Feel Ajaccio with our top 5 sensory experiences…

See the Napoleonic art and major Italian collection at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Fesch

Hear a concert of traditional Corsican polyphonic song, included on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2009

Smell the wafts of the maquis (scrubland) on a hike up to the Tête de Mort, a rocky outcrop above the city

Taste chestnuts all year-round, and especially at December’s chestnut festival in Bocognano

Touch the craggy rocks of the Îles Sanguinaires, a short boat trip 15km out to sea.

Renowned as Napoleon’s birthplace and the largest city in Corsica, elegant capital Ajaccio can actually be easily explored on foot. Take a stroll along its palm-fringed seafront or wander through the small colourful alleys beside the citadel, crammed with good restaurants and home to the Maison Bonaparte. Explore the Palais Fesch museum, whose collection includes some wonderful Flemish and Dutch paintings and an array of Italian Old Masters. Take a boat trip 15km out to the Îles Sanguinaires, so-named for their granite rock formations that glow blood-red at sunset. The lush surrounding valleys contain numerous wine domaines where you can enjoy a tasting – and restaurants at the heart of the city keep the Corsican gastronomic tradition alive: taste seafood (urchins, lobsters and local fish) as well as mountain specialities including creamy brocciu cheese and richly marbled charcuterie.

Ajaccio is also a dynamic, animated city devoted to sport and outdoor fun. Its immediate surroundings are real natural paradise, ideal for hiking, canyoning, mountain biking and climbing. You can enjoy a whole range of activities here, either on your own or guided by professionals. There’s also a vibrant calendar of events, headlined by the Napoleonic Days in August with their historical reenactments, and December’s Chestnut Festival in Bocognano where you can meet agricultural producers and craftsmen from all over the island. The city is abuzz with late-night shopping every Friday in July and August and there are various street events involving music and theatre.

Looking for a luxury hotel in Ajaccio? The secluded Sofitel Golfe d'Ajaccio Thalassa sea & spa boasts stunning sea views, thalassotherapy treatments and a private beach.