Calanques of Saint-Raphaël: my 3 favourite calanques

calanques de saint-raphaël

The PACA region is full of heavenly swimming spots. From Eze to Saint-Jean Cap Ferrat, via the Cap d’Antibes, the sandy beaches of Juan les Pins to the beaches of Mandelieu… The map offers an endless variety of beach spots (including private beaches on the French Riviera). As for me, I still have my own little habits and I’m even prepared to travel miles to get away from it all. In fact, my favourites are just 45 minutes from Nice, heading towards Le Trayas to explore the incredible calanques of Saint-Raphaël. Renowned for their red rock and their wild, authentic feel, these are superb snorkelling spots on the French Riviera. But don’t expect white sandy beaches – these are pebble and red gravel beaches, so be sure to bring aqua shoes for the more sensitive.

The calanques of Saint-Raphaël boast around ten heavenly coves. So there’s plenty to choose from, and I’m sharing my 3 favourites with you.

The calanque of Saint-Barthélémy

  • One of the most intimate

This wild little cove, just 20 metres long, is my favourite of all the calanques in Saint-Raphaël, probably because it was the first calanque I discovered and it gave me such a strong emotion when I first saw it that it has stayed with me ever since. The incredible view, the pine trees, the intimacy of the cove, the dizzying stairway to get there and the turquoise blue water all won me over. Added to this, the calanque is at the foot of the large rock of Saint-Barthélémy, which gives it an extraordinary view of the sea and land. On the left-hand side, there are small independent red cliffs that will delight all seabed explorers.

Finally, the calanque is close to the Cap Roux fishing zone, a Natura 2000 marine nature reserve with incredible seabed quality and biodiversity.

  • Its location

The cove is located at 1800 route de Saint-Barthélémy, 83530 Agay

Follow the Corniche d’Or road all the way to the car park at the foot of the large rock of Saint-Barthélémy. The car park is fairly large and fills up quite quickly, especially at weekends. Make sure you get there early!

The spot is well signposted on Google maps.

calanque de saint barthélémy

The calanque of Maubois

  • One of the widest

Another calanque in Saint-Raphaël that I also appreciate. Spread over 150 metres, it’s wider than the calanque at Saint-Barthélémy, so it’s less intimate, but there are more places to swim in this protected area. Its spot remains just as heavenly, with its turquoise blue sea and surrounding red rocks… It’s a superb paddle spot on the French Riviera because of its width, and like all the other calanques in Saint Raphaël, it’s a favourite spot for snorkellers. Finally, in the centre of the calanque, there is a small islet that will delight anyone who wants to jump off or explore the sea bed.

To get there, you also have to climb a steep, narrow staircase. So behave yourself!

  • Its location

The calanque is located at 1383 Rte du Trayas, 83530 Saint-Raphaël

It’s 2.5km before the calanque at Saint-Barthélémy when you arrive from Nice. Please note that places are also very limited. So, I’d advise you to come early enough in the morning, especially at weekends, to be in with a chance of getting a parking space.

The calanque is also well-located on Google maps.

calanque de maubois

The calanque des Anglais

  • the most numerous

The Calanque des Anglais is at the very beginning of the Calanques of Saint-Raphaël, starting from Agay. It is made up of three small coves, each 20 metres wide. They are relatively small, but that makes them very intimate beaches. Please note that places are limited. The views are fantastic, thanks to the natural beauty of the red rocks that line the beach and the crystal-clear water. Unlike the other calanques, there is a small pontoon on which I like to rest.

It’s also a perfect spot for children, as the water is deeper than in the other creeks. Further out, there is also a small rocky islet, the perfect spot for underwater explorers.

Finally, located just beyond the small town of Agay, the Calanque des Anglais can be reached by a short hike or by boat. Access on foot may vary depending on the paths available, but walking in this area is often rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the Mediterranean and the surrounding area.

  • Its location

The calanque is located at 901 Bd Eugène Brieux, 83700 Saint-Raphaël

It is one of the first calanques after the town of Agay. There is no car park, so you have to park further away and walk. So don’t bring too much with you – you might regret it.

calanque des anglais

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Ex-Parisienne settled on the French Riviera since 2013. In love with the region, I share with you all my discoveries, my good addresses, my life experiences in Nice and the French Riviera
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