On Corsica’s northwest coast, the port town of Calvi is steeped in heroic tales. It was here in capturing the massive Genoan-built citadel that Admiral Horatio Nelson famously lost his eye. Today, the town still houses a French Foreign Legion regiment. Lined with cafés, bars, boutiques and souvenir shops, the Quai Landry is the place to start your visit with a stroll past pleasure yachts docked in the marina, and where a stop for ice cream belongs on the agenda. The former stone salt tower on the water can’t be missed, nor can the Baroque Santa Maria Church in the lower town with its pink facade. In the summertime, the city puts on a popular jazz festival with concerts throughout town and nearby.
Calvi is graced by several miles of beach, and a short excursion through evergreen shrubs out to the headland on the Gulf of Revellata takes you to a mid-19th-century lighthouse and marine research center. It’s the perfect setting for a picnic, with the ocean before you and the snow-capped mountains of the interior as a backdrop.