ABOUT PROPRIANO & THE VALINCO GULF… CAMPOMORO PORTIGLIOLO BEACH PLAGE DE CUPABIA Reservations are recommended as places are limited (particularly in high
season). BARACCI NATURA. There is also a Spar and a Coccinelle in the town centre but these are much
smaller so have less choice but are useful if you want to avoid the hassle of a large supermarket. These are normally
open in the morning on Sundays and Bank holidays, and sometimes again in the afternoon. There is also a little
patisserie in the town (where the road splits for the one way system) that stocks bread, savory snacks and cakes
which is open normally until 7pm even on Sundays. Figari has a small spar supermarket which is normally open 7 days a week
so you may prefer to stop there en-route to your accommodation. From the airport, follow the direction of Porto
Vecchio. This website and its content is copyright
of directCorsica, The direct Holiday Company and any subsidiaries thereof - © directCorsica Ltd. 2005. All
rights reserved. Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited without
prior written permission.
The Valinco Gulf is one of the most beautiful and unspoilt bays in the south with lots of sandy beaches to be discovered and enjoyed. Propriano is a lively resort town with restaurants, shops and everything one could want from a seaside holiday. With its attractive, busy marina with many good restaurants which together dramatic setting make the town a popular choice for visitors. The natural harbour has a somewhat unfinished air about it symbolic of the changes that have metamorphosed Propriano from a sleepy fishing village to a bustling resort.
Around the bay to the north is Campomoro, a charming unspoilt village with a recently restored Genoese tower, a sandy beach, only a few houses and some boats. To the south of the bay is Cappiciolo - perhaps one of the best spots on the Gulf - and Porto Pollo, a sheltered little seaside village.
Slightly inland from Propriano to the north is Olmeto, a beautiful granite village overlooking the plain of Propriano which even into the 20th century was notorious for its many vendettas. Sartene, 'The most Corsican of Corsican towns' is stern and sombre, but also one of the best preserved places in Corsica and the town fervently keeps alive some of the island's oldest traditions. Sartene the capital of the area is often described as the most Corsican of Corsican towns. During the 19th Century it was the scene of many feuds and even today has its own distinct atmosphere. Traditions live on and the Good Friday procession with an anonymous person carrying the cross through the medieval streets of the town continues to this day. The area is also teeming with pre-historic sites to be explored.
A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY…
Propriano is the original port of the Sartenais, where Sampiero Corso landed in 1564 as part of his plan to liberate Corsica from the Genoese. However, pirates were a constant problem and hardly any houses remained when the French took hold, but gradually the town was rebuilt during the 19th century. Sartene, another ancient town, was the seat of the Dila dei Monti; feudal barons who preferred to meter out their own form of justice than adhere to the law, and eventually turned Sartene into a haven for those in hiding. Today, Sartene is a ramshackle collection of tall imposing fortress style houses. The town remains one of the best preserved in Corsica thanks largely to the revenue from Sartenais wine - some of the best in the region - and the philosophy of the mayor, who has instigated laws preventing unsightly buildings.
As an island, Corsica has enjoyed a turbulent past. There is plenty of evidence of early settlement in Corsica, with menhirs and dolmen being found in several locations. The island was occupied by Greeks and Romans during the early centuries AD., the earliest settlement being at Aleria (first called Alalia) on the east coast. Mineral deposits of copper, iron and lead further inland were exploited, as were the lagoons along the east coast, which were rich in oysters and eels.
The subject of many invasions during the middle ages, control of the island passed to the state of Pisa in 1077. Following a period of rivalry with the state of Genoa, the Pisan state declined in 1284, and rule of Corsica, together with Sardinia, passed to the king or Aragon. The Genoese regained the island in 1347, and ruled it - with a brief intervention by the French in 1553 - until 1729, the year of the Corsican revolution for independence. There followed a turbulent forty years of struggle by the Corsicans, under the leadership of Pascal Paoli who governed independent Corsica from 1755 to 1768 and gave it its constitution, modelled on that of England.
In 1768, the treaty of Versailles ceded Corsica to France and 1769 marked the end of Corsican independence. Napoleon was born in Ajaccio on 15 August 1769. Apart from a brief period from 1794 to 1796 when St. Gilbert Elliot ruled an Anglo-Corsican kingdom as viceroy, Corsica has remained part of the French republic to the present. During the 19th century, under Napoleon III and the third republic, the island was developed economically, with the building of roads, the railway and schools.
With the decline of agriculture on the island during the second half of this century, Corsica has gradually depopulated, the permanent population now being around a quarter of a million people. Many young people go to the mainland - Le Continent - for education and to work, and there are Corsicans throughout France predominantly in the civil service, the police and customs service.
THINGS TO SEE & DO…
PROPRIANO - On a site that has been inhabited since the second century BC, the tiny port was not developed at all until the turn of the century when the jetty and the lighthouse were built. Even so it is only really in the last twenty or thirty years, with the advent of tourism, that Propriano has grown into a relatively important tourist centre. In the high season there are several ferries each week from mainland France as well as some services to Sardinia. The main seafront road is rather pleasant (Avenue Napoleon). After a stroll around the harbour to check out some of the yachts, or a browse around the shops and boutiques, there are numerous cafes with great big terraces where you can sit and watch the world go by and indulge in huge ice-cream concoctions. Or enjoy an aperitif, before dinner in one of the equally numerous restaurants. Several shops selling Corsican produce are along the front, and make a good place to buy gifts to take home. The Thermal Baths in Propriano (Bains de Baracci) can be found just outside Propriano, take the D557 Baracci turn off just north of town. The main pool is pleasantly warm, the hot tub deliciously so, and there is an open roof (9-12 & 2-7pm roughly) .If you wear silver jewellery take it off (the sulphur in the water will turn it yellowish). Men should wear proper swimming briefs, not trunks.
CAMPO MORO - If you want a little bit of heaven, head for Campo Moro. A beautiful beach in a beautiful setting, at the south west tip of the gulf. It is a curving croissant of golden sand, protected by a headland where you can climb to the roof of the largest Genoese watchtower on the island. The bay is thus sheltered and makes an excellent place to swim. It shelves relatively gently and is a great beach for children. But it does get busy in July and August, and there are quite a lot of small motor craft in the bay, so take care. There are one or two beachside cafes for lunch, snacks and ice-creams. When it's not so hot you can walk along the rugged coast behind the tower. Spend a day just relaxing relaxing at the beach or exploring the Tour Genoese de Campomoro.
PORTIGLIOLO BEACH - On the way to Campo Moro, Portigliolo beach has loads of room even in high season, if you are prepared to walk along from the most congested ends. It shelves quite steeply and can get very rough when it's windy. Take great care here as it can be quite dangerous at times. The Bar Robinson does a brisk trade here and there should still be the watersports facilities (Locanautic) - windsurfers, boats for hire, pulls on tyres etc. Half way along topless sunbathing and often nudism is the norm. The Propriano end is often quieter, but quite exposed with no facilities. To get there from Propriano drive all the way along the main road with the sea on your right and keep going past the Cabanon/U Corsu/toutes directions sign for another 100 metres or so when you should turn left (not sharp left) and continue on this road til you come to the beach. The Rizzanese river flows out into the sea in the middle of the beach cutting it into two which is why you normally have to go via the Campo Moro road to get to the other end.
FILITOSA'S STANDING STONES - Discovered in the 1940's, and written about by Dorothy Carrington in her fascinating "Granite Island" book on Corsica, Filitosa is Corsica's most important prehistoric site, if not one of the most important in the Mediterranean. Lying in the countryside of the Taravo valley on the north side of the Valinco Gulf, these stone statues or menhirs, (from the celtic maen hir meaning long stone) date from around 6000BC. Give yourselves about one/one and a half hours to walk around the parkland setting where the stones are and to visit the small museum afterwards. There's a café outside for drinks, ice-creams etc. Open all day every day in high season. For photographs apparently early morning is best for reliefs and late evening for atmospheric lighting. It is interesting to see, and you can include a visit to Filitosa as part of a day out around Propriano and the Valinco Gulf.
To get there turn off the main N196 Ajaccio road onto the D157 coast road. Just after Abbartello the road turns inland and you carry straight on, on the D57, to Filitosa. For a lunch stop try Porto Pollo - you could continue to Capo di Muro afterwards and have a walk out to the tower or lighthouse. Or try the Hotel Restaurant Abbartello, or La Crique, on the stretch of coast at Abbartello. To make a circuit you could go or return from Filitosa via Sollocaro, col de Celaccia and Olmeto.
SARTENE - La plus Corse des villes Corses is well worth a visit. Founded in the 10th century and long time home to the sgio, the rich and powerful landowners of the region, the town seemingly had a law of it's own and retains the same aura today. In the last century the whole town was caught up in a nasty vendetta which finally ended with a peace treaty being signed in the church in 1834. Testimony to this is the number of bricked up windows you can see if you wander around the old Santa Anna district, through the arch off the main square, the Place Porta. People literally used to barricade themselves in and even today the atmosphere is somewhat sombre and forbidding.
You might also like to look inside the church in the square where the cross and chains carried by the Easter penitent in the catenacciu ("the chained one") procession are kept. On Good Friday evening an anonymous penitent re-enacts Christ' s journey to Golgotha, through the streets of Sartene, falling three times as Christ did. He carries a huge wooden cross, and walks barefoot in chains. Mass is heard at the end of the procession. Besides the old part of town, there's a quite interesting Museum of Prehistory (9-12 and 2-6), signposted a little way up opposite the square.
Sartene has a small produce market in the square on a Saturday morning, which is a great spot for a morning coffee, and a bit of watching the world go by, or an aperitif on a summer's evening. If wine tasting is your thing then just by the arch into the old town from the square is La Cave Sartenaise where you can taste and purchase some of the local wines. You will also find some small handicraft and souvenir shops in the streets through the arch. Spend a leisurely afternoon visiting one of the many Domaines (vineyards) of the popular Sartenais.
TIZZANO AND THE MEGALITHIC SITES, NEAR SARTENE - Tizzano is a tiny seaside village clustered around a sheltered inlet. Before the creation of the Ajaccio - Bonifacio road in 1837 which passed by Propriano it served as a port for the export of agricultural produce from the Sartenais region. Nowadays there are quite a lot of private holiday homes here,
To get to Tizzano take the D48 off the main N196 road, and head towards the coast at Tizzano. For a lunch stop there is a restaurant called "chez Antoine" on your left as you arrive at the inlet, which is renowned for it's fish dishes. From the terrace you look across to the old fort.
You could make a detour en route to or from Tizzano to visit the megalithic sites. The one at Cauria is perhaps the best, and really the only one now accessible due to squabbles amongst landowners over whose land is whose! On the way down the D48 to Tizzano turn left for Cauria onto the D48a and a short while on park on your right and walk down the track to the Dolmen de Fontenaccia. This is a great stone table constructed as a burial chamber 4000 years ago. It's the best conserved and most striking to have been found in Corsica. From here you can complete a circular walk taking in the stone menhirs of Renaju and Stantari before returning to the car. It's hard to imagine this green, wild, landscape ever being inhabited.
LES BAINS DE CALDANE NR STE LUCIE - This is a small open air tub you can go and unwind in. It's very ancient and has been known about since Roman times. The form is to relax in the pool, and enjoy the views. There's a café for drinks too. To get there take the D268 to Ste Lucie de Tallano (off the main N196 road coming from Propriano) and after about 5 minutes drive turn right onto the D148. You shortly cross the river, then turn left immediately and it' about half a kilometre up the road on the left.
AULLENE, QUENZA & ZONZA - MOUNTAIN VILLAGES - These mountain villages make good lunch stops on a day in the mountains - the Hotel de La Poste in Aullene has friendly owners and a guide to walks around Aullene. Quenza and Zonza also have one or two restaurants where you enjoy lunch with stunning views of the mountains all around. Try the Hotel Sole e Monte in Quenza, l'Aiglon or the Auberge du Sanglier, in Zonza.
STE LUCIE DE TALLANO - Most people love this sleepy little village with it's grand old granite houses grouped around a lovely square - la place du monument aux morts - looking over the valley of the Rizzanese river. If you take a close look at the war memorial in the square, at the base you can see the rare stone "diorite orbiculaire", easily recognizable by it's concentric green rings of grey and dark green. It is very rare and the only other place it's been found, in the world, apparently, is Finland. Easy to work it was used, notably, in the decoration of the Medici chapel in Florence.
For coffee and croissants the Bar Ortoli on the corner is a good spot, and for a simple lunch there's the Santa Maria restaurant next to the fountain. The owners of the Bar Ortoli should have the key for the church opposite if you want a look inside. You'll see the eyes of the patron saint of the village, Lucie, who put out her own eyes to stop the amorous advances of her admirers. People with eye trouble still pray to her for help. From here it's a short hop to the rock pools at Zoza, or to the archaeological site at Cucurruzzu.
For a short walk head down to the hamlet of Poggio-di-Tallano on the D320, and as you're leaving the hamlet take the path on your left after the last house down to the 12th century Romanesque church of Saint Jean Baptiste.
ZOZA ROCK POOLS - A well known and well frequented spot. From the square in Ste Lucie, take the road in the direction of Zoza (10 mins drive from Ste Lucie). Drive through the village and turn very sharp left where the houses run out. You should see signs for "buvette" and "U Ponte Vecchiu". About 50 yards down the hill park if you can and walk down the dirt track on the right to the pools. There is more room to park further down the hill, at the church - from here follow the road (track) and cut through past the houses to pick up the dirt track leading down to the pools. You can sunbathe on the rocks or venture a little further up or down stream without too much difficulty. Children generally love these pools.
CASTELLO DI CUCURRUZZU AND CAPULA, NR LEVIE - These two archaeological sites enjoy a wonderfully picturesque setting in the mountains on the plain of Levie at 700metres of altitude and are linked together by a walk of about 1 hour. A book, or better still an audio cassette, will guide you around the site. The tape is a little quirky with wind chimes and other "atmospheric noises" and a cuckoo to tell you when to stop and start the cassette - but it is both informative and interesting. Young children should enjoy clambering amidst the stones. Fill in the background at the musee Departementale archaeological museum in the middle of the main street Levie (10-12 and 3-7). To get here take the road from Ste Lucie de Tallano towards Levie and turn left where you see the sign for Prehistoric Sites about 5kms along. After a couple of kilometres park in the field on your right and the entrance hut is across the other side of the road.
DAYS OUT FURTHER AFIELD…
AJACCIO - Corsica's capital and birthplace of Napoleon, Ajaccio sits at the mouth of the largest gulf on the island and has the most important port as well as a remarkably mild climate. It is also the capital of the departement of Corse-du-Sud, and of the island (though the Bastiais would have it otherwise).
You can visit Napoleon's House, the Musee Fesch with it's impressive collection of Italian paintings (closed Monday Oct-June and Tuesday and mid-June-Mid September), and, of course, go shopping. Though many shops are also closed on a Monday.
The nicest area to wander around is near place Foch (the tourist office is situated off here) and the streets between here and the cathedral, the main road (Cours Napoleon) and the rue Cardinal Fesch. You'll find plenty of places to eat in the area too. Along from place Foch is the square where the morning market is held daily - mainly fresh produce and a good place to purchase Corsican specialities (cheese, ham, nougat, jam, wines and liqueurs), or buy your lunchtime picnic. The sea front promenade along the route des Sanguinaires is a pleasant place to stroll. The Nave Va company run boat trips from the old port near the citadelle out to these islands, as well as further afield (Bonifacio, Porto and the Calanques).
Out west beyond the town along the coast road towards the Iles Sanguinaires you'll find several lovely beaches, such as the Palm beach, Marinella beach - there are restaurants here of the same name so it's hard to miss. If you go to the very end of the road you come to the rocky tip of the Pointe de La Parata, beyond which lie the Sanguinaire Isles, the name coming from the reddy hue of the rock.
BONIFACIO - A fascinating town with a fascinating history. For the best views of the cliffs, and to relax and cool off after your journey, you might start your visit by taking a boat trip around the "grottes et falaises" (cliffs and caves). You may be hounded by various boat owners at the port - so can often haggle the price of your trip. The cafes around the port are great passing the time of day places, and there are numerous restaurants. There's also a tiny but well done Aquarium on the port which children, as well as adults, might enjoy.
Walk or take the tourist train from the port up to the town on top of the hill. If you do walk you need to know that it's quite a steep climb from the church of St. Erasme on the port up to the chapel of St. Roch. Look over the wall here and you'll see the grain de sable, a massive chunk of limestone cliff that's fallen into the sea and which adorns a thousand postcards. Steps here, lots of them, lead down to a tiny scrap of beach.
The walk along the cliffs starts from here, off to your left. Otherwise drive up and leave the car in one of the parks by the cemetery. From here it's a flatter walk into the old town, which is a delightful place to wander. The view from the cliffs is superb, and you can visit the churches and ramparts. The narrow streets are full of shops and cafes. The marine cemetery at the far end of the clifftop by all the carparks is much visited as it's full of extraordinarily elaborate mausoleums.
If you set out from Propriano/Tizzano, then about 10kms beyond Sartene on the N196 main road there's a little place on the right hand side of the road called the Fromagerie d'Acciola. A great lunch spot or supper stop on the way home.
PORTO VECCHIO - A resort which is extremely popular with Italians during the peak summer months the town of Porto Vecchio has developed into a thriving tourist destination. The third largest town in Corsica, Porto Vecchio was built on a hill overlooking the gulf and salt marshes. The old Genoese walled town still seduces visitors with its picturesque narrow streets and the austerity of its high stone houses that are set within the citadelle's ramparts. The streets are dotted with numerous shops offering the latest fashion and the very best local products, proof if need be that the area is fast becoming the playground of the rich and famous. Within a few minutes walk, the marina lined with cafés is the ultimate place to enjoy a leisurely drink during those hot summer evenings. It was in 1540 that the Republic of Genoa decided to create a fortified settlement in Porto Vecchio. The natural rock formation provided ample protection from Barbarian attacks.
THE AIGUILLES DE BAVELLA - The highlight of the mountains in southern Corsica, it's worth the trip up to Bavella just for the views even if you don't want to walk when you get there. On a clear day you can see the aiguilles or needles, also called the cornes d'Asinao in Corsican - the donkey's ears - from quite a distance. These jagged peaks seem to change hue in different lights - they are of the same type granite that form the famous calanches de Piana, on the north west coast of the island, rich in sodium and potassium which is why they have that warm glow.
If you do intend to walk then the TOP 25 map for the area may be useful - you can get away without it, but you shouldn't take the risk if you plan a long walk. The famous GR20 walk passes through Bavella and you can do part of this track (see walks in this folder) . Do remember water, suitable clothing, and stout sensible shoes. The scenery is glorious. Take a picnic, although there are a couple of cafes at the col de Bavella, notably "Le Refuge", where you can eat if you prefer.
The road from the Aiguilles de Bavella to Solenzara on the east coast is one of the most stunning on the island, but it does have a rather narrow section, where you can get the odd traffic jam in July/August as vehicules inch carefully past one another. Outside this period you should not encounter excessive traffic and the road is well worth taking.
Once you've dropped down through the hills and pines you find the road running alongside the Solenzara river, and there are numerous spots to bathe or picnic, or both. Some of the basins are quite sizeable with small beach type areas on the river banks alongside, but don't expect to have them to yourself. The Ospedale forest road (see below) offers almost equally dramatic scenery and an easier drive.
THE POLISCHELLU ROCK POOL, NEAR BAVELLA - A favourite, in a beautiful setting. To get there start from the Col de Bavella. Set your distance counter here. Drive down towards the east coast at Solenzara. After 9.5kms you come to a stone bridge (the second one). Park here and go off to the left of the bridge. Follow the river upstream for about 5 minutes until you come to a fabulous pool in the Polischellu river with a two-level cascade falling into it. Picture-book stuff!
PISCIA DI GALLO WATERFALL, Ospedale Forest - Between the Bavella massif and Porto Vecchio lies the beech tree forest of Ospedale, where massive granite boulders lie intermingled with the trees. The large lake just beyond the village is in fact a man made reservoir. Bordered by pines, it makes a lovely spot for a picnic (but the water level may be somewhat low as the summer progresses). Just beyond the lake is a cafe at the side of the road and this is the point of departure for the walk to the wonderfully named Piscia di Gallo (literally "pissing cockerel") waterfall. Follow the red paint marks (and other walkers). It's a relatively easy walk, taking about 30-40 minutes to reach the top of the waterfall. To reach the bottom, it is pretty steep and slippery when wet, so only attempt to go down to the bottom if you are fairly agile and have your hands free.
The busiest beach is the Plage du Phare (also known as the Lido Plage as the Hotel le Lido sits on the beach here). Follow the road into Propriano and as you pass through the town look out for the sign 'Toutes directions' and a left turn. Keep straight on taking the left fork of the road and continue on to the very bottom where there is a parking area and a beach bar/café.
If you want somewhere a little quieter and don't mind a bit of a scramble, follow 'Toutes directions' until you reach a roundabout with the newsagents on the right hand corner. Turn right here and follow the road round to the right. Turn left as soon as you can which will take you up the Chemin des Plages, past the Arena Bianca on your right. As the road approaches the top of the hill, look out for an unmarked track on the right. Follow this and you will reach a small parking area where there are various scrambles down the beach below (be sure to wear rock shoes or trainers). If you can't face the scramble, continue on past the little track until the road starts to bear left round the headland and there is a larger beach on your right where the access is a little easier.
Turn off the N196 onto the D121 towards Belvédère /Campomoro and follow the road right to the end. There is a little parking area in the village and a sandy beach that stretches for about 1km, but it can get very busy in the summer. If you head towards the tower, there are several little coves where the snorkelling is particularly good, but the walk will take you about 20-25 minutes (uphill).
On the way to Campo Moro, Portigliolo beach has loads of room even in high season, if you are prepared to walk along from the most congested ends. It shelves quite steeply and can get very rough when it's windy. Take great care here as it can be quite dangerous at times. The Bar Robinson does a brisk trade here and there should still be the watersports facilities (Locanautic) - windsurfers, boats for hire, pulls on tyres etc. Half way along topless sunbathing and often nudism is the norm. The Propriano end is often quieter, but quite exposed with no facilities. To get there from Propriano drive all the way along the main road with the sea on your right and keep going past the Cabanon/U Corsu/toutes directions sign for another 100 metres or so when you should turn left (not sharp left) and continue on this road til you come to the beach. The Rizzanese river flows out into the sea in the middle of the beach cutting it into two which is why you normally have to go via the Campo Moro road to get to the other end.
There are lots of little coves and bigger beaches along this stretch. A nice little beach close to the marina and restaurants where you can take lunch. From Propriano head out in the direction of Ajaccio and as you leave the town look out for a left turn signposted D157 towards Porto Pollo. Turn left here and continue for about 4 or 5 kilometres. You will soon see a couple of restaurants on the left including one called La Crique. There is a large stretch of beach here, although if you continue on a little further there are lots of little coves if you scramble down the banks, but the access is not always marked.
A beautiful beach with fine golden sand and clear blue waters, but you do sometimes have to share it with the cows! The parking can be a problem in high season as the car park is quite small, so you need to get there early. There is a small beach café for refreshments. Follow the D157 in the direction of Porto Pollo, turn left at the T-junction and then right onto the D155 towards Serra-di-Ferro and the Coti Chiavari. Shortly after you pass through the village of Serra-di-Ferro, look for a left turn (D155a) signposted 'Plage de Cupabia'. The parking area is at the end of this road.
A nice little beach close to the marina and restaurants where you can take lunch. From Propriano head out in the direction of Ajaccio and as you leave the town look out for a left turn signposted D157 towards Porto Pollo. Follow this road all the way to the village.
Petit Sperone beach - Just outside of Bonifacio, conveniently enough, this is a gorgeous little inlet reached by walking 10 minutes along Pianterella beach and 2 minutes more around the tip of the headland - a feast for the eyes when you arrive. As you drive into Bonifacio and the port is on your right, turn left where the hospital is onto the D58 and after about 200 metres turn right for Piantarella. There's a surf shop called Tam Tam on the corner on the right where you turn. Carry straight on. Park and walk onto the beach. Turn right and head for Sperone.
Roccapina beach - Perfect white sand and clear water but there's not much room so again it can be too busy in July and August. About 20 or so kilometres south of Sartene, and midway between Bonifacio and Sartene, turn off the main road by the Auberge de Coralli and follow the dirt track down. The track to the beach may be very rough so drive carefully. Above the beach is the so-called Lion of Roccapina, a natural rock sculpture, crowned by an old Genoese watchtower erected at the start of the 16th century, in the first construction phase involving 25 towers. By all means do marvel at how they built it up there but please do not try and climb up to it. A romantic legend about the lion would have it that a powerful noble, feared by the Saracen pirates - who called him "The Lion", was in love with a beautiful young girl. When she refused his advances, from despair he died and was petrified in the form that you see today.
BEACHES BETWEEN PORTO VECCHIO AND BONIFACIO…
All of these are situated off the main east coast road, the RN196. As they are well known as Corsica's finest beaches they are often the most crowded during high season. All the signposts are on the left if driving towards Bonifacio or on the right if moving towards Porto Vecchio . Along this stretch of coast there are also other, less popular beaches. To find them simply take an exploratory drive down any of the turn offs heading in the correct direction.
La Palombaggia -The most famous beach on the island has white sand, shallow, clear water and is lined with beautiful pine trees. The access road may seem long and windy and it can be overcrowded in high season but at any other time of year is well worth a visit.
Santa Giulia - Another popular, east coast beach with fine white sand and sheltered areas. There is also a good watersports school here.
La Rondinara - A crescent shaped beach with shallow water, fine white sand and often quieter and less well known than the previous two.
SPORTS & ACTIVITIES…
Adventure Park, Via Ferrata and Canyoning - BARACCI NATURA
Offering three different adventure style activities from the same location, Baracci Natura can be found along the Route de Baracci between Propriano and Olmeto via the D257.
Windsurfing & Sailing
ENV Near the capitainerie on the seafront in Propriano offers a variety of watersports including windsurfing and sailing. Tuition and/or equipment hire available on Mancinu beach.
Can be hired from Propriano and Porto Pollo in high season. A boat licence is
bligatory. Waterskiing is available from Portiglio beach but is weather dependent.
There are 2 diving schools in Propriano, U Levante and Valinco plongee both found on the port near the tourist office. There are also diving schools in Campo Moro and Porto Pollo. Beginners welcome for a trial.
ENV Offer motorboat trips (12 seater motorlaunch) and there are many excursions including a picnic at sunset and also at sunrise for those interested in photography. ENV also have an 11 seater skippered catamaran, "Big Blue", complete with underwater music system, for sailing trips in the Gulf.
Paese di Valinco
Have two larger vessels and offer great excursions in the Valinco gulf as well as further afield (Bonifacio, Calanches de Piana).
There are 3 courts in Propriano, off the hill climbing up/down to Casino supermarket, Tel 04 95 76 13 35 to book and for fees.
TTC in the town centre have a selection of bikes for hire. Turn left up ave Gen de Gaulle, past the Societe Generale and follow the road straight on. You will see bikes parked on the left hand side. Marie-Jo speaks English.
A Madunina is on the road to Sartene. You will see it on the left hand side just before the turn-off to Ste Lucie.
Centre Equestre de Baracci is the Olmeto side of Propriano, about 1km outside town, (just down the D557 to Baracci).
Centre Equitation du Valinco is beyond Propriano centre and offers rides along the beach for the more experienced rider.
Offer a great opportunity to appreciate the scenery from the sky, in a small 3 seater plane. A 20 minute flight around the Valinco Gulf, or longer circuits taking in the south of the island, Bonifacio, Porto Vecchio, and returning over the Bavella mountains, weather permitting, can be arranged. Tel 04 95 76 09 82 or call in at the aerodrome. Cost very approximately was 100 euros for an hour's trip (between up to three passengers) in 2001, and reservations are recommended. TAVARIA AERODROME (on the road towards Campo Moro)
Will appeal to fresh air fiend's and is another fun way to take in the scenery. It is a sort of motorised hang glider, a small cockpit for two - pilot plus one passenger - suspended beneath the wing. Radio contact via helmets is available so you can speak to the pilot, or alternatively listen to your favourite cassette as you glide above the gulf. Cost is approximately 2 euros a minute, so you can do a 10 or 15 minute flight, or half an hour. Vincent, your pilot, can be contacted on 06 12 55 65 40 and reservations are recommended especially in July and August.
Valinco Parachute Club
For a once in a lifetime experience you can try a tandem parachute jump. A truly incredible experience, where both the scenery, and the emotion, may take your breath away. Jump from 3000metres from a small Cessna, available most weekends/some weekdays. Or from 4000m from a larger "Pilatus" (10 passengers) which comes once monthly to Propriano, when parachute courses are run. During these weeks your jump can normally be filmed too for a unique souvenir of Corsica seen from the skies. Cost of a tandem is approximately 195 euros and you will need a medical certificate from a GP too (certificat de non contra-indication a un saut en parachute - tandem). You can contact instructor Bob Martinez on 06 03 50 39 32.
USEFUL INFORMATION - amenities…
Casino is the biggest supermarket in Propriano and is found on one of the roundabouts on the way to Sartene. It has a good selection of everything you could want and has a fresh fish counter.
These can vary according to the season, but generally speaking will be as follows;
Monday - Saturday
8:30am - 12:00pm & 3pm - 7:30pm
Monday - Friday
8:30am - 12:00pm & 3pm - 7:30pm
8:30am - 7:30pm non-stop
Sartene also has a Super U (closed from 12pm - 3pm) which is a less busy stop on your return from a day out if you are at risk of missing Casino. There is also a daily market every morning on Rue Pandolfi (the road running parallel to the harbour front) where you can buy locally grown fruit and veg.
You can sometimes find English newspapers in the librarie-presse on the harbour front. Bear in mind that supplies are limited and the papers are usually at least a day old.
BEACH ACCESSORIES & GIFTS
Casino has a good selection of beach toys, sun-creams and beach towels but there are also shops in the town centre where you can buy beach accessories and souvenirs.
Again, scattered around Propriano town there are boutiques and clothing shops catering for all budgets.
The post office is found at the large roundabout behind the harbour front. It is open Mon-Fri 9h-17h and on sat 9h-12h. bear in mind that queues are often long and slow so try to buy your stamps when you buy your postcards. You can buy phonecards in the post office and also in the Tabacs.
The main pharmacy is on the left as you drive along the harbour front. All pharmacies close for siesta at 12h until 15h. On Saturdays and Sundays there will be a notice on all the pharmacy doors indicating which is the pharmacie du garde and when it will be open.
Arriving into Propriano town centre on the one way system, Societe Generale is on your left on the corner of rue General de Gaulle and Rue 9 septembre. Turning left here up rue General de Gaulle you see the Banque Populaire on your left. The Credit Lyonnais is on Ave Napoleon (harbour front). Generally the banks are open from 8h45 until 11h45 and 13h30 until 17h.
In the event of illness or accident, the emergency telephone numbers are listed below. Please be aware that some operators may not speak English.
If you do need urgent medical assistance, you will need to contact your insurance company straight away.
DOCTORS - Pharmacies in France can help with general prescribing for some ailments and are normally the first port of call prior to a Doctor's appointment. However, if you do need to see a doctor, most surgeries do not have a receptionist, and there is no appointments system for all or part of the day - simply turn up and wait your turn. Most surgeries will close for lunch, and will not be open on Sundays. If you need a doctor on a Sunday, you will need to contact the locum doctor (details will be in the local paper, Corse Matin).
Dr Carlotti Tel: 04 95 76 04 30 (on the left hand side on the harbour front)
Dr Quilichini Tel: 04 95 76 00 96 (on the harbour front also)
Dr Secondi Tel: 04 95 74 63 17 ( at the top of the village, from Propriano, drive through both sets of traffic lights and the surgery is signposted off to the left)
DENTISTS - By appointment, but in emergency situations the dentist will juggle appointments so that you are seen as quickly as possible.
Dr Carlotti tel: 04 95 76 31 75 (On the left hand side on the harbour front)
Dr Leandri Tel: 04 95 76 09 28 (turn right just before the port onto Rue de Gaulle)
Dr Altounian Tel: 04 95 76 06 60 (farther along the Rue de Gaulle)
HOSPITAL - Hopital de Sartene Tel: 04 95 77 95 00 (follow the signs on arrival at the village of Sartene).
Ajaccio (Notre Dame de la Misericorde) Tel: 04 95 29 90 90
In more serious cases you may be evacuated either by ambulance or by helicopter to Ajaccio hospital.
FOR ANY MEDICAL TREATMENT…
You will need your insurance documents, and European health card (replacement for the E111 form (available from post offices), passport and money/credit cards as you will be required to pay in advance for any treatment and/or prescriptions.
Always remember to collect receipts (Feuille de soins) for any treatment you are given or medicine you buy. The EC countries' medical agreements entitle you to certain medical benefits if you are ill whilst abroad. If your costs are less or not much more than the excess on your insurance policy, you might be better to use your EHIC.
ABOUT PROPRIANO & THE VALINCO GULF…
PLAGE DE CUPABIA
Reservations are recommended as places are limited (particularly in high
season). BARACCI NATURA.
There is also a Spar and a Coccinelle in the town centre but these are much smaller so have less choice but are useful if you want to avoid the hassle of a large supermarket. These are normally open in the morning on Sundays and Bank holidays, and sometimes again in the afternoon. There is also a little patisserie in the town (where the road splits for the one way system) that stocks bread, savory snacks and cakes which is open normally until 7pm even on Sundays.
Figari has a small spar supermarket which is normally open 7 days a week
so you may prefer to stop there en-route to your accommodation. From the airport, follow the direction of Porto
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