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"Get caught in Corsica's web of chic Mediterranean charm. Mixing French and Italian culture and cuisine with spectacular scenery, Corsica's a feast for all the senses." If the fact Corsica's sunnier than the French mainland doesn't tempt you to visit, then the fragrant maquis scrubland, dramatic seaside cliffs and unforgettable food will. Corsica is all about la joie de vivre - but with a touch of the island's distinctive flavour.

In an unspoilt corner of the Med, Corsica mixes natural beauty with national pride and a fascinating history. Over the centuries, the French, Italians, Greeks and English have all fought over Corsica. That was until Corsican-born officer Napoleon Bonaparte returned the island to French rule. Over the years the Corsicans have maintained their individuality but have also done a great job pilfering the best of the invading cultures. So, while you'll see road signs in Corsican tongue, you'll also wander streets lined with Italianate buildings and sip café au lait in French cafés.

With more than 200 beaches along 1,000km of coastline, some 2000-plus plant species and an international marine reserve, Corsica has plenty of natural attractions. In spring, when the native marquis scrub blooms, the island's a riot of colour and, in autumn, the hilltop villages come to life for the chestnut harvest. Corsican wines have flourished ever since the Greeks introduced grapes to the island more than 2500 years ago. And they're best enjoyed with the country's cuisine - whether you go for a typically French bouillabaisse, the delicate brocciu cheese or the Italian-influenced ham prisuttu.

But, for all its history and culinary successes, it's the beaches of Corsica which keep visitors coming back. The sunshine means the hideaway coves, long stretches of white sand and crystal-clear waters can be put to very good use.

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