Corsica or Kefalonia – find your short-haul sunshine

Corsican town on high outcrop
Old citadel at Corte, Corsica

Kefalonia is the breathtaking Greek island that inspired Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Corsica is an appealing blend of Mediterranean France and Italy, but with a distinct identity all of its own. Both are new routes from Heathrow for 2018. But which to choose? We’re here to help – read on.

Corsica

Town perched on pale cliffs above sea
Old town, Bonifacio

What’s there?

France’s “little bit of Italy” has long sandy beaches, pretty fishing villages, awe-inspiring scenery, wild mountains, chestnut groves and a fascinating cultural melting pot. Enjoy its unique cuisine and – for much of the year, at least – peace and quiet.

Who goes there?

Nature lovers, hikers, yachties and beach fans. History buffs (the island has been ruled by everyone over the centuries, from the Phoenicians to the Genoese). In July and August the island is a magnet for French and Italian tourists.

Who isn’t it for?

Corsica has its fashionable spots but it isn’t quite Paris on the Med.

Why not any other Mediterranean island?

Corsica has a unique culture, blending the best of Italy and France with a fiercely independent streak. And the stunning scenery of its rocky west coast contrasts perfectly with the golden shores of the east – it’s an island with something for everyone. Even golfers.

Bay of transparent turquoise water with silver beach
Rondinara Beach

What’s nearby?

Sardinia is a very day-trippable seven miles south, while the coast of Tuscany lies 50 miles east. Mainland France is almost 100 miles to the north-west.

What else is there to do?

Visit Napoleon’s birthplace in Ajaccio; drive or hike through the red granite formations of Les Calanches; dine at Michelin-starred restaurants (seven at last count).

How to get there

Fly with British Airways direct from Heathrow to Figari on Sundays from May to October 2018.

Find out more

Find flights to Corsica with Go-Heathrow

Kefalonia

(aka Cephalonia)

Boats on a turquoise bay under a blue sky
Assos village, Kefalonia

What’s there?

If you’re looking for turquoise seas, quaint villages, traditional fishing harbours, Roman ruins, churches, castles and magnificent views, this Ionian island might well float your boat.

Who goes there?

The boating set. Movie and literature fans (the Captain Corelli film was praised for its spectacular setting, if not much else). Anyone looking for authentic culture and a complete Greek island experience.

View of the cave interior from a boat
Melissani Cave

Who isn’t it for?

Anyone in search of throbbing nightlife or five-star chic. There are sheer cliffs all around so Kefalonia probably isn’t first choice for beach lovers – though Myrtos Beach, set in a picture-perfect bay at the foot of two mountains, is often rated Greece’s best.

Why not any other Greek island?

The Ionians’ location in the north-west of Greece means shorter flights (about three hours) and less extreme summer temperatures.

What’s nearby?

The Ithaca of Greek mythology is a short hop across the water. And Zakynthos (or Zante), with its Smugglers Cove, Blue Grotto and golden beaches, is only a little farther.

White cliffs and beach by a pale turquoise sea
Myrtos beach

What else is there to do?

Hire a boat from Fiskardo harbour and explore the nearby coves, or navigate over to Ithaca for an impromptu adventure (mind the swell on the way back!). Go on a full-day snorkelling trip with Ionian Discoveries in search of octopuses, moray eels and shipwrecks. See the original “cave of the Nymphs” at Melissani.

How to get there

Fly direct with British Airways from Heathrow to Kefalonia on Tuesdays and Saturdays from May to October 2018.

Find out more

Find flights to Kefalonia with Go-Heathrow