Level: Free shore access This spot have a free shore access: you can go snorkeling there freely and without having to book a tour or pay an entrance fee.
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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 be able to freely explore an old Roman wharf and a 19th-century wreck, around which many Mediterranean fish live.
The archaeological site of Olbia is located in Hyères, on the northwest side 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.
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 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, though a small area, brings in 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 Phoenicians in the 4th century BC. This wharf allowed boats to be unloaded directly onto carts.
The enormous stone blocks that make up the quay have been jumbled 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.
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. 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. These geological remains mark the old coastal barrier.
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.
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.
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.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
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Level: Free shore access
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