Calvi, with its citadel and 4km of beach, is a splendid little town with a cosmopolitan air, due in no small part to the large number of festivals it has throughout the year. Originally a Genoese settlement, Calvi's few thousand inhabitants welcome every year a large number of tourists who come for its beautiful sea, fantastic views and breathtaking setting in the picturesque region of Balagne.


Overlooking the town, the fifteenth century Genoese citadel is quiet and has plenty of little streets to be explored. The main attraction is undoubtedly the elegant thirteenth century Eglise Saint Jean Baptiste, home to some beautiful works of art. The Oratoire de la Confrérie Saint Antoine, with its religious art museum, is nearby, as is the formidable Palais des Gouverneurs which lodges a garrison of the French Foreign Legion. The Citadel's five bastions have great views onto the bay.

Down in the town, the baroque Eglise Sainte Marie Maggiore has a wonderful dome and is surrounded by a network of little streets and squares. Relax on Calvi's beautiful beach or head 6km out of town to La Revellata, a serene cove with a sandy beach and excellent views. Diving and sailing are popular ways of spending the afternoon, divers being able to explore the wreck of an American B-17 Bomber.

Around Calvi, the UNESCO nature reserve of Scandola, with its rare birds and imposing rocks, is an absolute must. Otherwise the coastline to the east of Calvi has a whole series of rustic Corsican villages, each with its own distinctive character and charm, while back in-land the Balagne region offers great hiking though olive groves, citrus plantations and up into the mountains.

Of all of Calvi's festivals, two stand out. Its International Jazz Festival takes place in June and attracts artists from far and wide, while its Festival des Chants Polyphoniques takes place in September and is dedicated to traditional Corsican song, a form of counterpoint singing exemplified by the groups Canta u Populu Corso and I Muvrini.


All sorts of Corsican delicacies are sold in the town, be it charcuterie - lonzo, copa, figatellu - cheese - brocciu or tomme - or honey and wine. The Balagne region bottles its own olive oil and produces sweet, delicious myrtle and chestnut liquors. The area is also known for its craftsmen, based in the small villages dotted across the Balagne.

Nightlife and Eating Out

A number of mid-range restaurants serve good pizzas and copious plates of Corsican meats and cheeses. More upmarket, Calvi has a number of excellent restaurants serving traditional Corsican plates and superb seafood. The best of these have wonderful views over the Golfe de Calvi.

The Landry waterfront is a pleasant place to have evening drinks. Then dance the night away in the open-air discos out of town, some of which come equipped with their own swimming pools, or catch a film in Calvi's outdoor cinema.

Tourist Information

Haute-Corse (2B) - CorsePort de Plaisance - B.P. 97, 20260, CALVIFranceTel: +33(0) 495 651 Corsica more generally, Dorothy Carrington's book Granite Island (1971) is highly recommended.


Calvi-Sainte Catherine Airport lies 7km south-west of town and has flights to Nice, Marseille and Paris as well as other French towns. Ferries leave Calvi, and near-by Ile Rousse, for Nice, Marseille and Toulon, while buses and trains go to Bastia and then on to other regions of Corsica.

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