While forever linked with the name Napoleon, this town in Western Corsica is also a unique blend of Italian and French culture with a rugged and untamed landscape
Probably best known as the birth place of Napoleon Bonaparte, this town also acts as the capital city of Corsica, the small French island near the Cote d’Azur. The city itself is positioned on the western side of the island, some 390 km southwest of Marseille. The sheltered position of the settlement within the gulf of Ajaccio favored the building of a port which now constitutes the heart of the city and a favorite destination for tourists.
Travel & Arrival
Since it’s located on an island, Ajaccio is easily reached by air, through Ajaccio-Campo Dell’Oro International Airport 7 km east of the urban center. Operators that fly here include Air France, Easy Jet, Luxair and Transavia.
By water, there is an extensive ferry system running from all major towns on the French Riviera but during the summer months it gets very crowded so parties might want to book in advance just to be safe. Most operators make trips from are Marseille, Nice and Toulon to a number of cities on the island, including Bastia, Calvi and Propriano
Avant & Apres Sail
Ajaccio is renowned for its many restaurants, pubs and shops but also has a lot of historical buildings, some related to the former French emperor. The Lantivy Palace, the library, the Napoleon Museum, the Fesch Museum, Napoleon’s home and the Chapelle Imperiale are the most popular among crews.
Out of town, points of interest include the prehistoric site at Filitosa with its mehnir statues and the Iles Sanguinaries.
The Corsican town is also famous for its cuisine which relies heavily on fish from the sea. While here, cooks but also the rest of the crew are advised to sample the Ajaccian Fish Soup, Crab Soup, the Bouillabaisse, Brocciu (local cheese) and, of course, the Corsican beer and numerous types of local wine.
However, be prepared to get a hole in your budget as many venues are rather pricy.
The nightlife here is centered around the seafront with its cocktail bars, clubs, some cinemas and the casino. This is where you'll find tourists and sailors hanging out. For a quieter night out head to the Place de Gaulle where you’ll find old-fashion cafes and “salons de thé”.
Events & Actions
During its long history, the town has amassed quite a few holidays and festivities. Each year on the 2nd of June they celebrate Saint Erasm, which is the patron saint of fishermen meaning that all sorts of activities can be seen around the port. In summer, you can catch the changing of the guard every Thursday in July and August, and between the 13 and 15th of August they celebrate Napoleon Days with many parades and festivities.
This is definitely a place where you want to be as close to the water as possible. The beauty of the harbor atracts painters and photographers but also boatmen. Those who don't have their own yacht might choose a because the port is best admired from out at sea. The only decision you will have to make is whether to charter a sailboat or a powerboat.