PORTO-VECCHIO AND THE MULTITUDE OF POSSIBILITIES
There's so much that we don't know where to start...
Welcome to Portivechju, one of the not-to-be-missed towns in the far south of Corsica. The ancient town, perched on a rocky promontory, overlooks a gulf into which the Tyrrhenian Sea rushes and which, according to the ancients, was originally called Portus Syracusanus, the signature of the passage of the Greeks.
Climbing up the terrace of the Bastion de France, by visiting one of the buildings of our Genoese citadel, you'll understand the infinite heritage value of our city, because wherever you look, there's something to discover...
The citadel, which marks in stone the strong imprint left by the Genoese after five centuries of presence. Below, the old port, porto vecchio where the vestiges of an intense industrial past lie dormant. Follow the coast and you'll find the most beautiful beaches in the south, where white sand, turquoise waters, granite or porphyry rock, scrubland or pinewood, water sports or lazing about, all combine to offer you the most heavenly of seascapes...
But there's more to come, turn around, we're at the foot of d'U Spidali, a village in the commune of Porto-Vecchio, whose highest point is the Punta di a Vacca Morta at an altitude of 1314 m. Forest, dam, hiking, stunning panoramas and outdoor activities are all within your reach!
A HISTORY OF CHARACTER
A LAND MARKED SINCE THE DAWN OF TIME
Although the Genoese period left a strong imprint on Porto-Vecchio, its history, even its pre-history, goes back much further, and the archaeological remains are still there to bear witness to this... Two Torréan casteddi, Ceccia and Tappa, stand on our plains and tell the story of the Bronze and Iron Age men who introduced the first agro-pastoral techniques to Corsica.
This pastoralism was to mark the link between the plains and the mountains until the 19th century, orii and caseddi still litter our territory as you stroll along...
Take a stroll around the Porto-Vecchio marina and you'll see the remains of an old industrial past: the old cork factories that were the economic flagship of the town, including the St Joseph factory, now home to a theatre company; the dormant salt marshes which have earned the town the nickname of « Salt City » and the production was of inestimable quality. Did you know that the railway line from Bastia reached the Quai de la Marine and contributed to the port's economic effervescence?
With the boom of the 50s, the town took on a whole new dimension, with the creation of a marina, hotels and restaurants, making it the island's leading tourist resort.
To see : Nature and wonders
Of course, Portivechju is famous for its sandy beaches. Palombaggia and Santa Giulia with fine sand and translucent waters. It's a great place to relax and enjoy yourself, with a wide range of water sports on offer. But more than just postcard landscapes, these natural sites are extraordinarily beautiful because they have been preserved under the watchful eye of the Bouches de Bonifacio Nature Reserve and the Conservatoire du Littoral.
Did you know that the umbrella pines and Phoenician junipers that line the beaches of Palombaggia slow down erosion by fixing the dunes? And that the silhouettes of the Cerbicale Islands on the horizon are home to Yellow-legged Gulls, Ashy Shearwaters, Pallid Swifts and Tiliguerta Lizards, sheltered from predators and humans alike ?
Did you know that behind the heavenly beach of Santa Giulia lies a pond and lido fed by 3 streams: Lezza, Alzellu and Vignarellu and classified as a Natural Area of Ecological, Faunistic and Floristic Interest ? A veritable nursery of pipit rousseline, passerines, Cetti's warbler and waterbirds grows up here. When evening comes, keep your ears open for the croaking of the green Balearic toad.
Do you fancy going higher, putting on your hiking boots or just taking in the sights? A trip to the Ospedale will give you a breath of fresh air. Firstly, its village, which was originally a place of hospitality for shepherds on their transhumance between the sea and the mountains. Perched at an altitude of 948 m, this granite village opens the road to the Alta Rocca and offers spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding plains and coastline. Behind you, a majestic forest composed mainly of laricciu pines and beech trees, is punctuated by grey and pink granite chaos dotted with quartz veins. Protected by the Office Nationale des Forêts and the Corsica Regional Nature Park. This massif is also a haven for sensitive fauna: be careful not to disturb the mouflons as they try to reclaim their territory. Endemic species such as the bacterial Discoglossus and the Euproctus also live happily here!
Nestling like a jewel in the depths of this forest and granite rocks, is a magnificent majestic dam. This site offers a breathtaking panorama: the calm waters reflecting the mountains covered in lush vegetation are a call to serenity...
The surrounding paths are the perfect opportunity to explore these beautiful landscapes. You can walk through the pine forest, get a view of the waterfall Piscia di Ghjaddu or take in the breathtaking panoramic views along the Punta di Vacca Morta. These walks are signposted and suitable for all levels, whether you are a beginner or an experienced walker...
To do: Discover Portivechju from fun way
Why not explore the city in a more interactive way:
Tours with our guide Nela reveal the city's hidden treasures and anecdotes from the past;
Connected visits with the application A Spassu take you on an immersive, fully autonomous journey at your own pace;
Looking for a challenge and some fun? the treasure hunt "The Pirate Riddle and the treasure hunt "I Quartieri" will get your brain working and take you to some little-known corners of the city...
to listen to: traditions and parties
Our land is deeply linked to the pastoral and the sacred and gives rise to festivities throughout the year: almost every month of the year is punctuated in Portivechju or the neighbouring villages by a religious procession in honour of a saint. Like the Saint John the Baptist June 24th, the town's patron saint's day, when for almost a week the inhabitants gather to share moments of spirituality and conviviality, processions and festivities punctuate the nights of the salt city.
But also U Luddareddu on 31 July, a purely Porto-Vecchese tradition, with the local children making a straw man to be burnt in the heart of the town to celebrate the end of the hard labour and intense heat endured by the people of Porto-Vecchois in days gone by... Christmas tradition is not to be outdone, with its ice rink, its market where gastronomy and concerts go hand in hand, and its activities for children that will make their eyes shine with a thousand lights!
Naturally, the summer season marks the kick-off for the music festivals, the polyphonic concerts in church or theatrical performances in the old cork factory or on the forecourt of the Bastion de France. This same bastion houses a permanent exhibition, In Portivechju, on the city's natural, tangible and intangible heritage. By discovering all the celebrations that punctuate the life of Portivechju, you will understand the soul of this town...
Where to stay?
Hotel, bed and breakfast, holiday rental, campsite, unusual accommodation... a wide choice of quality accommodation awaits you in the Porto-Vecchio region.
How do I get there?
To get to Porto-Vecchio, you have several options: you can fly to Figari airport, around 25 km from the town, hire a car and drive to your destination. Alternatively, you can take a ferry from Marseille or Nice to Porto-Vecchio.