Corsica is less an island, more a mountain in the sea, with over a hundred lofty peaks that remain snow-capped late into spring. The watercourses flowing down the slopes make this Mediterranean island an incredibly lush one, so much so that Corsica is also referred to as an ‘emerald isle', with pine forests, pastures and vineyards and the defining fragrant maquis, the indigenous scrub that scents the air.
This green state of gorgeousness remains so as two-thirds of the island is a Regional National Park, preserving the diverse fauna. The rugged interior with its numerous green lakes would be enough of a draw in itself, but Corsica is also blessed with hundreds of miles of varied and beautiful coastline, making the island a gorgeous tailor-made addition to a holiday in France, and an attractive destination in its own right.
There are glorious walks to be had here, with paths such as Da Mare a Mare - from sea to sea - to follow from the west to the east of the island, or Tra Mare e Monte - across sea and mountain - from north to south. For determined hikers, there's the GR20, one of the most demanding and rewarding walks in all Europe. The coastline offers a real variety of beauty, from sparkling beaches to craggy limestone cliffs and gentle bays.
There are charming coastal towns too, varying from chic, like Calvi, set around a curving bay, to laidback. The capital Ajaccio, where Napoleon was born, falls into the chic category, with its glitzy harbourfront and boutiques and buzzy bars and sophisticated restaurants. Bastia in the north is slightly scruffier and full of atmosphere, lively yet laidback, with an old port, narrow streets, all topped off by a 15th-century citadel.
The citadel at Bonifacio, Corsica's most popular town, is an even more dramatic affair, rising seamlessly from the white cliffs. Set on the intensely blue strait of Bouches de Bonifacio, which runs between Corsica and Sardinia, Bonifacio feels medieval thanks to the old maze of alleyways within the cliffside citadel, while its port is also of interest- bumping boats and busy boutiques and sea-front cafés crowded with chat and customers.
For a more culturally Corsican experience, head inland to the fortified town of Corte, a bastion of island culture, a good place to sample traditional dishes such as lamb flavoured with local wild herbs and cured cheeses and sausages; and a good place to sample the flavour and feel of old Corsica.