Situated in the middle of the International Marine Park, the port of Bonifacio is set in the heart of a channel, about one nautical mile long. It offers total protection in all weathers and winds. But above all, a stop-over to satisfy sailors with top-level seafood gastronomy, numerous bars and terraces with the possibility of all types of provisioning only a few meters from the pontoons.
The author, M . Valery, like Charles V or Napoleon Bonaparte, was subjugated by the extreme beauty of Bonifacio. He resumes in two well-chosen words « picturesque capital » the strong sensations and unforgettable souvenir offered by the« City of the Cliff». It has to be said that with its millenary fortress, its 5 historical monuments, its houses perched 60 meters over the sea and its 120 kilometres of coastline, Bonifacio has more than enough to satisfy curiosities and fulfil desires.
Bonifacio, the other garden of Eden
Bonifacio is rich with rare and protected species. The Cory's Shearwater seabird is part of the family of the Albatross, the African Fish Eagle planes over Sperone and wild orchids, found nowhere else in France, cover the countryside. And marine mammals of all kinds (the common dolphin and the White-Blue Dolphin) are omnipresent all year long.
The Natural Reserve of the Bonifacio Strait
The largest marine natural reserve in mainland France, the Natural Reserve of the Bonifacio Strait aims at preserving and enhancing the value of the coastal and marine heritage of the Bonifacio Strait. Here you’ll find a variety of natural habitats, seagrass and coralligenous meadows and vegetal or animal species, such as groupers, brown meagres, razorfish, Audoin’s gull, Cory’s shearwater. The reserve also has a uniquely beautiful and diverse landscape. It comprises 12,000 hectares of reinforced protection zones where underwater fishing is prohibited.
Bonifacio, spread on a high chalk rock, is the oldest city in Corsica and the main port for boats from Sardinia
The reserve consists of the Lavezzi Islands, the Cerbicales Islands and the Tre Padule natural reserves, as well as the protected biotope areas of the Moines Islands and the Bruzzi Peninsula, a few zones acquired by the Coastline Conservatory and the Department of Corse-du-Sud along the coasts, and finally ‘cantonnements’ (no-take zones) introduced by the fishermen’s corporation of Bonifacio.
Sailing into Bonifacio is definitely a breathtaking experience. You enter through a narrow passage with cliffs on either side. Truly an incredible sailing journey. In the Strait of Bonifacio which separates Corsica and Sardinia, the coast is very rugged with large white cliffs towering over the sea. One can easily access numerous coves between cliffs. Often seen as a bit of a dream destination for sailors, you will always find sailing wind here because of the nozzle effect.
Often seen as a bit of a dream destination for sailors, you will always find sailing wind here because of the nozzle effect.
These are one of the few stretches of coastline in the Mediterranean where you are practically sure to sail.
Not just a windy spot
Omero Moretti, the life-long sailor with a profound knowledge of this area, describes sailing across the Strait of Bonifacio as follows: “here the wind is the master: you can see it in the landscape, in the purest colours, in the moulded rocks, in the low scrub that climbs on the stones, you can feel it in the air and in the scents. Often it is because of the sudden changes in the wind direction that this part of the Mediterranean has a tricky reputation. But it's beautiful navigation, challenging and definitely exciting.”
“The Strait is a great place to sail: a few miles apart there are beautiful bays sheltered from any wind and generally very safe anchorages - even if the wind may blow heavily, a short sail is enough to get to heavenly spots.”
“The Mistral's shelters are the most popular, and therefore also the best known: Budelli, La Maddalena, Santa Manza, Rondinara and Lavezzi. Sometimes when the Mistral extends for several days, it’s worth going back to the east side of Corsica: the Mistral ultimately will get there as well but usually, you won’t find any waves.”
Omero continues: “With the Grecale, the north-easterly wind, you will find shelter on the western slopes of the islands of the archipelago, less "beaten" but definitely just as fascinating - two of them the wonderful Razzoli and the magical Porto della Madonna.”
The Strait is a great place to sail: a few miles apart there are beautiful bays sheltered from any wind and generally very safe anchorages
Take a look at the best sailing moments with Omero on his Freya or read the full article by Omero here.
This article was written in collaboration with the Bonifacio Office Municipal de Tourisme Follow them on Instagram @bonifaciotourisme or find them on Facebook Bonifacio Tourisme And Omero Moretti Follow Omero Moretti on Facebook Omero Moretti Vela or Instagram @omeromoretti