|The Tower of Santa Maria, accessible to walkers on the Sentier des Douaniers trail in Cap Corse.|
In the previous post we explored the western coast of Cap Corse and visited the Mattei windmill at the top of a hill that overlooks the northern coast of Corsica.
Exploring Corsica’s Extreme North
Leaving the Moulin Mattei site and descending down to the eastern coast of the Cap is the village of Rogliano. Evidence of Rogliano’s glorious past can be seen in the remains of its two castles, one dating from the 12th century, its five Genoese towers, several churches and chapels, and its monumental mausoleums.
The drive from the hillside village of Rogliano down to the sea is very pleasant and offers superb views of the marine of Macinaggio below.
Macinaggio, a large fishing village and a strategic port since the time of the Romans, is the starting point to the trail that leads to the Santa Maria tower. Small coves abound along this trail, which at one time served as entry points for smugglers, hence the name “path of the customs officers”.
The hike from Macinaggio to the tower is an easy-to-moderate 60 to 90 minute walk, mostly over flat terrain with fantastic views of the ocean at every turn.
If you enjoy hiking, you can continue past the tower and reach the extreme northern tip of Corsica at the village of Barcaggio. Be sure to bring adequate sun protection and plenty of water though since there is nothing but coastline beyond the beach of Tamarone.
If you prefer, you can take a boat ride from (June to September) and just enjoy the scenery. The San Paulu boat is located across from the Macinaggio tourist office (see link below).
The East Coast
Leaving Macinaggio, the D80 highway on the eastern coast of Cap Corse is wider and less steep, making it easier to stop and enjoy the marinas and small beach resorts along the way.
The village of Erbalunga, just 10 km north of Bastia and famous for its well photographed cleft tower, is ideal for strolling through its shaded streets and central square. It also faces the well known Castel Brando hotel, another landmark worth visiting.
An exploration of Cap Corse, an island within an island, will reward visitors with amazing sights and scenery in one of the most contrasting areas of Corsica.
The tourist office in Macinaggio provides free maps and a description of the trail that leads to the tower.
In addition to several hotels, restaurants, bakeries and shops, Macinaggio has a pharmacy and an ATM machine.