Nonza in Corsica is a charming village perched above a long, black beach.
Located on the West coast of Cap Corse, it is well worth a stop and a climb to the tower.
Below is my guide to help you plan your visit with map, tips, things to do in Nonza and photos.
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Why visit Nonza, highlight of Cap Corse ?
Nonza is one of the most famous places in Corsica. And in 2016, it was voted as the favorite village of the French people.
This is due to the location of the village on a rock promontory overlooking the famous black sand beach.
Plus, contrary to other villages around the Cap Corse, it has a square Paoline tower (rather than a round Genoese tower).
Have a look at this view you can admire from the platform around the tower:
Impressive isn't it?
And below is a picture taken from the entrance of the village.
You can better appreciate the situation of the village on the promontory. It is impressive to see the straight cliffs under and the long black sand beach.
It is one of the most charming villages in Corsica (see my list).
Main things to do in Nonza
- Admire the view of the village as you drive closer and closer on the Cap Corse road (if arriving from the North)
- Appreciate the long black beach from the village
- Climb to the tower for the best views
- Have lunch and soak in the unique atmosphere
Photos and explanations about the village after the practical tips to plan your visit.
Planning tips and Map - Nonza, Corsica
Where is Nonza in Corsica? Map and Location
- As you can see on the map here, Nonza is located on the West coast of Cap Corse, opposite the other famous Cap Corse village: Erbalunga
- Saint- Florent to Nonza = 30min
- Bastia to Nonza (clockwise) = 1h
- Moulin Mattei to Nonza = 1h10
- Below is a Map to help you get oriented
This highlight is included (with GPS coordinates and practical tips) in my travel Guide eBook that helps you easily plan your Corsica road trip:
How to get to Nonza
- You need a car to easily reach the village of Nonza
- As you drive around on D80 around Cap Corse, you will have to go through the village, so you cannot miss it
- The road around Cap Corse is sometimes narrow
Need to rent a car in Corsica?
- Compare prices on my favorite platform: Discovercars.com - one of the best rated comparison sites!
- Choose the car and company you prefer (not too big but with enough power for mountain roads)
- Consider their full coverage option - I always take it for peace of mind!
- Book early to have a large choice of vehicles!
- Considering the location of the village, it does not have much space to expand
- Which means there are not many parking spaces
- You can find a few along the road North of the village and carpark areas located South of the center (as you can see in the picture below)
- Nonza is quite a touristic place and known for its good food. So finding a place for lunch time is a challenge. Better to arrive early.
- The village is free to access
- 125 steps to climb to the tower (easy steps)
- Public toilets in the center of the village
Staying in Nonza - Hotels
Nonza is too little of a village. There are no hotels.
You can consider staying:
- Just a little bit further South, you can find les Gites du Cap Corse, close to a beach, apartment rentals with great views - Check out photos and availability
- Or you can head a bit more South to stay in the vineyards in Patrimonio - I really enjoyed the welcoming and views at Auberge Lustincorne - Check out photos and availability
- Or you can stay in Saint-Florent, close to the water to enjoy a boat tour to the Agriates desert the next day - Check out accommodations in Saint-Florent
Nonza village, up on the cliffs
Nonza has a very impressive location.
The west coast of Cap Corse is already magnificent, with the mountains plunging into the sea.
But at Nonza, you get 100m high vertical cliffs under the village.
In the picture below taken at the North end of the black beach, you can notice the pink church standing out in the green vegetation.
In the picture below you can see how the houses are built straight along the cliffs!
The principal attraction is the view of the black sand beach from the Paoline Tower.
But the village itself is charming.
From the viewing platform of the tower, you get a good overall view of the village niched between the sea and the mountain:
What stands out the most is the Sainte-Julie church with its orangy pink color. It is very bright and contrasting with the environment.
The church dates back to the 16th century. But there has been a church here since the 14th century.
It is dedicated to Sainte-Julie the Patron saint of Corsica (Julia of Corsica). She is considered as a virgin martyr who died probably during the in 5th century.
You can also walk down the staircase at the northern entry of the village, under the church (see on the left in the picture above). The 54 steps will lead you to the Sainte-Julia fountain.
The center of the village has some traditional houses and some great places to eat.
We enjoyed a delicious toast with fruits and blue cheese. One of the most tasty meals we had in Corsica 🙂
The Paoline Tower of Nonza (Torra di Nonza)
The main thing to do in Nonza is climbing to the tower.
Don't worry there is no way to get lost. It is not a large village and the 'Tour de Nonza' is will indicated.
You have to climb around 125 steps to get to the top. Those are easy steps, not too high. Plus, you can stop along the way to enjoy the views.
At the top of the hill, it feels strange to see a square tower.
Almost all of the towers in Corsica are round. The Genoese people built them to create a defence system.
This is another kind of tower. Torre di Nonza was built by Pascal Paoli (the historical Corsican leader) in 1760. This is while it is called a Paoline tower.
It was built to look over the Gulf of Saint-Florent, over the ruins of the 12th-century castle.
It has a green Grey color and has 3 stories
At the level of the tower the cliffs are is 167m high.
It offers views all around.
Towards the North you can see the black sand beach and mountains (more on why it is black a little bit further in the article).
Below you can see the ruins of La Sassa. It was a large domain for where local notables used to live. It was a 'castle' built in the 11th century.
Today it is a famous bar-restaurant with great views. You can book your table here.
Nonza Beach - black pebbles
And here it is: the famous black beach of Corsica.
You might be thinking that like many other black beaches around the world, it was created by volcanic activity.
Well, this is not the case there.
As you drive from the North, you will see deep cut in the mountains.
There used to be an asbestos mine.
It closed in the 1960s but it is the source of the black color.
It is fascinating to see the contrast of the turquoise water with the black pebbles:
It is not a safe place to swim due to currents. Most people don't spend the day relaxing on this beach.
But people enjoy writing on the beach and then climbing back up to see it from above.
The walk down to the beach takes 10 minutes and is quite steep.
If you want to see the black pebbles up close, you have a couple of options with road access further North (listed in my eBooks)
Want to see more of the best Corsica has to offer?
- 21 best beaches in Corsica - read article
- 35 best places to visit in Corsica - read article
- 9 best things to do in Corsica - read article
- 35 of the most beautiful Corsica landscapes in photos - read article
- Tips to drive in Corsica - read article
- Beaches of Palombaggia (read the article), Tamaricciu (read the article) and Rondinara (read the article)
- The famous Calanques de Piana - read the article
- Best things to do in Bonifacio - read the article
Planning a trip to Corsica?
Check out my travel guide to help you plan:
Be overwhelmed by the beauty, not the planning!
And keep track of your own trip!
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