Nestled in Saint-Florent’s gulf, Plage de la Roya is the most frequented beach in the area. It boasts a rare Neptune grass barrier reef, made possible by the sheltered, shallow waters of the bay. The sea meadows, which are accessible to snorkelers, are a true fish nursery hosting a great variety of fish species. Add to this the perfect view over Saint-Florent and the Cap Corse, and you will certainly want to put Plage de la Roya to your Corsican snorkeling must-do list.
The beach is located in Saint-Florent gulf, northern Corsica. You can walk there from Saint-Florent’s city center and harbor (20-to-30-minute walk following the coastline). If you’re driving, follow Ile Rousse signs over less than one kilometer, then turn right on la Roya road right after the bridge (look for the “Route de la Plage” sign – it is easy to find). Park along the beach, close to Acqua Dolce camping which is set next to the reef. Consider arriving early during summer: the beach is very popular and the area quickly runs out of parking spaces.
Enter the water from the sandy beach, in front of the reef and the rock emerging from water (see map).
Plage de la Roya shelters one of the rare Neptune grass barrier reefs in France and even in Europe. This odd formation is made possible in a few shallow and very sheltered bays in the Mediterranean area, where posidonia grow up to the water surface, building a mere reef. When enlarging, this formation moves forward towards the open sea, shaping a shallow lagoon in its core, between the reef and the beach.
The recommended snorkeling area encompasses the barrier reef, but also the surroundings of the odd rock emerging from water on the reef’s west side. From the beach, water depth steadily increases until it reaches 2-3 meters when arriving at the reef. Foothold remains possible most of the time, which makes this place a perfect one for beginners.
The seabed is covered by sandy areas and Posidonia meadows. Many fish species can be observed in la Roya, including painted combers, gobies, schools of salema and fry from multiple species that take shelter in this quiet area. Even if reef protection includes banning of underwater fishing, big fish remain rare on this spot.
Several campsites, hotels and restaurants are set along the beach. Numerous other options are available in the surroundings.
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.
Steep rocky drop off
Rocky and weedy beds with a few fish
Shallow rocky beds and seagrass meadows
Bay with rocky beds, posidonia meadows and fish
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