You may remember Simpson Travel stepped in earlier this year to assist our Co-Founder, Belinda Robinson, with her holiday challenge. The result was a 2 week holiday booked to Alto Di Pinarello, one of Simpson Travel’s properties in Corsica. Having returned, Belinda gives us the low down.
I booked my holiday to Alto di Pinerello in Corsica with Simpson Travel at Easter. This felt hugely organised for me (normally a last minuter) but I then realised I had to park my excitement for a while as the 29thof July felt a life-time away. The summer months are always incredibly busy at Coco Bay and Corsica was the dangling carrot. By the time it arrived, I couldn’t have been more ready to get on that plane. I had neglected to do any pre-holiday research into Corsica so, apart from all the information the helpful rep at Simpson had given me when I booked, I had looked up our flight times and that was about it.
None of that mattered, we arrived to a friendly team from Simpson Travel who pointed us in the right direction and we picked up our hire car and we were off! We were instantly blown away by the dramatic scenic diversity of the island as we drove from the airport. Rugged Mountains and forests create the dramatic backdrop as the road takes you through the sleepy inland villages, round the bustling Porto Vechio and then onto our destination, the beautiful glistening bay of Pinarello.
ALTO DI PINARELLO
After picking up supplies, we headed to our accommodation where we were greeted by Fred, the Simpson Manager there. He couldn’t have been more welcoming and helpful. Alto di Pinerello has 7 well equipped apartments (1 to 3 bedrooms). The relaxed atmosphere and welcoming spirit of the place was instantly apparent. It has a lovely balance of privacy and social space there. The apartments themselves are very separate and none look on to any of the others, but there is also social space where guests can socialise including a new honesty bar area. Having explored, there was no time to unpack. Promises had been made and our rather impatient little 5 year old, Max, was desperate to get into the pool. This, not surprisingly, turned out to be where he wanted to be most of the holiday.
As we jumped into the pool and the cicadas chirped while the dropping sun silhoueted the mountains in the distance, the beautiful reality set-in, we were on holiday!
From there, it was a perfect two weeks. I won’t take you through it day by day as we very quickly got into that relaxed, ‘holiday go slow’ mode which meant we did a lot of not very much which is exactly what we had hoped for. I will, however, pick out my highlights:
Pool Time – we did spend quite a lot of time around the pool. Max learnt to swim and made friends. The result – I actually managed to finish a book for the first time in a year
BBQs on our terrace
Max didn’t quite slip into the Corsican way of life of going out to eat ‘en-famille’ at 9 at night. He is an earlybird (unlike his mother!) and is up at 6 and doesn’t stop all day but is usually begging to go to bed by 8. No-one likes an over-tired 5 year old so we tended not to eat out in the evening. We opted instead for our beautiful balcony where we sipped wine, were treated to amazing sun-sets, barbecued fish and felt like we were out to dinner while Max slept happily inside.
The beautiful Pinarello Beach is just a 10 minute walk from Alto Di Pinarello. It is busy in August but we tended to go down there with a picnic breakfast when it was emptier (and cooler) and you didn’t notice it filling up. The water is beautifully clear and shelves gradually and the sand is perfect for sandcastles so ideal for young children. It is also brilliant for people watching and great bikini research territory as this beach is filled with glamorous French holidaymakers.
Bonifacio is about an hour from Pinarello on the Southern tip of Corsica and well worth the trip. It is a dramatic site when you arrive with the Citadel on the cliff above you and the super-yaughts in the marina in front of you. We had fun people/boat watching in a marina side café and then got on the little train which is the lazy route up to the old town with its narrow streets and buzzy atmostphere. I think I particularly liked Bonifacio as, although it was touristy, it felt really lived in too. We could have spent all day and evening there but it was over 40 degrees and Max was getting hot and grumpy!
On our way back from Bonifacio we came across Rodinara Bay which was beautiful. It had a lovely relaxed atmostphere and the water was azure blue (and very refreshing for hot cross boys after a morning in Bonifacio!). We had a very happy afternoon there swimming, making sandcastles and choosing our dream boats from the yachts moored in the bay.
This beautiful ancient Port of Porto Vecchio is definitely worth a visit. The walls of 16th-century Genoese citadel act as the backdrop to the old town and offer views over the yacht-filled marina. We didn’t make it down to the marina but explored the old town with its pretty narrow streets and main square buzzing with shops and bars. Exploring was hot work and ice-cream was definitely needed – the Corsicans make exceedingly good ice-cream 🙂
The Rock Pools (Piscines Naturelles de Cavu)
Thanks to Fred’s recommendation we headed 20 minutes in-land to the natural rock pools where there are a series of natural lakes and waterfalls. It was busy but there was enough room for everyone and beautiful fresh water to swim in.
The village of Plage de Pinarello consists of great choice of beachside eateries and bars. These range from pizzerias to a Michelin star restaurant. Max was particularly keen on the little Creperie next to the boule piste. He had obviously been taking notes from the watching the local experts because he certainly improved. It is a slightly worrying moment when you get beaten by a 5 year old.
Fred, the Simpson Manager, went above and beyond to ensure we got the most out of our stay. He knows the island so well and gave us really interesting insights into the culture and place. He was adorable with Max who was talking about Fred well after our visit. Thank you!
There is still so much to see in Corsica and obviously I haven’t covered everything we did do while we were there but I highly recommend this fascinating island with its diverse scenery and fascinating culture. We will be back!
For anyone else heading to Corsica, here are a few tips:
- Like everywhere it is very busy in July and August. If we were visiting anywhere we headed out early to avoid the heat and crowds.
- Between 1 and 3 in the afternoon the beaches empty out. This is therefore quite a nice time to go to the beach provided you have some shade.
- Prices seemed considerably higher than other European destinations so be prepared, eating out is very £££
- Beware of the dinosaurs, there have been some spotted on Pinarello Beach!