Earlier in the month I took you on a mini tour through Corsica by car and showed you just a few of the breathtaking views and delightful hill-top villages that can only by reached by car (or the most arduous of bike rides). Today I’d like to take you to the hamlet of Girolata on the edge of the Scandola Nature Reserve. This is one place you can not get to by car or bicycle as no roads lead to Girolata!
The lovely hamlet of Girolata clings to the hill-side near Scandola Nature Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A Genoese watchtower overlooks the bay, the hamlet, a small pebble beach and out to sea. With no roads leading to Girolata, the easiest way to get there is by boat.
Day trips from Porto and Calvi are popular and these also give you a fantastic view of the red cliffs of the nature reserve. From June to September, day trippers descend en masse, for a couple of hours every day around lunch time. Once they have departed Girolata returns to being a sleepy little village, barely touched by time.
As well as getting there by boat, it is also possible to walk to the hamlet through the marquis covered hillsides. The closest road, accessible via a mule track, is a 90 minute walk away.
At one point there was talk of building a cliff railway, some luxury holiday homes and even an underground car park but luckily these plans were overturned in order to preserve the natural beauty of the area.
The Scandola Nature Reserve is volcanic in origin with dramatic red granite cliffs plunging into the deep blue sea. 900 hectares of land and 1000 hectares of sea were designated as a reserve in 1975 due to its vast biodiversity. It is home to numerous species of rare birds such as ospreys, peregrine falcons, crested cormorants, ash puffins and golden eagles, some 450 species of algae and nearly 200 species of fish, including many rare species. The purity of its water means that flowering marine plants known Posidonias can be found here.
I think you’ll agree that Scandola Nature Reserve and Girolata and perfect just the way they are. No road is needed! Let’s hope the amount of marine traffic is kept a close eye on to preserve this natural wonder.