Randonnee Sentier Littoral BonifacioRandonnee Sentier Littoral Bonifacio
©Randonnee Sentier Littoral Bonifacio|Giovanni Santi Laurini
Explore Bonifacia's hinterlandWonderful gardens

Coastal paths

138 km2 or 13,836 hectares, is the total surface area of the commune of Bonifacio, home to just 3204 souls year-round. With a population density of just 23 inhabitants per km2, the town is classified as a sparsely populated area. A sunny destination, Bonifacio has managed to preserve its natural spaces, which cover a large part of its territory. Through the wild, untamed scrubland, footpaths wind their way across the limestone plateau, offering walkers stunning Mediterranean scenery. Let yourself be guided along these footpaths, which take you over the sea to Capu Pertusatu, or along the Strada Vecia to Paragan. And if you feel like it, why not venture down to La Tonnara beach for some contemplative immersion?

Stroll along the cliffs

At the foot of Bonifacia’s monumental city walls, right next to the Chapelle Saint-Roch, we set off on the Campu Rumanilu trail for a vertiginous walk above the sea. The route begins with a magnificent cobbled staircase that winds its way through the limestone. As we continue along this path overhanging the Mediterranean, we watch gulls perform an astonishing ballet while scanning the boats sailing in the mouths between Corsica and Sardinia. Carried by the breeze, the scents of iodine, mugwort and rosemary enchant us as we head south. The route then heads towards Capu Pertusatu and the beach of Saint-Antoine. We won’t be diving into the turquoise waters, as winter is already biting hard, but we do enjoy the panorama from the Pertusatu lighthouse. The Lavezzi islands and nearby Sardinia emerge from the horizon in an atmosphere of magnetic power.

“Do you like walking? In Bonifacio, you’ll find everything you need: spectacular cliffside walks, ecological walks through the maquis, coastal walks leading to incomparable coves and beaches. Bonifacio’s trails are accessible all year round, for young and old alike.”

From Araguina to Paragan beach

From the Bonifacio marina, we now head for the start of the Strada Vecia trail, not far from the Araguina grotto. We follow in the footsteps of the elders who once walked this ancient communication route between Sartène and Bonifacio. Along the way, punctuated by flagstones polished by the wear and tear of time, we can also see numerous traces of human activity in the form of dry-stone walls and ancient ovens. As we stroll along this wooded causse, we opt for the loop that will take us to the Madonetta lighthouse and the Fazzio beach. Two must-see sites of incandescent beauty. We then make our way to Paragan beach, where the white sand is incredibly fine. It’s here that we’ll have a picnic before retracing our steps to conclude this sweet day.

Posidonia is a grass, not a seaweed, which is protected for the many fundamental roles it plays in the marine environment. Depending on the season, Paragan beach can sometimes be covered with these brownish-colored grasses.

From Paragan along the coast to La Tonnara beach

Although this hike is not demanding in terms of elevation gain, you’ll need to be patient and energetic to reach La Tonnara beach from Paragan. In fact, with a total distance of around 18 kilometers, this sporty walk is best suited to good walkers. Leaving Paragan, we wind our way along the shore in a rather arid setting. The fragrant scrubland, which confines us to the path, pushes us further and further in the direction of Capu di Fenu. This orange granite cape is home to the Fenu fire, which guides navigators. Inside the building, whose lower section is open to the public, illustrations and texts enhance the walk, telling the story of certain shipwrecks during powerful storms. It also tells the story of Corsica’s illumination campaign between 1850 and 1900.

Following this aside, we resume our walk towards La Tonnara, where an extraordinary sunset awaits us. In fact, we’ve left a car there to enjoy the spellbinding lights of this late afternoon.

Taking in the sights at Ermitage de la Trinité

Colorful alternative

An alternative route is available if you wish to gain height and discover a place steeped in spirituality. Still on the Paragan beach, a path leads up to the Ermitage de la Trinité, a place of absolute calm, consisting of an ancient hermitage, an oratory and a group of granite blocks known as the “Grotte de la Vierge”. It would appear that the site was occupied by hermits before a later Carolingian church was built in the 9th century. The Benedictines then moved in, followed by the Franciscans, who gradually enlarged the church over the centuries. Aside from its memorial value, the view of Bonifacio from this natural balcony is breathtaking.