Ajaccio, Corsica, France cruises

Corsica’s charismatic capital is a land of colorful streets, flavorsome, rustic cuisine, and perhaps most notably, historical importance.

Ajaccio port guide

Ajaccio is probably most known for being the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte. As you wander the city’s pretty streets, find this iconic leader immortalized in statues and plaques everywhere. When you’re not exploring history and architectural highlights, perhaps find time to simply sit somewhere peaceful and enjoy the view of brightly painted fishing boats and rustling palms.

Top landmarks and sights in Ajaccio

While you’ll find tributes to Napoleon throughout Ajaccio, if you’re interested in learning more about this important historical figure you could visit his ancestral home – Maison Bonaparte. Now the National Museum of the Bonaparte House, here you can retrace Napoleon’s early footsteps and browse family documents and portraits, pondering the journey that produced one of Europe’s most notorious leaders.

Ajaccio town hall, or Hotel de Ville, is a charming, historic building that was erected between 1824 and 1830, while Charles X was king. Within the building you’ll find Salon Napoleon, which houses a number of artefacts including Napoleonic works of art.

The Imperial Chapel is also considered a historic monument, having been built in 1857 and consecrated in 1860. Built upon the request of Cardinal Fesch, the chapel is in fact the right wing of Palais Fesch, which also houses the Cardinal’s impressive collection of Italian paintings.

Tino Rossi Marina, named after famous Corsican singer and actor, is peppered with palm trees and home to charming shops, restaurants, and pretty pastel facades that beg to be photographed. It’s a lovely spot to enjoy a slow-paced afternoon with plenty of opportunities to people-watch or perhaps stop and sample some local fare.

Things to do in Ajaccio

Ajaccio has no shortage of interesting museums, covering all manner of subjects from art and culture to broader Mediterranean history. Palais Fesch is well worth a visit if you’re interested in art and history, with Cardinal Fesch’s collection spanning artworks throughout the 14th to the 20th centuries. Musée a Bandera is home to military and history exhibitions, offering an insight into the involvement of Corsica and its people, in Mediterranean past.

You could while away the hours exploring old town, getting purposely lost in sprawling ancient streets filled with colorful architecture and quaint alleyways. When you’re finished shopping for trinkets and visiting cafes, the old town also opens out to the seafront by the old port, which makes for some lovely photos.

Should you prefer a more gentle, peaceful afternoon, perhaps head north to the Gulf of Sagone, a bay between the Gulfs of Ajaccio and Porto. Explore dense, green hillsides and beautiful beaches fringed by olive trees, or maybe you’d prefer to enjoy the stillness, savoring the warm sun with your vacation read.

From the town center, keen walkers can take on the Chemin des Crêtes, or Crest Trail, a picturesque walk of just over 9km. Make your way up through the scenic route and, at the top, be rewarded with remarkable views across Ajaccio over the sea to the Iles Sanguiaires.

Eating and drinking in Ajaccio

Corsica is known for many delicious sweet and savory treats, and Ajaccio offers an abundance of things to try.

Some excellent cheeses are produced in the region, such as brocciu, a sweet and creamy cheese made with goat’s or sheep’s milk, and the aromatic brin d’amour, which uses the milk of local ewes and is coated in herbs and juniper berries. You’ll find plenty of local wine, olives, and home-made cheeses on menus throughout Ajaccio. Meat, particularly pork, also features heavily on menus, often in the form of stews or sausages made from years old family recipes.

When you’re looking for something sweet after dinner, or perhaps to enjoy with a coffee in a quaint cafe, you’ll find many choices that showcase Corsican honey or jam. Ajaccio is known for high quality honey, and a lot of local families produce jam made with different fruits. Chestnuts are also grown across much of Corsica, so these sweet nuts are found in many desserts, sometimes as a flour. Fiadone, for example, is a cheesecake that uses chestnut flour, eggs, and brocciu cheese, flavored with lemon and eau de vie (local fruit brandy).

Shopping in Ajaccio

When it comes to retail therapy, whether it’s for a memento of your vacation, a special treat, or perhaps souvenirs to take home to loved ones, you’ll find an array of boutiques and stores to browse in Ajaccio.

At Casa Napoleon, find local wares such as homemade jam, olive oil, and wine. Art’Insula offers craftwork such as leather goods, jewelry, and pottery, and U Tilaghju, close to Ajaccio cathedral, is a beautiful art studio that sells paintings, woodwork, ceramics, and silk scarves.

Getting around: Ajaccio transport

When you step ashore in Ajaccio port, you’re just a short 5-minute walk from the town center. Should you wish to go further afield, there are plenty of taxis available as well as a bus and train service.

Ajaccio port facilities

Ajaccio cruise port is a modest terminal with basic facilities. You’ll find toilets, public phones, and a taxi rank outside. It’s also worth knowing that Ajaccio is a tender port, meaning your ship will anchor in the harbor, and you’ll board a tender boat which will bring you to the pier.

Top tips for Ajaccio


Ajaccio, Corsica is French, and as such the local currency is the Euro like most of mainland Europe. It’s possible to obtain euros on board your ship, or you’ll also find many ATMs located throughout the town center. Most large establishments do accept card payments, but it can be helpful to have some cash on you if you’ll be visiting small shops, market stalls, or cafes.


While tipping is not considered compulsory, it is the norm in most cafes and restaurants. Depending on the service you receive, between 5 and 10% of your total bill is appropriate. A service charge will often be included in your bill, however, so do check for this first.


The weather in Ajaccio is cool in the winter, but mild for the rest of the year. Summers (June, July, and August) are warm, with average highs of around 28 degrees Celsius, and the winter months get to as low as about 4 degrees Celsius. When it comes to rain the summer months are generally dry, and Corsica sees the most rain in November.