Welcome to Bastia!
The second largest city in Corsica and home to one of the busiest passenger ports in the country, Bastia, France, is a Baroque coastal town famed for its Terra Vecchia (Old Town), crisp Corsican white wines, and picturesque Genoese towers. While Ajaccio is more of a French-influenced city, in Bastia, Italy is felt in every aspect--and the city offers magnificent views of the Tuscan archipelago. Whether you wish to admire Baroque churches, explore the palm-filled Place St-Nicolas, or try the local amber chestnut beer called Pietra, a visit to Bastia will be an unforgettable experience.
Explore Bastia as a worldwide local to gain easy access to some of the city’s best-kept secrets. Besides offering useful tips from the locals, this insider’s guide keeps you away from all those tourist traps and allows you to discover some of the finest sites in Bastia.
Where to Begin
After hopping off of the convenient Bastia Airport shuttle, walk down to the city’s Old Town and visit Place St-Nicolas, a tree-lined public square. Here, you will find everything from the best Bastia restaurants and cafes to small boutiques. Shopaholics can visit Boulevard Paoli and Rue César-Champinchi, the town’s most famous shopping streets. Located in the heart of Bastia, Vieux Port is home to the largest church in Corsica, the 17th Century Saint-Jean Baptiste. It is also a great place to mingle with locals and have lunch at one of the many harbor restaurants.
Worldwide Local Tip: Visit Isula Crea, a lovely little boutique located in Bastia’s Old Town. They sell all kinds of authentic Corsican handicrafts including glassware, woodcarving, and graphic art.
Live Like a Local
Located right next to the Saint-Jean Baptiste church, Place de l’Hôtel de Ville is the City Hall Square and a place where many locals like to gather on the weekends. There are a few food markets in the area where you can buy local cheese and wine from the friendly Corsican grandmas.
If you want to learn more about the history of Bastia, Musée de Bastia is the museum to visit. From paintings and furniture to storage chests and hundreds of portraits, the museum houses many interesting exhibits.
Worldwide Local Tip: When in Bastia, Corsica--drink Cap Corse. It’s an extremely tasty aperitif made from wine infused with oranges and other different fruits that grow on the island. To buy a bottle, look no further than Cap Corse Mattei, a nice store where they sell many other Corsican wines.
Outdoors in Bastia: Beaches and More
Locals know the best beaches around Corsica, and Plage de la Marina de Pietranera, Plage de Miomo, and Pietracorbara are those less touristy spots where you can find some peace and quiet. These beaches are located north of Bastia. If you don’t mind the crowds, you can always visit Bastia’s small pebbly town beach, which is located close to the Citadel. The best time to go for a swim here is in the morning when the beach is not overcrowded with tourists.
Venture outside the city gates to explore the hills behind Bastia and the small villages, like Ville-de-Pietrabugno, San-Martino-di-Lota, Cardo, and Montserrat. There is a nice cycling route that takes you to these rural parts of Corsica.
Worldwide Local Tip: When it comes to local foods in Bastia, visitors are spoiled with choices. From homemade liver sausages and roasted wild boar meat to various vegetable salads and national soups, Bastia’s cuisine will definitely satisfy your taste buds.
Enjoy Your Stay!
Bastia offers a myriad of sights, so it’s easy to see why this Corsican city is a great destination for every worldwide local.