Visiting Bastia

What to do in Bastia

Huddled behind walls and bastions around its Governors' Palace, now a museum, Terra Nova watches over the old port below. The town of Bastia at Corsica is criss-crossed by a network of narrow streets.

The lower part of BastiaTerra-Vecchia, conquered by the Genoese, stretched along the coast. Despite the invasive modern buildings, Bastia has retained its character as a Mediterranean port.

carte corse bastia

With its picturesque narrow streets, the heart of the town is the Place Saint Nicolas, a long shady esplanade where a marble statue of Saint Nicholas has been erected. Napoleon in toga 1853.

Its entire history is contained in its bastiglia the original citadel that forms the walled city. Here, the sea and the mountains determine the location of inhabited areas, as required by the relief of the island. Corsica. . also, Bastia was the capital during the period of Genoese domination. It clung to the slopes and later spread out, gaining its Saint-Nicolas square on the water.


From the modest navy it was to the commercial port it has become, the history of Bastia has been marked by the glories and vicissitudes of every fortified town.

French since the 18th century, Bastia suffered extensive damage during the Second World War. But it has gradually established itself as the economic lung of the Corsica.

Where to stay in Bastia on holiday

Hotel in Bastia

Here is a selection of the three best hotels in Bastia, based on visitor reviews.

Guest house in Bastia

Do you prefer the peace and quiet of the area when you book a guest house? Bastia is full of highly-rated guest houses. Most of them are run by private individuals, so you can be sure of a warm welcome and plenty of information about Bastia and the surrounding area.

Things to do in Bastia

Visiting Bastia

There are a number of areas in the city of Bastia that are well worth a visit during your stay in Corsica. Here are just a few of them:

Place Saint-Nicolas

Located behind the new port, it is one of the France's largest open-air marketplaces. It's also a friendly place where young and old alike can relax with family and friends. Children will love the merry-go-rounds, and will be able to let off steam in this 22,400 m² area. A bandstand is open all year round, and there's an ice rink in winter and a chocolate fair in October.

Place Saint-Nicolas, Bastia
Place Saint-Nicolas in Bastia. Photo credit: Larry Koester.

On Sunday mornings, there is a flea market where you can pick up a variety of second-hand items. History buffs can also admire the statue of Napoleon. L'tourist office is also present. It is also the starting point for a number of tourist circuits. So it's an essential place to visit during your stay in Bastia.

The Old Port and the marina

Everyone will appreciate the authenticity of the Old Port located at the foot of the citadel. As you stroll along its quays, you'll be able to admire some magnificent houses with colourful facades. For an exceptional view of the port, we recommend a stroll along the Quai des Martyrs de la Libération.

Old Port of Bastia. Photo credit: Frank van Dongen

From numerous bars and restaurants are also present, and it is very pleasant to have lunch or a drink there. The Toga marina is also located in the old town of Bastia.

The old town

Also known as "Terra vecchia", it is particularly rich in history and memorable architecture. It is made up of narrow streets, alleyways and buildings, most of which date from the 18th century. We recommend that you slow down your walking pace to make the most of it.

holiday accommodation in corsica
Old town of Bastia

La MARKET PLACE is not to be missed. It contains a market and the Grande église Saint-Jean-Baptiste. The Oratories of St Roch and the Immaculate Conception are also located here.

The citadel

This is one of the most interesting areas of Bastia to explore. Below the citadel is the Jardin Romieu and the chic houses of the old town. This area is also home to the Grand Palais des Gouverneurs, the church of Sainte-Marie and the Oratoire Sainte-Croix.

Aerial view of the Bastia citadel
Aerial view of the Bastia citadel.

Cultural activities in Bastia

Bastia is not only architecturally rich. It also has some very interesting cultural venues.

The Governors' Palace

Also known as "Palazzu i Guvernardori" in Corsican, this is an impressive and important building. It was once the residence of the governors officiating with the city of Genoa. During the Second World War, its dungeons were used by the Nazis to lock up resistance fighters. It was also used as a military barracks.

Now renovated, is now home to the municipal museum. Here you can enjoy exhibitions on the history of Bastia and Corsica in general. History buffs will be delighted to visit this rich historic building.

Museum of Corsican Ethnography

Opened in June 1997, it offers visitors a chance to discover Corsican culture and territory. It houses both elements of rural ethnology and folk art. It also provides an opportunity to reflect on the future of the island of Corsica. Guided tours and school visits are organised, as well as colloquia and conferences. It has two galleries. The first, called Doazan, looks at how travellers and ethnologists have viewed rural Corsica over the centuries. The second deals with current anthropological issues.

Change of governors in Bastia
The Old Port of Bastia is taking a leap back in time, becoming for one day the stage for the re-enactment of a ceremony that is over 500 years old. This historic show retraces the transfer of power between the governors of Bastia, appointed by Genoa.

The new governor, accompanied by a procession of 150 extras, crosses the streets of the old town from the Old Port to the Place du Donjon. Demonstrations by flag-wavers, drummers and other entertainers take place at the start and finish of the procession.

Visit the churches in Bastia

Bastia ChurchL'Sainte-Marie church in BastiaThis former cathedral was built in 1495 and underwent major alterations in the early 17th century. Behind this church is the Sainte-Croix chapel, with its exuberant interior decoration. The chapel has its own treasure: the Christ of MiraclesIt was found floating in the water by two fishermen in 1428.

L'Saint Jean-Baptiste church in Bastia, built in 1583, near the Old Port, boasts a noble classical façade and an 18th-century Baroque interior. The remarkable furnishings include an organ, pulpit and paintings from Cardinal Fesch's collection.

La Chapel of the Immaculate Conception à Bastia 1611 to the vault painted in the XIXe In its museum sacristy, it houses a number of pieces of religious art from the 15th and 19th centuries from the town's sanctuaries.

How do I get to Bastia?

Bastia is certainly one of the island's easiest cities to get to, thanks to Bastia airport and its many airlines from mainland France. Below is an overview of the cheapest plane tickets to Bastia.

Excursions around Bastia

  • San Martino di Lota
  • The Mariana Excavations

The feast of Saint Joseph:

In March, in the Saint-Joseph district in Bastia. A local religious celebration in tribute to this former city amphitryon, who left behind a superb 17th-century parish church.

Over the years, this religious festival has become a veritable rendezvous for the people of Bastia, who gather for this event that is both sacred and festive around the Cap Corse white wine and traditional doughnuts ("i panzarotti")... a must-see!

What to see around Bastia

Col de Teghime to BastiaTaking the road Bastia-Patrimonio or Saint Florent BastiaOn the one hand, you can see the whole city from a bird's eye view. Bastia and the Marana lagoon, and on the other, the Gulf of Saint Florent and the Agriates, with its mountains plunging languorously into a sea glistening in the falling sun... what a poem!

A page in the history of Corsica the cannons and the monument are there to remind us that on 1 and 2 October 1943 fighting took place on the pass and that these weapons were used in the Liberation of France. Bastia in particular by the Moroccan goumiers of the French army.

There is also a superb view of the whole of the south of France. Bastia and the Etang de Biguglia (a 1,800-hectare nature reserve that serves as a stopover for migratory birds).

Bastia Tourist Office
Rue José Luccioni 20200 Bastia
Tel: 33(0) - Fax: 33(0)

Some specialities to discover in Bastia :

Sardines with brocciu Fresh sardines stuffed with Brocciu, a cheese made from curdled sheep's milk.

Le baccalà : It's simply cod. For a long time, this dish was considered to be the dish of the poor in France. Corsica because it was affordable and because it was very salty and kept well.

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