Ajaccio / Corsica

Ajaccio / Corsica


Located in western Corsica, Ajaccio is the largest city on this Mediterranean island. Ajaccio is the capital of Corsica and the administrative center of the Corse-du-Sud region.

Ajaccio, the capital of Corsica

What hasn't already been written about Ajaccio? Corsica's capital is sophisticated. It would have Mediterranean charm and an Italian-style old town. It also preserves Napoleon's legacy. All of this is true, and the general, statesman and emperor is often remembered in Ajaccio. Otherwise, the island metropolis with 71.000 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2019) is an attractive, medium-sized French provincial town with a few sights, a pleasant harbor line and beautiful surroundings.

Ajaccio - Napoléon's statue

Ajaccio - Napoléon's statue


Corsica in numbers

Politically and economically, Corsica is part of France. More than 340.000 people live on the fourth largest Mediterranean island. Almost half of the population lives in the metropolitan areas of the cities of Ajaccio and Bastia.

Corsica consists mainly of mountains. At 2.706 meters, the Monte Cinto massif is the highest point on the island. Fifty other mountains have heights of more than 2.000 meters.

Ajaccio-Plage Saint Francois

Ajaccio-Plage Saint Francois


The island is 8.680 square kilometers. Its coastline is more than 1.000 kilometers. In north-south direction the island extends over 183 kilometers in length. Its maximum width is 83 kilometers.

Corsica's story

The island was first settled by Greeks. They were followed by the Romans, then the Vandals and finally the Lombards.

From 1284 until the middle of the 18th century the Republic of Genoa ruled over the island. At that time, the Corsican population rose up to shake off Genoa's rule. Genoa lacked the financial resources to carry out military action against the insurgents. Instead, France acted. The Grande Nation was supposed to protect Genoa's interests in return for a reasonable fee. However, since Genoa, which was insolvent at the time, could not pay the costs of the action, Corsica finally fell to France. In 1768, the Treaty of Versailles regulated the surrender of Corsica.

The following year, the island's most famous son, Napoleone Buonaparte, was born in Ajaccio. The descendant of a family belonging to the Corsican nobility took the name Napoléon Bonaparte in 1796. The Corsican entered the history books of the Grande Nation as a general, statesman and emperor.

Ajaccio - Napoléon's birthplace - Memorial plaque

Ajaccio - Napoléon's birthplace - Memorial plaque


Corsica today

Today, Corsica is beset by significant problems. The gross domestic product per capita is below the French average. A relatively high unemployment rate reduces the average income on the island. For centuries, the Corsican economy was characterized by agriculture and animal husbandry, and there was no industry. Today, trade and the service sectors, including tourism, account for almost 50 percent of all jobs. The other half is accounted for by the agricultural, industrial, construction and public administration sectors.

Ajaccio - fishing boats and cruise ship

Ajaccio - fishing boats and cruise ship


Corsica's coat of arms

Corsica's coat of arms is the "Corsican head", called "Tête de Maure" in French. It depicts a Moor's head with frizzy hair and a white headband. The head is generally considered a symbol of freedom. Several legends interpret its creation in different ways.

Ajaccio for crusaders

Ships from well-known cruise lines call at various Corsican ports. Volume providers such as AIDA Cruises, Costa Crociere, Princess Cruises and TUI Cruises have their ships head for the capital Ajaccio. The tourism organization uses the term “Napoleonic Call” for this. Smaller ships dock in Bastia, Propriano or Porto-Vecchio.

Ajaccio - the first impression - view from the cruise ship

Ajaccio - the first impression - view from the cruise ship


As a day guest on a cruise ship, you can see and experience a lot in Ajaccio and the surrounding area. We report on this under Ajaccio sightseeing.

Update November 2022

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