Let's have a look at all the amazing things to do in Saint-Florent, Corsica.
This is a great destination in the North of the island to explore vineyards, beaches, mountains, desert, and much more...
Below is my guide to help you plan your trip with map, tips and photos.
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Why visit Saint-Florent Corsica?
The town of St Florent is really well located to explore the North of the island: Only 30min from Bastia it is niched between the mountains of Cap Corse and the Agriates Desert.
The original medieval town was called Nebbiu.
It has become a popular seaside resort town but has kept all the charm of the ancient town, which is a great combination!
It is protected by a Citadel from the 15th century.
Plus, it is close to mountains, desert, beaches and more... One of the most beautiful towns in Corsica.
Top things to do in Saint-Florent
I will introduce them in more details with pictures in the article below, but here is a snapshot of the best things to do.
Top 5 things to do in the town of Saint-Florent
- Stroll along the water
- Walk up to the Citadel
- Eat ice-cream!
- Walk to and relax at La Roya beach
- Just sit down and admire the views of the gulf
Top 5 excursions from Saint-Florent
- Take a boat trip to Lotu beach and hike to Saleccia beach in the Agriates desert
- Explore the vineyards of Patrimonio
- Drive around Cap Corse
- Visit the town of Bastia
- Drive down to l'Ile-Rousse for a different vibe
Planning tips & map - St Florent Corsica
Where is St Florent in Corsica? location & Map
- Located on the North West Coast of Corsica
- Just at the base of Cap Corse (see my Map)
- Located on road D81
- Bastia to Saint-Florent = 30min
- Calvi to Saint-Florent = 1h30
- Corte to Saint-Florent = 1h20
- Below is a map to help you get oriented
This highlight is included (with GPS coordinates and practical tips) in my travel Guide eBook that helps you easily plan your Corsica road trip:
How to get to Saint-Florent
- Easy to access from Bastia airport and Bastia harbor
- If you want to explore, Renting a car is essential for a holiday in Saint-Florent - there are fantastic drive to enjoy in the region
- If on a road trip around Corsica, I recommend to stay there or in Patrimonio for 1 or 2 nights (see my road trip tips)
Need to rent a car in Corsica?
Visiting tips - carparks and walkability
- I have found that St Florent is one of the easiest town to visit in Corsica. It has large carparks near the marina, near the Citadel and near the stadium. Parking fees from May to October
- The town is surrounded by mountains but not too hilly. So it is easy to explore on foot
- There is a great pathways along the port and it is easy to get around
- Many restaurants, café and famous ice-cream shops along the marina
Where to stay in St Florent - Hotels and accommodations
As I wrote earlier, I think it is a great idea to either stay in Saint-Florent or in the nearby Patrimonio
- Patrimonio Hotels and accommodations
I personally opted to stay in the nearby Patrimonio. I love the landscapes of that little region: vineyards, hills and peakaboos of sea between them. Plus I have found it quieter than Saint-Florent. It is just 10min drive away from the port.
For example I stayed at Auberge Lustincone. I enjoyed my stay. The house has charming rooms, great food and fantastic views from the terrace and pool! - Check out photos and availability
Or check out more accommodations in Patrimonio
- St Florent hotels and accommodations
However if you prefer access to beach, restaurant and nightlife, then you should stay in Saint-Florent. There is a large choice of accommodations.
Check out the best rated accommodations in Saint-Florent
Want more ideas about where to stay in Corsica? Check out my accommodation article.
#1 - Stroll in the Saint-Florent Center & around the Citadel
The city center is really compact and easy to explore.
Walking the old center
Start with the port, it has a vibrant life during the day and at night. It is a great place to relax and refresh:
- Stroll along the marina and admire the boats
- Enjoy the views of the gulf : on one side the Cap Corse mountain and on the side opposite the town, the Desert des Agriates
- Don't forget to taste delicious ice-cream!
- And enjoy the many fresh seafood restaurants
- Enjoy the beautiful sunset!
Thanks to its location deep in the gulf, the port offers safe anchorage.
Then you can explore the inside of the medieval town center:
- The Cathedral of Nebbiu of Roman-pisan style. It was built in the 11th and 12th century - It style is simple with little openings
- The Church of Saint-Anne, the most noticeable with the pointy tower peaking over the roofline. It dates back to the 17th century
- And of course the Citadel (see next section)
The Saint-Florent Citadel
The main point of interest of the old town is the Citadel.
It was built in 1439 and it was one of the first places to be occupied by the Genoese.
It used to be one of the most important commercial places in Corsica.
It has a very original architecture and shape with 2 square towers and one round.
#2 - Relax at the Saint-Florent Beaches
La Roya beach
The main beach of Saint-Florent is La Roya. It is located just a short walk South of The city center.
Its shallow waters and protection in the gulf make it great to enjoy with kids.
Free carparks along the road.
Along the road - Ospedale and Olzu
North of the Citadel, you can also find Small beaches: Ospedale Beach and Olzu Beach.
One has small pebbles and the other sand.
Those beaches however are not visually appealing as they are surrounded by hotels and concrete.
Best beaches near St Florent Corsica
But the most beautiful beaches around Saint-Florent are located in the Agriates Desert.
The most famous one is Saleccia beaches (one of the best beaches in Corsica). See the next section of this article.
#3 - Explore the Agriates Desert
Option 1 - Boat to Lotu Beach or Saleccia Beach
For me the best things to do in Saint-Florent is to take the boat to Lotu beach and hike in the Agriates Desert to the paradise beach of Saleccia.
Below is a snapshot, but you can see more photos on my full article about the Agriates Desert.
It is only a 20min ride to reach the pear of Lotu beach within the gulf.
From there you have fantastic views of the Cap Corse mountains plunging into the sea.
Below is Lotu beach with the lagoon behind. Shallow transparent water and sand... this is a great place to relax. It is definitively the beach with the most amazing view in the whole of Corsica.
I recommend you take the path inland towards Saleccia. This way you get higher and get splendid views of of the desert and like the one below:
At the end you reach the famous Saleccia beach where the colors seem unreal.
The white of the sand... the turquoise of the water...
Plus it is protected by a pine forest and also offers views of the Cap Corse mountains... what more could you want?
Option 2 - 4WD Desert des Agriates
So, as we've seen: to the South of Saint-Florent is the Desert des Agriates.
If you are looking for something more thrilling than the boat, you can opt for a 4WD tour of the desert to reach some of the beaches.
As you can see in the map below there are tracks from the main road to the beaches. They take roughly 45minutes and are very bumpy.
Tours depart from Saint-Florent or the small village of Casta.
And ou get to explore this land that is actually not really a desert (it even has temporary streams).
But the landscape is like no other on the island with rugged peaks at around 450m.
#4 - Enjoy wine and vineyards in Patrimonio
Just 10 minutes from Saint-Florent you can find the wine region of Patrimonio.
It is an appellation for white, red and rose wines.
They are very diferent from the other wines in Corsica because the hills are composed of Chalky clays and limestone.
The main grapes are Vermentino and Sangiovese.
Because of the hills and the sea right behind, the scenery in the region is stunning. So even if you don't drink wine, I recommend driving through the region.
But if you do enjoy wine, you can stop and visit one of the vineyards.
Most of them are family-run and most of the production is savoured on the island.
#5 - Discover the churches
Contrary to other places I have visited, Corsica's churches are not that visually appealing.
But my 2 favorites are located not far from Saint-Florent.
Saint Martin - Patrimonio church
There is of course Saint-Martin in Patrimonio.
It has a beautiful ochre color and a great location with the surrounding hills.
It dates back to 1653 and was renovated in the 19th century.
Saint Michel - Murato church
The other one is the beautiful Saint Michel in Murato.
The polychromy is fascinating.
It was built in 1140 using white and green stones and remodelled later (the reason why the bell tower is so tall)
#6 - Drive North around the Cap Corse
The main day trip from Saint Florent is of course the tour of Cap Corse.
The northern part of the island is one of the most famous region.
The tour can be done in one day, although I recommend planning 2 days to do a little bit of walking. You can see my whole guide to plan your Cap Corse Tour.
Cap Corse is a wild area with only a few villages and impressive mountains plunging into the sea.
Nonza and Erbalunga are worth a visit. And this is the only place to find black beaches in Corsica. However the color is not due to volcanic ashes (like in other countries) but to an old abandoned asbestos mine on the coast.
It is a wild gem you should not miss!
Plan 4h of driving (time without stopping) to do the whole tour.
Mostly easy to drive, but there a few narrow sections on the West coast where crossing path with a bus is a challenge...
I recommend to drive anti-clockwise for the best views.
#7 - Drive South to l'Ile Rousse
Otherwise you can head South.
Drive on D81 along the Agraites Desert, stop by the fabulous Ostriconi beach and continue to L'ile-Rousse.
Here you can discover a town very different from Saint-Florent as it was built by Pascal Paoli.
Take the time to walk all the way to the Pietra lighthouse on the main island.
This way you can see the intense color up close and you get fantastic views of the Corsican mountains.
L'Ile Rousse is 1h drive away from Saint-Florent. You can plan your visit with my guide here.
Further South to Piana?
However don't try to get to Porto and the Calanques de Piana on a day trip. It does not seem far away on the map but the drive is long because it is a small and winding road.
That being said, the gulf of Porto is one of my favorite regions in Corsica so I do recommend you go visit. Just make it an overnight trip. Check out my guide.
#8 - Visit the town of Bastia
And if you are tired of Nature (not sure how you could, but not everyone has the same taste as me...) you can head to Bastia, the second largest city in Corsica.
One day is sufficient to explore the Citadel, visit the Governor palace with the many paintings and stroll around the old port.
It is only a 30min drive from Saint-Florent.
Want to see more of the best Corsica has to offer?
- 35 best places to visit in Corsica - read article
- 21 best beaches in Corsica - read article
- 9 best things to do in Corsica - read article
- How to plan a road trip in Corsica - read article
- Tips to drive in Corsica - read article
- Beaches of Palombaggia (read the article), Tamaricciu (read the article) and Rondinara (read the article)
- The famous Calanques de Piana - read the article
- Best things to do in Bonifacio - read the article
Planning a trip to Corsica?
Check out my travel guide to help you plan:
Be overwhelmed by the beauty, not the planning!
And keep track of your own trip!
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