We believe that each and every destination is worth a visit on its own merits, and joy can be found holidaying anywhere. However, we also know that a bit of neighbourly competition is inevitable, especially when it comes to islands in close proximity to each other.
Despite technically being different countries, Sardinia and Corsica share a similar heritage thanks to their handy locations in the centre of the Mediterranean. They both consider themselves to be distinct from the landmasses they’re governed by, and both are a real melting pot of primarily European and North African cultures, although given their historic importance as parts of trade routes the influences could be from anywhere. If you’re deciding on which one of these sunny islands to visit for your next break, then we’re here to help. It’s the battle of the islands: Corsica v Sardinia.
Whether you’re planning a visit to Sardinia or Corsica, it’s fair to say both islands benefit from absolutely stunning landscapes that encompass a wide range of terrains. Corsica is slightly less developed, so can be considered more rugged and untouched. With that being said, Sardinia has many areas that are also lacking in constant human contact, and also offers stunning, plunging cliffs, gorgeous beaches, and massive lagoons with unique wildlife. The additional infrastructure on the Italian island makes it easier to get around too, and the beaches are widely considered to be of a higher quality.
Even the very best natural bits of Corsica can be seen in Sardinia: the limestone cliffs, the rolling countryside, and the availability of outdoor pursuits like mountain biking, climbing, and hiking. Corsica does have a wider array of camping locations, but there are many places to camp in Sardinia too. If you’re just looking to lounge by the sea, then there’s no doubt who the winner is: Sardinia’s coastline is mostly pristine beach, and there’s simply more of it to go around.
Culture and History
Both islands have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to ruins and historical artefacts. The Nora Stone is one such example of this; found in Sardinia in the 18th century, it’s been dated as almost 3 millennia old. Sardinia also has the Giants of Mont, ancient stone sculptures that again date back to around three thousand years ago.
Architecture buffs will love visiting Sardinia or Corsica: both have plenty of forts, tombs, and ancient churches, which makes sense given their positions in the centre of classical trade routes. Sardinia has 13th and 14th century cathedrals in Cagliari, as well as an archaeological museum that has plenty of artefacts from prehistoric times. There are also well-preserved ancient towns, a plethora of national parks, botanical gardens, and plenty of Nurgahic ruins.
Corsica has its own cultural touchpoints, including the birthplace of Napoleon and several museums detailing the history of the island. There are also art galleries and theatres, although these exist on Sardinia as well. All in all, the bigger island edges it once again.
Food and Drink
This is quite possibly the most contentious issue when it comes to deciding which island is preferable to visit, and really depends on your own personal tastes. They have similar quirks when it comes to the products they produce. Sardinia is famed for its Casu Marzu, or maggot cheese. This is where cheese fly larvae are used to soften the cheese, before it’s aged in white wine with grapes and honey to prevent the larvae from emerging. Although this may seem unique, there is a similar product on Corsica called Casgiu Merzu.
Both islands have plenty of farmers on them, and most animal produce is made entirely on the respective islands. They both produce wine, although you’re more likely to find a wider selection of Sardinian wine on Sardinia than Corsican wine on Corsica. Food on Corsica is also a bit more homely, despite the French influences, and it tends to be more expensive. If you like pork, then Sardinia is your best bet, but if you’re keen on baked goods, you would certainly prefer Corsica. Strangely, seafood is available but not a specialty, as both islands are more farming communities than fishing. All in all, when taking price, quality, and range of food into account, Sardinia is probably the better option.
Sardinia and Corsica tours are a great way to see either landmass, and a professional tour guide is invaluable if you want to get a real feel for either island. With that being said, Sardinia is by far the more developed island and has a wealth of activities available to indulge in, from walking tours to hikes to scuba diving. Whilst these are somewhat available in Corsica, they’re much less accessible or only available in certain areas.
The greater number of amenities and things to do on Sardinia also means the outfits that operate the programmes are more professionally run, efficient, and generally cheaper thanks to competition. Sardinia is also a much larger island with a more diverse landscape, which lends itself to plenty more activities than its French cousin. The activities also have a wider range of suitability for experience levels: if you’re a keen hiker or climber, Corsica may not meet your adrenaline needs, but the Sardinian mountains and rockfaces almost certainly will.
We all love a good knees up, and whether you end up on Sardinia or Corsica you’re bound to find somewhere fun to make the most of your night. Both islands have wonderful bars, ranging from quaint local affairs to classier cocktail places, although these are really only available in the larger towns or cities. With that being said, there are smaller pub like places in even the smallest of towns, so if you’re midway through a big trek across one of the islands you’re not going to struggle to find a drink as long as you’re relatively close to civilisation.
Both islands are famous for having friendly locals. If you don’t speak another language, it will be easier to get around in Sardinia, as the service workers and younger generations tend to speak English, at least to a standard that makes it easy to communicate. Generally, neither spot is a party capital, but Sardinia definitely has more going for it after dark. This is especially the case in Cagliari, where there are bars and clubs in the city that move out to Poetto beach as tourist season starts.
Whilst both islands have their charms, Sardinia just edges Corsica in terms of scenery, nightlife, things to do, and food and drink. It’s simply bigger and better (not that we’d ever say that around a Corsican!)
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