Corsica Natural Park Hotels
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Corsica Natural Park has been established across 350,000 hectares (3,500 square km) of the island - approximately 40% of the total surface of Corsica - to protect the natural wildlife.
Within the confines of the parc you can discover some of the most impressive scenery you have seen anywhere - forests and lakes, mountains and gorges - so even if you are visiting Corsica as part of a 'summer beach holiday' we highly recommend that you also find the time to visit some of the key sites in the parc.
Established in 1972, the Corsica Natural Park has been very successful in achieving its aims. The environment is being carefully preserved, the islanders are proud of the region (key to the ongoing success of the parc), and wildlife is flourishing.
Where is it?
The designated parc region runs broadly from Mont Cinto, north-east of Porto, and south to the Aiguilles de Bavella, dramatic mountain peaks looming out of the forest below (north of Porto Vecchio) and north to Corte and beyond.
In reality this means that a great deal of non-coastal Corsica is included, as well as the coastal part of western Corsica around the Scandola Reserve, which falls within the protected area. The parc includes many of the highest mountain peaks on Corsica.
One of our favourite regions is the Asco valley (towards the north of the parc, around Asco, Castifao and Moltifao), quite barren at higher altitudes, forested at lower altitudes. Your children will enjoy the tortoise center at Moltifao and paddling in the river next to the old bridge in Asco.
South of Corte the Gorges de la Restonica provide yet another chance to enjoy the stunning scenery, perhaps followed by a swim in on of the cooling rock pools.
To the south a visit to the Aiguilles de Bavella, and river bathing in the pools along the road to the north-east, is also a particular highlight.
Another very popular destination is the forested Fangu Valley, now also a designated 'biosphere', towards the east of the natural Parc of Corsica.
What to expect?
Of course, the first thing you will notice is the spectacular scenery, the mountains and the forests.
If you leave your car behind for a while you might see golden eagles and bearded vultures soar overhead. Boars, deer and wildcats are well established, and numerous other species of flora and fauna are flourishing in the protected environment.
As an added bonus, poaching and fires have been significantly reduced in the region since the natural parc was established.
Where to start exploring the Corsica Natural Parc?
Corte is perhaps the best place from which to explore the centre of the Corsica Natural Park, although Porto and Porto Vecchio and other towns in the southern half of the island also provide a good base for excursions into the region.
In fact, wherever you are staying in Corsica you are likely to be entering the park whan you head inland or into the higher ground
Apart from a few roads that traverse the mountains large regions are quite inaccessible by car. The whole region lends itself best to hiking as a means to explore the dramatic interior of the island (see also hiking in Corsica).
These are an invaluable source of information whether you are just passing through or spending several days hiking through the region.
Other Natural Parcs and Reserves in Corsica
In addition to the large Corsica Natural Parc there are several other protected environments on Corsica (some of which also fall within the boundaries of the Natural Parc):
- The Reserve Naturelle de Scandola, on the western coast
- The Reserve de Biosphere de la Vallée du Fangu, in the Parc and following the beautiful scenery of the Fangu river
- The Reserve Naturelle de Biguglia (south of Bastia)
- The Reserve Naturelle des Bouches de Bonifacio
- The Reserve Naturelle des Iles cerbicale (eastern coast)
Each plays an important role in protecting the natural landscape and wildlife of Corsica, perhaps above all the large variety of birdlife that inhabits and passes through the island.
You can find more local travel ideas in the guide.