We literally missed an entire city!

Shall we go up there and look at those ruins?" we asked each other on our first day in Bonifacio.

Maybe tomorrow" we decided…every day until the penultimate day of our trip to Corsica which meant we very nearly left the island without even realising that inside the walls of the citadel there is a vibrant, bustling and beautiful historic town. Quite probably this is the biggest travelling fail of our combined lifetime of adventures.

Corsica is often overlooked by travellers who tend to rank Sicily and Sardinia higher on their list of the must-see Mediterranean islands but this beautifully wild and rugged region of France has unexpected luxury on offer for travellers looking for somewhere new to visit.

Hotel Version Maquis Citadelle has been expertly designed with a panoramic terrace that looks out across their infinity pool toward the citadel of Bonifacio in the distance.

We got up early every morning and headed out to one of the many gorgeous white sand beaches in the southern Corse du Sud area of the island. We loved the sweeping horseshoe-shaped beach at Rondinara (but make sure you take a picnic).

After a few hours at the beach we’d head back to the harbour at Bonifacio which sits at the foot of the mount on which the citadel is perched and is where we stupidly dismissed heading up to the citadel for 5 of our 7 day stay, thinking it was just some ruins we’d check out before we left. Be sure not to make the same mistake. Get yourself up to the citadel and have dinner and drinks in the atmospheric and historic surroundings.

As chance would have it, what drew us to actually head up to the citadel, after putting off the steep walk for 5 days, were the colourful, beaming lights of Festi Lumi, the annual festival of light in which much of the citadel is illuminated in moving light projections while musicians play live music and the ancient stone structures are brought to life through light.

Back at the Hotel Version Maquis Citadelle which is only a few minutes drive from the harbour, the pool terrace is the height of sublime, chic luxury in Corse de Sud. Select a lounger, order an aperitif and drink in the view.

Breakfast with that view is breath-taking. The rooms are designed with interesting, geometric simplicity, with private gardens if you want some more privacy than is afforded around the pool.

This hotel gets a big thumbs-up from us.

We stayed at Hotel Version Maquis Citadelle in July at a rate of 550 EUR per night for bed and breakfast.

We flew direct return to Corsica (Figari) from London Gatwick with Easyjet for approx. £210 per person.

Top recommendations:

Da Passano restaurant in Bonifacio harbour for delicious modern small plates to share.

Le Glacier Rocca Serra for seriously good gelato.