Calanques de Piana

Calanche is a unique area of rock formations of orange and pink granite and cliffs that rise 250-300 m above the coastline near the village of Piana above the bay of Porto.

The bizarre formations are often associated with animal and human figures. Legend has it that the devil created them in a fit of rage. In fact, they are the result of atypical erosion caused by wind and sea. The area is protected by UNESCO.

Calanques de Piana

This jagged, curving coastline, with its pitoreal and monumental rock formations rising up to several hundred metres above the sea, has its most famous part at the village of Piana, which also gave this stretch of coastline its name: Calanques or Calanches de Piana.

Thanks to the unique environment created by the rock formations, the area boasts exceptional underwater biodiversity and extremely favourable conditions for the growth of the macchia, a typical Mediterranean vegetation which, however, thrives much better than ever in the Calanches de Piana area.

From the sea to the mountains

The Calanche coast is one of the most beautiful areas of Corsica. The pinkish, red and golden rocks, eroded by erosion into incredible shapes, rise steeply from heights of over 400 metres to the sea, where they form small coves and deserted beaches.

A mountain road winds its way through the gorges, which in several places drops down to the sea via forest side paths.

The best viewpoints and hiking routes

Due to the extremely challenging terrain in the Calanques de Piana area, you will find relatively few marked trails, most of which only lead from the road a few hundred metres to the viewpoints. However, this does not detract from their attractiveness; on the contrary, the local viewpoints are among the most beautiful in Corsica.

  • Château Fort de Piana - a simple 1.5km trek takes you from a small roadside car park to one of the most beautiful viewpoints in the Calanques, with a massive rock formation in the foreground resembling a fortress.
  • The Chemin des Muletiers - a historic path built in antiquity - takes you into the heart of the Calanques area, opening up views of the sea and incredible-looking landscapes. The shortest and easiest route leads from a marked car park about 1 km east of the village of Piana.

Among the most visited places is Capo Rosso, the westernmost point of Corsica, which is part of the Calanques de Piana.

The most beautiful beaches

Although the coastline is very steep and rugged, there are at least two beautiful sandy beaches that can be reached by car. The most famous and the most beautiful is Plage de Ficajola below the village of Piana. In the summer season, you'll also find a refreshment stand and beautiful views of the dramatic coastline from the small cove.

It is possible to drive up the pretty green valley from Piana almost to the beach, from the car park you are only about 100 metres up some steps, see the route map from the village of Piana.

Alternatively, there is also a marked walking trail of 7 km total round trip, but expect a lot of elevation gain.

The nearby resort of Porto offers classic larger beaches with full facilities.

Accommodation at Calanques

It's the town of Porto on the eastern end of the Calanche coast that will offer the most options for hotels, campsites and accommodation, with prices between 92 eur and 147 eur per night.

If you're looking for accommodation in a more romantic and peaceful area right in the middle of the Calanches, then head to the village of Piana, where you'll find mainly private apartments and guesthouses, but also a few smaller hotels. We select the most favourable ones:

  • Hotel Les Calanques - A basic hotel with basic amenities, where if you're lucky you can get a room for under 66 eur per night, a great price for Corsica
  • Le Bella Vista - the apartment with the best view of the Calanques de Piana, prices range between 128 eur and 147 eur, but definitely worth it. Rooms tend to sell out months in advance
  • Hotel Scandola - medium sized hotel right in the centre of Piana with prices around 136 eur per night and very good ratings

How to get to Calanques?

Even with the beautiful mountain road winding through the rock formations and offering spectacular views every few metres, by far the best option is to own or hire a car.

The drive from Ajaccio is 68 km, while from Bastia BIA airport it's 145 km.

You can also take a bus directly to the village of Piana, from where walking tours can also be organised. In the summer season there are 2 daily buses every day, outside the holidays only once on weekdays. The M2 line connects Ajaccio, Cargése, Piana, Porto and Ota and the ticket price from Ajaccio is 8 eur. The timetable can be found here, for example.

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