Bonifacio in Corsica

Bonifacio is a fortified medieval town situated on chalk-white cliffs on the southernmost tip of Corsica. It lies just 12 km from Sardinia and therefore serves as one of the main ports for ferries from this Italian island.

Bonifacio is a popular tourist resort with complete facilities and many attractions. In Corsican, the town is called Bunifaziu or also Bonifacio.

Bonifacio has a long and rich history, which has allowed it to preserve a large number of monuments and attractions, making it one of the oldest towns in Corsica.

Genoa Citadel

The dominant feature of Bonifacio is the massive citadel standing between the centre on the white cliffs so as to have a strategic view of the sea. Built in the 9th century during the Genoese Republic, it was completely destroyed in 1553, but then again completely rebuilt and gradually modernized. The citadel protects the entire historic centre of La Haute Ville, situated on a cliff up to 70 metres high.

A pair of staircases leads from the Bonifacio harbour to the citadel: St Roch and Rastello.

The citadel walls offer the most beautiful views of the exotic-looking cliffs, while the interior of the citadel is now filled with the historic centre with its narrow shady streets and excellent restaurants. Entrance to the ramparts is free, and the small museum inside the citadel is 3,50 eur.

The entrance to the narrow and sheltered harbour is protected by cliffs, along with the photogenic Madonetta lighthouse, which is nicely overlooked from the western edge of the peninsula on which the historic centre is located.

King of Aragon Steps

One of the most famous sights in all of Corsica is the King of Aragon's Staircase (Escalier du Roi d'Aragon), carved into a limestone cliff and descending at a 45° angle from the historic centre and citadel to almost sea level.

Legend has it that the staircase was carved into the rock in 1420 by Aragonese soldiers during the siege in a single night, but in fact the staircase was built by Franciscan monks over many months and its purpose was to provide access from the monastery directly to a cave with fresh water.

A total of 187 stairs descend just a few metres above sea level, from where you can follow a horizontal path about 400 metres long to the now dry cave. The same path will then take you back up to the centre. A visit to the Aragon Steps is not to be missed, as you will have spectacular views of the cliffs and the historic centre.

  • Entrance to the steps: 5 eur
  • Total visit time: approx. 30-40 minutes

A walk along the cliffs

The beautiful and wildly jagged white limestone cliffs stretch from Bonifacio further south to the Capo Petrusato with its small rocky beach of Saint-Antoine and the Fanale di Petrusato lighthouse.

From the centre of Bonifacio to the cape there is a 4 km long trail (one way) mostly along the cliffs with beautiful views, especially at sunset (see route map). Approximately halfway to Cape Petrusatu, you can reach it by car on an asphalt road.

Accommodation Bonifacio

The town is a popular base for touring southern Corsica and a good place to stay. Prices for regular hotels here are around 110 eur 128 eur , but you can also find private apartments for around 73 eur per night.

We also add tips for a few specific accommodations:

  • L'Escale - a small private guesthouse with simple but clean facilities right on the harbour
  • Hôtel A Madonetta - a nice modern 3* hotel a short walk from the harbour with covered parking ideal for travellers with a car
  • Faro di Capo Testa - top-rated private apartments located right in the centre of the citadel
  • Hotel Colomba - romantic hotel right in the historic centre of Bonifacio just a short walk from the Aragon Steps

How to get there

Bonifacio is located in the very south of Corsica and both the T10 and T40 coastal roads end here. In Bonifacio you can only park in the official tourist car parks at the port and on the peninsula with the historic centre. The car parks are clearly signposted and you can pay at 0,70 eur for 15 minutes, or between 19 eur and 20 eur for the whole day.

Public transport to Bonifacio is by bus only:

  • Ajaccio: 2-3 times a day line M1 with a change in Scupet, the journey takes about 3,5 hours and costs 16 eur, timetable:
  • Porto Vecchio: 2-3 times a day, journey takes 30 minutes and costs approx. 2 eur, timetable:
  • Bastia: only with a change in Porto Vecchio

There is also a local bus to Piantarella beach 6 times a day at a cost of 5 eur one way.

Directly from Bonifacio there are ferries to the neighbouring island of Sardinia, specifically to the town of Santa Teresa Gallura.

The price with a car comes out at 55 eur to 60 eur, the cruise takes 1 hour and the following companies run the route several times a day: Corsica Ferries, Ichnusa Lines, Moby.

You can compare the prices of the different shipping companies and buy directly, for example, at

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