Summer tourism is the biggest money-maker for Calvi, a town on the northwest coast of the French island of Corsica. The population swings from 5,000 to 50,000 — ergo, you’re visiting spring or fall. Outdoor sports and hiking are main attractions, with the thousand-kilometre shoreline of clear turquoise waters offering great snorkelling and scuba diving.
Extracurricular: Touring the port citadel and people-watching at the beach are must-dos, but try to take a winding drive up the mountains to the villages of Sant’Antonino, Corbara and Pigna.
Taste to try: The charcuterie and cheese here are on another plane. Corsican pork and cured meats like coppa and lonzu are island icons, particularly because the animals are fed on chestnuts. Similarly, the goat’s milk cheeses are out of this world.
Bonus tip: Napoleon famously said that he could smell his homeland before he could see it. He was referring to the maquis: the aromatic herbs and plants — including lavender, rosemary, heather, myrtle, mint and thyme — that grow wild on the hillsides. Look for incredible essential oils in all the shops.