Visit Bastia (Corsica, France)
Bastia is a large town situated to the north-east of Corsica on the south-eastern side of Cap Corse, the peninsula at the northern tip of the island. The town is the principal port and commercial centre for Corsica.
Like many Corsican towns the history of Bastia starts with the Genoese who controlled the island from the 14th century, although later centuries have also left their mark - in particular from the baroque era to the 19th century.
The Old Port (Vieux Port) at the south of the town is the best place to start a visit, with a stroll around the harbour to see the jaded buildings (almost reminiscent of those we might see in Venice) clustered around the fishing and pleasure port. (There is a newer commercial port to the north which is now used for more industrial trade so the old port is less active.)
Pass throught the Romieu garden to reach the citadel above the port which is the original genoese town that is protected by defensive walls added during the 15th century, including the Porte Louis XVI through which you enter the citadel.
The Governors Palace was added soon after, and built around a tower that is one of the oldest parts of the citadel. The early palace was transformed over the following centuries, and by the 16th century had become the grand building we see today below the walls of the citadel. The palace now contains the Corsica Museum of Ethnology.
Next move northwards into the seemingly randomly placed streets in the Terra Vecchia region of Bastia, on the other side of the Old Port, and amble through the warren of streets admiring the crumbling facades of the medieval buildings.
As you enter the region around the Church of St-Jean-Baptiste the streets get ever narrower and the tenement blocks ever higher in this, the oldest part of the town.
The Terra Nova is the more recent part of town. Wider boulevards will satisfy your needs for shopping and light, and the newer part of the town also includes a large number of impressive buildings constructed in Bastia during the 19th century such as the classical style Theatre and the Palace of Justice.
The architecture of the 16th to 18th centuries in Bastia is seen most in the numerous churches and chapels in the town, many of which have interesting facades.
Typically these are baroque style, for example the Church of Saint Charles-Borromée, or neo-classical style such as the Church of Saint John the Baptist (this is the largest church in Corsica, but note that the two belltowers which overlook the old port were added later, in the 19th century).
If promenade time is approaching, continue north to the spacious and attractive Place St-Nicolas, with its numerous cafes and views across the sea, and a large statue of Napoleon. If you are so inclined, a little 'train' leaves from the Place St Nicholas and spends 45 minutes passing by the main sights.
The main weekly markets are held in central Bastia in the Place du Marché each saturday and sunday, with smaller markets in the same square on other days. There is a flea market in the Place Saint Nicholas each sunday.
A short stroll from Bastia is the Chapel Notre Dame de Montserato. The chapel was built in the early 19th century and is quite unassuming on the outside but very impressively decorated inside.
In an enviable position even further up the hill above Bastia is the small village of Cardo, a historical village that has lovely views back across the town below.
Bastia does have a small beach, but in reality much nicer, less crowded beaches are close to hand. Follow the coast north from Bastia to discover several small pebble beaches, or drive a few kilometres south for more sandy beaches.
See also Bastia Corsica
Photos taken within 10 km
Tourist classifications for Bastia
Bastia is classified as a listed town of Art and History
Address: Bastia, Haute-Corse, Corsica, 20200 || GPS: latitude 42.702, longitude 9.4507
Map of Bastia & places nearby
Highlights close by
Suggested tourist attractions to visit near Bastia, France
- Eglise de Notre-Dame-des-Neiges d'Erbalunga (Bastia) - religious monument (9km)
- Eglise de Santa Maria Assunta (Saint-Florent) - religious monument (12km)
- Chapel Saint Quilico (Olcani) - religious monument (14km)
- Cap Corse - site of natural beauty (15km)
- Eglise de San Michele (Murato) - religious monument (16km)
- Eglise de San Raineru (Montegrosso) - religious monument (18km)
- Eglise de San Parteo Mariana (Lucciana) - religious monument (18km)
- Cathédrale Santa Maria de l'Assomption (Lucciana) - religious monument (18km)
- Eglise de Santa Maria Assunta (Canari) - religious monument (19km)
- Eglise de San Pancraziu (Castellare-di-Casinca) - religious monument (26km)
The French version of this page is at Bastia (Francais)