Are you going to South Corsica?
Don’t miss to visit the fascinating Lavezzi islands and their giant rocks.
Here is our guide to plan your trip:
- How to visit the Lavezzi Islands
- Bonifacio to the Lavezzi islands by shuttle boat,
- What to do on Lavezzu Island, including the beaches,
- Maps, tips and photos.
Why visit the Lavezzi islands in Corsica ?
Is the excursion to the Lavezzi Islands worth it?
Absolutely, if you have time, the Lavezzi islands are really amazing.
The Lavezzi archipelago is a series of small islands and granite reefs.
Only 30 minutes by boat from Bonifacio, you can explore a land full of giant rocks of different colors and shapes.
It is sometimes called the “Seychelles of the Mediterranean” (but on a much smaller scale, of course).
For us, it’s a playground for giants! And it is also a photographer’s paradise.
This ‘granite chaos’ is one of the best things to do in Bonifacio and also the best places in Corsica(see our list).
Before I share my tips for planning your visit and more photos, here’s a short video to give you an idea of what the boat shuttle and island tour look like:
More pictures after the practical advice.
Corsica has really fascinating geological elements. Want to see more? Discover the Gulf of Porto with Piana and Scandola.
Tips and Map – How to visit the Lavezzi Islands, Corsica
Where are the Lavezzi islands in Corsica? Card
- In South Corsica
- in the Strait of Bonifacio between Sardinia and Corsica,
- 4 km from the Corsican mainland
- The island you can visit is the main one of the reserve: Lavezzu.
- access by boat from Bonifacio: 10km
- Here is a map to help you find your way
- and see all our tips for planning a dream trip to Corsica here
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How much time to allow
Block a day during your vacations in Corsica, to visit the Lavezzi islands.
Take the shuttle in the morning, bring water and a picnic lunch.
Walk around the island and land on a beach.
You can also make a half-day trip by taking the boat back 2 or 3 hours later.
Ferry to the Lavezzi Islands – Shuttle from Bonifacio
If you don’t have your own boat, your best option is to take one of Bonifacio’s shuttle boats.
- They leave and return from the marina several times a day. This way you can decide how long you want to stay: 2 hours for a snapshot or all day with time to relax at the beach
- The trip to and from the island is beautiful along the cliffs of Bonifacio – The outward journey will be direct in 30min and the return will be longer so that you can see the coast better and get explanations.
- You can buy your ticket at the kiosks around the marina
- In summer, we recommend to book in advance
- The main service provider is SPMB
- Please note that in case of bad weather, boat trips may be cancelled.
The boats have a protected section and outdoor seating.
Boat to the Lavezzi Islands from Porto-Vecchio
Some departures are possible to reach the Lavezzi islands from Porto-Vecchio but they are less frequent and the sailing time is longer. But there are beautiful views all along.
See details and book
Cruise to Bonifacio and Lavezzi islands from Ajaccio
It is also possible to make an excursion from Ajaccio.
The trip combines the magnificent citadel of Bonifacio and the Lavezzi islands.
See the program and book
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Access by boat: Lavezzi Islands shuttle from Bonifacio in pictures
From the marina
Before telling you more about being on the islands themselves, here are some pictures from the Lavezzi – Bonifacio Islands Shuttle.
It leaves from the marina with a view of the fortifications:
In front of the cliffs
Then you leave the port protected by the promontory. And you discover the magnificent cliffs with the houses at the edge. On the way to the island, we sailed further away from the coast to go directly to our destination. However, as you will see later in the article, the boat ride back from the Lavezzi took us closer to the cliffs.
Notice the famous Aragon staircase that allows you to go down inside!
Memorial for the ship La Sémillante
Then you approach the Lavezzi islands.
One of the first things you see is the small monument. The team explains that it is in memory of the largest wreck in French naval history. In 1855, the Semillante crashed into the giant rocks that cover the strait.
Not the most reassuring thing to know when you are on a boat… LOL but the local pilots know the area very well and the boat is smaller.
Wharf on Lavezzu Island
There are two docks that are only accessible to licensed companies. The islands are a protected reserve since 1982.
Normally, in summer, you land on the east coast of the island, but out of season, the preservation council can land the boat on the west coast as we did here.
In both cases, it is easy to go to earth.
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What to do on the Lavezzi Islands – Map and Advice
And then you can start walking and exploring.
What to do in Lavezzu?
The main activities on the island of Lavezzu are :
- Visit the different bays to admire the giant rocks
- Hike around the island
- Enjoy the beaches
- Discover the few structures and their histories
Map and general tips
- If you only stay for a few hours, you will only cover part of it. The views and rocks are fascinating and you stop all the time
- On the map, you can see the two landings
- Respect the footpaths to preserve the environment
- The longest beach is on the east coast at the end of the northern trail
Tips for walking
- Walking on the island is not too difficult
- There are no high hills, only very small hills.
- Sometimes the paths are a little narrower but it is not difficult
- Wear appropriate footwear to explore easily
- There may be mosquitoes in some parts of the island
- There is no fresh water source and no facilities at all. Bring everything you need with you
- Also, there is no shade at all, so bring plenty of water!
- Some websites indicate that the walking tour can be done in 1h30. This is true if you never stop. But if you want to explore, admire the rock formations, take pictures, find the best angles, and just enjoy… you need much longer.
There are not enough signs for our taste, but sometimes you have small pylons with directions.
However, the island is not so big and in the middle (between the docks) you have the cemetery that allows you to orient yourself and know where you are.
It is a fascinating place to go hiking. You never know what it will look like after each stone.
We found the east coast very different from the west coast, despite the small size of the main island…
How to get to Corsica
Option 1: by ferry
Departure from France and Italy – see all options in our article
or directly compare schedules, prices and availability
Advantage: you can take your car
Option 2: by plane
Airports in Bastia, to visit the North, Figari to visit the South, or Ajaccio convenient for all Corsica.
Compare prices and availability ofairline tickets
And then rent a car: see our favorite comparator
If you are traveling in the summer, remember to book early to get the best prices and choices!
Need more help choosing?
See our advice on how to go to Corsica
The beaches of the island Lavezzi
There are a few coves with beaches on the main island. Most of them are quite small with little sand.
But on the west coast, there are 2 large sandy areas.
Most people who want to spend the day at the beach go to the longest one. This is also where most private boats head.
We didn’t have enough time on the island, and we decided not to walk all the way. But you can guess its beauty with the picture below taken from the boat.
The mountains in the background are on the Corsican continent.
The second largest, just south of the previous one, is easy to access.
And then there are small coves here and there.
Note: the brown things you can see on the beach are dead leaves of seagrass. It is very common in the Mediterranean. They are not very beautiful, but they are very important for the environment. Learn more about our article on Corsica’s beaches.
The names of the most important beaches on the island are:
- La Cala Lazarina
- The beach of Achiarana
- The beach of Chiasa
If you have time, bring your own snorkeling gear.
With the abundance of granite boulders underwater, there is a lot to see around the island.
The best of Corsica
Plan an unforgettable trip!
- Where to sleep in Corsica – read
- The most beautiful beaches of Corsica – read
- The most beautiful villages of Corsica – read
- The most beautiful cities of Corsica – read
- The most beautiful destinations in Corsica – read
- Best things to do in Corsica – read
- Ajaccio or Bastia? – read
- Planning a road trip in Corsica –read
- Which ferry for Corsica – read
- How to get to Corsica – read
- itinerary: 3 days – 4 or 5 days
See all our tips for a successful trip to Corsica
Lavezzi Islands Reserve – photos
The archipelago of Lavezzi is fascinating. The water is turquoise and there are rocks everywhere with different shapes, sizes and colors. Here are some fascinating photos that should convince you to visit them:
These islands and reefs are part of the granite base between Corsica and Sardinia.
The two islands were once connected. These beautiful rocks are also present underwater and the depth is less than 20m.
In fact, 7000 years ago, Lavezzu must have been accessible on foot from mainland Corsica.
These rocks are shaped by erosion, creating forms where you can imagine creatures and stories.
This section of the image below, looked to me like an artificial dam, but this ‘construction’ is entirely natural!
Lavezzi Islands Return Boat – Sperone and Cliffs
On the way back from the Lavezzi islands, the pilot took us near Cavallo, the other main island, which is inhabited.
We then sailed to the coast and along the cliffs to Bonifacio.
Our first view was from the small beach of Sperone, one of the most beautiful beaches near Bonifacio(see our list).
Then we admire the layers of white limestone at Capo Pertusato. You can also access it on foot and it is fascinating. Check out our article on the Cape and the St. Anthony Beach next door.
In the image below, you can see the course from the other side with the lighthouse on top.
One of the rocky clusters looks like a wreck, don’t you think?
We then sailed under the cliffs of Bonifacio.
It is very impressive to see the medieval city built on the edge of the cliff.
Moreover, the erosion makes the houses hang over the water: fascinating and frightening at the same time.
The Aragon staircase is really impressive. We recommend you to visit it!
Learn more with our article.
If you are lucky, and the sea is really calm, you can enter a cave with a Corsican-shaped hole at the top.
Then you return to the port.
Hotels for the Lavezzi Islands
If you are fascinated by these rocks, you may want to stay close by.
However, Lavezzu and most of the islands are protected as a reserve.
The neighboring island of Cavallo is inhabited and has these giant rocks. There are only a few accommodations for tourists.
For example, you can stay at the Fishermen’s Hotel and Spa on the waterfront. See photos and availability
But your best option is to spend one or two nights in Bonifacio to explore the town and the cliffs. Here are my suggestions below.
Where to stay in Bonifacio
To enjoy this show, it is better to spend a night or several!
Sleep in the citadel on top of the cliffs for exceptional views
For example, at the Santateresa Hotel
– see prices, pictures and availability
Sleep around the marina, for easy access to all the restaurants and stores without having to climb stairs and slopes.
For example, at the Solemare Hotel and its pool with a view!
– see prices, pictures and availability
Sleep in the surrounding countryside, with options ranging from luxury to camping.
For example, at the hotel Version Maquis Citadelle
– see prices, pictures and availability
Sleeping around Porto-Vecchio
Many choices of accommodations along the cliffs and beaches between Porto Vecchio and Bonifacio.
The road will take you 20 to 50 minutes.
For example, the Residence U Pirellu
– see prices, pictures and availability
See the best rated accommodations in Bonifacio still available
See all our advices to choose where to stay in Bonifacio (article to come)
Or, more generally, see our article where to stay in South Corsica
The island of Cavallo
The archipelago has another island a little further away called Cavallo. This one is inhabited. This is the only one.
It is called the island of billionaires, because many of them have a villa there.
Other boat tours not to be missed in Corsica
If you like to explore a place by water, don’t miss it:
- The tour of the port and the cliffs of Bonifacio
- The îles sanguinaires from Ajaccio
- The magnificent calanques de Piana from Porto Ota, Ajaccio or Calvi – read more
- The Scandola reserve from Porto Ota – more information