An “undiscovered” beach in Mediterranean Europe? Well, almost. Bonifacio, on the southern tip of the French island of Corsica, is largely untroubled by mass tourism, packed beaches or English-speaking travelers, despite sparkling and sometimes treacherous waters dotted with the wrecks of pirate ships and ancient vessels, and a beautiful, unspoilt town tangled with cobblestone alleyways. It’s one of France’s best-kept secrets.
It’s by no means a traditional beach, although there are baby-powder sands at L’Arinella, reachable via a panoramic coastal hiking route. Locals prefer to descend the white limestone cliffs to sunbathe in secluded caves or skinny dip in hidden coves. A 187-step staircase carved into the crags descends straight to the sea. It’s a killer path, especially the climb back, so best avoided during the hottest hours of the day. The reward at the bottom is a refreshing dive into pure turquoise waters.
Above, the ancient citadel of Bonifacio echoes to the local dialect, an unusual mix of French and Italian. Restaurants sell specialties like honey-roasted piglet, clams stuffed with grated sheep cheese, aubergines cooked the Bonifacio way and brocciu, a fresh ricotta served with platters of strong-scented salami and hams.