On Corsica’s northeast coast is a port city with an atmospheric old harbor, historic citadel, lively markets and Mediterranean beaches.
Bastia is a lively, picturesque port city on the Mediterranean island of Corsica. Visit to experience an authentic glimpse into modern-day Corsica amid the fading grandeur of architectural masterpieces. Established by the Genoese in the late 1300s, Bastia is Corsica’s former capital. The city sits on the island’s northeast coast, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and backed by rolling mountains.
Bastia’s city center is compact and comfortable to explore on foot. Start at Place St.-Nicolas, a large tree-lined square facing the city’s ferry port. Spot statues and monuments, shop at weekly flea markets or people-watch from one of the many café terraces. Enjoy shopping at the boutiques on nearby Boulevard Paoli and Rue César Campinchi.
Stroll south along busy Rue Napoléon, which leads from Place St.-Nicolas into the warren-like streets of the Vieux Port (Old Port). Visit historic landmarks, such as magnificent Church of St. Jean Baptiste. Browse stalls of a daily farmers market at Place du Marché and watch colorful fishing boats in the harbor. Try traditional Corsican cuisine, such as sanglier (wild boar), at the waterfront restaurants.
Climb the grand staircase connecting the Vieux Port with the Terra Nova, Bastia’s ancient citadel characterized by narrow lanes and amber-hued façades. Go to Place du Donjon and admire the Genoese-built Governor’s Palace, which houses the Musée de Bastia (Bastia Museum). Enjoy sweeping views of the Vieux Port, coastline and mountains from the palace’s garden. Admire the ornate interiors of the Cathedral of St. Marie and the Oratory of La Sainte Croix.
Relax on sandy beaches, swim in clear water and enjoy watersports along Bastia’s Mediterranean coastline. A short drive from the city center is family-friendly L’Arinella Beach and the unspoiled 10-mile-long (16-kilometer) La Marana Beach.
Reach Bastia by flying to Bastia-Poretta Airport or catching a ferry from mainland France and Italy. In addition to its natural and historical attractions, Bastia also provides a gateway to Cap Corse, a striking peninsula of beaches, mountains and pretty fishing villages.