[SCANDOLA NATURE RESERVE, CORSICA] — Okay, who’s been to the Scandola Nature Reserve in Corsica? Non?  Strap in. You’re about to see something really amazing.

You gotta gotta go do this. A huge natural preserve in the northwest of Corsica, with the most dramatic rock formations, canyons and wildly shaped rocks you’ve ever seen, plunging right into the sea. Dwarfing everything in their midst, namely you.

It’s like being in a one-armed Grand Canyon, with the deep blue Mediterranean sea on the right side, and every color and shape of rock you’ve ever seen. 

On the northwest corner of Corsica, you can really only see it from a boat, dramatic jagged cliffs of every shape and size and color, changing from cove to cove, none of them looking like the other one. You just bob along, ooh and ahhh, and just putt-putt along the inlets and hidden watered canyons. This place is so stunning, that’s why it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just amazing.

The thing to do is get on a boat. You really can only see this rocky spectacle from the water.

The thing to do is get on a boat. You really can only see this rocky spectacle from the water. You can take big or little tour boats out of the nearby harbors, at every size and price point. The bigger the boat, the cheaper, but you’re also going to be fighting with the hoards and selfie sticks to get a view. It’s one of those things where once you get to the Good Stuff, everyone races to one side of the boat, listing, cameras and phones ruining your view. 

Or better, charter a skipper and a speedboat on your own from nearly every port from L’Île-Rousse, Calvi, Girolata and others. They can range from big old dualie-engine fast boats to little Zodiacs. Highly recommend splurging on your own boat because the skippers know all the cool spots and their smaller boats can really get into the innumerable nooks and crannies and colorful canyons and you can stop at your own pace. I debated chartering a boat for a day because it was just me and expensive for only one person, but it was worth every single penny. This is one of the coolest places I’ve ever seen. So plunk down a bunch of Cent Euros and you will never regret it. I almost didn’t go, but afterwards I was like “How could I not have?”  One of the best investment decisions I’ve ever made.

Here’s what this peninsula nature reserve looks like, at the top left of Corsica:


Scandola Nature Reserve from the air



You go for at least a half-day, with the boats putt-putt-putting along the rock edges, into ridiculously colored flooded canyons. Bring a picnic and a beer. And your 👙 because you’re definitely gonna wanna take a schwimbob. Just ask your hotel who they recommend, they’re usually friends or family and they won’t recommend someone that isn’t good.

You can take the big tour boats and explore the same Scandola coast, but to get the max experience, charter your own captain and boat and they take you into places where the big boats can’t. Secret little slot canyons and chasms several hundred feet high and only a boat width wide.


Okay, sit back, click on a pic and prepare to see a lot of pictures of big colorful rocks.  YOU REALLY NEED TO CLICK ON A PICTURE AND OPEN UP THE REALLY BIG ONES. This place is just incredible:



Here are some articles with more information on Scandola:

On the Corsica Travel Guide

A little more detail and some good pictures on the UNESCO World Heritage Site’s page on Scandola Nature Reserve.

Some great pictures on the Visit Corsica website.

A great article in Vogue about all the top places in Corsica, called “This Summer, Head to This Chic Island Where the French Go to Escape.

.A nice little video on Encyclopedia Britannica’s web page on Scandola.

Another overview on Corsica featured in the Huffington Post.


Last visited July 2015

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