From the moment you arrive in Bonifacio, you’ll be pestered by touts from the many boat companies running excursions out of the harbour. There are more than a dozen of these, but they all offer more or less the same routes, at the same prices.
Lasting between thirty and forty-five minutes, the shorter trips take you out along the cliffs to the grottes marines (sea caves) and calanches (inlets) below the old town.
Longer excursions head out to the Îles Lavezzi, part of the archipelago to the east of the straits of Bonifacio. Most companies offer a shuttle (navette) service, allowing you to spend as much time as you like on the islands before returning. Boats go out past the Grain de Sable and Phare du Pertusato and then moor at the main island of Lavezzi, beside the cimetière Achiarino. Buried in two walled cemeteries are the victims of the Sémillante shipwreck of 1855, in which 773 crew members and soldiers bound for the Crimean War were drowned after their vessel was blown onto the rocks.
Classified as a nature reserve since 1982, the islets are home to several rare species of wild flower, and offer fabulous snorkelling and some exquisite shell-sand beaches. A network of footpaths runs between them, well waymarked, as you’re not permitted to wander off into the fragile vegetation.