With its shallow archaeological and geological remains located a few tens of meters from the beach, Olbia offers a unique snorkeling experience. Between history and nature, you will freely explore an old Roman wharf and a 19th-century wreck, around which many Mediterranean fish live.

Roman dock at Archaeological site of Olbia
The Roman dock, made of large blocks of cut stone, is still very recognizable.

How to snorkel the Archaeological site of Olbia?

The archaeological site of Olbia is located in Hyères, in the north-west of the Giens peninsula. The land site (open seasonally, entrance fee) extends into the water, in front of Almanarre beach. There are plenty of parking spaces on both sides of the road. The most direct access to the seaside is located right next to Le Robinson restaurant, where stairs lead down to the beach, right in front of the spot. On this side of the peninsula, the sea is rough (and is loaded with kite surfers and windsurfers) by westerly winds.

Archaeological site of Olbia - Almanarre Beach snorkeling map

Water entrance for snorkeling the Archaeological site of Olbia

Get in the water from the north end of Almanarre beach, a little after Le Robinson restaurant. You will find yourself right in front of the area where the Roman ruins and the wreck are located.

The archaeological site of Olbia snorkeling exploration tips

The recommended area for snorkeling in Olbia is marked with yellow buoys. The Olbia Underwater Trail (which used to allow exploring the site by following an explanatory buoy route) appears to have been removed.

The archaeological site of Olbia brings in a small area several points of interest:

1 / The remains of a dock built by the Romans facing the city of Olbia (↕0-6ft/0-2m), founded by the Phocians in the 4th century BC. This wharf was to allow boats to be unloaded directly onto carts. The enormous stone blocks that make up the quay have been disorganized over time, but the structure of this impressive work is still very recognizable. The quay is located at a shallow depth, sometimes emerging above the surface.

Male ornate wrasse at Almanarre Beach
Many fish live around the archaeological remains, such as the ornate wrasse (here, a colorful male).

2 / The wreck of La Tartane (↕12ft/4m), a freight transport boat that sank on the shore of Olbia around 1860. This rather recent wreck has no historical connection with the Antique site. La Tartane sank with its cargo of stones, but parts of the wooden hull and keel are still visible around. The position of the wreck is indicated by an orange buoy.

3 / A rocky sandstone base, called paleo-tombolo (↕0-6ft/0-2m), which extends between the beach and the Roman quay. This geological remains marks the old coastal barrier.

Wreck of La Tartane
The wooden boat hull of La Tartane, which sank near the dock around 1860, is still visible in some places.

As you explore the historic remains of the site, you will come across many species of fish. Wrasse, for example, loves to swim around the large boulders of the Roman quay. In deeper areas (especially around La Tartane), sargo and damselfish are easy to see.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

Le Robinson restaurant and the Funboard Center (a sailing school that also offers sandwiches and salads) allow you to eat right in front of the snorkeling spot.

 

  • Level required Beginner
  • Maximum depth5m
  • Water entranceFrom a sandy beach
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersLow
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyYes

MAP Spot

These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.