What do LCD Soundsystem, Sébastien Tellier, Azari & III, The Rapture, and Friendly Fires all have in common?

They’ve all been to the French island of Corsica and I haven’t.

Why do I want to go?

Because it’s home to Calvi on the Rocks, an open air music festival that I’ve always wanted to check out! It’s apparently like a French Coachella, but if you ask me, better as an island in the Med sounds like a much more appealing festival environment than rocks and dirt in a scorching desert. Looks way more lax and intimate as well, no?

 

 

Dope electro music festivals aside, I also recently learned that on this French island is where you can find one of the world’s most famous treks, the Grande Randonnée 20, or GR 20. This walk is hardcore, the most challenging in all of Europe at 168 kilometer long and lasting around 15 days to complete. And here I thought I was all tough after the13 kilometer levada hike I completed in Madeira. Baby steps…

And finally, most important reason I want to go, I hear that it feels totally different from the rest of France. Almost like a whole other country and I am fascinated by renegade regions/islands/appendages like that.

Where will I go?

Calvi, obviously, to attend the festival. Essentially an extension of the French Riviera, looks like this is the spot where you find five star hotels, luxury Corsica holiday villas, posh nightclubs and glamour. There’s a cool citadel there and great beaches nearby from what I’ve read. Just a boat ride away is this amazing nature reserve, a UNESCO Marine World Heritage Site actually, called Scandola. Red jagged rocks, aquamarine water, dolphins, seals…sounds (and looks) like paradise.

Once I’ve spent all my moneyin Calvi, I may just have to head for the hills and give this GR 20 a try – starting in either Calenzana or Conca. Or not. We’ll see how my hiking/trekking skill level has progressed by that point.

Ajaccio and Bastia are also popular towns on the island where a lot of low cost flights come in so odds are I’d probably end up in one or both of those as well. Ajaccio happens to be not only the capital, but also birthplace of Napolean – fellow lover of Courvoisier. Bonifacio doesn’t look too shabby either…

How will I go?

Several airlines service this island, lots of cheap EasyJet and AirBerlin flights coming in from the UK and Germany, but I think arriving via ferry would be the best way. There’s some leaving from Nice that only take four hours, or you can go the overnight route if coming from Toulon or Marseille. You can also catch a few from Genoa, Livorno or Savona in Italy between April and October – these often take less time and are cheaper.

Ever been to Corsica? What would you prefer – Coachella or Calvi on the Rocks?