North-west Corsica, including the Calanches de Piana, Calvi and Balagne

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North-West Corsica Hotels

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Visit North-West Corsica

The region is found in the western and north-western part of Corsica, running south as far as Porto, and inland into the lower hills and mountains. The Balagne region of Corsica is also popular with visitors to the island and has several highlights.

Algajola

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A small and pleasant resort clustered around a 16th century castle. This is a popular area with cyclists

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Belgodere

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Belgodere is a pretty hill village with views out over the Regino Valley. It is on the edge of the Corsica Natural Park

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Calanches de Piana

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The calanches of Piana are exceptionally scenic rock formations on the coast of western Corsica near Porto.

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Calenzana

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Calenzana is one of the Balagne villages and is a popular starting point for the GR20 walk across Corsica

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Calvi

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Calvi is a town and resort in north-west Corsica well known for the historical citadel and old town and for its long sandy beach

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Cargese

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Cargese was originally founded as a 'Greek town' in south-west Corsica. There is a popular resort nearby

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Corbara Pigna and Aregno

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Corbara, Pigna and Aregno are a cluster of pretty hill villages in the Balagne region of northern Corsica

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Evisa

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Evisa is a village near Porto in western Corsica, well placed for hiking the Gorges de Spelunca and Aitone Forest

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Girolata

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Girolata is a quiet and remote beach and village on the coast near Porto in western Corsica

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Gorges de Spelunca

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The Gorges de Spelunca are a scenic highlight east of Porto in Corsica, best explored by following an ancient mule trail below the cliffs

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L'Ile Rousse

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L'Ile Rousse in north-west Corsica is a lively resort town and beach with easy access to many places of interest in the balagne

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Lumio

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Lumio is a hilltop village overlooking the Golfe de Calvi. The village is surrounded by olive trees and the beautiful 'maquis' scrub land.

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Montemaggiore

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Montemaggiore is one of the Balagne villages and from the top of the village has great all round views

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Ota

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Ota is a pretty village near Porto in western Corsica and a popular starting point for hiking the Gorges de Spelunca and Aitone Forest

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Piana

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Piana is an attractive village overlooking the Calanches de Piana. The Calanches de Piana are outstandingly beautiful.

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Porto

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Porto is a pleasant resort close to the Calanches de Piana. It is a good base for visiting the Calnanques.

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Sant'Antonino

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Sant'Antonino is a pretty village in the centre of the Balagne region. It is sometimes referred to as the 'eagle's nest'

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Scandola Nature Reserve

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Scandola Nature Reserve, on the coast of western Corsica, is one of the natural highlights of a visit to Corsica

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Balagne villages

One of the highlights of a visit is exploring the perched villages of Balagne set in the hillsides to the east of Calvi and to the south of L'Ile-Rousse. There are dozens of these small villages and each has its own particular charm. Most also have their own little church.

Time spent exploring these quiet roads in the hills exposes a Corsica that is far from the crowds of the popular resorts and beaches, and also very beautiful, with many fine views across the region to distract you en route.

Because of the nature of the roads, and the time you might or might not have available, it is hard to recommend a particular route or series of villages to visit.

The most popular route is perhaps the D71 road between Belgodere and Lucio passing through several villages and much impressive scenery - the villages along the 'corniche road' (starting from Belgodere and heading south-west) include Occhiatana, Costa, Ville-di-Paraso, Speloncato, Nessa, Feliceto, Muro, Avapessa, Cateri, and Lavatoggio.

Other particularly worthwhile 'groups' of these villages that can be visited together include:

  • Corbara, Pigna and Aregno, Sant'Antonino (classified as one of the 'most beautiful villages in France) and Cateri in the northern part of the region;
  • Vallica, Olmi-Cappella, Mausoleo, Pioggiola further south-west again;
  • Calenzana, Lunghignano, Montemaggiore, Cassano and Zilia at the southern edge of the region

You don't need to visit every village on these lists but it is worthwhile spending at least a little time away from the coast and exploring the Balagne villages.

See also:

Map of North-West Corsica and places to visit