The sparkling, sheltered bay of Saint Florent lies between the Cap Corse and the Désert des Agriates. At first sight St Florent appears to be a bustling, attractive waterfront town, with boats, bars, excellent fish restaurants and an almost permanent game of boules in the square, but stroll into the old town and you discover a charming, ageless quarter of old houses, little shops and wine bars. There are pretty squares and quiet corners, with the sea always nearby!
Plage de la Roya
The main town beach in St Florent can be reached on foot from the port de plaisance or by car just west of the town centre. There are a multitude of water sports available including windsurfing, sailing, canoeing, Jet skis and diving.
Plage de Loto
One of the most wonderful, isolated beaches of the Désert des Agriates. With its white sand and clear turquoise water it is very popular in July and August though quite deserted the rest of the year. Access is by foot from St Florent (a 5 hour walk) or by boat from St Florent - U Saleccia (04 95 37 19 07) and Popeye (04 95 36 90 78). Bear in mind that there is no shade and no bar so you should take whatever you need for protection and your own refreshments.
Plage de Saleccia
A further hour’s walk along the coast of the desert, Saleccia is often less crowded but is equally stunning. It can also be reached by the track next to the bar Relais de Saleccia on the D81 in the Désert des Agriates though it is not recommended with your hire car. The track is really only suitable for 4x4 vehicles, mountain bikes or Quad bikes and is 12km long (mountain bikes and Quad bikes can be hired from the above bar and in St Florent).
Plages d’Olzu and Tettola
Found 2km east of St Florent below the Patrimonio road, these are gently shelving to shallow water and have good expanses of sand and some areas of pebbles.
Rock' Inseme – Biguglia, June
A rock and pop music festival bringing together recognised artists and up-an-coming bands.
Fiera di u Vinu – Luri, July
A lively festival celebrating the wine produced in the Cap Corse region.
A Notte di a Memoria – The Relève du Gouverneur - Bastia, July
A re-enactment of the arrival of the French governor with a light and drum parade through the streets of the citadel.
Les Nuits de la Guitare – Patrimonio, July
The amphitheatre in the village of Patrimonio is the setting for this popular festival that takes place every July and draws stars from the world of guitar, be it jazz, flamenco, blues or rock.
Porto Latino - St Florent, August
A hot Latin festival with nightly open-air concerts held in the citadel.
Festival de la Chanson/Corse Pascal Paoli – Furiani, August
Corsican singing concerts.
Festival de Musique – Erbalunga, August
An established music festival showing off soem of the greatest national and local talents.
THINGS TO SEE & DO
Cathédrale Santa Maria Assunta
Visit the cathedral of the Nebbio region in St Florent, Santa Maria Assunta. It was built by the Pisans in the 12th Century, on the site of the ancient Roman city that existed before St Florent (some 800m from the new town centre). The building is highly ornate and a fine example of Pisan architecture and probably one of the island’s most beautiful cathedrals.
The bustling heart in St Florent is the old town, with its narrow streets and vibrant bar terraces. Relax in one of the waterfront cafés and watch the yachts of the rich arrive at the marina. The ambience on the port of an evening is not to be missed.
There is a pleasant coastal walk to the Mortella tower, 7km west of St. Florent (be aware there is little shade). The ruined tower is one of the most impressive examples of Genoese architecture in the area.
Désert des Agriates
The Désert des Agriates is a landscape of wild maquis and rocky cliffs. Take a boat trip to one of its beaches, inaccessible by car, or rent a boat yourself to explore the hidden coastline around the town. Boats from the harbour will take you to the beaches of Saleccia and Loto (3-6 departures a day and a 30 min trip).
Behind St Florent, spreads the quiet attractive countryside of Conca D’Oro with Oletta village perched high above offering spectacular views over the gulf. You will find workshops and cellars of around 10 local artisans.
Spend a leisurely afternoon visiting a vineyard in the pretty village of Patrimonio, and tasting the superb wines. The Patrimonio region is most famous for its vineyards, much of Corsica’s best wine being produced in this area. You will find dozens of vineyards to visit and the proprietors are happy to welcome you and offer you their wines to sample. There is now a ‘route des vins’, which will lead you to all the vineyards. Just follow the brown road signs. Patrimonio church is of particular interest and its setting is beautiful.
Worth visiting is Nonza, a flower-garnished slate roofed village, standing 150m above a blackened shingled beach offering a dramatic viewpoint across the sea. A great spot for those wishing to drive around Cap Corse.
Visit the Moulin Mattei near Rogliano, which was restored in the early 20th century. Taste their Cap Corse apéritif and enjoy the fabulous view.
Have lunch in Centuri and and watch the fishermen offload their catch.
Tour the villages of the Nebbio, taking in the relaxed pace of life. One of the finest examples of Pisan Romanesque architecture can be found at San Michele de Murato, in Murato.