Located in northern Corsica, Saleccia beach is a hidden tropical paradise that is difficult to access. Surrounded by fragrant Mediterranean scrub, this very long beach of fine sand and turquoise water has remained completely wild. In fact, it is immersed in the evocative Desert des Agriates, an unspoilt area that has preserved the beach from tourist exploitation and crowding.
In fact, getting here is particularly complicated. Only sea-going yachtsmen and hardy visitors manage to enjoy its Caribbean beauty. The crystal-clear, turquoise waters are usually appreciated by the few people who decide to undertake the feat. But the effort is amply rewarded by the incredible panorama that greets you on arrival: you will feel as if you have magically landed on an atoll lost in the ocean.
Saleccia beach was used as a filming location for the movie The Longest Day during the landing scene on 6 June 1944.
The choice of Saleccia for the scenes of the film was not accidental: in 1943, at the height of the world war, the submarine Casabianca, now on display in Place Saint-Nicolas in Bastia, landed on this very beach, with more than 13 tonnes of weapons and ammunition destined for the Corsican resistance.
The unspoilt beauty of Saleccia beach is due to its wild surroundings. In fact, around this lido stretches the Deserto de las Agriates, a huge natural site of over 16 hectares overlooking the sea. Contrary to its name, this is not a real desert, but a protected area that in some places has even lush vegetation.
The name actually derives from its history: in past centuries, the inhabitants of the area were dedicated to the cultivation of wheat and there were many granaries here, in Latin agriates. This is why the area was called the Desert of the Agriates.
Its lonely location, the difficulty of accessing it and the decision to preserve this area from construction and tourist exploitation has allowed it to remain unspoilt. For this reason, this timeless stretch of coastline is home to two of Corsica’s most beautiful beaches, Lotu beach and Saleccia beach.
The second beach not to be missed in the Agriates Desert is Lotu beach. Smaller and more intimate, this enchanting cove encompasses the same dreamlike panorama: fine sand and turquoise water as in the Caribbean.
Unlike Saleccia, there are no pine trees here but only Mediterranean scrub and a few wild cows basking in the sun. It is highly inadvisable to approach them and attempt to feed them.
There are no tourist facilities here either: you will only find a small bar/restaurant to the left of the beach, about a five-minute walk away.
Getting to Saleccia beach is not easy or comfortable, but it will give you one of the most unspoilt beaches in Corsica. There are three ways to get there: by car, by sea or on foot. Whichever way you choose, you will have to bring everything you need for the day. In fact, there is no service of any kind: there are no baths, bars or restaurants and, of course, no beach umbrellas or deckchairs either.
The route on the dirt roads of the Agriates desert is really adventurous: following particularly rough paths, you will cross barren areas and lush, fascinating and lonely corners, which can only be travelled in jeeps and 4×4 jeeps.
We advise against venturing out alone, as there is a real risk of getting stuck in the middle of nowhere. It is much better to rely on experienced drivers who know the area, through local tour operators who organise excursions in the Agriates Desert. During the summer, local drivers will take you to these beautiful beaches following a challenging 35 km route that takes about an hour.
Most tourists prefer to reach the beach of Saleccia by sea, leaving from the port of Saint Florent. In the summertime, boats and dinghies sail almost every hour and shuttle between the beaches of Lotu and Saleccia and the port.
For those who do not wish to spend the whole day at the beach, there is the option of a mini cruise along the coast, during which there is a half-hour stop for a swim in the beautiful waters of Saleccia.
Hiking enthusiasts will not miss the opportunity to reach Saleccia beach on foot.
Following the footpaths along the D81 road, you can embark on a decidedly demanding trek that lasts about 5 hours, recommended only for people who are fit and in good health. Remember that in summer, temperatures can be scorching and there is little shade in some places.
The only way to reach Lotu is to arrive by taxi boat at Saleccia beach and then continue on foot via a path.
There are two different paths connecting the two beaches: the inland one offers spectacular views and takes about 45 minutes, while the path along the shoreline takes an hour and a quarter to walk.
Set in the wild and unspoilt natural environment of the Agriates Desert, Saleccia beach has no hotel facilities. To locate the first available accommodation, one must travel to the edge of the region, where some delightful facilities can be found.
Alternatively, the nearest town is Saint Floriant, from where shuttles also depart to reach the beach by sea.
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Saleccia beach is located not far from Bastia, surrounded by the Agriate Desert, a protected coastal area in northern Corsica.