A drop-off where live sponges and starfish, tumultuous rocky beds where small moray eels hide, seagrass meadows where huge shoals of salema come and go… Cala Culip, located at the foot of the Cap de Creus lighthouse, boasts some of the wonders that snorkeling in the Mediterranean can offer.

Red starfish at Cala Culip
Red starfish are easily spotted at Cala Culip, especially on the rocky ridge (see map).

How to reach Cala Culip snorkeling spot?

Cala Culip is located in the Cap de Creus Natural Park, in northern Costa Brava. From Cadaqués, the nearest town, follow the signs of the Cap de Creus lighthouse (8km, 20 minutes by car). About 600m before arriving at the lighthouse, you will see from the road Cala Culip (on your left) and Cala Jugadora (on your right). A parking lot has been set up right before the last ascent to the lighthouse, but there are very few spaces. Once parked, walk down into the cove following one of the small paths in the slope (10 minutes).

For hikers, it is possible to reach Cala Culip on foot from Cadaqués (or Portlligat) by following the Camino de Ronda coastal walk. The walking time is approximately 1.5 hours.

Cala Jugadora, also famous for snorkeling, is located just across the road, about a 15-minute walk from Cala Culip.

Cala Culip snorkeling map

Water entrance for snorkeling Cala Culip

You can enter the water from the tiny beach, or from the surrounding rocks.

Cala Culip snorkeling exploration tips

You can snorkel throughout the cove, but we particularly recommend the shallow areas that face the beach, as well as the rocky ridge that begins near the small rocky island and extends perpendicularly to the beach for a hundred meters (see map). This spot is located in one of the three marine reserves of the Cap de Creus Natural Park and is home to lush underwater life.

Mediterranean moray at Cala Culip
Small moray eels are occasionally spotted hiding in the rocks, sometimes in very shallow areas.

The rocky areas near the beach offer a perfect depth for surface snorkeling (↕3-10ft/1-3m). Sea urchins, limpets and many beadlet anemones are easy to find on the walls. You will be able to meet there two species of triplefin blennies (the red-black triplefin and the black-faced blenny), ornate wrasses, and painted combers. Small Mediterranean morays, which love to hide in the rocks, are also frequently reported in this area,

Black-faced blenny at Cala Culip
When exploring the cove edges, look for the bright yellow black-faced blenny.

From the rock (see map), you can follow the rocky ridge that outcrops below the surface of the water (↕1-6ft/0.5-2m). On both sides, it falls on posidonia meadows (↕15-30ft/5-10m). On the ridge, look for the yellow sponges and the beautiful red starfish, which are quite common here. On the drop offs, you will find clouds of hundreds of damselfish, as well as schools mixing sargo, two-banded seabream and saddled seabream.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

Two restaurants are located at the Cap de Creus lighthouse. Otherwise, you’ll find in Cadaqués, a 20-minute drive from Cala Culip, a number of restaurants, supermarkets and accommodation fitting all budgets.




 

  • Level required Intermediary
  • Protected areaCap de Creus Natural Park
  • Maximum depth30ft/9m
  • Water entranceFrom a small sandy beach or rocks
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyNo

MAP Spot

These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.

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.