Photo of Desert des Agriates

Visit Desert des Agriates

The Desert des Agriates is a barren, wild and beautiful wilderness based west of Saint-Florent, along the coast and around Mont Genova, in the Balagne region of northern Corsica.

The Desert des Agriates is the only 'official' desert in Europe. It is more of a dry, scrub covered landscape than the 'typical' type of desert that you might imagine.

Explore the Desert des Agriates

At 40 km long, it also contains the longest stretch of protected coastline in Europe.

There is only one road that crosses the Desert des Agriates - the D81 from Saint-Florent to the Ostriconi Valley, and only one small village, called Santa-Pietro-di-Tenda and a hamlet called Casta. We drove along the D81 not expecting much more than a route from L'Ile Rousse to Saint-Florent but found the journey took a lot longer than we planned as we had to keep stopping to soak up the views and enjoy the wonderful 'herby' smell of the Maquis.

View over desert des Agriates to Saint-Florent

Coastal footpath

There is a coastal path that runs the length of the coast in the Desert des Agriates from Ostriconi to Saint Florent.

Come prepared if you intend to do it, it will take 2 days minimum, typically three days, and you are walking in direct sunshine most of the time.


The most common plan with hikers is to walk from Ostriconi to Ghignu on day 1 (a long days walk); from Ghignu to Saleccia on day 2; then Saleccia to Saint Florent on day 3 (another long day).

There are very basic facilities at Ghignu and a larger campsite at Saleccia. You are NOT permitted to camp elsewhere along the coast or light fires etc.

Beaches of the Desert des Agriates

The beaches, of which there are several with beautiful fine sand, are accessible from the D81 or by boat from Saint-Florent. Two in particular, close to Saint-Florent, are the Plage de Loto and the Plage de Saleccia (reached on foot or by offroad vehicles only).

Near the start of the D81 the Ostriconi beach is considered one of the best beaches in Corsica. It is a bit of a walk to get to it but worth the trouble if you are in the area.

Ostriconi beach

Mafalco beach, halfway along the coastal section of the desert, is a very peaceful and scenic beach, if a little hard to get to!

Places to Visit Nearby

Other parts of the Nebbio region offer pretty scenery.

See our guide to more spectacular beaches in Corsica.

You can find more local travel ideas in the North Corsica guide,

See also: 

Photos of Desert des Agriates

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  • cistus
  • herbs
  • maquis
  • mountains
  • ostriconi-beach
  • saint-florent
  • view

Map of Desert des Agriates and places to visit


Desert des Agriates places to visit



The Nebbio is a quiet region south of Saint-Florent known for its villages and vineyards

Nebbio guide


Saint-Florent is a popular resort in northern Corsica, with easy access to stunning beaches and other scenic highlights

Saint-Florent guide


Lento is a small village in the hills of Corsica near Saint Florent

Lento guide


Moltifao is a village in an imposing hilltop position with great views in all directions

Moltifao guide


Bastia is a long established port town in Corsica with an attractive harbour and a fascinating old town

Bastia guide


Morosaglia in the Castagniccia region is best known as the birthplace of Pasquale Paoli, first leader of Corsica

Morosaglia guide