Corsica’s third-largest city, despite unstoppable development, has managed to preserve and keep intact its beautiful historic centre.
Of Genoese origin, Porto-Vecchio was reinforced several times after reclaiming the malaria-infested marshes. Over time, it became a solid and charming town.
In addition, there are a number of magnificent beaches around the town, which have become the holiday destination of French and European celebrities.
The small citadel, with its ancient gates and ramparts, lets you imagine what Porto Vecchio must have once been like, with its imposing fortifications.
At the foot of the Aiguilles de Bavella, perched on a rock, Porto-Vecchio dominates the bay. Ancient and proud of its origins, Corsica’s third largest city is a popular tourist destination on the island, thanks to its exceptional heritage and grandiose landscapes. Harmoniously combining sumptuous beaches hemmed in by pine forests, ancient Genoese fortifications and a magnificent mountainous hinterland, Porto-Vecchio cannot fail to make you fall in love.
The town’s main tourist attraction is undoubtedly its Genoese citadel, a must-see in Porto-Vecchio. Built by the Genoese in 1542, this fortress has an imposing and sophisticated architecture that is clearly defensive in character. It has large loopholes, a vaulted room leading to a small courtyard and a strategic watchtower.
The ascent to the citadel from the harbour is steep and demanding. Alternatively, you can take the little train, which makes return trips every 20 minutes between the two parts of the city in summer, or the municipal shuttle, which is cheaper.
Porto-Vecchio is a city rich in history. During your visit, stroll through its historic centre, located on the heights. With its cobbled streets, lively terraces, pretty façades and fascinating old monuments, the ambience is authentic and full of charm. Take the time to fully admire every corner of this special district.
You can especially visit the Saint-Jean-Baptiste church and its Baroque style. And finally, don’t hesitate to treat yourself to a little relaxation in one of the many cafés on Place de la République. It is always nice to have a drink in this lively neighbourhood.
Like all seaside resorts, Porto-Vecchio boasts a very active marina during the summer season. With its numerous cafés, bars, restaurants and small shops, the place is perfect for a family stroll.
At all hours of the day and night it comes alive with events such as concerts, street performers, children’s rides and shows of all kinds. Whether you want to enjoy a drink on the terrace, savour tasty regional products, go shopping or simply stroll along the quays observing the hundreds of moored boats, you will always find picturesque corners and a lively atmosphere.
Porto-Vecchio boasts some of the most enchanting and spectacular beaches in Corsica, just a few kilometres from the heart of the town. The most famous are undoubtedly Palombaggia beach, a small corner of paradise with turquoise water and white sand, Santa Giulia beach, a true Polynesian dream with its crystal-clear waters as far as the eye can see, located right at the foot of the mountain, and Rondinara beach, a cosy bay with calm waters, fine sand and ochre-coloured rocks.
There are other less famous but equally deserving lidos to consider, especially on the busiest tourist days. For instance Petite plage de Cala Rossa4, renowned for its luxury residences founded in the 1970s. Or Plage de Tamaricciu5, characterised by its white sand, dazzling turquoise waters and dunes surrounded by oaks, pines and junipers.
Also worth mentioning are Plage de San Cipriano6, a sheltered bay offering a long stretch of fine sand and shallow water, ideal for families with children, Plage de Pinarellu7, a wide expanse of white sand bordered by pine forests, and Plage de Carataggio8. The latter is very little known despite being nicknamed Tahiti Beach for its fine sand, turquoise water and wild appearance. The reason for the uncrowdedness is simple: it can only be reached on foot in about 20 minutes, passing through the bush, after parking at Foce Incesa.
From picnics on the beach to hikes in the heart of nature and fascinating historical and archaeological discoveries, Porto-Vecchio is full of hidden treasures just a stone’s throw from its lively old town.
To the south-west of the Gulf of Porto-Vecchio lies Punta di Chiappa, a beautiful coastal area consisting of a multitude of resorts.
From here one can admire the panorama of the Gulf, its mountainous hinterland, the tip of San Ciprianu and the bay of Stagnolo. But the tip’s most famous monument remains its lighthouse, which warns sailors of the imminent approach to the mouth of Bonifacio, further south.
About a 30-minute drive from Porto-Vecchio, the Ospedale Forest is a place not to be missed. Far from the hustle and bustle and pollution of the cities, this superb wooded area is the perfect place for a walk in the open air. Ospedale is a small mountain village at an altitude of 900 m and owes its name to the old hospital in the region. The village is surrounded by a sumptuous 733-hectare state forest, the green lung of Porto-Vecchio.
It is the ideal place to undertake an excursion, following one of the many trails available: the most famous is the one that takes you to the 80 metres high Piscia di Gallu waterfall, which you will discover after walking along the Ospedale dam. It will take about an hour’s walk to reach it and the last part of the route is quite demanding: the path is all downhill, often slippery and surrounded by brambles, but along the walk you will be able to admire magnificent landscapes, including an incredible panorama overlooking the bay of Porto-Vecchio.
If you like wild and less crowded places, you will have to go to the Cavu River: located just a few kilometres from Porto-Vecchio, in only 30 minutes by car, you will find yourself in a little corner of hidden paradise. Hidden in the heart of the forest are natural pools of crystal-clear water, created by the bends in the river.
The area has a restaurant and an adventure park for climbing trees.
The Porto-Vecchio region has numerous prehistoric sites that are interesting for understanding the origins of this part of Corsica. Among the most noteworthy are Araghju Castle12: this ancient fortress has a complex architecture, thanks to its ramparts more than 2 metres high, with which it has dominated the vast plain that stretches beneath its feet for more than 4,000 years.
The Archaeological site of Ceccia13 dominates the area with its superb remains dating back to 1350 B.C.: it can be accessed via a small path in the heart of the village.
The double site Cucuruzzu-Capula14 is worth a diversion, for its fortress dating back to the Bronze Age and its medieval fortifications built in the 10th century.
In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article
The village of Porto-Vecchio offers a plurality of hotels, residences or B&Bs to welcome you during your stay. To savour all the charm of this ancient Genoese town, we recommend you choose accommodation in the heart of the historic centre.
If, on the other hand, you love the sea and the silence of nature, you can stay in the various villages along the coast to admire the landscape and enjoy a more picturesque atmosphere. We recommend the villages of Sotta, Lecci or Palombaggia, a stone’s throw from the area’s most beautiful beaches.
What's the weather at Porto Vecchio? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Porto Vecchio for the next few days.
Porto Vecchio is a picturesque port village located just 27 kilometres from Bonifacio.