Across the water from Sardinia, the historic towns of Porto Vecchio and Bonifacio fascinate, their character fiercely Corsican yet rich in classical Italian and French spirit.
A holiday here brings together the best of all three, from the town's charming Tuscan architecture and Latin cuisine, to the old square flanked by dappled cafés, chic boutiques, art galleries and the tabac; while a holiday in Bonifacio, right on Corsica’s southern tip, drops you at the heart of an ancient garrison – one of our chosen luxury hotels lies within the actual fortress.
Corsica is the most mountainous island in the Mediterranean, and with over a third of the land dedicated to nature reserves, visitors to Porto Vecchio and Bonifacio appreciate how little development there has been, and how seamlessly buildings complement the environment.
Buildings like the Villa Pierre Paul.
Scattered on the hillsides of Precojo village within generous open grounds, it has four bedrooms and is ideal for the larger family or a group of friends.
The stylish furnishings and state-of-the-art technology will impress, but the surrounding space and facilities root this villa firmly in the country – from the grazing paddock, to the compact sports pitch (kitted out with football nets) and play area. Making the best of the outdoors is in fact de rigueur here: the outside bar area and summer kitchen make dining al fresco an uncomplicated pleasure; hours are whiled away by the infinity pool and on the covered veranda.
The ample gardens also house a small open-plan cottage suitable for friends or older children, giving that extra degree of independence.
Around the scenic Gulf of Porto Vecchio, at child-friendly beaches such as Palombaggia (voted among Europe's top 10) and Pinarello, the translucent water is edged by soft, pine-shaded sand. A short drive away at Bonifacio, a giddying cliff drop to the sea explains why its walls have never been breached.
The historical interest here blends with a certain Gallic glamour, and a visit to Bonifacio involves finding the favourite quayside restaurants, cafés, boutiques and museums, as much as exploring the narrow cobbled streets or zig-zagging up to the citadel – a climb that can reward you with the sunset of a lifetime.
But Corsica is also loved as a jewel of nature, its mountains, forests of oak and abundance of birdlife all a hiker's dream. With sea routes from the south of France and direct British Airways flights into Figari airport, there's really no need to take our word for it – see it for yourself.