Bonifacio is a must visit destination on any Mediterranean sailing trip. The old town, with a labyrinth of narrow streets and historic buildings, is perched high on the cliff tops over looking the straits of Bonifacio’s azure blue waters. It’s the kind of place where you just wander, explore and soak up the vibe.
We have been lucky enough to visit Bonefacio a few times now and it never gets boring! Depending when you visit you will have a vastly differing experience.
In May we arrived unannounced twice and got berths in the marina…it was quiet in the marina but the town still buzzing, but in a relaxed way. In August it’s a different place, but just as fun. It’s a place to be seen and on the main wharf the selection of super yachts is a sight to behold, a true spectacle. The Marina is packed, and at the end of each day the queue for the fuel wharf has to be seen to be believed!! Restaurants are full and you will need to reserve in advance for dinner at lots of places. But even with the streets crowded with tourists and locals you shouldn’t be put off as its still is a magical place to visit for a night or two.
Bonifacio has all facilities you will need as a yachty, but in my view is short of a decent chandler. Car hire is available form Europe Car, it was good value in May, but ridiculous in August at nearly 150 euro a day for a small car. There is a self service launderette, and well stocked supermarket on the Quay.
When it comes to mooring your boat there are two options:
The Marina – You can book online for the marina (they don’t take phone bookings) but you will need to give a few days notice to secure a spot in peak season. We found if a mistral was forecast, it was virtually impossible to secure a marina place in August so you need to hunker down somewhere else. If you do get a spot it was 55 Euro for a 13 m yacht in 2017.
Cala di a Catena – In Bonefacio there is another mooring option, which is Cala di Catena. Here there is space for 90 boats with lazy lines and metal rings on the rock face to tie off stern lines. It can take a while to find a lazy line in decent condition and generally those further towards the head of the bay seemed to be in better condition than the ones nearer the mouth. Do not use your anchor and try to moor “Greek style” as the mooring chains holding the lazy lines snag your anchor. In 24 hours we saw 4 yachts require divers to get free and lots of others who got into difficulty. Once in though, it’s a very secure anchorage and it’s just a 20 min walk or short dinghy ride to Bonifacio town. There are no bookings taken for the moorings in Cala di Catena, it works on a first come first served basis so it pays to arrive between 11 and 1 to get a spot as yachts leave. It’s a flat rate of 25 Euro a night irrespective of length, which given the location is pretty good.
There are great coastal walks you can do from Bonifacio on well makes trails and these are a great way to explore the area.