Anse de la Fausse Monnaie (literally “fake money cove”) is located on Port Cros island’s west coast, which was rated as National Park more than 50 years ago. This entirely natural site is far less crowded than famous La Palud beach and its underwater path, yet it is worth a visit: rocky drop-offs loved by sargo and wrasse, seagrass beds thriving with seabream, pristine white sandy beds can all be seen underwater. Swimmers and sunbathers might prefer the nearby Plage du Sud with its white sand (it is a 10 minutes walk from here), but snorkelers shouldn’t miss this spot when visiting the island.

How to get there?

Visitors arrive in Port Cros mainly from Hyères. 5 to 15 trips (depending on the period of the year) are run every day from the Port of Hyères/Port Saint-Pierre. An adult round-trip ticket costs $28 per person. You can also get to Port Cros from Ile de Porquerolles or Le Lavandou. The TLV-TVM company takes care of public transport towards the island (see here for details).

View of Anse de la Fausse Monnaie, Port Cros

When you arrive in Port Cros, you need to walk south for about 30 minutes to reach Anse de la Fausse Monnaie. Just follow the “Plage du Sud” (southern beach) indications. The access way overlooks the bay before heading down to it it. If needed anyway, a sign indicates the bay entrance. The path is shaded but stony, wear some good shoes.

Water entrance

In the bay you’ll find a short pebble beach often covered with dried posidonia. Enter the water from here and swim facing the sea.

Anse de la Fausse Monnaie snorkeling map, Port Cros National Park

Exploration

A buoy line closing the bay sets the limit of the swimmable zone. Beyond is a mooring area which can become busy with boats in summer. The best snorkeling spots are located beyond the line, but you should be safe as long as you report your presence, stay along the shore and remain careful.

When entering the water you come across a sandy seabed sometimes covered with dead posidonia (↕1m). Broadnosed pipefish hunt here, perfectly camouflaging in the brown leaves. Swimming further on, you’ll find a grassy seabed with green posidonia (↕1.5-4m) over which bream, sargo, and sometimes tervally can be spotted.

Common two-banded seabream at Anse de la Fausse Monnaie, Port Cros

The most spectacular areas are located close to the right-hand shore when facing the sea, beyond the buoy line. A rocky drop-off overlooks a sandy bed sprinkled with patches of posidonia (↕4-8m) where salema porgy come and go.

When turning back, don’t forget to explore the last meters before the shore: you can easily spot young mullet, sea anemones, East Atlantic peacock wrasse and, specifically on the rocky surroundings, the gorgeous threefin blennie.

Broadnosed pipefish at Anse de la Fausse Monnaie, Port Cros

The spot is very calm, rarely crowded. There is no lifeguard on duty: be careful, especially if you decide to swim beyond the buoy line.

Restaurants & accommodation

There are no restaurants or hotels by the bay, but you’ll find several restaurants in the village. The shortest way from Anse de la Fausse Monnaie to there is a 30 minutes walk.

Species you may spot while snorkeling Anse de la Fausse Monnaie
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME ABUNDANCE FISHBASE WIKIPEDIA
Gilt-head bream Sparus aurata  
Salema porgy Sarpa salpa  
Sargo Diplodus sargus  
Common two-banded seabream Diplodus vulgaris  
Saddled seabream Oblada melanura  
Thicklip grey mullet Chelon labrosus  
Mediterranean rainbow wrasse Coris julis  
Ornate wrasse Thalassoma pavo  
East Atlantic peacock wrasse Symphodus tinca  
Red-black triplefin Tripterygion tripteronotus  
Snakelocks anemone Anemonia sulcata  
Red starfish Echinaster sepositus  
Neptune grass Posidonia oceanica  
Broadnosed pipefish Syngnathus typhle  
  • Level required Beginner
  • Protected areaParc National de Port Cros
  • Maximum depth25ft
  • Water entranceEasy, from a gravel beach
  • Potential DangersUsual precautions
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersLow
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyNo
  • Public toilets & showersNo

MAP Spot

This reference identification guide includes all the 860 marine fish species that may be encountered while snorkeling in coastal Western Europe and the Mediterranean.

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.