Calvi Citadel

Calvi is a picturesque small town in the north of the island. The town is dominated by a large citadel, which was built during the Genoese occupation. According to some legends, the sailor Christopher Columbus was born in Calvi, and in the 13th-century Cathédrale St-Jean-Baptiste, a wooden statue marks the spot where Columbus' birthplace is said to have stood before the construction of the cathedral.

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With its beautiful beach, historic centre and international airport, Calvi is one of Corsica's most popular destinations.

Calvi Citadel

The town is one of the most visited in northern Corsica, and one of the reasons is certainly the photogenic citadel standing on a spur above Calvi's harbour. The citadel walls, still preserved, crown the rocky promontory on which the historic centre of Calvi is situated.

The centre has been surrounded by walls since the 12th century by Corsican members of the Genoese Republic, who successfully repelled all Franco-Turkish invaders from here.

The centre of the citadel is dominated by the small 13th-century Cathedral of St John the Baptist and narrow, steep streets lined with historic houses.

Entrance to the walls is free, as is the inside of the citadel, which is logical, as the houses are still inhabited by ordinary people.

Beaches and swimming

Right at the harbour, the city's initially bustling beach begins, with its many restaurants, bars and snack bars stretching for more than 3 km in an easterly direction. Gradually the beach changes its urban character into a rural one with pine forests and noticeably smaller crowds.

There is truly something for everyone at Calvi beach - lovers of fun, water attractions and shops, but also of privacy and tranquillity.

The urban part of the beach is literally full of sunbed and umbrella rental shops and offers various water activities and sports. Calvi beach is covered with fine sand.

If you'd rather visit a beach completely outside the city, drive to the other side of the Golfe de Calvi to the smaller sandy beach of Arinella, interspersed with rocky obelisks. This beach can only be reached by car after a 12km drive from Calvi, see route map.

Accommodation in Calvi

The town is one of the best starting and staying points in the north of Corsica. Here you will find a full range of amenities, dozens of restaurants, supermarkets and many attractions in the area. There is also a very wide range of accommodation, which includes classic hotels and private family apartments. Prices in summer range between 2,000 and 147 eur, and can double in August.

We also add specific tips on the best deals:

  • Motel Saint Francois - usually the cheapest accommodation in Calvi in fully furnished simple studios
  • Hotel Balanea *** - a modern smaller hotel right in the centre of Calvi
  • Hotel Onda *** - a very nice and modern hotel located 1 minute walk from the main Calvian beach

How to get to Calvi?

Calvi is one of 4 towns in Corsica with its own airport , Calvi CLY, with flights mainly to France and Western Europe.


For travelling around Corsica, a car is generally the most convenient. During the summer (April to October) street parking is charged or only available to subscribers with prices from 35 eur per week. However, you will find several free parking lots.

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The largest free car park is at the Calvi-Talle train station, right next to the beach and about 500 metres into the centre (see map).

Popular parking is located on the approach to Calvi just off the beach, shaded by pine trees and accessible via a narrow road that turns off the main road by the casino (see map).


The most popular form of public transport is undoubtedly the legendary Corsican railway, one branch of which terminates here. Trains to Calvi leave twice a day from U Ponte á a Leccia, where they connect with services to Bastia or Ajaccio.

  • Ajaccio: less than 5 hours including transfers, price approx. 25 eur
  • Bastia: 3.5 hours including transfers, price approx. 17 eur

Much more frequent trains, namely 5-8 times a day, run between Calvi and the port of L'Isula Rossa (Ille Rousse).

Timetables and information can be found on the website.


There are also long-distance buses to Calvi, but their frequency in Corsica is not as high as that of trains:

  • Ajaccio: only by train with a change, see above.
  • Bastia: 1-2 times a day, takes over an hour, costs about 16 eur and is operated by Corsicar
  • Porto - Ota: 1x daily by SAIB bus

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