One Day in Corsica Itinerary: From Ajaccio Cruise Port

One Day in Corsica Itinerary: From Ajaccio Cruise Port

Stunning picture of Ajaccio marina and cruise port from a high vantage point with lovely houses and mediterranean sea in the background

Are you spending one day in Corsica on your Mediterranean Cruise and are looking for an awesome itinerary? Then I got you covered!

Corsica is a beautiful island, but because it is so small it is harder to find cool things to do on your cruise.

Luckily for you, we have just been to Corsica and we had a lovely day on the island. For that reason, I have created this ultimate cruise guide for you.

Let’s get to it!

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About the Ajaccio Cruise Port

Walking Distance To Old Town: 5 minutes

Amenities: Telephones, Taxi Stand, Motor Scooter Rental

Tender Port: no

Ajaccio cruise port is located right in the city center, so it’s easy to walk around and explore. From the cruise port, you can visit the old town, check out the markets, and enjoy the local food.

The beaches are also nearby if you want to relax by the sea. Closest to Ajaccio cruise port, you can find Plage de Saint-Franois, a sandy beach right in the heart of the city. It is pretty and has awesome views.

Plage du Trottel is another popular spot near the cruise port. It is known for its beautiful sunsets and cute cafes and restaurants.

Since the island is pretty small, you can either do a sightseeing tour of Corsica or spend the cruise day on the beach.

Most boat tours to the islands nearby do not start in Ajaccio, so they can be hard to reach. For that reason, I do not recommend it.

My tip for your shore day in Ajaccio: Take the PETIT TRAIN D’AJACCIO. This scenic train will take you through the best stops on the island. They offer two different routes, between 45 minutes and 01 hour 45 minutes. Tickets are around EUR 10,00 – amazing!

satellite shot of the ajaccio cruise port with a couple of bigger cruise ships in town

Things To See in One Day in Corsica (Ajaccio)

1. Ajaccio

If you are planning on spending your day in Ajaccio, you have a couple of options of what to do. You can explore Maison Bonaparte, which is Napoleon’s birthplace turned into a museum.

The Fesch Museum is another great spot, showcasing a collection of Italian paintings.

The Ajaccio Cathedral is a beautiful church where Napoleon was baptized. You can also hang out in Place Foch. It is my favorite place on the island, a lively square with a market and cafes. You can also see a statue of Napoleon there.

A grand monument featuring a bronze statue of a mounted figure flanked by statues and palm trees, under a clear blue sky. Beautiful Ajaccio monument you should definitely visit when one day in corsica
Credit: Lisa from Travel To Lyon

2. Check Out the Calvi Citadel

The Calvi Citadel in Corsica is an old fortress with a lot of history. It was one of my highlights of this trip, so I definitely suggest visiting!

Built in the 13th century, it’s on a high spot overlooking the sea (to spot intruders of course). Now, it’s a cool place to explore, with narrow streets, old buildings turned into cafes, and awesome views of the harbor.

People say Christopher Columbus might have been born here, but no one knows if that is true. Nowadays they hold events like music and art shows.

A historic clifftop town with old buildings and a church, overlooking the deep blue sea, under a partly cloudy sky.

3. Visit Scandola Nature Reserve

The Scandola Nature Reserve was a spot we sadly missed out on because it is hard to reach (only with boat). If you can somehow make it work with your departure times, I do suggest you visit it.

Scandola Nature Reserve in Corsica is a stunning, protected area that is kept untouched. It’s famous for its amazing volcanic rocks, clear blue waters and animals.

The place is part of UNESCO’s protected sites. You can take a boat tour and even go snorkeling there. It is extremely breathtaking for sure – a must-visit on your shore day in Corsica.

Rugged, reddish rock formations rising from a deep blue sea, with a boat visible in the distance emphasizing the grand scale.

4. Relax On The Beautiful Beaches of Corsica

One of the stops I loved the most on my day tour through Corsica was on the beach. The water is amazing for swimming and snorkeling.

You’ve got Palombaggia, a super pretty beach with white sand and blue water. Then there’s Saleccia, which is quiet and beautiful, but I found it a bit hard to get to.

Rondinara is shaped like a half-moon and is great for families. Also Santa Giulia is perfect for kids and water sports because the water is shallow and calm.

There is a beautiful beach for everyone in Corsica – make sure to include that in your trip.

A coastal view showing a stone ruin in the foreground, with a calm sea, rocky shore, and a town in the background, all under a blue sky. Stunning beaches in Corsica should definitely be on your visits itinerary
Credit: Lisa from Waves and Cobblestones

5. Explore Stunning Bonifacio

Bonifacio is a stunning town at the southern tip of Corsica, sitting high on white cliffs above the sea. It was my favorite spot in Corsica.

You can see old buildings that look like they’re hanging right over the edge. Walking around, you’ll see lots of history everywhre.

The town has a cute little marina where you can chill, eat, and watch boats. There are also boat trips to see cool sea caves. A famous spot is the Escalier du Roi d’Aragon, a steep set of steps cut into the cliff. Keep the departure time of your ship in mind when booking boat trips!

A coastal town perched atop sheer cliffs with fortified walls, overlooking a serene blue sea under a clear sky.

6. Head To Cap Corse

Another beautiful spot I loved is Cap Corse. It’s got wild nature, old villages, and secret beaches.

Driving around, you see mountains on one side and the sea on the other. It’s quieter here than other parts of Corsica, so it feels special and untouched.

You can find towers along the coast and try local wines that are really good. I did not know that Corsica was one of France’s major wine regions before visiting for sure.

There are also paths for walking, which I found so cool. It’s a perfect spot for anyone who loves exploring and wants to travel a bit off the beaten tracks of Ajaccio.

An aerial view of a coastal village with scattered buildings, green vegetation, and a blue sea, with a rocky islet close to the shore.

7. Explore Sartne

Sartene is a cool town in Corsica, sitting up high with amazing views all around. People say it’s the most “Corsican” town – and I agree.

The buildings are old and the streets are narrow and made of cobblestones – super cute and picturesque.

The town is known for its strong traditions. They have a famous Easter procession that’s very moving.

Insider Tip: Around Sartene, there are vineyards where you can taste local wine, I suggest combining the visit with a tasting if you have the time.

An old hilltop town with stone buildings and a church, surrounded by lush greenery and mountains in the backdrop, under a partly cloudy sky.

8. Hike Through The Ospedale Forest

The Ospedale Forest is a cool, green place up in the mountains near Porto-Vecchio. My husband and I are big into hiking, so we loved this place.

It’s a big change from the sunny beaches because it’s cooler and full of tall pine trees (amazing to cool down on a hot summer day).

There are trails that go through the forest, leading to beautiful views of the mountains and the sea far away. One special spot is a lake that’s really pretty and a good place for a picnic. Bring some local wine and snacks and hang out there for a bit.

A forested area with a dry lake bed filled with tree stumps, surrounded by a dense pine forest under an overcast sky. A great spot to visit in Corsica in one day

9. Visit the Napoleon Monument

One of the most visited spots in Corsica is the Napoleon Monument. Our train journey took us there first thing, and it was pretty impressive.

This statue is a way for people on the island to remember him and show how proud they are of him. It’s in an important spot in the city and shows Napoleon looking very noble.

People go there to learn about history and see how much Napoleon means to Corsica – it is their most famous citizen after all.

A stone monument to Napoleon Bonaparte, with a statue standing atop a series of steps, flanked by sculptures of eagles and inscriptions, with trees and a cloudy sky in the background. Totally worth visiting in one day in Corsica.

10. Go Wine Tasting

One of the things I try to do on every shore day is trying some local products. And Corsica has some awesome wine ready to taste on your day on the island.

he island’s vineyards benefit from the sunny weather, varied terrain, and the fresh, Mediterranean breeze, creating the perfect conditions for wine-making.

When you go wine tasting here, you’ll find a mix of red, white, and ros wines, each with its own character. Famous local grape varieties are Niellucciu, Sciacarellu, and Vermentinu.

wine glasses with rose wine at a wine tasting being held by the author and her husband on one day in corsica

My Take On Our Corsica Shore Day

If you are wondering whether or not to pick a cruise with Corsica on the itinerary, I have the answer. It is definitely a big, fat, YES!

My expectations were to too high before going, because I knew nothing about the place. But turns out, their landscape is pretty amazing.

I would have loved to see the Scandola Nature Reserve, but our shore day was just not long enough. However, the richness of history and beauty on the island blew me away.

Turns out, Corsica was one of my favorite stops on this Mediterranean Cruise on the MSC Fantasia. And especially the wine was fantastic!

A sandy beach with an ancient round stone tower on the left, under a bright sun with a clear blue sky and mountains in the distance.
Credit: Lisa from Travel To Lyon

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One Day in Corsica Itinerary: From Ajaccio Cruise Port

author on cruise ship

Conclusion: One Day in Corsica (Ajaccio) From Cruise

This cruise itinerary covered the most important things you need to know before your shore day in Corsica.

From the stunning capital city of Ajaccio to the most pristine beaches and a stunning citadel on a cliff: Corsica has so much to offer.

The small French island will surprise you with natural beauty and rich history (it is the birthplace of Napoleon after all).

Make sure to try some local products on your shore day, like a delicious glass of Corsican wine.

I hope you enjoyed your shore day in Corsica as much as I did.

Looking for more France content? Check out:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most beautiful part of Corsica?

The most beautiful part of Corsica is hard to pin down, but many are captivated by the Calanches de Piana. These stunning rock formations and their dramatic landscapes, where nature paints every sunset uniquely, stand out. Overlooking the sea, the Calanches offer breathtaking views that blend the wild beauty of Corsica with the serene Mediterranean, creating a truly unforgettable sight.

Can you spend one day in Corsica?

Absolutely, you can spend one day in Corsica and still get a taste of its magic! It’ll be a bit of a whirlwind, but focusing on a specific area can give you a memorable slice of island life. Pick a spot like the vibrant streets of Ajaccio with its markets and beaches, or the breathtaking views from the Calanches de Piana. Dive into local cuisine with a seaside lunch, and if time allows, catch a quick dip in the Mediterranean or a short hike for panoramic views. While one day only scratches the surface, itll leave you dreaming of a longer return trip.

What can you do from Ajaccio Cruise Port?

From Ajaccio’s cruise port, you can wander the historic old town, visit Napoleon’s birthplace, and taste local flavors at the market. Nearby beaches offer quick relaxation, while the Fesch Museum showcases art. Consider a scenic boat tour along the coast or indulge in Corsican cuisine at a waterfront restaurant. Even with just a day, you’ll capture the essence of Corsicas vibrant culture and stunning landscapes.

Can you walk from Ajaccio Cruise Port to town?

Yes, you can easily walk from Ajaccio’s cruise port to the town center. The distance is quite short, making it a convenient and pleasant stroll. Along the way, you’ll pass by beautiful sights, including the marina, local shops, and cafes. The town is easy to reach and the walk is nice. From there, you can take the small scenic train around the island.

blonde girl pink dress in front of blue door santorini

About the Author

Sabrina is a passionate travel blogger and content creator, based in New Mexico. She spends about half of the year traveling to various destinations together with her husband.

She provides slow-paced itineraries that focus on quality over quantity. Sabrina wants to help her readers to get more out of their travel experiences – while doing less. Read more.