The village of Speloncato is one of our favorites in the Balagne region. It offers traditional houses, alleys with tunnels, integration in the granite rock, and breathtaking panoramas. It is really worth the detour.
Here is our guide to visit the village with map, what to see, photos and practical advice.
This guide is completely independent, based on our experiences. We visited the area anonymously, making our own choices, and paying all our bills in full.
Why visit the village of Speloncato in Balagne
Is the village of Speloncato worth it?
Yes. This village is one of our favorites in Balagne, one of the most beautiful villages in the region(see our list).
We liked it because it was much less touristy and higher.
It is a labyrinth of alleys, tunnels and houses, which is fun to explore.
And thanks to its location on a rocky outcrop at 570 meters above sea level, you can enjoy beautiful views of the Reginu valley and the Balagne coastline.
What to see in the village? Why is it known?
The village of Speloncato is much less known than Pigna or Sant-Antonino, and we do not understand why… It is fascinating for 2 main reasons:
The village is quite high perched at 570m of altitude and it offers exceptional panoramas with the sea and towards the lake of Codole.
Despite the bad weather when we visited, we found that they offered some of the most beautiful views in the area.
Its construction imbricated in the rock
The village is really built on a rocky spur, in integration with nature.
When you see it from a distance, as in the photo above, you can see the pieces of rock in the middle of the houses.
And, as you walk through the alleys, you see how the houses contour and blend into the granite.
Speloncato is located in an area called crystalline Corsica, composed of granitic rocks (unlike eastern Corsica which is more made up of shale). And the village is very exposed to the wind.
For us, this makes it one of the most beautiful villages in Corsica.
Speloncato has been occupied since Neolithic times. Remains have been discovered on several sites. And it makes sense, given the elevated location with a clear view all around. The plain north of the village was cultivated.
A village developed in the Bronze Age and then in Roman times. The Romans even built thermal baths there with a swimming pool that could hold 20 people.
Given its location, it was ideal for ensuring the security of the region, and so it developed during the tumultuous periods of Corsica until the 16th century.
From the 17th to the 19th century, the village prospered thanks to the cultivation of wheat and olives.
But the rural desertification is going on, and the village is slowly being emptied of its inhabitants. Today, there are just under 300 of them left.
If you want to read his story in great detail, check out this site (in French only).
Why this name?
The name Speloncato comes from the Corsican word “spelonche” which means caves, because the village is built on caves.
Its name is sometimes written Speluncato or Speluncatu.
More pictures after the practical advice
Tips and Map – Speloncato, Corsica
Where is Speloncato in Corsica – Map
- In the Balagne region
- On the side of L’Île-Rousse
- Driving time from Ile-Rousse = 35min
- Driving time from Calvi = 50min
- Here is a map to help you find your way:
OUR TIPS FOR RENTING A CAR IN Corsica
- Compare prices on our preferred platform: DiscoverCars – one of the best rated sites.
- Choose a car that is powerful enough (the roads are steep) but compact (some passages are narrow).
- Think of thecomplete insurance (some roads are tortuous and narrow).
- There is a lot of demand, book it early.
How to get to Speloncato
The village of Speluncato is located above the road of the Corniche de la Balagne (D71 between Lumio and Belgodère).
From the D71, you can get there via 2 roads: the D63 (from the west or the D663 from the east). If you are not comfortable driving on mountain roads, we suggest you take the D63 rather than the D663, as it is a bit wider until you get to the village (after that, it’s another story).
Parking in Speluncato can be complicated in the high season.
There are a few parking spots around the main square. And there are 3 small parking lots around the village. On Google Maps, they have the names of:
- Parking of a pinzutella,
- Parking di u pagliaghjo,
- Parking di u canale (narrow access road).
Sorry, we forgot to take a picture of our parking lot… it was raining and we kind of botched our pictures.
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- Allow an hour to explore the village and enjoy the views
- Wear good walking shoes as the ground is rocky and very uneven
- It is necessary to go up a little in the village but it is not the most sloping (from the main square)
- But if you park in the small parking lots, it adds to the slope
Where to eat – restaurants in Speloncato
There are a few options in the village, but it is limited compared to the more touristy villages.
- Bar and Restaurant Gallieni on the village square
- The Bar de la Voûte, if you want to meet local people…
- U Sechju, at the level of the village hotel
- and other options in the villages and places around
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Despite the small size of the village, you will find 2 churches. This is quite surprising.
This is because in the sixteenth century, the inhabitants of Giustiniani, in the plain, took refuge in Speloncato. They were fleeing the plague and wars. And they kept their own parish.
Santa Catalina Church
Located in the town square, the Church of Santa Catalina is the headquarters of the Sant’Antone Abbate brotherhood.
On the outside note the shape of the tower’s torque.
Inside, note the altar, the 18th century tabernacle and the silver reliquary.
Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta (Saint Michael)
The one that you have noticed the most is the church of St. Michèle. It was made a collegiate church by Pope Benedict XIV in 1749, (and confirmed by Clement XIII in 1766).
On the outside notice:
- the facade of 1509
- the sundial
- sculptures on top of the columns
- the magnificent tower of the bell tower, one of the most beautiful of Corsica according to us.
- its way of cross Nicolas Filippi of 1746.
- the tabernacle in twisted columns and inlaid wood from the 18th century
- the different paintings
- the historic Crudeli organ dating from 1810
- the tribune signed by Anto Giuseppe Saladini in 1821
- numerous paintings
Walk in the alleys and tunnels
Otherwise take the time to explore the whole village, it is not big.
You will find there nice alleys with rocks around the houses.
This village also has a lot of tunnels with houses built on top.
This is something that can be seen a lot in the Corsican villages. But there are really quite a few here.
We let you discover all its streets.
Keep your eyes open because you might see old bread ovens, beautiful vaults of old doors, a tower and a chapel…
Piazza Santa Croce
Once in Piazza Santa Croce, next to the church of Santa Michele, don’t just look at this religious monument.
Step back and look up.
Under the 3 arches, notice the paintings still present.
THE BEST OF THE Balagne
Location and Panorama
And all around the village, do not miss the views of the mountains and the sea.
The location was really strategic and we understand why the village developed here.
The lake that you notice before the sea is the lake of Codole.
It is located at 108m above sea level and is a dam lake, built in the 1980s.
Convent of Santa Maria di a Pace
From the village you can also see the Convent of Santa Maria di a Pace.
It was recently renovated by enthusiasts.
Sleeping in Speloncato – Hotel A Spelunca
There is a hotel in the old village and some rentals.
It is the hotel A Spelunca di u Sechju, on the main square of the village.
It is located in a former palace of Cardinal Savelli (who was a minister of Pope Pius IX).
You will appreciate the old façade. The lounges and rooms welcome you with chandeliers and antique furniture.
It is open from April to October.
See prices, pictures and availability
WHERE TO STAY IN Balagne
What to see nearby
The other villages of La Balagne
The hills of La Balagne are dotted with charming villages. All of them bring something a little different: a bell tower, a view, an atmosphere…
Other villages close to Speloncato are Belgodère, Felicito, Muro, and further away Pigna and Sant’Antonino.
Learn more in our article on the villages of the Balagne.
The beach of Lozari
The beautiful wild beach of Lozari is in Belgodère on the coast.
It is 25 minutes drive from Speloncato.
You will find 1.5km of white sand and 2 restaurants.
See more photos
And of course you can go and enjoy the sweetness of life in L’Île-Rousse, the seaside resort at 30min drive from Speloncato: beach, colorful houses and a stroll to the islands of Pietra and the lighthouse are waiting for you there.
Discover the best things to do in L’Île-Rousse.
PLAN YOUR TRIP TO Corsica
- The most beautiful beaches of Corsica
- The most beautiful villages of Corsica
- The most beautiful cities of Corsica
- The most beautiful destinations in Corsica
- The museums of Corsica
- Hidden gems in Corsica
- The most beautiful natural pools
- What to do in North Corsica
- Best things to do in South Corsica
- Canyoning in Corsica