Corsica is a large island south of France and West of Italy.  While the official language is French, many locals speak Corsican, which is an ancient language with links to pre-unification Italy.  Some English is spoken, but a little French will be a great help in getting around.

There are four international airports here: Ajaccio, Bastia, Calvi and Figari.  The busiest are the first two of these, with Bastia in the north, and Ajaccio in the west.  The towns are chic and quite trendy; the interior is incredibly picturesque and in some places, quite empty.  There is no problem with changing money and travellers' cheques, and travellers will find banks and change facilities in most towns.

The main feature of Corsica is its mountains, which have the effect of dividing the island up into different regions - and until recently it was dificult to travel about between them.  Now however, with the aid of substantial investment, the infrastructure has greatly improved without spoiling the spectacular rugged coastline (particularly in the north, west and south) and several areas of outstanding natural beauty.

The island is less populous than mainland France, so it is still possible to walk for many miles in the mountainous interior (which is snow covered in the winter months) without seeing other people.  It is also still possible to discover deserted beaches and coves where you can have the place to yourself in the off-peak months.  Development in Corsica has been slow and thoughtful. You won't find many high-rise hotels.  Night clubs are thin on the ground.  But there are plenty of lively bars and restaurants in the bigger towns like Ajaccio, Bastia, Calvi, Bonifacio, Porto Vecchio and Propriano.

There is plenty to do here.  For the wine buff, it should be noted that there are no less than nine AOC regions in Corsica, each containing vineyards serving local wines with their distinctive tastes.  As a former Roman colony, Corsica also has its share of ancient ruins, with the Roman fort at Aleria worthy of note.  Perhaps the most spectacular sight in the island is the view of the ancient walled city of Bonifacio, seen from underneath the cliffs, from a boat.

The music scene is particularly lively.  Traditional music devotees should make a point of going to a polyphony concert; for jazz fans, there is a jazz festival in Calvi each year in early summer.  Local dishes to sample include wild boar (sanglier), brocciu (a uniquely Corsican soft and delicious cheese) and many dishes made from chestnuts.  They even make one of the local beers from chestnuts!

If you want a noisy, boisterous holiday, perhaps Corsica is not for you.  If you are looking for a blend of wonderful beaches, challenging walks, snorkeling and diving, an interesting local culture and great food and drink, you may become one of those people who come back to the island year after year.