One of a kind, the Scandola Nature Reserve - also known as the Réserve Naturelle de Scandola - is simultaneously a marine and land-based reserve.
The reserve is located on a volcano that collapsed into the sea, thus forming the Scandola Peninsula and its unique landscapes. The abundant flora and fauna make it a must-see destination on the Isle of Beauty. The red-tinted rocks are reflected by turquoise waters, creating an unbelievable natural color palette. Thanks to this natural richness, Scandola has been added to UNESCO's World Heritage list. Embark on a journey to the heart of nature!
Corsica's Réserve Naturelle de Scandola, Between Land and Sea
Located in the Gulf of Porto, the Scandola Nature Reserve is managed by the Parc Naturel Régional de Corse. A hotspot for biodiversity, the reserve is also a call for the protection of the environment: it covers 900 hectares of land and 1,000 hectares of protected sea.
Scandola offers a number of little marvels to make your vacation one to remember. It is considered one of the most beautiful sites in Corsica. Be amazed by its incredible surroundings: crystal clear water, little grottos, stone sculptured fashioned from the wind and sea salt, all giving Scandola magical feel.
The vegetation is of incomparable richness - on its magnificent red cliffs, you can find green oak trees, strawberry trees, and heather. Its rarer plant species include arméria, soleirolii, myrtle, Euboria dendroides, and ragworts with daisy-like leaves.
The fauna is quite remarkable, too. The reserve is a must-see destination for any visitors with an interest in ornithology. Grab your binoculars and admire some of the many birds' nests built into the rock formations and cliffs. Ospreys are the symbol of the Scandola Reserve. Other birds, like seagulls, bald eagles, Cory's shearwaters, and Peregrine falcons have also made the reserve their home.
The crystal waters of the sea are also home to an amazing underwater life. In the middle of its clear waters, 450 species of algae and 125 species of invertebrates can be found. Visitors can also see Mediterranean sea grass, a unique plant that indicates the level of water pollution with the health of its fruits and flowers. Coral, gorgonians, grouper, moray eels, red mullets, tuna, swordfish, and many, many more inhabit the sea around the reserve. You may even get a chance to see some dolphins!
This little Corsican treasure isn't possible to reach on foot, with the surrounding mountains reaching 1,000 meters in altitude. But never fear! You can witness this incredible beauty by boat - many companies offer trips leaving from Porto, Galéria, and Calvi.
To preserve this exceptional, wild area, the Scandola Nature Reserve has a number of rules. Fishing, hunting, and bivouac camping are strictly prohibited.
Tourist Sites Near the Réserve Naturelle de Scandola
The Gulf of Porto, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983, is home to a number of exceptional destinations, including the Girolata Gulf and the Calanques de Pina, which have a reputation for being the some of the Isle of Beauty's most beautiful gulfs.
The village of Porto Ota is located just south of the Scandola Reserve, and is well worth a visit. It is nestled in a valley dominated by cliffs and rock formations, and a beautiful example of an authentically Corsican town with picturesque little streets. The seaside village is guaranteed to delight nature lovers and lovers of classic stone architecture.
The Golf of Girolata is a mini replica of the Golf of Porto, providing the Scandola Reserve with a rich diversity of minerals and rare plants. It is also widely considered one of the most beautiful bays in the world.
Further to the south, the Calanques de Piana form an amazing landscape alternating between stones and greenery. To discover this little Corsican gem, many different itineraries are available. From the sea, you can rent a canoe or kayak, or travel with some of the many boat companies. From land, grab your sneakers and hiking backpack and travel across the Calanques! If you prefer to stay in your car, you can take the Départementale D81, linking Piana to Porto.
Around Scandola, a number of diving and scuba sites are available. With the amazing marine life, this little section of Corsica can show you all the treasures of the sea. It's definitely a chance to admire the depths of the Mediterranean, full of beautiful red coral and rich underwater flora and fauna. Get ready and let's go!