Corsica

Calvi

A well-known seaside resort, Calvi is a charming town perched high above the sea, famous for its medieval citadel and lively marina.
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Nestled between the sea, mountains and forests, the perched town of Calvi is as special for its history as it is for its geography. Its crescent-shaped bay and turquoise-water beaches guarantee unforgettable moments of relaxation for holidaymakers.

Divided in two, the medieval town consists of an upper part, famous for its citadel, and a lower part, where the lively and colourful marina is located.

Things to do in Calvi

This former Genoese stronghold enchants visitors with its beautiful beach, its rich cultural life and the picturesque alleyways of its citadel: all this has made Calvi a popular tourist destination since 1920.

Unfortunately, in the summer months, the town is literally taken by storm by tourists: the influx results in a substantial increase in prices and the loss of tranquillity to visit this delightful old town.

Calvi Citadel

1Haute ville, 20260 Calvi, Francia

The Citadel is an enchanting quarter, built on a rocky promontory, overlooking the sea and surrounded by ochre-coloured walls. Inside, it contains a network of sloping cobbled streets with arched passageways, open-air cafés, old historical buildings such as the Palais des Eveques de Sagone and the marvellous Cathedrale Saint-Jean-Battista with its magnificent carved dome.

It was built by the Genoese in the 13th century and completed three centuries later. Consisting of 2 towers and 5 bastions, it put the French to the test before its conquest towards the end of the 18th century. This stronghold housed and protected the Genoese presence for 6 centuries: its powerful bastions made its conquest difficult.

The best views of the citadel can be admired at the eastern end of the marina, by the dyke: at sunset or late afternoon, the fortifications are tinged with bright colours.

The Landry quay

2Quai Adolphe Landry, Calvi, Francia

The marina bordering the Landry quay is an invitation to stroll and experience a unique atmosphere. Indeed, at any time of day, there are moments to savour: at dawn, one can observe the bustle of fishermen bringing back their full nets while travellers’ boats laze quietly on the waters of the harbour.

At lunchtime, the district is quieter and becomes very popular again in the evening when it comes alive with live music, street concerts and parties. Every 15 August, during the fireworks display celebrating the city’s patron saint, some 40,000 people gather at the harbour to witness one of the island’s most beautiful fireworks displays.

It is a must to have breakfast or lunch at the harbour, as it is one of the liveliest places in town and ideal for finding outdoor cafés and restaurants.

The Marina of Calvi

3Riviera Ligure di Ponente, Quai Adolphe Landry, 20260 Calvi, Francia

The Marina of Calvi can accommodate up to 500 boats of less than 65 metres in length and also has a visitors’ area with 150 parking spaces.

The view from here is truly spectacular: you can see the Citadel, Mount Cinto (2,706 m) and in the background the arch-shaped sandy beach and the sheer mountains. Many shops and restaurants line the harbour, which is a great place to relax, have a bite to eat or take a stroll.

For the comfort of its users, the harbour offers all the necessary services including water, electricity, fuel, water disposal, laundry and Wi-Fi. The square is also protected by a video surveillance system, which will make your stay pleasant.

The cathedral of Sainte-Marie Majeure

48 Rue Vla Antoine, 20260 Calvi, Francia

The cathedral of Sainte-Marie Majeure is an emblematic historical monument of Calvi, even depicted on postcards. Erected in the heart of the pedestrianised old town, it was built from 1774 onwards to accommodate the growing Catholic population of the time.

It stands out for its Baroque style and its pink and gold façade, which makes it easily recognisable from afar. Listed as a historical monument, it arouses the curiosity of tourists as much for its history as for its appearance.

The Salt Tower

545 Quai Adolphe Landry, 20260 Calvi, Francia

The Salt Tower is another tourist attraction in Calvi. Erected in 1495, it was initially used as a lookout tower for defensive purposes: it was used to protect the port, a military outpost to ensure the safety of the town.

Gradually, in parallel with the development of trade run by the Genoese, the tower was transformed into a salt warehouse. A highly prized substance at the time, salt was used to store easily perishable foodstuffs such as meat, which was exported. Gradually, a pier housing a repair shop and stairs serving as a connection to the Citadel were also built.

To reach the tower, we advise you to follow the steep stairs and continue along Rue Clemenceau along the Citadel.

Statue of the Water Bearer

6Pl. Porteuse d'Eau, 20260 Calvi, Francia

It is the work of sculptor and medallist Louis Patriarche, paying tribute to Corsican women. The statue in fact refers to the tenacity of previous generations of Corsican women who devoted themselves to what they held most precious, their families and their work. Made of granite in the early 1920s, it depicts a woman wearing traditional Corsican clothing and carrying a wooden bucket on her head with which she takes water from the fountain.

Note the straight, dignified and proud gaze, symbolising the will to carry out daily tasks properly, despite the difficulties and heavy losses during the First World War.

The Saint-Antoine Oratory

7Rue Saint-Antoine, 20260 Calvi, Francia

The Saint-Antoine Oratory is a historical and emblematic monument of Calvi. It is the chapel of the brotherhood of the same name, one of the most active and dynamic in Corsica, which over the centuries has contributed to the spread of the liturgy in the local language.

The building houses three frescoes of exquisite workmanship and artistic value, dating back to 1510, and a triptych depicting a crucifixion and annunciation. The façade is adorned with a 15th-century slate lintel bearing the effigy of Saint Anthony Abbot. There are also underground cellars at the chapel, built directly on the rocks, but its exterior and interior architecture has undergone various modifications over the years.

Best day trips from Calvi

Revellata Lighthouse

8Phare de la Revellata, 20260 Calvi, Francia

The Revellata Lighthouse is located on the tip of Revellata, at the end of the Calvi peninsula. Hiking enthusiasts will be delighted to walk along the coast to get to the lighthouse, following magnificent paths: along the way they will discover wild spots, small coves and rocky points.

This lighthouse is one of the most important in Calvi, since it serves to mark the north-western coast of Corsica, from the Gulf of Galéria to the Côtes des Agriates. Its construction began in 1838, when the local authorities decided to secure the island with five strategic lighthouses. Perched 100 metres above the sea, it was lit for the first time in 1844, at the same time that Calvi began to develop. Today it houses a Centre for Oceanographic Studies and consists of a square stone tower resting on a rectangular base.

The Chapel of the Madonna della Serra

9Unnamed Road, 20260 Calvi, Francia

The Chapel of the Madonna della Serra is one of them, perched atop the hill. It was erected in 1479, but was destroyed by the British during the siege of 1794, only to be rebuilt between 1850 and 1860.

Perched on a huge rock is a statue of the Virgin Mary extending her arms as a sign of protection over the city below and its surroundings. Legend has it that by going to this place with a loved one, one can obtain eternal love.

Reaching this special place will give you a magnificent view of the bay of Calvi and the west coast of Cap Corse: wonderful photographs can be taken from here.

Ghost Town of Occi

1020260 Lumio, Francia

The picturesque village of Occi is a ghost town, perched at an altitude of 377 metres. Dating back to the ninth century, when Saracen attacks raged and devastated Corsica, it was initially populated by the inhabitants of Spano, who took refuge on the heights to escape the raids.

While more than a hundred people lived there in 1589, by 1852 only 60 remained. The village of Occi was gradually abandoned by its inhabitants, who preferred to migrate to Lumio. The last resident, Félix Giudicelli, died there in 1918.

Now the village is visited by tourists in search of suggestive photographs of its ruins and old granite houses.

Punta Spano

11Punta Spano, 20260 Lumio, Francia

The extreme tip of the Gulf of Calvi, also called Punta Spano, is a protected natural maritime site, located between Calvi and Ile Rousse: it is formed by rocks, whose grey and ochre reflections are a joy to behold, especially at sunset.

It is divided into three parts, a small area at the southern end, a central part that occupies most of the tip, and the islet of Spano. It can also be reached by a hiking trail, passing through a labyrinth of very jagged, sometimes rough rocks, embellished with small sandy coves.

Grotte des Veaux Marins

This enchanting cave will fascinate you with its turquoise and transparent waters. It is located behind Cape Revellata, not far from Calvi.

The place is famous for the monk seals that live in the cave, but also for its variety of fish, making it an ideal place to study them. An oceanographic research station is also installed there by field researchers.

The cave is only accessible by sea when sea and weather conditions permit.

Bonifato Forest

13Forêt de Bonifatu, 20214 Calenzana, Francia

The Bonifato forest is a popular holiday resort for the many activities that can be enjoyed there.

Surrounded by mountain ranges, the walls of which serve as a base for centuries-old trees, it covers 3000 hectares, an immense area with rich wild flora. Hikers can follow the trail along the Figarella River, one of the most popular. Its natural pools also invite children and adults to the joy of swimming.

As for sportsmen and women, they can indulge their passion in complete freedom: in addition to hiking, they can enjoy climbing, fishing and various other mountain sports.

The Fango Valley

1411 L'Espronaccio, 20245 Galéria, Francia

Protected by UNESCO and classified Natura 2000, the Fango Valley invites total communion with nature. With its gorges carved out of rhyolite and its natural pools, it is part of the Biosphere Reserve where it is enchanting to walk and relax. Its fauna includes some 40 species of birds that nest in the area, as well as Corsican mouflons, lammergeyers and golden eagles.

In the event of bad weather, which causes strong winds and thunderstorms in the mountains, it is forbidden to enter the valley.

The Scandola Reserve

15Maison de la Mer, Route du Port, 20245 Galéria, Francia

The Scandola Reserve is an unspoilt place of steep cliffs, deep coves and emerald sea.

It is a volcanic complex formed 250 million years ago, giving rise to an astonishing array of vertiginous cliffs, lava flows and icy rocks. Large basalt columns emerge from the water and form a peninsula with a promenade full of caves and inaccessible peaks.

Getting into the caves is therefore a real challenge, which is why we recommend that you rely on the knowledge of some local guides who are experts on this stretch of coastline. Thanks to guided excursions, you will be able to discover a fauna composed of more than 50 species of birds, as well as 2000 varieties of fish that live and breed in its recesses, helping to restore the aquatic balance of the region.

Best beaches in Calvi

The area around Calvi, as is often the case in Corsica, is dotted with magnificent and enchanting beaches, characterised by crystal-clear turquoise waters.

Plage de la Pinede

1620260 Calvi, Francia

Pinède beach is the closest place to the town centre for swimming or relaxing and stretches from the port of Calvi to Lumio. Its name comes from the large pine forest that borders it and provides shade for bathers, a fragile ecosystem that must be respected. Characterised by white sand and transparent blue water, it attracts tourists and locals alike and is therefore very popular all year round.

Plage de Sainte Restitude

17Plage de Pont de Sainte-Restitude, 20214 Calenzana, Francia

Starting from Calvi, in the direction of Lumio, you will arrive at this cove composed of pebbles, rocks and blue waves.

Known for its tranquillity, this beach is full of the famous eyes of Saint Lucia, special flat, round pebbles with a spiral drawn on them. According to popular belief, wearing one is said to vanquish the evil eye and promote good fortune.

Plage de Arinella

18Arinella, 20260 Lumio, Francia

The Arinella beach will enchant you with its crystal-clear waters and numerous fish that you can spot simply with mask and snorkel.

It is an uncrowded beach, but has free shaded parking and a restaurant. It is essential to take your beach shoes with you so that you can enjoy the place without getting injured. The place also offers a magnificent view of the surroundings and its transparent water encourages swimming and sea life.

Plage de Lozari

19Plage de Lozari, 20226 Belgodère, Francia

A paradise for families and sportsmen, this beach, not far from Ile Rousse, is a reference point for nature lovers.

Wild and without services, this enchanting corner of nature surrounded by white sand dunes invites you to take a dip in the turquoise water while admiring the mountains behind you.

Map

In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article

Where to stay in Calvi

For an authentic and picturesque experience in the heart of the town, the best solution is to choose your accommodation in the town centre: you will thus be able to discover the town from the inside. In the heart of the citadel, there is a wide range of hotels to suit all needs.

If, on the other hand, you are looking for a more natural and peaceful atmosphere, you can opt for accommodation near the sea, on the edge of the cliffs or in the heart of the Mediterranean maquis. Petra Maio, the lighthouse area of Revellata and along the coast near Calvi are the places where you will find the most picturesque accommodation in a beautiful natural setting.

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Calvi Weather

What's the weather at Calvi? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Calvi for the next few days.

Friday 14
14°
24°
Saturday 15
18°
26°
Sunday 16
19°
24°
Monday 17
20°
26°
Tuesday 18
23°
32°
Wednesday 19
25°
34°

Where is located Calvi

Calvi is a town perched on the north-western coast of Corsica, famous for its beaches and crescent-shaped bay.

Location around