The Mediterranean's fourth-largest island is also one of the best short-haul destinations for winter sun | The Sun

THE MED is home to stunning islands that are ideal for a winter sun break.

And the fourth largest in the Mediterranean has been named one of the best for a short-haul winter holiday.

The French island of Corsica has 1,200 miles of coastline with stunning beaches and forests.

Despite being under French rule since 1768 – and the birthplace of Napolean Bonaparte the following year – you can expect a more Italian influence on the island.

While not as hot as some further flung destinations, the average winter temperature is 17C so much warmer than the UK.

And research conducted by Tropicalboat, a luxury yacht charter company, names it as is one of the most popular destinations, with more than 330,000 Google searches.

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Founder Kate Kalamaga said: "Many of us dream of getting away from the cold winter months and having a week or two of blissful sunshine."

She said that Corsica was one of the "most popular up-and-coming destinations, according to Google search, for those who are looking for some winter sun at sea".

Despite this, it remains a lot quieter than other European islands – with locals saying the tourist season has been much quieter this year due to the cost of living crisis.

A local restaurant owner told French media it was the "worst season in 25 years" while a campsite owner said their bookings were down 30 per cent.

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Tiny European island you won’t have heard of with 22C winters and rainbow beach

If you fancy a visit, you should head to one of the two biggest towns Bastia and Ajaccio, the latter being the Corsican capital.

Make sure to try the local "fiadone" wine or "brocciu" cheesecake, made from a ricotta like cheese, while chestnuts are often used in recipes, along with pork.

And it has more than 200 beaches to choose from – so you can find your ideal spot of sand.

Tourists on TripAdvisor have praised the "crystal water and white sands" with many comparing them to the Seychelles and the Caribbean.

The other side of the island are the hiking trails, with the best being across the UNESCO Scandola Natural Reserve.

Experienced hikers can take on the 124-mile route running from the north to the south of the island, one of the toughest in Europe.

If you don't fancy the walk, you can take the Le Chemins de Fer de la Corse.

Dubbed "Little Train" by locals, it is one of the most scenic train journeys in Europe, linking the west to the north east and travels through the forest and valleys.

Corsica is just over two hours from the UK, with easyJet and British Airways operating flights.

Holidays can be found from £328 with loveholidays, while flights start from £78 on Skyscanner.

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Here's a tiny European island you won't have heard of for a holiday without the crowds.

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