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Destination Guide: Bastia

A knot of pastel houses around an atmospheric old port
Old Genoese capital Bastia delights with its 14th-century Terra Vecchia quarter, bustling port and mellow pace of life. Located at the base of Cap Corse, head north in a hired car to explore the snaking roads of Corsica's wild shrub-covered peninsula.

Food and Drink

Corsican cuisine by the Mediterranean. Inviting restaurant terraces line the Vieux Port. Start with a platter of the local charcuterie, including slivers of figatellu liver sausage and salty prisuttu air-dried ham. Main courses could be grilled lobster, freshly-landed fish or game stew with chestnut flour polenta. Accompany your food with a glass of deep, ruby-red or white, fruity Corsican wine.

Sightseeing and relaxation

Laid-back strolls and rugged nature. Watch the boats from a portside cafe on Place Saint-Nicolas. An amble around the Terra Vecchia quarter takes in crumbling pastel houses and Baroque churches. Local art and history museum Palais des Gouverneurs is housed in the restored promontory citadel. Hire a car to explore the finger-shaped Cap Corse peninsula, dotted with ruined Genoese watchtowers.

Shopping

Gourmet market treats and the local tipple. Smart boutiques stretch along Rue Napoléon and Boulevard Paoli. Pick up Corsican charcuterie and pungent, nutty sheep's cheese at the morning market on Place de l'Hôtel de Ville. Bottles of Cap Corse, the local bittersweet aperitif, can be found in the Art Deco Cap Corse Mattei shop on Place Saint-Nicolas.

Nightlife and Entertainment

Evenings by the harbour and late-night music. For an apéritif, try fragrant Cap Corse muscat with ewe's milk cheese on the quayside terraces. Festivals of jazz, blues and World music take place through the year, and convivial bars on Rue Fontaine Neuve play a pot-pourri of live music.