Iles des Sanguinaires, Corsica
Iles des Sanguinaires, Corsica

Corsica – Heaven on earth

After 2 weeks on the beautiful island of Corsica, I can safely say that it remains my favourite island in the world. The variety is astonishing. You can walk in the rugged mountains in the morning and swim in the turquoise sea in the afternoon. It’s relatively small, so you can see most of the island in a week but you could equally spend months discovering the coastline and rugged interior.

Photographically, the island has a lot to offer. Late April and early May is the perfect time to visit. Wild flowers cover the maquis, the weather can be changeable with interesting skies and wild sea. There are hardly any tourists and yet everything is open. You get the best of both worlds. Couple that with some fine dining and rather good local wine and you have a great photo destination.

I get more satisfaction from photographing places that aren’t that well known. It’s fair to say that some of the better known destinations have been photographed to death. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go there but it’s unlikely you’ll take a photo that hasn’t been seen before. Corsica is barely known by most people other than the French and Italians. Have you heard of Calvi? Or the Iles des Sanguinaires? Or the Calanques de Piana?

The north is home to mountain villages such as Montemaggiore and Speloncato. Numerous villages are spread across the Balagne region south of Calvi, each one as picturesque as the next. To the east of Calvi lies the wild, remote area known as the Desert des Agriates. This used to be inhabited by shepherds and farmers but the soil is poor and eventually it became deserted. It can now only be accessed by foot, 4-wheel drive or by boat. The coast is pristine and the maquis full of colour.

Snow-capped mountains dominate the interior of the island which is for the most part inaccessible except by foot. The GR 20 runs the length of the island is considered the toughest long distance trail in Europe. There are waterfalls, rivers, gorges and spectacular scenery to rival anything I’ve seen.

The coast is perhaps the most beautiful. The beaches are blessed with pure white sand and turquoise water surrounded by red granite boulders. The Lavezzi Islands, south of the extraordinary cliff-top town of Bonifacio, are the most impressive. They sit in a nature reserve that is uninhabited and can only be visited by boat during the day. I love photographing these islands, especially when sailing boats are moored up in the little coves.

I intend to run another workshop there next year in early May and will publish the dates soon.

The featured image is of the Iles des Sanguinaires that lie west of Ajaccio. Canon 5DS-r 16-35 mm F4 @16mm f/11, 8 secs Polariser, Grad .9 soft