Its location inside a marine preserve makes the Calanque du Cap Rousset one of the best snorkel spots west of Marseille. This small limestone cove sheltered from waves boasts a gorgeous, very inviting environment. More importantly, its preserved seabed hosts numerous fish species like wrasse, sea bream, sargo and even sometimes small groupers.

Calanque du Cap Rousset, Carry-le-Rouet
Calanque du Cap Rousset boasts clear and sheltered waters.

How to get to Plage du Cap Rousset snorkeling spot?

Cap Rousset beach (and calanque) are located in Carry-le-Rouet, about 30km west of Marseille city center and 30km south of Marseille-Provence airport. A small parking lot has been set in front of the beach, but it is often overcrowded during summer. Alternatively, you can walk from Carry-le-Rouet harbor (about 800m from the beach). There is also a coastal path, but it has been closed down due to landslide hazard.

Cap Rousset Carry-le-Rouet snorkeling map

Water entrance for snorkeling Calanque du Cap Rousset

We advise to enter the water from the beach’s west side (on your left when facing the sea), or from the rocks located at the foot of the Buvette du Cap Rousset restaurant.

Calanque du Cap Rousset snorkeling exploration tips

The whole Calanque du Cap Rousset can be snorkeled, but we advise to focus especially on the rocky areas located at the bay’s west side, where underwater life particularly thrives. If sea conditions are good enough, experienced snorkelers can also swim out of the Calanque and along the coast towards west (see map for more precise location).

Bar commun à Carry-le-Rouet
European bass (dicentrarchus labrax), pretty rare to spot in South France, can sometimes be seen in the calanque.

Next to the beach, the rocky seabed alternates with a few sandy areas and posidonia patches (↕0,5-1,5m). Calanque du Cap Rousset is part of a marine preserve where fishing is forbidden all year round, so fish are particularly numerous here. Many species can be spotted in the shallow areas, like Mediterranean chromis, painted comber, blennies and seabream. The marine preserve also allowed numerous small gilt-head breams to take shelter in the bay. Don’t forget to look for gorgeous ornate wrasses twirling in the most oxygenated areas.

Banc de saupes au Cap Rousset
Large schools of salema (sarpa salpa) are found in the Calanque du Cap Rousset shallow areas.

As you swim away from the beach, water depth progressively increases. It settles down at 4-5 meters at the foot of rocky drop-offs where the calanque opens to the sea. Snorkelers will spot schools of salema and mullets above the seabed. Dusky groupers have been reportedly spotted in this area. Even if it is a rare event, it means that the species is back in the Cote Bleue Marine Park, which is very good news.

Accommodation and restaurants near Calanque du Cap Rousset

Buvette du Cap Rousset is a restaurant and snack set above the beach. It is the only restaurant on site, but you will find a large span of snacks, convenience stores and restaurants next to the harbor, about 700 meters from the spot.




 

  • Level required Beginner
  • Protected areaParc Marin de la Côte Bleue
  • Maximum depth15ft/5m
  • Water entranceFrom a sandy beach, or rocks
  • LifeguardYes, in summer
  • Visitor numbersMedium to high
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyYes

MAP 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.