Change of scenery guaranteed!

In the North-West of Corsica, between Calvi and Porto, there is a wild peninsula which appears enchanting and mysterious, jutting out to sea… the Scandola Nature Reserve.

An exceptional panoramic view…

Scandola covers 900 hectares of land and 1,000 hectares of sea, and also includes the Girolata peninsula and village. The first thing you notice about this huge porphyry (magmatic rock) is the crimson and golden cliffs. They have been shaped over the years by the winds and constant movement of the water, and today take on a surprising form, like sculptures. Let your imagination run wild and you will see a person, an animal or any other legendary shape appear before you.

The blue shades of the sea and the green shades of the vegetation, combined with the intense red of the rock offer an exceptional colour scheme, making up this incredible landscape which appears almost supernatural.

There’s one condition… protection!

Above all, this environment is protected thanks to its location, far from the cities. Any fishing, diving or camping is also forbidden here, contributing even further to the protection of the area. Consequently, this fragile environment is protected like no other in the Meditarranean. In 1983, the exceptional preservation here, gave the area its listing as UNESCO Worldwide Heritage Site.

Shelter for thousands of animal species…

That is why thousands of animal species have chosen to find refuge in Scandola. Wild boars, reptiles, foxes and amphibians live in harmony in this territory. A species of bat known as the European free-tailed bat (the biggest in Europe) has also chosen to take up residence here. Other species include the golden eagle, peregrine falcon, osprey, as well as seagulls who come and build their nests on the cliffs.

Then, there is the marine life… better hidden but just as captivating. This includes a large number of shellfish, corals, Posidonia meadows and 243 known species of fish.  Large mammals can also be seen off Scandola. Dolphins for example can be curious and playful; they come and tickle the hull of boats and sometimes even put on a show for delighted spectators.

Exceptional vegetation…

Despite the dry climate here, the vegetation in the reserve is particularly dense. The Corsican maquis flourishes here. Depending on the place, it is mainly lavender, heather, arbustus, myrtle and holm oaks which cling onto the steep cliff faces. Mushrooms, ferns, pine trees and sarsaparilla complete the long list of remarkable vegetation which can be found in the area. In the sea, over 450 kinds of algae have been recorded.

However, to admire these rocky habitats, flora and fauna, you have to get to Scandola by boat or… on foot!

In the footsteps of Guy Ceccaldi !

For the bravest among you, (we know there are a lot of you!), there is a hiking trail. This trail is suitable for the whole family and is the main and most direct way to get to the village of Girolata. Until he retired in 2014, Guy Ceccaldi, the most famous postman in Corsica, took this path every day on his rounds. In tribute to this “Marathon Man”, the path was named “le sentier du facteur” (Postman’s trail).

You have now arrived in Girolata. Come and discover this peaceful little village with some great restaurants and especially, a beach so you can finally put your feet up and relax!

It was officially created in 1975, and is part of the Regional Natural Park of Corsica. It is also the first reserve in France to protect all natural heritage, both on land and in the sea.

How do we get there?

By the sea…

Boat trip companies offer tours every week to visit this wonderful and breathtaking place, leaving from Calvi, Porto or Ajaccio. If you would like to hire one or use your own boat, we remind you that swimming and fishing is strictly forbidden.

On foot…

You need to take the Col de la Croix between Calvi and Porto. Walking time is approximately 1.45 hours on the postman’s trail to get there, and almost 2 hours to come back. The difference in altitude: -350m and +100m for the way there, and +350m and -100m for the way back, with a distance of approximately 15 km.

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