How to discover the Agriates desert south of Cap Corse

How to discover the Agriates desert south of Cap Corse

You’re on vacation on the Ile de Beauté, in Haute Corse, and you’d like to spend a day discovering the Agriates desert? Discover all the experiences you can have in this heavenly location.


Corsica is a wild Mediterranean island that many travelers dream of. Corsica’s beaches and heavenly coves, its sunny climate, its mountainous terrain, its delicious cuisine and so much more mean that you can never get enough of it!

There’s a place we discovered in summer, south of Cap Corse, a place virtually hostile to man and which had always been a dream of mine, the agriates desert. This sublime desert covers an area of around 15,000 hectares and combines maquis, trails and dream beaches! The Agriate region is bordered to the south by the Serra Di Tenda mountain range, to the north by the Mediterranean Sea, to the west by Balagne and to the east by Nebbiu. Agriate, Latin for « agriculture » was once a land of crops and livestock, but today the land is deserted and has given way to wild landscapes, unique and unspoilt nature, abundant flora and fauna, and breathtaking scenery such as 35 kilometers of coastline sheltering heavenly beaches.

The Agriates Desert can be discovered in many ways: on foot, by 4×4, by bike and by boat. So which mode should you choose for the day?

We didn’t want to go on foot with the sweltering heat and the sun beating down on you all day, nor did we want motorized vehicles as we were looking for some peace and quiet, and I’d heard that in a 4×4, you’re pretty shaken up for a long time. We also didn’t want mass tourism outings with imposed timetables. That’s why we opted for the old sailing boat, to sail at our own pace and swim in translucent waters. With hindsight, I’ll tell you how I’d view this outing to make the most of it, as the Agriates desert is very busy in high season.

You can consult all our articles on Corsica to help you prepare for your trip:




Boats are the quickest and easiest way to reach the beaches of the Agriate Desert in just one day. The town of Saint-Florent remains the most convenient starting point, as the Agriates desert lies between the village of Saint-Florent, south of Cap Corse, and the Ostriconi valley, north of Ile-Rousse.

  • Departures are daily from the port of Saint-Florent.
  • There are several companies and maritime shuttles operating all day and almost all year round.
  • It takes 20-30 minutes to reach the beaches of the Agriate Desert by boat.
  • Trips are made either on a large boat or on a fast zodiac accommodating around 10 to 12 people.
  • Prices range from €18 to €30 per person, depending on the formula chosen and the season.


Several transport options are available:

  • Visit taxiboat round trip by zodiac to Saleccia beach. Capacity for 24 passengers and hourly rotations.
  • Visit maritime shuttle round trip to Lotu beach (20-minute crossing)
  • The combined 2 beaches by boat with the outward journey to one of the beaches, the hike and the return journey from the other beach
  • The short two-hour cruise which takes in the desert coastline, the 2 beaches by boat, and a 30-minute swim stop. Departures are on Mondays and Thursdays at 2:00 pm from the port of Saint-Florent. A good choice if you don’t want to lounge on the beach.


Check shuttle availability and make a reservation here




If you’re looking for more privacy, if you’re with family or friends and would like to privatize a boat departing from Saint-Florent, with or without a skipper, you’ll be spoilt for choice! by clicking here on this platform: motorboats, sailboats, yachts, boats without a license, with or without a skipper, it’s up to you. Don’t forget to book well in advance as everything is full in summer and high season and you’ll be hard pressed to find what you’re looking for.


➡️ Check boat availability and book now





The perfect way to discover the agriate desert this summer by boat at a very affordable price!

From Saint-Florent, set off for a 6-hour cruise on a 20-meter catamaran, with lunch and swimming break throughout the day in warm, translucent waters! On the programme: sailing along the Agriates desert and its magnificent wild white sandy beaches: Lotu beach, Saleccia beach or Ghignu beach. The catamaran will then set sail for the west coast of Cap Corse and its beaches, as well as the charming village of Nonza. It’s a beautiful, beautiful day ahead, I promise!

⚠️ Remember to book in advance, as this cruise is in great demand. and they sell out fast in high season! Prices are €45 for children aged 4 to 12 and €90 for adults.


I book here the catamaran cruise and check availability





If you like character boats and a more VIP experience, I invite you to discover this old boat that offers day cruises as well as sunset dinners. That’s how we chose to discover this exceptional site, which has been classified as a French Marine Nature Park since 2016.

Several cruises are available to suit your needs:

  • Sail to Cap Corse and the typical village of Nonza or to Balagne.
  • Discover the turquoise waters and dreamy beaches of the agriate desert

We wanted to make the most of this place, which is why we chose the 7-hour day packageincluding a cruise in the Gulf of Saint-Florent, to discover the rugged coastline of Cap Corse, a typical Corsican lunch (starter, main course, dessert, AOC Patrimonio wine extra, €25 per bottle) at anchor opposite Lotu beach, followed by idleness and swimming.

We spent a wonderful day aboard this old 22-meter-long boat, with all its comforts and old-fashioned two-mast rigging, which gives it a real charm and makes for an exceptional and unique experience. Two marine engines ensure optimum mobility. It has a side swim ladder, making boarding practical and accessible to all, as well as a long diving board at the stern, which has delighted children and adults alike. In the end, we were on board with 8 other people (a group of friends from Picardy with their children) and we didn’t mind. In addition to being very friendly, the friends had lunch at the main table at the stern of the boat, and we had the right to our little lovers’ table at the front of the boat, set up by the captain.

The lunch was really very good, the products are local, fresh, from local agriculture and rigorously selected. Enjoying quality Corsican products with a breathtaking view of the coast is priceless!


I book here the old sailing boat cruise and check availability



  • Prices from 180€/adult and child for day cruise
  • Prices from 210€/adult and child for dinner and sunset cruise
  • Up to 12 people on board
  • Departure at 9:45 am and return to the port at 4:30 pm
  • If the weather is bad, the day is automatically cancelled. The captain can suggest a new departure date.


If I were to do the cruise again, this time I’d like to privatize it with my friends or family. I’ll choose the Agriates day cruise to the beaches of Lotu and enjoy this area even more, and I’ll skip the navigation stage, which allows you to discover a bit of the coastline. That’s another advantage of being able to privatize the boat: you can tailor-make your own itinerary, specifying your expectations and wishes before booking.




The boat can be reserved for families, groups of friends, bachelorette parties, seminars and company outings. Think about it, as you can also choose your itinerary by chatting with the captain.

  • privatization from 2 people and max. 10 people
  • Day cruise and lunch from €150.



For smaller budgets, I propose this 5-hour guided boat tour of the Agriate regions, aboard a small zodiac. Starting point Saint-Florent, with swimming at Saleccia and Lotus beaches.

➡️ Check availability and book your zodiac outing




Kayaking and stand-up paddling remain two quiet, eco-friendly ways to visit the Agriate Desert. For the more experienced, you can simply rent them and walk around on your own. For the more novice, there are guided tours departing from Lozari beach and also from Saint-Florent.

I invite you to visit the AgriatesKayak for rates and availability or to contact various clubs.




Due to the rather stony dirt tracks of the agriate desert, it is not possible to take your car. You’ll need to opt for a 4×4 day trip, surely one of the best options for discovering this magnificent place and admiring the different landscapes on offer. If you have a weak back, beware: this trip may shake you up, as the road is not all restful!

Many of our tours include a swim stop at these magnificent beaches, especially at the beaches of Fiume Santo, the beach of Lotu and the Saleccia.Take your time to compare and find out everything you need to know before booking; Choose the most comprehensive offers, but make sure you don’t spend the whole day in transport, or you’ll have less time on site. Sometimes it’s better to choose quality over quantity. And remember, to choose is to give up!




The 4×4 routes start from the hamlet of Casta, 20 minutes by car from Saint-Florent. As for the boat, several 4×4 packages are available depending on the company:


  • A round-trip 4×4 shuttle to Saleccia beach: 2 hours round-trip in the desert + 4 hours on the beach. Note that 4×4 vehicles drop you off 5 to 10 minutes’ walk from the beach.


  • 4X4 shuttle + visit to Saleccia and Lotu beaches + 1h15 walk between the two beaches on the customs path + 4h on the beach + return from Saleccia


  • Combined 4X4 + Boat trip to Saleccia and Lotu beaches : Crossing by boat to Lotu beach – Transfer by 4X4 to Saleccia beach – Free time for the beach – Return transfer by 4X4 to Lotu beach – Return by boat from Lotu beach to Saint-Florent


  • Complete tour of the Agriate Desert : outward journey by 4X4 + return journey by boat) – Depart Saint-Florent for Saleccia beach (1h15 by 4X4) – Walk (autonomous) approx. 1h15 along the customs path or transfer by 4X4 (10 minutes) to Lotu beach – Return from Lotu beach to Saint-Florent (30 minutes by boat) – Free time on each beach.



→ Click on one of the activities below to book your combined outing in the Agriates Desert




For those who don’t have cars and still want to discover the Agriates desert, you can set off from Bastia and take a guided 4×4 day trip.You’ll enjoy a relaxing swim at Ghignu and Malfacu, as well as the diversity of the landscapes covered.

➡️ Check tour availability and book in advance here




The Agriates Desert is considered the largest protected natural site on the Corsican coast. No construction on the horizon on these 15,000 hectares of untamed land, just well-behaved cows on the beaches, a healthy environment, soft white sand and clear, clean waters. Be sure to respect this unspoilt but fragile nature.

Even if the boat remains the quickest and least tiring way to get to the beaches, hikers will still appreciate discovering the Agriates Desert on foot, following mythical hiking trails such as the most famous one, the Sentier du Littoral or Sentier des Douaniers (coastal path). This 35 kilometers in total start from the Roya beach in Saint-Florent and take you through Lotu and Saleccia in a 5h30 walk. Continue on to Ghignu beach and finish at Ostriconi beach. Count on a 15-hour walk along this beautiful agriate coast. Throughout this sublime walk, you can alternate between swimming in the turquoise waters and hiking.

Bring good walking shoes, plenty of water, a hat, sunscreen and snacks.

⚠️ It is strictly forbidden to build fires, barbecue or bivouac in the Agriate Desert. Guards ensure that regulations are respected. You should also find out about the risk of fire in summer before setting out on a hike.



If you’re looking for a place to sleep, you can stop off at the Camping 2*U Paradisu, a recommended establishment, located in a preserved setting near Saleccia Beach.

I also spotted you these two casas that I find very welcoming: the Casa Di Emma and the Casa Santo Pietro as well as the Relais de Saleccia, located in Casta, in the heart of the agriates. (the hotel also rents out quads, electric scooters, buggies and mountain bikes for exploring the Agriates desert)

For those looking for more of a connection with nature, you’ll also find old sheepfolds converted into gîtes, but you’ll need to bring all your equipment with you, as there are no communal sanitary facilities, catering facilities, mattresses or drinking water.


Ostriconi beach
Ostriconi beach




A visit to the Agriates desert means discovering an ecological treasure trove, as well as two of Haute Corse’s most beautiful beaches: Saleccia beach, one of Corsica’s most beautiful and best-known, and Lotu beach.


  • Lotu beach

Lotu beach, pronounced “Lodo” in Corsican, is a small beach that has retained its wild and unique character, and you may well come across a few cows in the vicinity. It’s surrounded by rocky outcrops and scrubland, and stretches over 400 meters of soft white sand, offering crystal-clear turquoise water. It’s a truly unspoilt spot, ideal for snorkeling

The beach is only accessible by sea, and takes 20 minutes to reach by boat from Saint-Florent. For the more courageous and those accustomed to hiking in the heat, it can be done on foot, but is not easily accessible. Allow 3h to 4h for the walk along the customs path from Saint-Florent.

⚠️ Lotu beach has no tourist facilities. A 5-minute walk away is a a small bar/restaurant on the left of the beach



  • Saleccia beach

It’s perhaps the most beautiful beach in Corsica, with its juniper dunes, Aleppo pine forest, crystal-clear waters and white sand stretching for over 1 kilometer, but it’s also the biggest of the two and the busiest, especially in high season. One of its special features is the presence of cows napping on the warm sand.

Access on foot to Saleccia beach can be a little tricky. The journey takes between 45 minutes and 1 hour. Even if the walk is worth the detour and the effort, it’s not easy for everyone, especially if you have small children.

⚠️ On Saleccia beach, you can’t rent deckchairs or umbrellas, and there are no toilets.

For your thirst-quenching needs, you’ll find a small wooden straw hut under the pines, “A Piniccia di Saleccia “, which offers traditional dining in the shade of its Aleppo pine forest and a 5-minute walk from the beach. Otherwise, bring a picnic lunch for the whole day and plenty of water. I’d unearthed a little address that I’d love to try out, but you’ll have to book well in advance, as the place has to be earned and it’s packed at lunchtime: the Cabane du Lodu, a straw hut on the beach, a 30-minute walk from Saleccia and a 6-minute walk from Lotu. It offers grilled meats, salads and desserts in a cosy waterside hut with a shaded terrace. (→ address: Sentier du littoral, 20246 Santo-Pietro-di-Tenda). Just one word: reservations are essential if you hope to enjoy lunch there!



  • Walk from Lotu beach to Saleccia beach

These two beaches can be reached on foot via two paths:

→ Inland, allow 45 minutes for walking. Turn left off the Lotu pontoon, and you’ll see a panoramic view of both beaches and be amazed by the vegetation of this desert: mountains, ponds, olive trees, etc. and a little shade from time to time. The arrival on Saleccia beach is magical! This road is used by 4×4 organized tours, so expect noise and dust!


→ By the seaside path, Allow 1h15 for a more pleasant walk. Turn right off the Lotu pontoon, and you’ll be able to swim at any time in the fabulous, easily accessible coves, and relax in the shade of the pine trees, before reaching Saleccia beach.


→ Don’t forget to take a hat, a backpack, sun cream, a few snacks and plenty of water, because it’s a bumpy ride!





  • Combine several types of transport on the same day: access one beach then leave from the other

➡️ Set off for Lotu beach with the boat shuttle from Saint-Florent, take a 4X4 to Saleccia beach and return to Saint-Florent with the taxi-boat (Or vice versa: take the taxi-boat directly to Saleccia, the 4X4 to Lotu beach, and the shuttle back to Saint-Florent).


  • Transport between the two beaches of Saleccia and Lotu

➡️ Connection by 4X4 via the Agriates desert tracks. Departures are from the pontoon on Lotu beach; for 4X4s, follow the red arrows, and from Saleccia at the Piniccia restaurant. The 4X4 journey takes 10 minutes. For your convenience, 4X4 timetables are set according to your boat ticket.





The Agriates desert is easily accessible from Saint-Florent, but you can also find day trips, led by experienced guides, departing from Ile Rousse, Calvi and Bastia.


  • From Ile Rousse, discover corsican nature between land and sea in a 4×4. Six tours are available to combine Balagne and the Agriates desert

➡️ Check availability for this day trip and make a reservation


  • From Calvi, set off in a guided 4×4 into the heart of Corsica’s abundant, wild and unspoilt nature. Drive through the unique landscapes of the agriate desert to Ghignu beach.

➡️ Check availability for this day trip and make a reservation


  • From Bastia, discover some of Corsica’s most beautiful panoramic views and relax on Saleccia beach. Two companies offer this outing, so it’s up to you to decide which one suits you best.

➡️ Check availability for this day trip with Get Your Guide and book in advance

➡️ Check availability for this day trip with Ceetiz and book in advance



  • Lors de notre séjour en Corse, nous avons voulu réserver cette activité à sensation mais en raison de la météo trop ventée, la sortie a été annulée. Si vous avez un peu de temps devant vous, et que vous souhaitez en prendre plein la vue, il faut absolument tester le vol en ULM. Vous survolerez  St Florent, puis les Agriates pour découvrir les eaux turquoises des criques et plages du littoral. A ne pas manquer !

➡️  Vérifier les disponibilités du vol en ULM et réserver


  • Pour les plus sportifs et amoureux de l’eau, je vous propose la découverte du Golfe de Saint-Florent en stand-up paddle. Un sport unique pour apprécier les roches de granit, les falaises calcaires et les plages magnifiques

➡️  Vérifier les disponibilités du Paddle et réserver






Excursions to the Agriate Desert are generally made from the following 3 towns:

  • Saint-Florent: the most convenient and easy to reach
  • Bastia
  • Calvi

Find your cheap flight to Bastia and Calvi with Skyscanner


You can also rent a car at Bastia airport and drive to Saint Florent. Don’t hesitate to compare rental companies on our reference site and find the best price.



Don’t forget travel insurance!

Before you leave, make sure you’ve taken out travel insurance to avoid any unpleasant surprises! If you’re planning a short break, a long-haul trip or even a round-the-world tour, travel insurance will provide you with the essential cover you need to enjoy your stay in total peace of mind: cancellation, baggage, assistance, medical expenses, hospitalization, death, repatriation and all the other hassles you could avoid. Opt for cancellation insurance in case of Covid and border closures. Read more in our dedicated article to help youfind the best insurance and on the Chapka website, our travel partner since our Round the World Tour



I hope this article has inspired you to discover the Agriates desert at Cap Corse. It’s a place worth staying for more than a day to appreciate in different ways, and to relax in one of the pretty seaside huts. tailor-made trips to discover the authentic Corsica, contact me by email at I invite you to read the customized travel where I present my business as a licensed travel agency.

Before you leave, read our other articles on Corsica:






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