Mediterranean secret where locals skinny dip in hidden coves
BY SILVIA MARCHETTI
An “undiscovered” beach in Mediterranean Europe? Well, almost. Bonifacio, on the southern tip of the French island of Corsica, is largely untroubled by mass tourism, packed beaches or English-speaking travelers, despite sparkling and sometimes treacherous waters dotted with the wrecks of pirate ships and ancient vessels, and a beautiful, unspoilt town tangled with cobblestone alleyways. It’s one of France’s best-kept secrets.
It’s by no means a traditional beach, although there are baby-powder sands at L’Arinella, reachable via a panoramic coastal hiking route. Locals prefer to descend the white limestone cliffs to sunbathe in secluded caves or skinny dip in hidden coves. A 187-step staircase carved into the crags descends straight to the sea. It’s a killer path, especially the climb back, so best avoided during the hottest hours of the day. The reward at the bottom is a refreshing dive into pure turquoise waters.
Above, the ancient citadel of Bonifacio echoes to the local dialect, an unusual mix of French and Italian. Restaurants sell specialties like honey-roasted piglet, clams stuffed with grated sheep cheese, aubergines cooked the Bonifacio way and brocciu, a fresh ricotta served with platters of strong-scented salami and hams.
Did you know?
Bonifacio is just 12 kilometers across the water from Sardinia, meaning this French village is also steeped in Italian culture, food and style.
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