There are few towns that can boast such a dramatic, seemingly precarious position as Bonifacio! Teetering perilously atop an eroding limestone promontory that juts out into the sea, east to west, for around1.5km, it has to be seen to be believed.
This jaw-dropping context is not, however, Bonifacio’s only attraction. Panoramically speaking, Bonifacio is extraordinary: 360-degree vistas take in Corsica’s coastline, vast swathes of the Tyrrhenian Sea and, 12km to the south, the neighbouring island of Sardinia.
Once you’ve taken in Bonifacio’s position and views, it’s time to explore the town’s many other charms. The Vieille Ville is located in a 9th century citadel, whose fortified walls lend the town an aura of impregnability. The old centre has been lovingly restored in recent times and offers visitors a fascinating and gently bustling maze of streets and alleyways to explore.
Moving between the upper and lower town is made easy - especially for families with children - thanks to a little tourist train that runs between the two parts.
Brasseries, cafés and bars spill out onto the pavements and piazzas, craft shops and boutiques show off their colourful wares, and churches, chapels and palazzi provide historical and architectural interest. Sitting at the western tip of the promontory is the marine cemetery, an atmospheric and panoramic spot from which to gaze out to sea and contemplate the beauty of your surroundings.
A visit to the citadel is a must, as is a panoramic descent (and subsequent ascent!) of the Escalier du Roi d’Aragon, whose 187 steps leading to the sea below, are carved out of the southern cliff face.
The old town sits at around 70m above sea level and way down below on the north side lies the sheltered harbour, with its bobbing fishing boats and pleasure craft, its seafood eateries, and its subsidiary sandy-beach coves. Moving between the upper and lower town is made easy - especially for families with children - thanks to a little tourist train that runs between the two parts.
A visit to Bonifacio is a must for anyone staying in southern Corsica and if you can also arrange to see if from the sea, you’ll really understand just how incredible its unique setting is.
If you're staying near Bonifacio between April and October, head to the church of St Francis on a Thursday evening for a concert of Corsican polyphonic song (paghjela), a tradition that has been recognised by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity.