Bastia is a beautiful town in northern Corsica and the second most populated after Ajaccio. Famous for its harbor, mild climate and historical monuments, it is a destination definitely worth visiting for a few days.
On Ferryhopper, you will find lots of useful information about Bastia, its beaches, must-see sights, gastronomic delights, and ferries to the Corsican city. Check out all available routes and book your ferry tickets to Corsica with just a few clicks!
A picturesque alley in the historic center of Bastia
Vacation in Bastia
If you like dynamic cities by the sea, then you should definitely add Bastia to your travel bucket list!
This lively town in northern Corsica, rich in art and history, is also well-suited for outdoor activities. Perfect for every type of visitor, Bastia will give you the opportunity to relax by the beach, explore nature and discover the unique culture and traditions in Corsica.
Read on to find out how to get there and what to do during your stay.
How to get to Bastia
The easiest way to reach Bastia is by ferry. There are direct routes from some ports in southern France as well as from Italy.
If you're planning a road trip to Corsica, you might also consider arriving by ferry to Bonifacio from Santa Teresa di Gallura, Sardinia, and heading north to Bastia. Another option is to travel to Ajaccio from Porto Torres and then take the car or train to Bastia.
Aerial view of the city of Bastia and its port
What to do in Bastia
Bastia's city center is compact and comfortable to explore on foot. Take your time to stroll through its alleys, admire the ancient Citadel, its monuments, and the colorful Old Port. In between, you can also stop to sample local specialties or pass by the traditional market downtown.
Bastia is also a great choice for sea and nature lovers. Although there are not so many beaches nearby, you can travel around and find unique places. A visit to Corsica's most famous nature reserve and various perched villages is also definitely worth it. If you have time, drive around the Cap Corse region and its famous vineyards.
Moreover, being in the far north, Bastia could be the ideal starting point to discover the rest of Corsica.
Beaches in Bastia
Bastia's coastline is not home to many beaches, but you can still find some near the city center. If, on the other hand, you choose to travel around Bastia, you will find some of the most beautiful beaches along the north coast of Corsica.
Here are 4 beaches in and around Bastia that you should not miss:
- Arinella: just outside Bastia, it is the largest beach in Corsica (6km length). In summer it offers a few establishments. There is parking, a children's area and several water sports facilities. You can also reach it by bus thanks to free seasonal shuttles.
- Toga: this is a small pebbly cove located in Minelli. The area is mostly frequented by locals who come here in search of relaxation and tranquility. Ideal for families, you can reach it by walking about 2km from Bastia.
- Nonza: located about 1 hour from Bastia, beneath the magnificent village of the same name. It is above all famous for the presence of its characteristic black sand and its contrast to the intense turquoise of the sea. We advise you to wear footwear in summer as the sand tends to be scorching in the hottest hours.
- Marana: this is one of the wildest beaches near Bastia since it is located in a protected nature reserve. Étang de Biguglia, one of Corsica’s largest lagoons, is just behind the beach. You can visit it if you’re a fan of nature excursions and bird watching. From the beach there is a beautiful view of Bastia Bay and the surrounding mountains.
The wide and sandy Marana beach, south of Bastia
Sightseeing in Bastia
Bastia is a historic town with many churches, palaces and neighborhoods of incredible beauty.
Stroll through its narrow streets and discover the most famous attractions, such as:
- The Old Port, with its bars and restaurants on the pier
- The Church of Saint John the Baptist, the largest in all of Corsica
- St Nicolas Square, a meeting place for locals
- The Citadel of Bastia, built in 1380
- Boulevard Paoli and Cesar Campinchi Street, the famous shopping streets
- The Governors' Palace, inside the Citadel
- Romieu Garden, an oasis of peace in the heart of Bastia
- Terra Vecchia, the city's oldest neighborhood
- The Statue of Napoléon Bonaparte
What to visit around Bastia
If you decide to spend a few more days in Bastia, we recommend visiting its surroundings to discover Corsica’s natural beauty and its many historical sites.
You can start by exploring the perched villages of Ville-di-Pietrabugno, San-Martino-di-Lota and Furiani, or reach the Lucciana Cathedral (half an hour from Bastia), with its important archaeological site.
Moreover, the nature reserve of the pond of Biguglia is located 12km from Bastia, a must-visit for nature lovers. With a very varied flora and fauna, you will discover numerous species of plants and animals here.
The Biguglia Nature Reserve and its lagoon pond
Nightlife in Bastia
Bastia is a quiet town, populated mainly by students and families.
Bastia's Old Port is the hub of the city's nightlife. The city’s waterfront is full of restaurants and bars facing the moored fishing boats and yachts - a great place for an evening stroll and an aperitif, while enjoying the astounding harbor views.
Moreover, the few discos in Bastia are located near the port and they tend to be busier out of the summer season.
Food in Bastia
Corsican cuisine is characterized by simple dishes with fresh products. You will find many sun-loving fruits and vegetables, cured meats, and cheeses. As far as a traditional aperitif goes, Cap Corse Mattei is the most legendary Corsican apéritif and a must-try in Bastia bars. It is best enjoyed with ice and a slice of orange!
Here are some local dishes and delicacies you absolutely must try during your holiday in Bastia:
- figatellu (sausage made with pork and pork liver)
- local cured meats (including prisuttu and bulagna)
- brocciu (similar to goat's ricotta cheese)
- sardines stuffed with brocciu
- civet de sanglier (wild boar casserole)
- fish soup
- veal with olives
- canistrelli cookies (made from wheat flour, sugar, white wine, and anise seeds)
- fiadone (lemon dessert prepared with brocciu)
Helpful Info: to try the best traditional local desserts, Chez Mireille bakery is definitely the best and most recommended place in Bastia!
A delicious slice of fiadone, a traditional Corsican dessert
Here are 4 tips that we hope will be helpful to you before your trip to Bastia:
- If you plan to travel around Bastia by motorcycle or car, keep in mind that Corsican roads are famous for hairpin bends, zigzags and steep drops. We advise you to drive carefully as the routes are usually narrow.
- By driving from Bastia to Cap Corse you will have the opportunity to pass through the famous Corsican wine region. This is where Patrimonio, an AOC quality wine, is produced.
- During the weekend, a market with local products and delicacies is set up at Market Square, halfway between St Nicolas Square and the Old Port. Take advantage of it and discover the flavors of regional products.
- Another wonderful experience in Bastia is to take the train to Ajaccio. This trip will make you discover breathtaking landscapes.
Useful information about Bastia
Despite its small size, Bastia offers all kinds of services to its visitors.
As far as accommodation goes, there are several options, from hotels to B&Bs. If you want to be close to most attractions and restaurants, we would recommend staying in the city center, near the port and the Citadel. For more tranquility and affordable prices, stay in Toga, north of Bastia.
If you enjoy shopping, the most popular streets are Boulevard Paoli and César Campinchi Street. If you're looking to take home with you traditional gastronomic souvenirs, however, quality meats, cheeses and honey can be purchased at the market.
In summer, several concerts are organized in Bastia, but even in winter there is no shortage of events. The famous Salon du Chocolat, for example, is one of the most anticipated events on the island. Who wouldn’t like to taste the authentic works of art prepared by some of the best maîtres chocolatiers in the world?
Important phone numbers for your stay in Bastia
Here are some numbers that could prove useful during your holiday in Bastia:
- Bastia Hospital: +33495591111
- Bastia Port Info: +33495552585
- Municipal Police: +33495559564
- Bastia Tourist Office: +33495542040
- Taxi: +33495327070
- European emergency number: 112
Transportation in Bastia
In Bastia you can get around easily on foot or by bus. The pleasant route between the port, the old town and the Citadel is less than 2km, and it will give you the opportunity to discover the city’s most famous attractions.
The Société des Autobus Bastiais runs the city's public transportation service with 11 bus lines and 3 special lines. These connect the whole city and the port area very efficiently. Tickets can be purchased directly on board and cost €1.30. If you want to make multiple trips, you'll want to take advantage of the 10-journey bus pack at a cost of €7.
The local tram has a limited route, but taxis are everywhere in Bastia.
If, on the other hand, you have decided to bring your vehicle with you to Bastia or rent one there, you can take advantage of the paid parking lots at Market Square, the one at the train station and the one at the Citadel.
Beautiful staircase in front of colorful buildings in Bastia, Corsica
Port in Bastia
The port of Bastia is located on the north-east of the island and at the heart of the city, next to St Nicolas Square. It is the second busiest port in France and among the most important in Corsica. Ferries from numerous ports in mainland France and Italy arrive here every day.
The port is divided into 2 areas (the Old port and the commercial port). The Old Port houses mostly fishing boats and hulls, and is very picturesque, while ferries depart from the piers of the commercial port.
In the area where the port is situated there are various services, such as bars, restaurants, rental services, and hotels. The Bastia train station is also within walking distance from the port.
Bastia ferry, schedules and tickets
You can get to Bastia by ferry from both Italy and France. The Italian ports connected with the Corsican town are Genoa, Savona, Livorno, Golfo Aranci, and Portoferraio (Elba). As for routes from mainland France, ferries depart from the ports of Nice, Toulon and Marseille in the south of the country.
Some crossings are quite long, so it is advisable to book a cabin for greater comfort. It is also possible to board motor vehicles on all vessels to Bastia.
Here are some more details on the ferry connections to Bastia from Italy:
- Ferry Genoa - Bastia: the route to Bastia from the port of Genoa is annual and has 1 daily departure during high season. Crossings usually last 7.5 hours.
- Ferry Savona - Bastia: the connection from the port of Savona to Bastia runs year-round with 2 crossings per day. Crossings can range from around 5 to 11 hours depending on the type of vessel.
- Ferry Livorno - Bastia: the route from the port of Livorno to Bastia is year-round, with 2-3 daily departures and crossings of 3.5 to 8 hours.
- Ferry Golfo Aranci - Bastia: the Golfo Aranci to Bastia route operates only a few months of the year, with not very frequent departures. The ferry duration is between 5 hr 45 min and 6 hr 30 min.
- Ferry Elba Island - Bastia: the route from Elba Island to Bastia is seasonal. There are usually 2 weekly connections with departures from the port of Portoferraio, the capital of Elba. The ferry trip takes 1.5 hours.
For connections from France to Bastia:
- Ferry Nice - Bastia: the route from the port of Nice to Bastia is seasonal with 1 connection almost every day of the week. Crossings usually last from 5.5 to 6.5 hours.
- Ferry Toulon - Bastia: the route from Toulon to Bastia runs year-round and is very popular. There is usually 1 daily route with overnight crossings of 9 to 11.5 hours.
- Ferry Marseille - Bastia: the connection to Bastia from the port of Marseille operates every day of the year. There are around 9 weekly connections and crossings last from about 12 to 13 hours.
Tip: on our Map of ferries, you can find more about the available connections and schedules, so that you can easily and conveniently book ferry tickets to Bastia.
The picturesque Old Port of Bastia with fishing and sailing boats
Where to book ferry tickets online to Bastia?
Book ferry tickets to Bastia online on Ferryhopper with no extra fees. Find all the information you need about ferries to Bastia, compare companies, trip duration, and ticket prices, and organize your trip to Corsica in just a few clicks.