Ajaccio (Corsican: Aiacciu) is the capital of the French Mediterranean island of Corsica, home to 71,000 people (2019). It is a sun-kissed tourist town with frequent visits by cruise ships. It has a boardwalk along its attractive coastline, with excellent restaurants and lots of Napoleon-related sites.
Although the coastline of Ajaccio and its natural harbour was almost certainly visited many times in antiquity, the development of a proper city did not happen until the late 1400s when the Genoese built a citadel that still stands to this day and serves as a military installation for the French army.
After most of Corsica was conquered by the French in the 1700s, Ajaccio remained a Genoese territory until the late 1760s.
Napoleon Bonaparte (Napoleone di Buonaparte) was born in Ajaccio in 1769 just after the city became the capital of Corsica. Although from mostly Italian-Corsican heritage, Napoleon rose through the ranks of the French military to become the leader of France and then Emperor. For a time he also ruled most of Europe.
Ajaccio was one of the last cities to become French in Europe, but it was the first French city to be liberated in 1943 following the fall of the Third Republic in 1940.
- 1 Ajaccio Napoleon Bonaparte Airport (AJA IATA). Air Corsica, an Air France subsidiary, is the main airline serving Corsica and AJA. Most of Air Corsica/Air France flights depart from Paris-Orly, Nice and Marseilles airports throughout the year. Many more French cities are served during the summer season (April–October). Flights can be surprisingly expensive, and often, taking the ferry makes more economic sense, especially when you figure in the cost of taking a car on the ferry versus renting a car once in Corsica. EasyJet and Volotea offer direct flights to the city from Paris, other French and European cities. In addition, companies such as Jetairfly, Norwegian and Transavia operate flights from French and European cities during the summer season (April-October).
Ajaccio International Airport is 20 minutes by bus of public transport from city center. Expect a taxi to cost €25-30 (Nov 2023). Muvitarra Bus 8 serves the airport and one-way fare is €4.50. A cheaper way to go to the city is Bus 12 last stop Capitello (summer 2012) which is 250 m from the airport (continue straight from the airport bus stop of number 8 as if the bus was going straight between the rent-a-car garages, and not turning left to pass between the rent-a-car offices and parking) which runs to the Gare d'Ajaccio (train station), and costs €1.10, however it is not advertised by Tourist Information at all.
There are direct ferry routes to Ajaccio from Marseille, Nice, Toulon, and Ciutadella. Companies operating ferry boats are Corsica Ferries, La Meridionale. Summer seasons are generally busy, and thus it is advisable to book in advance.
A single railway line connects Ajaccio with Bastia (3½ hours and around €22) on the island's east coast via Corte. The main railway station, 2 Gare d'Ajaccio (about 500 m (1,600 ft) north of the city centre). Chemins de Fer de Corse operates trains from Bastia and Calvi.
There are frequent bus routes from various destinations in Corsica. Most arrive at the bus station directly adjacent to the main cruise ship and ferry terminal at Quai L'Herminier. Many city bus lines stop in front of the bus station, and it is easily walkable from the main train station.
- 1 Napoleon's House (Maison Bonaparte). House where Napoleon Bonaparte was born. Now a museum.
- 2 Cathedral. Church of Ste. Marie.
- 3 Church of St Erasme.
- 4 Citadel. The Citadel was founded in 1492. Its current Genoese appearance dates to some time after 1559. You can only admire the exterior, as it remains a military base out-of-bounds to the public.
- 5 Harbour station.
- 6 Musee Fesch, 50 rue du Cardinal Fesch. 14th- to 19th-century Italian art collection amassed by Napoleon's uncle, Cardinal Fesch. Includes works by Titian, Raphael & Botticelli. €10.
- 7 Filitosa (20 km south of Ajaccio off highway T40). Apr-Oct 09:00 to sunset. Prehistoric (mostly Bronze Age) settlement with standing stones and small museum. Easiest visited from Ajaccio, but also an easy day-trip from Bonifacio or Porto Vecchio. Other notable standing stones in the area are at Palaggiu and Stanfari. Restaurant on site. €9, children under 8 free.
- Football: AC Ajaccio were relegated in 2023 so they now play soccer in Ligue 2, the second tier in France. Their home ground 1 Stade François Coty (capacity 10,400) is 2 km east of town centre.
- Take the train to Bocognano. The train from the Gare d'Ajaccio leaves daily at 07:41 and takes under an hour through forests and past mountains to get to Bocognano, a village with an alpine feel, a few restaurants and bars, a couple of boulangeries, and a spectacular view of the mountains. There are hiking trails in the area (check the board beside the mairie. Or you can just have a coffee, enjoy the view, and return on the 10:49 train to Ajaccio. Hikers can take an 18:30 train back. €11.20 return; tickets can only be purchased at the station the day of the train — no online or advance sales.
- 1 Le 20123, 2 rue du Roi de Rome. Open every evening. Closed Mondays in winter. Simple dishes cooked in a traditional "grandmother style". Four-course set menu, €33.
- 2 Mani, 7 rue du Roi de Rome, ☏ . Sophisticated bistrot serving Corsican food with modern panache.
- Greece, 6 Quai Napoleon, ☏ , fax: .
- Portugal, 8 Place du Général de Gaulle, Residence Diamant 2, ☏ . M-F 09:00-14:00, Sa Su closed.
- Switzerland, 38, cours Lucien Bonaparte, ☏ .
As of June 2022, Ajaccio has 5G from all French carriers.