What to do in Bonifacio, Corsica? The best sights + tips

Bonifacio in Corsica is our absolute favorite city in Corsica! Forget Bastia, Ajaccio or Porto-Vechhio! In this blog we tell you exactly why Bonifacio is so much fun.

Bonifacio: the most beautiful city in Corsica!

After a road full of curves, carved into the rocks, the citadel of Bonifacio suddenly looms ahead of us on the rocks! From the first moment we see Bonifacio we are sold, what a nice place this is!

The center is a cozy maze of narrow streets and lots of stairs. From various points in the city you have a breathtaking view of the sea. If you look down you will see a hundred meters below you, the waves crashing against the rocks. Yes, Bonifacio is built high atop white limestone cliffs.Bonifacio view from sea visit France

And that’s something we haven’t seen before. For us, Bonifacio can be compared with few other cities. The city seems to consist of several floors. There are roof terraces everywhere, bridges that run over other streets, lots of stairs and very steep roads. And those roads are not only very steep, they are also quite narrow.

Built in the Middle Ages, and not with the idea of ever having cars drive through it. And that means that Ries (slightly cursing), drives with our old Volvo to a parking lot at the top of the city. No, this city is not made for cars, but otherwise Bonifacio is a really great place in Corsica and definitely worth a visit.

Where is Bonifacio located?

Bonifacio is located in the southernmost tip of Corsica. Close to the island of Sardinia, several ferries depart daily from here to Sardinia. Below you see the map of Corsica with Bonifacio on it.Map of Corsica highlights of Corsica France

How do you reach Bonifacio?

Unfortunately, most ferries from France and Italy do not go to Bonifacio, but to Ajaccio or Bastia, and Bonifacio also does not have an airport where international flights land. To get here, you must first go by plane or ferry to Corsica (Bastia or Ajaccio) and then go by car (or bus) to Bonifacio. Here you will find a handy overview of the different ferry routes to Corsica and here you will find the cheapest airline tickets to Corsica.

  • From Ajaccio it is a 2.5 hour drive to Bonifacio.
  • From Bastia it is a 3-hour drive to Bonifacio.
  • From Porto-Vecchio it is a 30-minute drive to Bonifacio.

We recommend that you travel in Corsica by (rental) car yourself. This gives you a lot of freedom to explore the Bonifacio area. Looking for a rental car? Then we can recommend Sunny Cars, so you are always in the right place in terms of insurance!

City walls of Bonifacio best places to visit in Corsica Visit France

Bonifacio vs Porto-Vecchio?

We don’t have to think for a second about an answer to this question, absolutely Bonifacio! The old center is slightly larger than that of Porto-Vecchio, the vibe is so much nicer and Bonifacio is beautifully situated above the cliffs. We found Porto-Vecchio a bit disappointing. From Bonifacio there are more sights and fun activities to do.

Fortunately, Bonifacio is only a half hour drive from Porto-Vecchio, so you can do Porto-Vecchio as a day trip from Bonifacio.

Bonifacio boat trip visit Corsica France

The best things to do in Bonifacio!

1. Stroll through the beautiful old town of Bonifacio!

The number 1 in terms of sights in the area of Bonifacio, is the old center itself! We thought it was such a charming place! A veritable maze of narrow streets (full of shade from the scorching sun in the summer in Corsica), stairs and always great views. Bonifacio has a good mix of nice boutiques and tourist shops. Also, don’t forget to descend to the harbor for a closer look.

You have the most beautiful view points of the bay from:

Harbor of Bonifacio Corsica

Parking in Bonifacio:

Finding a parking space in Bonifacio can be difficult. However, there is a large parking lot at the highest point of the city. We recommend that you park your car here. It seems far, but from here you are in the center in no time!

Tip: this city was built in the Middle Ages with many height differences. That means a lot of stairs and a lot of cobblestones. So ladies, I advise you (from personal experience) not to wear heels!

2. Staircase of the king of Aragon

Yes this sounds like some India Jones movie, but the Staircase of the King of Aragon is really an existing place in Bonifacio!

From the sea it looks as if the rock Bonifacio stands on has been hit by lightning and broken in two, but if you look more closely you can see that steep stairs from the sea lead all the way up to the rocks. This staircase, according to legends hewn in one night for the troops of the king of Aragon, has been here for centuries. In reality, the stairs were carved into the rock by monks to access a natural water source that sprouts from the bottom of the rocks.

Nowadays you can descend these stairs with a guide at 11 am daily. Note: you must book in advance. Click here to make a reservation and for more information.

Aragon staircase Bonifacio boat trip visit Corsica France

3. Take the coastal walk over the cliffs from Bonifacio & with great views!

Ready for something active? Then the Passaggiata a Picco Sul Mare, the coastal hike that departs from Bonifacio is really worth it! From the fort you walk out of the city via a footpath. The path continues over the white cliffs, from where you really have the best views of Bonifacio and the various beaches here. At some points you can look straight down, where 50 meters below you can see the strong waves crashing against the rocks!

You can make this hike as long and as short as you want. The first 400 meters (from the fortress to this viewpoint) are paved, after that you walk via a sandy path. The further you go, the quieter it gets. Along the way you will encounter several ruins and bunkers. Finally, you can walk all the way to the beach of Sainte-Antoinne. Definitely worth it, but take into account a route of 1.5 hours there (and then back).

Tip: Take enough water & sunscreen with you, wear a cap to protect yourself from the sun. It can be very windy here, so dress accordingly.

Hiking to the City walls of Bonifacio best places to visit in Corsica Visit FranceHiking around Bonifacio Corsica visit France

4. Enjoy Ile Lavezzi: reachable by boat

Not far from the mainland of Corsica, there are 23 small and beautiful islands. They are all private and not accessible, except for one island: Lavezzu Island. A visit to this island is a must when you are in Bonifacio!

A boat leaves several times a day from the port of Bonifacio and drops you at Lavezzu in 30 minutes. A return ticket costs €37, you can buy tickets at one of the kiosks in the harbor. Allow at least two hours for the island itself. Even though Lavezzu is not big, there are several beautiful coves with crystal clear water that you really want to discover.

You decide when you take the boat back. The return drive takes one hour where you view several caves just past Bonifacio. You can now also see Bonifacio from the water, which is a spectacular view!

Tip: bring enough water, some food and sunscreen. There is nothing to get on Ile Lavezzi.

Looking for nice hotels or accommodation on Corsica? Then read our Corsica hotel guide! A good overview of budget, midrange and luxury hotels per region! 

5. Visit the most beautiful beaches near Bonifacio

From Bonifacio it is not far to drive to some of our favorite beaches. Below we list them for you. We also have a handy map where you see all these beaches, look at the beaches in the area of Bonifacio. For all beaches on the island read our blog on the best beaches of CorsicaBest beaches of Corsica beautiful Corsica

  1. Plage Rodinara

Rodinara is our favorite beach. It is a quiet beach, on a bay that runs almost all the way around in a circle. From Bonifacio it is a 30-minute drive to Plage Rodinara. The route can be quite exciting, because you first cross a mountain, after which you drive down again with a beautiful view of the bay of Rodinara.Best places of Corsica plage de la Rondinara best beaches of Franc

  1. Plage Palombaggia

This stretched beach has really super blue water! If the sun is directly above the sea, you can imagine yourself on a Greek or Philippine island! You will also find a lot of beach bars, sunbeds etc here. Keep in mind that it can get crowded on this popular beach. From Bonifacio it is a 40-minute drive to Plage Palombaggia.Best beaches of Corsica Palombaggia beach

  1. Plage de Saint-Antoine

Are you doing the coastal walk from Bonifacio? Be sure to walk to the beach of Saint-Antoine. The beach itself is not very spectacular, there is only a narrow strip of sand where you are sheltered from the sun. But the hike to here is really worth it! You will also find a beautiful cave (and blowhole) here! From Bonifacio you can go a short distance by car. You park your car here and then walk to the beach in 30 minutes. You can of course also choose to walk this entire stretch from the center, then take into account about 1.5 hours.

Plage de Saint Antoine Corsica

  1. Plage de la Tonnara

Far away from the tourists you will find this beautiful beach, which offers a view of a wide bay with the mountains in the distance. Plage de la Tonnara is only a 15 minute drive to the east, but you are immediately in a completely different part of Corsica. Quieter and slower, time almost seems to stand still here. We went to this beach because of its name, which reminded us of tuna, our favorite dish.

Best beaches of Corsica Plage de la Tonnara perfect with kids

6. From Bonifacio, visit Porto-Vecchio

From Bonifacio it is only a half hour drive to Porto-Vecchio. Porto-Vecchio is known as the Saint-Tropez of Corsica. To be honest, we didn’t recognize that at all and thought Porto-Vecchio was a bit overrated.

Porto-Vecchio has a beautiful but small city center with nice shops. Fine to walk around for a few hours. And that is exactly why it is worth spending an afternoon here, but not worth staying several days in Porto-Vecchio itself.

Tip: combine a visit to Porto-Vecchio with a visit to the nearby Palombaggio beach.

Visit Porto Vecchio old habor Corsica

Also read our Corsica itinerary blog: a handy overview of the ultimate road trip through Corsica!

The best restaurants in Bonifacio

In the old center of Bonifacio you will find a lot of typical tourist restaurants. All the same menu, fine if you want to eat something quick, but certainly no culinary delights or original dishes. We went looking for less standard restaurants and here you will find our favorite places!

L’an Faim –  Luxury dining €€€

Would you like to dine extensively and enjoy Corsican cuisine? Then have a bite to eat at L’an Faim. Don’t expect a cheap night out, but according to the locals, this is the place to go if you have something to celebrate! Click here for the location of this restaurant.

A Bitiga – wine bar and Corsican tapas €

Next to L’an Faim is the nice wine bar A Bitiga! Here you can taste Corsican wine and order a tapas board. The local dish Aubergines Bonifaciennes is also highly recommended. You can get that everywhere in Bonifacio, but nowhere is it as good as at A Bitiga. Click here for the location of this restaurant in Bonifacio.Where to eat and drink in Bonifacio Corsica

Del Ferro – really nice restaurant in the harbor €

In the port of Bonifacio you will find standard restaurants that you will find in every port in France: way too expensive, gaudy and a little bit of faded glory. There is one exception: Del Ferro. This nice restaurant is a breath of fresh air! Fresh and good food, fair prices and nice service! We recommend the stuffed mussels, tuna tartare or black burger! Click here for the location of this restaurant.

Melo – smoothies and superfoods €€

After all that wine and heavy Corsican dishes, how about something light with lots of vegetables? Then visit Melo. Here you will find smoothies, salads and buddha bowls in a cozy bar. Click here for the location of this cafe.Bonifacio Melo restaurant

l’Ortulinu – good coffee and fresh bread €€

The place for fresh bread and good coffee in Bonifacio is the bakery l’Ortulinu. You will also find regional products such as fresh olive oil, soap, pastries and fruit. Click here for the location of this bakery in Bonifacio.

Bonifacio l'Ortulinu bakker

Where do you sleep in Bonifacio?

Here is a selection of nice hotels in Bonifacio and the surrounding area.

Petra-Bianca €€

Petra Bianca Hotel Bonifacio

Petra-Bianca is located in Bonifacio, 1 km from Bonifacio Port & 4 km from the beach. This beautiful B&B has beautiful bedrooms and a lovely swimming pool. From €99 euros per night.

Click here

Charme a cheda €€

Lodge de Charme a Cheda Bonifacio

Surrounded by a large garden, this lodge is located at the entrance of Bonifacio. Each room has its own atmosphere. The hotel’s chef also gives a cooking workshop here. From €110 per night.

Click here

Hotel Spa Genovese €€€

Hotel Spa Genovese Bonifacio

Hotel Spa Genovese is located in the town of Bonifacio, on top of a cliff with panoramic views of the harbor. There is an outdoor swimming pool with a sun terrace and sun loungers. From €170 per night.

Click here

Click here for all hotels in Bonifacio!

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1 Comment

  1. by rob on 31 May 2023  14:00 Reply

    this is a fantastic guide, thank you !

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