An amazing sailing week in the South of Corse

Summary: Corsica is a popular destination among sailors, best known for its warm climate, dramatic mountain peaks, stunning coastlines and amazing culture. South of Corsica offers the opportunity to visit also the Italian coast, and because the Strait of Bonifacio has only 12 km (7.5 miles), you can visit 2 countries during a sailing week.

An amazing sailing week in the South of Corse

Along with the picturesque scenery you can admire by sea, Corsica boasts also a rich history that spans centuries of traditions and will charm you with its unique ancient architecture on every corner, winding cobbled streets and delectable cuisine.

Northern Sardinia on the other hand, will just stun you with its natural beauty, breath-taking islands with white sand and turquoise waters and its undisturbed wilderness.

Southern Corsica is a beautiful sailing location and more suitable for experienced skippers, as the sailing conditions are quite demanding in the Strait of Bonifacio. It is though recommended that less experienced skippers should have someone onboard with good sailing experience in this area. Charter companies usually offer good deals for experienced skippers to join you in this adventure.

Arriving in Corsica

If you decide to arrive in Capri by plane, we recommend Figari Airport, in the South of Corse, with easy access to Bonifacio, your starting point in this sailing adventure.

If you own a boat and want to follow this sailing guide, you should know that France is part of the European Union, hence the following EU regulations applies:

  • If you are sailing into France from another EU country, there is no need for customs clearance, you just have to report to the Immigrations.
  • If you are sailing into France from a country under Shengen Agreement, there is no need to clear immigrations.
  • If you are sailing into France from a non-EU country, the captain of the boat must report to the port of entry with the boat’s documents and crew passports. In most of the cases, the boat will be subject to Customs inspection.

If you want to charter a boat for a week or more, we recommend finding a deal in the Touristic Port of Bonifacio. In this marina, you can find good charter boats for any budget, from small sailing boats to superyachts.

Weather in Corsica

The Southern part of Corsica is characterized by a hot-summer Mediterranean climate along the coast and the best time for sailing is between May and October, with an average of 26 °C. The hottest month is August with an average of 29.7 °C and the coldest month is January with an average of 13.6 °C.

In Corsica the tides have a small range of 10 to 30 cm, so they will not create major difficulties to skippers when anchoring. However, the winds depending on the direction can change water levels considerably and also sailing conditions, so keep an eye on the wind and reef the sails if necessary. In the summer months there are several winds that occur: Tramontana, Mistral, Levant, Scirocco, Libeccio and Ponente.

Challenging winds are the Mistral, which blows from the North-West, and the Libeccio from the South-West. For each sailing trip you should consider checking the weather forecast every time you leave the harbour or anchorage, because the wind may vary in directions and strengths and weather can rapidly change its mood.

Corsica is a beautiful sailing location and is suitable for both beginners and experienced skippers. As the sailing conditions are quite demanding on the west coast and in the Strait of Bonifacio, it is though recommended that less experienced skippers sail in the South-Eastern part of the island.

Planning the itinerary

If you rent a boat in Bonifacio, then definitely your starting point will be the Touristic Port of Bonifacio. It’s a well sheltered port with top class amenities, plenty of restaurants, accommodation and retail stores to provision your boat. The five legs give you the total of 80 nautical miles, well balanced in terms of sailing between them, with lots of free time to explore the picturesque landscapes that nature has created is this amazing area.

  • Leg 1 – Bonifacio to Santa Teresa di Gallura – 10 nautical miles – 2 hours
  • Leg 2 – Santa Teresa di Gallura to La Maddalena – 12 nautical miles – 2.5 hours
  • Leg 3 – La Maddalena to Porto Vecchio – 30 nautical miles – 5.5 hours
  • Leg 4 – Porto Vecchio to Gurgazu – 17 nautical miles – 3.5 hours
  • Leg 5 – Gurgazu to Bonifacio – 10 nautical miles – 2 hours
South of Corse itinerary

South of Corse itinerary

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1. Bonifacio to Santa Teresa di Gallura – Leg 1

Sailing to Santa Teresa di Gallura

This leg will give you the opportunity to cross the Strait of Bonfacio, once you leave the Port of Bonifacio. Take a South course, reef the sails and head to Santa Teresa di Gallura, on Sardinia’s northern coast. The Porto Turistico Santa Teresa di Gallura lays in a natural port, well sheltered, located at 41°14'04.8"N 9°11'38.6"E.

Sightseeing in Santa Teresa di Gallura

Santa Teresa di Gallura is a small seaside village on the north coast of Sardinia, where sailors stop by to explore the natural attractions nearby and revel in the local nature of the town.

The 11 meters high Torre di Longonsardo is a sixteenth-century watchtower located on the northern part of the Santa Teresa di Gallura and it can easily be reached from the centre of the city. You will notice it on your starboard side, once you will get close to the island. From the top of the tower you will be amazed by the turquoise, crystal clear water of Rena Bianca beach, and in sunny days, by the limestone cliffs of southern Corsica and the islands of La Maddalena, your next stop.

Accommodation when sailing to Santa Teresa di Gallura

Good accommodation can be found in Santa Teresa di Gallura, like Hotel Corallaro**** with starting price from 255 € / night or Hotel Canne al Vento*** from 108 € / night.

Torre di Longonsardo, Sardinia

Torre di Longonsardo, Sardinia

2. Santa Teresa di Gallura to La Maddalena – Leg 2

Sailing to La Maddalena

La Maddalena archipelago is quite closer to Santa Teresa di Gallura, only 12 nautical miles away, and you should reach your destination in about 2.5 hours. There are plenty of marinas and anchorages points around the island, so distance and timing may differ, depending on your choices.

Sightseeing in La Maddalena

The archipelago consists of 7 islands: La Maddalena Island, Caprera Island, Budelli Island, Santa Maria, Spargi Island, Santo Stefano Island and Razzoli Island.

If you choose to visit La Maddalena Island, we definitely recommend to visit the town of La Maddalena, a lovely and colourful city, where you can find lots of restaurants, coffee and ice cream shops. Enjoy the magic this town can offer by walking around the narrow streets, especially in high season when is getting quite lively.

If you prefer to discover the island by sea, you should definitely visit the beaches this island is renowned for:

Accommodation when sailing to La Maddalena

Good accommodation can be found in La Maddalena: Hotel Excelsior**** with starting price from 170 € / night or Hotel Villa del Paco*** from 145 € / night.

La Maddalena town, Sardinia

La Maddalena town, Sardinia

3. La Maddalena to Porto Vecchio – Leg 3

Sailing to Porto Vecchio

This leg will take you back to Corse, so raise the sails and head North to reach Porto Vecchio. Once you get close to the city, you can find good shelter in the Touristic Port of Portovecchio, with good amenities, and also a good opportunity to re-provision the boat and to refill the tanks.

Attention: On your port side, there is the Commercial Port, which has heavy traffic during high season months, so keep an eye on the ferries.

Sightseeing in Porto Vecchio

In the old town you will find some bars and restaurants, where you should try some of the local dishes. We recommend you to try out Agneau Corse, roasted lamb prepared with rosemary, potatoes and garlic. After lunch or dinner, the desert must be the famous ice-cream from Glacier de la Place, the best ice-cream shop in Porto Vecchio.

In terms of discovering the town, a walk on the paved alleys will take you to:

Porto Vecchio is also renowned for its amazing beaches, sheltered within gulfs and coves, where you should drop the anchor and take a swim in the amazing turquoise waters:

Accommodation when sailing to Porto Vecchio

Good accommodation can be found in Porto Vecchio, like Hotel Restaurant Mariosa**** with starting price from 449 € / night or Hotel San Giovanni*** from 145 € / night.

Palombaggia Beach, Corsica

Palombaggia Beach, Corsica

4. Porto Vecchio to Gurgazu – Leg 4

Sailing to Gurgazu

Take the course to South and enjoy a night at anchor, will definitely worth the experience. There are many coves down South where you can drop the anchor, however the Gulf of Sant’Manza offers good protection.

Sightseeing in Gurgazu

On this leg is all about enjoying nature, relaxation and amazing landscape. Snorkelling will also be an activity to create unforgettable memories by discovering the beauty of marine life these surroundings can offer.

Some other good places where you can drop the anchor are:

Accommodation when sailing to Gurgazu

Good accommodation can be found at: Residence Casarina*** with starting price from 67 € / night or Maora-Village** from 64 € / night.

Rondinara Beach, Corsica

Rondinara Beach, Corsica

5. Gurgazu to Bonifacio – Leg 5

Sailing to Bonifacio

The final leg will take you back to Bonifacio and will be a short one, there are only 10 nautical miles between the two locations. Take your time and admire the impressive coastline on your starboard side and as soon as you will approach the town, on your port side you will see the Fanale d’a Madonetta.

Sightseeing in Bonfacio

Located at Corsica's southernmost tip, Bonifacio is a bustling harbour town with an impressive citadel. There are plenty of things to do in and around Bonifacio, so depending on your schedule, you should also consider spending some time here.

A must do is to explore the citadel walls and ancient houses of Bonifacio's old town, with its interesting churches, narrow streets full of shops and cafés and fabulous views from the ramparts.

Along the narrow streets of the old town, you should visit:

Accommodation when sailing to Bonifacio

Good accommodation can be found in Bonifacio, like Hotel & SPA Version Maquis Citadelle***** with starting price from 594 € / night or Solemare*** from 195 € / night.

Bonifacio City, Corsica

Bonifacio City, Corsica

Capetanos sailing and general recommendations

For an amazing sailing adventure in Southern Corsica, we recommend to plan in advance, consult the charts, weather conditions and choose the most suitable time and boat, according to your sailing skills. The Strait of Bonifacio could be demanding, so if you are not an experienced captain, you should consider having aboard someone with good experience in these waters.

We hope that information in this article will contribute to your decision for your next holiday in Corsica, one of the top destinations in France and Europe. You will be stunned by the pure beauty of nature, the simplicity of life and the freedom you feel on the sea. 

Sailing bugdet calculator / rent boat calculator Corsica

These calculations are performed for one-week charter on a 40 feet catamaran in mid-august and crew of 10. The total may differ depending on many factors like boat amenities and construction year, mooring fees, dinner out, etc.

1-week total 11.640 €
4 cabins catamaran 7.100 €
Skipper (optional) 1.500 €
Food 700 €
Water 50 €
Diesel 120 €
Moorings 370 €
Food out 1.800 €