Windswept towns perched atop wave-carved cliffs; twinkling ports brimming with boutique bars; an arcing coastline fringed with golden sand. Corsica has earned its “island of beauty” moniker with good reason.

Technically, it’s a French island, but it’s a stone’s throw from Sardinia, and both Italy and France are intricately woven into Corsica’s cultural fabric. It’s this unique blend that makes the islet so special.

More than three million visitors eschew the mainland in favour of Corsica every year – but it remains refreshingly unspoilt. The most developed and industrial spot is Bastia, a spirited northern city less geared up for tourism than polished Porto-Vecchio or Bonifacio to the south. It has a slew of beautiful baroque churches and its oldest quarter, Terra Vecchia, lends itself perfectly to an afternoon’s wayward wandering.

Then there’s the capital, Ajaccio: a smart, self-assured city, with an unapologetically dishevelled old town and a pleasant beach. Porto-Vecchio is perhaps the most stylish of Corsica’s towns, and the place to go for chic bars and restaurants close to some of the island’s best beaches. Bonifacio, meanwhile, sits right at the southern tip, a dreamy town balanced upon a weathered clifftop.

Whether you want to laze on a sun-drenched beach, sip cocktails beside a glittering harbour or head into the mountains, you can do it in Corsica. Here’s a our complete guide to this surprisingly under-the-radar destination.

Domaine de Murtoli

For a touch of luxury, head to Domaine de Murtoli, a private estate just over seven miles from the orange roofs and winding streets of chic Sartène. Tucked into the rugged Corsican countryside, the property was once a shepherd’s residence; now it has been converted into rustic villas, each fronted by a private pool. There is also a golf course on-site, a string of farm-to-table restaurants and a team of attentive staff, while it’s perfectly placed for activities such as boating, biking and horseback riding. Domaine de Murtoli’s glitzy guest list has purportedly included Nicolas Sarkozy.

La Plage Casadelmar

For something a little closer to civilisation, try La Plage Casadelmar, a four-star hotel just 15-minutes’ drive from Porto-Vecchio. The rooms here are sumptuous and modern, characterised by block colours and wood finishings. The property is fronted by a tranquil, lounger-lined cove, lapped by clear waters and fringed with palm trees. A restaurant and grill serves up unfussy Corsican cuisine – dine out on the terrace for glittering ocean panoramas.

Domaine de Murtoli, Sartène

La Plage Casadelmar

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