. So be sure to bring plenty of drinks, snacks and protection/shelter against the sun, such as a hat or cap.

Plage de l'Ostriconi, Corsica

If you want to experience the peace and serenity of a secluded beach in a beautiful natural setting without the crowds of tourists, Plage de l’Ostriconi is definitely the place to be.

Plage de Plage de Saleccia en Plage de Lotu 

These beautiful beaches are part of the nature reserve Désert des Agriates, which is located north of the Balagne. Contrary to what the name suggests, it is not a typical desert with sand dunes, but rather a vast, rugged and arid plain, covered with maquis, low scrub and rocky formations. In short, a true paradise for nature lovers and adventurers.

Désert des Agriates, Corsica

When you cross this wild area you’ll discover some of the most remote and paradisiacal beaches in Corsica, such as Plage de Saleccia and Plage de Lotu. Known for their fine white sand and crystal clear turquoise waters, they can only be reached via hiking trails, by boat or by jeep, which only adds to the unspoilt and wild charm of the area.

 Plage de Saleccia, Corsica

These are not beaches that you can visit quickly in between, but that are really worth a whole day of your time. From Calvi you can book various tours to these tropical beaches via Getyourguide.

 

 

Balagne in the northwest of Corsica is home to some of the most stunning villages that offer a perfect mix of history, culture and nature. These hidden gems are an unforgettable destination for travelers seeking an authentic experience in an enchanting setting. So are you planning a road trip in Corsica? Then don’t forget to visit Balagne and immerse yourself in the beauty and charm of this unique region.

Which Balagne villages are on your bucket list? Let me know in the comments below.

Want to read more about Corsica?

Thanks for reading.

Yours truly,

Sarah

Pin it for later later

11 stunning villages in Balagne Corsica
11 stunning villages in Balagne Corsica

Travel tips and essentials

Would you like to plan an unforgettable trip? Then be sure to check out useful websites.

You might also like these

Join us!

Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *