Located a few hundred meters off L’Ile-Rousse, the small island of la Pietra is one of the most accessible snorkel spots in northern Corsica. La Pietra is dented in its upper part, hosting a small, generally sheltered bay. Its crystal-clear shallow waters (only a few meters) are a great place to spot wrasses (including Mediterranean rainbow wrasse and ornate wrasse), sea anemones and salema.

View over Ile de la Pietra, Corsica

How to get there?

La Pietra is not really an island anymore: it is connected to the city of L’Ile-Rousse by a short dam (about 200m long), making the spot really easy to access. If you plan to drive there (5 minutes), follow the harbor direction and stop at the parking lot in front of Hotel La Pietra. From there, you will have to walk towards the lighthouse for about 10 minutes, and then follow a small path down to the creek to get to the water entrance point (see map). You can also walk to the spot from the city center (1,5 km).

Ile de la Pietra snorkeling map, Ile Rousse

Water entrance

We advise to enter the water from the small pebble stone beach located at the creek’s bottom. The small path indicated on the map gets right there. Stick to this path: the other paths located nearby are very steep and can be dangerous.

Exploration

The snorkel spot covers the whole creek area. However, be careful not to swim out of the sheltered area: strong water currents can occur on the northern side of the beach, notably between La Pietra Island and Broccio Island.

Broadnosed pipefish at Ile de la Pietra

Starting from the beach, the seabed is first covered with large white pebbles over about 20 meters (↕0.5-1.5m/2-10ft). Look for broad nosed pipefish: those fish are masters of camouflage and can perfectly imitate Neptune grass leaves. Juveniles belonging to various species also shelter in this calm and shallow area, sometimes gathering in large schools.

Further on, the seabed gets rocky and sometimes covered with Neptune grass meadows (↕1-4m/3-12ft). We advise to focus on the rocks bordering the southern side of the creek, where underwater life thrives the most. In Neptune grass meadows, you will meet schools of small salema, sometimes a hundred fish big. Try to spot brown wrasses, they weave their way through Neptune grass when feeling threatened. Rocky areas are the natural habitat of red-black triplefin, Mediterranean rainbow wrasse and easy-to-approach five-spotted wrasse. Sea anemones are sometimes settled at the foot of the rocky walls.

Five-spotted wrasse at Ile de la Pietra

This sheltered spot is generally quiet and boasts crystal clear water. However, don’t enter the water under bad weather conditions, or if waves are entering the creek.

Restaurants & accommodation

La Pietra Island is a gorgeous natural site, perfect for picnicking. During high season, La Pietra Hotel, located about a hundred meters from the spot, also provides food and accommodation. Another option is Brasserie du Port, about a hundred more meters to the South. More generally, you will find convenience stores, restaurants and accommodation options fitting all budgets in L’Ile-Rousse, about 1.5km south of the spot.



 

  • Level required Intermediary
  • Maximum depth15ft/5m
  • Water entranceEasy, from a beach
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersLow to medium
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyYes
  • 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 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.