Medieval Bonifacio on Your Own
Propriano, Corsica, France
- Old Town: Sitting on a promontory of chalk cliffs and encircled by the walls of a 9th-century citadel, this part of Bonifacio is a warren of cobbled lanes and squares filled with shops, cafes, and medieval townhouses.
- Landmark encounters: Explore the Bastion de l'Etendard fortress, looming high over the marina; gaze on the 8,500-year-old "Lady of Bonifacio"; visit the 12th-century Sainte-Marie-Majeure cathedral; explore a Tuscan lookout tower built in 1195; climb down (and back up) the legendary King Aragon cliff-face staircase.
- The harbor: Bonifacio's charming quay is lined with cafes and restaurants, an ideal spot for people- and yacht-watching while relaxing over delicious Corsican wine, charcuterie, and fresh-caught seafood.
About This Propriano Tour
There's something mysterious and wonderful about towns isolated out on the very tip of an island or peninsula, and Bonifacio is a perfectly scenic example. Perched on rugged limestone cliffs sculpted by the sea on Corsica's far southern edge, this medieval bastion is a place of history, natural beauty, and a sophisticated Mediterranean ambiance, complete with palm trees and sleek yachts.
Separated from Sardinia by a narrow strait of sparkling water, the medieval settlement is named for Bonifacio II, Marquis of Tuscany, who built the citadel in the 9th century. But the roots go even deeper: The famous "Lady of Bonifacio" skeleton, discovered in a nearby grotto in 1972, has been carbon-dated to 6570 BC.
We get you to Bonifacio and back with a relaxing coastal drive, leaving you with about four hours to explore on your own. As you walk through the Old Town, you'll see and feel the diverse cultural footprints left behind by the French, Tuscans, Pisans, Genoans, Moors, and others who held the reins of power here over the centuries.
You'll also see (and feel!) plenty of stairs. Pedestrian access between the marina and upper Old Town is via the steep Montee Rastello and Montee Saint-Roch steps and the citadel's Genoa Gate – the only way in for centuries. But the true showstopper stairway experience is the straight 187-step descent to the sea via the King Aragon steps, hewn into the cliff face in a single night during a 1420 siege by the King of Aragon. Well, that's the legend, anyway. The truth may be a tad more pedestrian: The stairs were built by locals to gain access to a freshwater well. But that's Bonifacio: Just getting where you're going has an air of mystery.
We'll take the ferry, thanks
Look south from the towers, ramparts, and cliffs of Bonifacio and you may be able to make out Sardinia – it's only about 7.5 miles as the crow flies, or about nine as the human swims. Every summer, the Corsica-to-Sardinia crossing attracts distance swimmers looking to add to their Gibraltar Strait, English Channel, and Catalina Channel done-it lists. For comparison, Navy SEALs must be able to swim only two miles.
Please exit the gangway to meet your guide. Please look for our displayed logo sign. Staying at a hotel? Be sure to advise the GoBe Crew so we can meet you in the lobby.
This tour offers independent exploration, giving you maximum flexibility to GoBe whatever and wherever you like in Bonifacio, and for the amount of time you wish to spend at each place.
Walking is at your own pace in Bonifacio and the amount is at each person's discretion. Expect steps, inclines & cobblestones. You must be able to get on/off of the bus without assistance or with help from a companion.
Scenic, Transport Only, Walking Tour, Shopping, Full Day
English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for all ages.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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