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Located at the heart of the first marine reserve in France, Plage de Peyrefite (Peyrefite Beach) is the most popular snorkeling spot of the Vermeille Coast. In this well sheltered rocky creek, where a snorkel trail has been set, the seabed is well preserved and full of fish. Gilt-head bream, sargo and saddled seabream will swim around you, while you can look for moray eels and octopuses among the rocks.
Peyrefite Beach is located between Banyuls-sur-Mer and the Spanish border, at the heart of Cerbère-Banyuls National Natural Reserve. By car, drive on D914, along the shoreline, from Cerbère or Banyuls-sur-Mer, following the “sentier sous-marin” signs. There are parking spaces available on-site.
You can enter the water anywhere from the pebble beach. If you want to follow the snorkel trail, its starting point is indicated near the northern tip of the beach (on your left while facing the sea).
You can snorkel the whole creek, which is approximately 200m wide.
The easiest and most enjoyable way of exploring the site is to follow the underwater trail which has been installed along the northern shoreline of the bay. Comprising 5 buoys to which information panels are attached (you can hold onto the buoys if you need to rest), the trail allows you to discover various environments and species living in the bay. The free access trail has a length of approximately 250 m. The trail is only opened and supervised during the summer months. You can rent a FM snorkel at the snorkel trail starting point, and enjoy a rather original guided tour.
Since the snorkel trail only cover the northern edge of the bay, do not hesitate to explore other areas, especially the rocky shoreline located on the other side of the beach.
Established in 1974, Cerbère-Banyuls natural reserve is the first marine reserve in France. For almost 50 years, this exceptional coastline are thus protected against fishing. While outside of the reserves we must often limit ourselves to watching small fish, here we come across huge specimens, especially gilt-head bream, sargo and saddled seabream. Wrasses, painted combers and blennies are common among the rocks, where it is not unusual to come across a moray eel, an octopus or a cuttlefish. Fish are very inquisitive here, and they seem to have no fear of snorkelers.
While Cerbère-Banyuls reserve is also well known for its populations of brown meagre and dusky groupers, you will have nevertheless few chances of encountering one on the trail. The more experiences snorkelers can go further away from the beach and try their luck on the outside rock walls when the sea conditions are perfect.
There are two restaurants on the beach. Cerbère municipal campsite and some holiday locations can be found south of the beach, less than 800m by foot from the 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.
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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.
Sheltered bay with rocky and grassy seabed
Marine reserve with shallow rocky beds and snorkel trail
Shallow rocky beds
Saltwater lagoon with seahorses and pipefish
Shallow rocky beds and seagrass meadows
Shallow rocky and grassy seabed
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