Countless snorkeling locations along one of the Mediterranean most rugged coast

Almost all of the Corsica coast, most of it rock, is suitable for snorkeling. Here a series of small hidden or accessible beaches and creeks await you, with infinite snorkeling possibilities.

The picture-perfect beaches of the south-east of the island, between Porto Vecchio and Bonifacio, are a must on any trip to Corsica. Plage de Santa Giulia, Plage de la Folaca, Plage d’Acciaju, Plage de Porto Novo and the iconic seashell-shaped Baie de Rondinara all offer great snorkeling in crystal-clear water.

However, it is at the northern tip of Plage de Palombaggia, protected by a small marine reserve, that the best snorkeling in the area is found. Around its rocks and seagrass meadows, overhung by umbrella pines, snorkelers can swim with huge shoals of salema and seabream.

Snorkeling at Palombaggia Beach
Palombaggia bay’s turquoise waters (left), where schools of sargo can notably be seen (right), are hard to resist.

South of Bonifacio, the Lavezzi Islands undoubtedly offer the best snorkeling in all Corsica. Protected by a marine reserve since 1982, this small archipelago made up of a main island, islets and rocky reefs are located about ten kilometers from the coast.

Since the fish have long been used to the human presence there, it is a fantastic location to discover the Mediterranean underwater life. Three snorkel spots are particularly recommended: Cala Achiarina “natural pool” (the most frequented), Cala della Chiesa and Cala di u Grecu. The Lavezzi Islands are easily reached by a shuttle boat from Bonifacio.

Lavezzi islands snorkeling map
Cala Achiarina, Cala di u Grecu and Cala della Chiesa are three snorkeling spots located around the Lavezzi Islands, maybe the best in Corsica.

The coastline that stretches from Solenzara to Bastia, lined with ponds and long sandy beaches, offers few options for snorkeling. North of Bastia begins Cap Corse, a wild rocky peninsula with rugged coasts, which marks the northern tip of the island.

This region is home to many spots easily accessible from the coast, such as Centuri, Plage de Tamarone, Punta Vecchia, or Anse d’Aliso.

More confidential – and reserved for good swimmers – Marine de Negru (where spearfishing is prohibited along with the drop off), Marine de Giottani and Marine d’Albo also allow beautiful underwater sights.

Raie-pastenague à la Marine de Negru
Snorkeling in Cap Corse sometimes offers unforgettable memories, such as this encounter with a huge roughtail stingray in Marine de Negru.

In southwestern Corsica, Ajaccio and Porticcio region are full of beaches and coves where snorkeling is a real treat. The western shore of Ajaccio bay, which ends at Pointe de la Parata, is particularly recommended.

For snorkeling there, you will have the choice between tropical-like sandy beaches – Plage Ajaccio, Plage Moorea – and wild coves like Cala di Reta. At Pointe de la Parata, you can also embark on a boat to discover the Sanguinaires Islands.

Nestled in the rugged coast between Ajaccio and Propriano, Cala d’Orzu is another great option for snorkeling in the area.

Snorkeling Corsica's rocky coast
Sharp eyes might glimpse a Mediterranean moray eel hiding in the rocks (left, the picture was taken in Centuri). Right: rocky coast at Cala di Reta, near Ajaccio.

On the west coast of the island, the Scandola Reserve is one of Corsica’s natural gems. Its steep cliffs and rocky peaks overlooking the blue waters of the Mediterranean make it an exceptional site, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Its snorkeling spots are only accessible by sea, during boat trips (Galeria is the closest starting point).

If you are staying in Calvi or Ile Rousse, there are also good spots nearby. A few kilometers west of Calvi, the Revelatta peninsula offers great options, at Plage de l’Alga and -even better- Plage de l’Oscellucia. Accessible on foot from the port of Île Rousse, the small Île de la Pietra is another nice spot.

Girelle royale aux Îles Lavezzi
The Mediterranean rainbow wrasse (here, a male, recognizable by its bright red stripe along the body) is one of Corsica’s most beautiful fish. (Photo was taken in Cala Achiarina).

Corsica is in the Mediterranean, a relatively small and enclosed sea (1% of the world’s ocean surface) that represents a major source of biodiversity. It is estimated that the Mediterranean contains 8% of the world’s sea life, with an endemism rate of nearly 30%.

The Posidonia seagrass (or Neptune Grass), in particular, provides a remarkable environment that is easy to explore from the coast. Although it is easy to come across wrasse, bream, and starfish in the Corsican waters, it is also possible to see (if you select your spots carefully and with a little luck), moray eels, cuttlefish, dentex, gilt-head bream, small groupers, and stingrays.

If you are planning a snorkeling trip to Corsica, we recommend you to take with you great Europe and Mediterranean Marine Fish identification guide, a comprehensive guide that includes all the marine fish species that may be encountered in the Mediterranean up to 50m depth.

When to go snorkeling Corsica?

The climate in Corsica is mild and sunny, and the temperatures are almost always higher than in continental France.

On the coast, average temperatures are between 70 to 80°F (20 to 25°C) from June to September, and from 55 to 70°F (14 to 20°C) the rest of the year. July/August is the peak period for tourists in Corsica, and you can expect high visitor numbers on some parts of the coast.

Water temperature varies between 75 and 80°F (24 and 26°C) from July to September and around 70°F (20°C) in June and October. Outside these months, snorkeling is limited by the cooler water temperatures, unless you have an adapted wetsuit.

Even during summer, we recommend wearing a rashguard, which will protect your back and shoulders from the strong UV radiations that occur in the Mediterranean. Our selection of the best rashguards and wetsuits for snorkeling may help you to make your choice!

Each year in Corsica there is an “Indian summer” in September and October when the water temperature hovers around 80°F (25°C) at the surface. Most tourists have already left the island, and this is probably the ideal period for a visit.

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