Bastia is a pretty Corsican town located in the north-eastern region of the island. In the second most populated area of the island after Ajaccio, Bastia is the ideal place to spend a holiday in the sun. Indeed, Bastia is known for its mild Mediterranean climate, its numerous beaches, its old harbour, its historical monuments and its paradisiacal natural landscapes.
Carved out on a rocky promontory, the town echoes with art and history. From the picturesque alleyways to the perched houses, it is a pleasure to stroll through it to savour its special character, set in the streets of the Citadel, the local cuisine, among the best in the Mediterranean, the liveliness of the old port, the religious buildings and the flower-decked terraces.
Divided into three neighbourhoods, Place Saint-Nicolas, Terra Vecchia-Vieux Port and Citadel, Bastia is a city perched on a cliff and from the top you can admire the incessant coming and going of ferries.
Rich in Baroque churches and imbued with a magical folk and Mediterranean atmosphere, it will captivate you if you take the time to discover it.
Built on a rocky promontory in 1380, thanks to the idea of a Genoese governor, the citadel contains a maze of picturesque alleyways, adorned with warmly coloured palaces and delightful little restaurants overlooking the sea.
This small village retains all the charm of villages in the south of France or Italy: clothes hanging out of windows, courtyards where people’s chatter resound, tiny bars where old people comment on local news and sport, quaint little shops.
Impressive in size, surrounded by palm trees and bourgeois palaces, framed by a statue of Napoleon and that of a woman holding her child, lulled by the sound of the orchestra box, flanked by restaurants and lively shops, Place Saint Nicolas is a must-see on a visit to the city.
Very lively throughout the summer season, this emblematic place in Bastia has many bars, cafés and restaurants: it is the ideal place to have a drink, stroll in the shade of its large hundred-year-old plane trees, and be a child again on the merry-go-rounds. The inimitable atmosphere of small Mediterranean towns is condensed here: a sunny, bright and jovial charm.
It also hosts numerous events throughout the year: concerts in summer, an ice skating rink during the Christmas period and the Salon du Chocolat, which attracts thousands of gourmets every year in October. Don’t miss the large flea market every Sunday morning.
The Old Port is another iconic place in the city. Located in the heart of the old town, between the Citadel and the Place du Marché, this picturesque quarter is the perfect place to enjoy an ice cream while strolling along the water.
Rich in history, the port retains all its authenticity and offers tourists an inimitable setting: here you will find many small cafés, bars, restaurants and shops, in an entirely pedestrianised environment during the summer months.
The colourful facades of the houses, often peeling and faded by time and saltiness, watch over the fishing and pleasure boats while the Saint-Jean-Baptiste church, majestic guardian of monumental works, watches over the liveliness of the port and its bustle of people. Indeed, cafés, fishermen and onlookers animate the Old Port from morning to night. You can admire the typical activities of the port city, photograph dazzling sunsets and picturesque corners imbued with the smell of iodine, and experience special evenings during the summer heat.
Located in the heart of the city, the Church of Saint Jean-Baptiste is one of Bastia’s unmissable sights. This Catholic religious building, built between 1636 and 1666, was classified as a historical monument in 2000.
The Church of Saint John the Baptist is truly spectacular both from the inside and the outside. As you pass by this fascinating monument, you cannot fail to admire its imposing façade and its two bell towers, a highly original feature: the bell towers reach a height of 70 metres, soaring so high that they can even be seen from the Old Port.
Visiting its oratory, you will also be fascinated by its numerous decorations in rare marble or gold. On the walls, there are several Baroque trompe-l’oeil, a popular artistic solution at the time.
Linking the citadel to the old port, this natural space in the heart of the city is the perfect place for a family stroll. Harmonious, with voluptuous and elegant curves, punctuated by vases, statues, fountains and wrought-iron railings, the Romieu garden is a refuge as refined as it is bucolic. Terraced steps descend to the Old Port and offer a splendid panoramic view of the comings and goings of ships. Worthy of a postcard, the view is even more spectacular at sunset.
Don’t hesitate to take a leisurely stroll along the park’s flower-lined avenues. There you can admire many trees, including some species particularly renowned for their beauty such as the Judea tree, the belombra or the pythosophorus.
Located in the citadel district, the Palace of the Governors is part of Bastia’s historical and artistic heritage. Classified as a historical monument in 1977, with its superb orange façade contrasting with the turquoise blue sky, the Palace of the Governors attracts the attention of tourists.
It was designed in 1380 by Leonello Lomellieno, a Genoese nobleman, in a strategic military position. Only later did the place house the Governors of Genoa, from whom it takes its name. Today it houses a museum that traces almost 10 centuries of Bastia’s history, revealing details and secrets of the town.
Every week, the traditional Bastia market is held on the market square. The square comes alive with the presence of many regional producers who gather to sell their products.
It is the ideal place to find quality articles and discover the flavours of Bastia: amidst the sounds, smells and smiles, you can admire the inimitable charm of this authentic and convivial open-air market.
Dividing the town with its stone pavement, the pedestrian rue Napoléon is an important commercial and historical artery. It is the ideal place for shopping, with fashionable boutiques, designer boutiques, local shops, souvenir stalls: everyone can find what they are looking for, browsing also in Boulevard Paoli and Rue César Campinchi.
Walking down this street, you will come across two fabulous religious buildings: the Oratory of the Confraternity of Saint Roch and the Oratory of the Immaculate Conception, which houses remarkable gilding, marble altars and walls covered in purple silks.
A few kilometres from Bastia and at the foot of the village of Furiani, the Biguglia pond nature reserve is a must-see for nature lovers.
With its 1790 hectares of greenery, it is the region’s great green lung, home to a multitude of animal and plant species. You can admire almost 250 different species of birds, 350 species of plants, as well as the European marsh turtles that live in the heart of this pond. Indeed, this nature reserve aims to protect the Biguglia pond, renowned for its ornithological interest.
Open to the public, it is possible to walk around it at leisure, following different paths or taking part in free guided tours, which can be booked on request. In particular, from Lido de la Marana there is a 2-km-long path, which can be walked in about 30 minutes and will delight birdwatchers. It is a flat, easy walk, also suitable for families, which will allow you to admire various species including flamingos and the red heron, passing through during their periodic migrations between Europe and Africa.
Also not to be missed is the Lido de la Marana, a 20-km-long strip of sand separating the Etang de Biguglia from the sea: it is equipped with bathing establishments, camping sites, an equestrian centre, an adventure trail, water activities and a cycle path.
The town of Bastia is located at the gateway to one of Corsica’s most spectacular landscapes: Cap Corse, a long peninsula criss-crossed by breathtaking panoramas, Genoese towers and paradisiacal coves.
The best way to admire it is to follow the 26-kilometre-long Customs officers’ trail, which will take you to discover Cap Corse. The path climbs up between rocks and dirt tracks, until it offers splendid views, amidst the scents of the Mediterranean maquis and wild bays where the most beautiful shades of blue unfold.
Bastia is not famous for its beaches, but if you want to enjoy a beach with turquoise waters, the right place is Arinella beach. Situated a stone’s throw from the town, Arinella beach is one of the best known in Bastia and the place is perfect for relaxing in safety.
With its kilometres of fine sand, this beach is particularly suitable for swimming, sunbathing and water sports. The beach has recently been equipped to offer tourists more and more services, such as the presence of a first aid station, access for people with disabilities, a large car park and various games for children.
In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article
Bastia is the arrival point of the main connections between Italy and Corsica by sea: ferries from Livorno, Piombino, Savona, Portoferraio and Genoa dock here.
In fact, Bastia is the island’s leading port for commercial traffic and the second port in France for passenger transport: almost 3 million passengers transit from here.
Convenient and quick to reach, as it is located in the heart of the city, the port of Bastia is served by several ferry companies, which make many connections per day.
The best place to sleep in Bastia is in the city centre, near the Porto Vecchio or the Citadel. This is where you will find most of the tourist attractions and where you can savour the picturesque Corsican life and its inimitable atmosphere.
The marina area is a rather exclusive neighbourhood, suitable for those seeking an intense evening life.
To the north of Bastia, the Toga district offers more tranquillity while remaining close to the heart of the city. It is also considerably cheaper.
For a more popular atmosphere, we recommend the south of the city, near Lupino-Montesoro, very close to the sea.
If you are a nature lover and desire peace and quiet, then the village-quarter of Cordo is perfect. Overlooking Bastia, suspended on its rocky promontory, this authentic medieval village has an incredible charm.
What's the weather at Bastia? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Bastia for the next few days.
The bustling town of Bastia is located in the north of the island, at the beginning of the Cap Corse peninsula and the docking point for ferries from Italy and France.