“Picture an island with a reddish cast and a wild appearance. There was a lighthouse on one headland and an old Genoese tower on the other […]It was on this enchanted island that I used to fulfil my need for the open air and solitude” French writer Alphonse Daudet wrote these lines in his 19th-century collection of short stories, Letters from My Windmill, to describe the Sanguinaires archipelago. Listed as a Grand Site de France by the Ministry of Ecology in 2017, these four wild and rocky islands are a matter of kilometres south of Ajaccio, and a safe haven for exceptional fauna and flora. They are home to around 150 different plant varieties, many of which are both rare and endemic.
The only way to get to this incredible natural site is to take a boat from Ajaccio. Along the way, you will get to enjoy views of the islands' coastline, the Greek chapel, the house of singer Tino Rossi, the citadel and the marine cemetery. Once on the main island, Mezzu Mare, head to the lighthouse at the highest point on the island for unique views of the gulf of Ajaccio and the Genoese tower on the Parata peninsula. At the end of the day, a sunset stroll is a great way to experience some truly breath-taking scenery: the foundation of the archipelago's reputation.