The narrow Strait of Bonifacio connects the Tyrrhenian Sea with the Sea of Sardinia in the western Mediterranean. Over the centuries, the strait's swift currents and treacherous shoals have made it a ship graveyard. But this region has great natural beauty, with dozens of islets spread over marine reserves that are popular with divers. No wonder Bonifacio has earned membership in the European Straits Initiative, which works to protect biodiversity.
The strait slices between two rugged islands that are the second and fourth largest in the Mediterranean: Italy's Sardinia and France's Corsica. Both are wholly unlike anywhere else in their respective nations. Sardinia, to the south, offers a very different Italian experience from that found on the mainland. It has its own dialects and foods, and some of the world's chicest yacht-filled marinas on its Costa Smeralda. Corsica, just 11 kilometers (seven miles) to the north, is culturally closer to Italy than France. Known as the birthplace of Napoleon, the island has a mountainous interior that attracts adventure travelers; its coast, like Sardinia's, appeals to the yachting set.