Beloved by the French, yet still relatively undiscovered by the rest of the world, the French island of Corsica is a gem. And right at its southern tip lies Bonifacio, a medieval town known as the “the city of sentinels”. Closer to Rome than Paris (and less than an hour’s ferry ride to Sardinia), Bonifacio remains one of the Mediterranean’s best kept secrets.
The first thing you should know is that Bonifacio is stunning. And by that, we mean, awe-inspiringly beautiful. The town itself is worthy of a painting – a long, hilltop town that snakes over milky white limestone cliffs that stretch for 70 kilometres. The turquoise blue seas that lap at the foot of these are both warm and clear, and a joy for bathers of all ages. Although the cliffs have proved perilous to sailors in the past - Bonifacio counts the wreckage of the French Navy’s 1855 ship Semillante among its most visited diving sites and top tourist attractions. It is also here, in the harbour, that scholars place the catastrophic encounter between Ulysses's fleet and the Laestrygonians, who hurled lethal boulders down from the cliffs.
The proximity of nearby Sardinia is everywhere. The islands were once joined before volcanic activity tore them apart, and much of the local dialect – still prevalently used particularly in the back country – is heavily influenced by Italian. This is also true for the local cuisine; think large plates of thinly sliced charcuterie and stuffed pasta filled with creamy local brocciu, a cheese similar to ricotta.