A Day In Corsica: Bonifacio, France

Taking the ferry to Bonifacio makes it easier than you think to spend a day in Corsica from Sardinia!

Bonifacio day in Corsica France cover

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I highly recommend spending a day in Corsica while you’re visiting Sardinia! Especially if you’re based in the north in towns like Santa Teresa Gallura or Porto Cervo.

Bonifacio Corsica foretress city

Taking the Ferry from Sardinia to Corsica

The ferry to Corsica is so easy. The fastest route takes off from Santa Teresa Gallura, one of the northernmost towns on the island and a great place to base your time in northern Sardinia!

Two ferry companies run roughly every 90 minutes during the day. Quality and price are about the same, so base your choice on the timing that suits you best.

If you want to plan ahead, the easiest way to buy is via Ferryhopper – it’s an easy app to buy ferry tickets throughout Europe.

Ferry from Santa Teresa Gallura, Sardinia to Bonifacio, Corsica

I liked having the flexibility to choose when we were ready to come back across, so we didn’t book in advance. In shoulder season, this is super easy! But if the ferry seems crowded on the way over, consider booking your return journey in advance.

If you want to spend a few days in Corsica, it makes sense to bring your car over. But if you’re just going for the day, leave it. Bonifacio is a small town so it’s a hassle to have a car anyway!

There’s no parking next to the ferry dock in Santa Teresa Gallura; you can park around Piazza Bruno Modesto or off via la Marina. Both are paid, but use the EasyPark app so that you can top up remotely anytime!

Bonifacio street views

Make sure to arrive about 30 minutes early. You’ll have to wait in line to buy tickets, which isn’t fast, and then again to board. At both points, they check passports, so don’t forget to bring yours!

The journey is roughly an hour each way through the Bonifacio Strait. It’s not too rough, but if you tend to seasickness, come prepared.

Make sure to get a spot with a view as you approach Corsica! The entry is gorgeous, giving you views of the epic rocky coastline and city of Bonifacio built into the side. You can see the old fortress walls and the Stairs of the King of Aragon from the water!

Bonifacio harbor

How to Spend a Day In Corsica: Bonifacio

If you only have one day, stay in Bonifacio! It’s a darling historic town with pedestrian streets and beautiful sea views. There are historic sights, stunning hikes, and plenty of great food.

Historic Sights

Bonifacio, Corsica is historically a fortress town with cultural connections to both Tuscany and France. The area has some of the best beaches in Corsica, and the tiny town is both fascinating and charming for a wander.

Bonifacio from the water

The Citadel is the term used to refer to the historic old town and its medieval fortress walls. The cobblestone pedestrian streets are decidedly more French than anything in Sardinia, making it clear you’ve changed countries. Make sure to wander along the edge to soak up the incredible views.

One of the most known historic sites in Bonifacio is the Stairs of the King of Aragon. Legend says they were carved by the army of the King of Aragon in one night to invade the city. In reality, it was carved out to get to a freshwater well lower in the cliff face.

Entry tickets are inexpensive, but don’t forget that if you go down all those stairs, you’ll have to go back up them! 😉

cliff buildings Corsica

You can also explore the Bastion de l’Étendard – a section of the fortress where the underground fortifications are open to the public. There’s an explanation of the city’s history and even some medieval helmets to try on. It’s also inexpensive, and worth the small entry fee to check out.

While you’re exploring the city, it’s worth a quick stop at a historic church. The Church of Santa Maria Maggiore sits only a few minutes from the Bastion, so stick your head in here to check out the oldest church in the city.

Bonifacio Corsica island France

On the other end of the town, it’s worth it to walk through the Marine Cemetery. It’s a striking setting, full of small mausoleums overlooking the water with Sardinia in the distance. You’ll also pass more fortress ruins and if you’re interested, take a short walk to the Gouvernail (Rudder), a 19th-century tunnel used as a bunker during WWII.

Bonifacio Hikes and Walks

Even with just a day in Corsica, there are gorgeous walks and hikes you can check out!

Bonifacio foretress

The best ones are the Sentier de Campu Rumanilu & Pertusatu trails, which connect with each other. Start on the Campu Romalinu trail by Saint Roch Chapel. Along the trail, you’ll see U Diu Grossu (“the big finger/the thumb”), a massive piece of cliff that fell into the water and has become one of the iconic images of Bonifacio.

Both routes are easy to moderate, starting paved and switching to unpaved as the trail leaves Bonifacio. If you continue on the Pertusatu section you’ll end up on the Saint-Antoine beach. Campu Romalinu trail takes less than an hour each way, with more to continue onto the Pertusatu stretch.

Where to Eat in Bonifacio

Since this is a day trip guide, I’ll stick to two lunch options.

Cantina Doria is a great option full of local dishes! While not cheap, the prices are reasonable for Corsica. Order the Bonifacian eggplant (aubergine) or the soup!!

Le Bo is also a great choice and is open all afternoon. A bit on the touristy side, but they have tons of seating, a menu in English, and still great local dishes. I loved the local veal pasta – practically licked the plate!

Before you leave, make sure to get an ice cream at Glacier Rocca-Serra! There’s one in the old town and another near the port, so you have options when you grab it. Just eat it before you get back on the ferry!

Bonifacio fortress

Taking the ferry from Sardinia makes it so easy to spend a day in Corsica! I loved Bonifacio and would definitely stay on Corsica longer next time, but it works so well as a day trip.

Planning an island getaway? Check out my guide to the best town to base your trip in northern Sardinia, or head more south for Cagliari!

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