Calanche de Piana, Corsica
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The calanche de Piana are south of the village of Piana in the west of Corsica and are one of the most impressive scenic highlights on the island, indeed anywhere in France. Extending over several kilometres, the calanche (calanques in French) are a series of red rocks and cliffs that plunge up to 300 metres into the Mediterranean below.
Visiting the Calanche de Piana
To reach the calanche simply follow the road that follows the coast south-west of Porto towards Piana. Even before you reach the calanche you have very beautiful views across the Gulf of Porto and the village itself. You enter the actual calanche after a few kilometres.
France This Way comment: we were warned that the road through the Calanche de Piana can be busy, slow and dangerous. It was none of these when we visited but we recommend you visit either first thing in the morning or quite late in the afternoon, and ideally outside high summer: this will allow you to escape the crowds, avoid the coaches and also to see the rocks at their best when the sun is not too high in the sky.
It is possible to simply explore the calanche by car, although we strongly recommend you also find time to explore on foot to better appreciate the environment.
Trails through the calanche de Piana
The most popular is the trail called the Chateau Fort that starts next to the rock called the Tete de Chien: unlike many rocks that are given animal names this one really does look exactly like the head of a dog, is signposted and is on a bend in the road soon after you enter the calanques so is easy to find. From here a path leads through the rocks and forest before reaching a stunning viewpoint across the cliffs and sea, and a large rock in the shape of a castle (hence the name).
This round trip takes a little more than an hour to complete. Although it is quite an easy walk there are short stretches that are steeper and a bit slippery so we recommend you wear walking shoes although many people don't!
You can also park near the cafe in the middle of the drive and follow the walk up the hill that follows the corniche. This walk also takes about an hour and has exceptional views. After your walk you will also be tempted by the cafe which must surely have one of the best views ever for a cafe!
From Porto you can also take a boat trip along the coast to see the calanche from a different perspective.
The drive north along the coast from Porto towards Osani is different in character from the calanques but also very impressive.
Another important scenic highlight is to the east of Porto where you can explore the mountains and valley of the Gorges de Spelunca. As with the Calanques de Piana, beyween Evisa and Ota there is a short footpath through the gorges that leads through lovely scenery.
You can find more local travel ideas in the Corsica guide.
Map of Calanche de Piana and places to visit
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Address: Ota, Deux-Sevi, Ajaccio, Corse-du-Sud, Corsica, 20150, France || GPS: latitude 42.24, longitude 8.63694
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Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Calanques de Piana: site of natural beauty
- Piana: most beautiful village
- Calanches de Piana: heritage site (2km)
- Capu Rossu: site of natural beauty (5km)
- Golfe de Porto: site of natural beauty (11km)
- Scandola Nature Reserve: heritage site (14km)
- Riciniccia: site of natural beauty (19km)
- Lac de Nino: site of natural beauty (25km)
- Cirque de la Solitude: site of natural beauty (27km)