More than 30 years after the release of the Luc Besson film “The Big Blue”, the Mediterranean is still as fascinating as ever. The Côte d’Azur is a paradise for both experienced and novice divers. For underwater lovers, here is a selection of the 9 best diving spots on the Côte d’Azur, between the Var and the Alpes-Maritimes.
Spot 1: The plane in Villefranche-sur-Mer
Spot 2: Ile d’Or in Saint-Raphaël
1 – L’Avion : As its name suggests in French, it is the wreckage of an aircraft – a small model of the Morane-Saulnier Rallye type, which pulled a banner – and which has been destroyed over time. In other words, you have to go now. Located off Villefranche-sur-Mer, this diving site is well worth the effort.
2 – Ile d’Or : Here we are near Saint-Raphaël, in the Var. Head off to the Ile d’Or: which is within everyone’s reach and is home to lots of underwater delights. On the program for your underwater encounters: barracudas, morays, groupers, sea urchins, octopuses, lobsters. It is easy to dive to a depth of 30 meters.
Spot 3: Le Sagona, called “the Greek” towards Hyères
Spot 4: La Seiche à l’Huile in Sainte-Maxime
3 – Le Sagona. A sunken ship that is a perfect spot between the islands of Port-Cros and Porquerolles, still in the Var. Not far from Hyères, this diving site is the wreck of a freighter that sunk in 1945. It is more than 50 metres long and lies at a depth of 40 metres. On the other hand, you need a certain amount of diving skill to attempt it.
4 – La Seiche à l’Huile. Facing Sainte-Maxime, “La Seiche à l’Huile” is a diving spot that goes down to a depth of 45 metres and is accessible to everyone. As is often the case in the Var, there are barracudas, octopuses and bream. This diving site is extensive and two caves can also be seen.
Spot 5: the 3 islets between Nice and Villefranche
Spot 6: Port-Cros in Hyères
5 – The 3 islets : Located off the Maeterlinck cliffs, between Nice and Villefranche-sur-Mer, the 3 islets are actually five underwater rocks located 35 meters deep and covered with red coloured soft corals. A very visual dive, for experienced divers, which allows the most knowledgeable to then go to the “Tombant des Américains” known as “Le câble”.
6 – Port Cros : Here, we are more into pure snorkelling. A mask, snorkel and fins are all you need to explore the northern part of Baie de Palud in Port-Cros. You can go down to 10 meters without any problem. Perfect for a family dive! Port Cros is a real paradise for divers who know the Ilot de la Gabinière well, its drop off covered with soft coral, groupers and schools of barracudas.
Spot 7: Le Rubis between Cavalaire and Saint-Tropez
Spot 8: Le Cap Gros at Cap d’Antibes
7 – Le Rubis : SUndoubtedly the holy grail of diving on the Côte d’Azur, with the wreck of the Rubis, a submarine that laid mines during the Second World War and sank in 1958 3 kilometres off Cap Camarat (between Cavalaire and Saint-Tropez). The wreck lies on a sandbank at a depth of 40 metres. The submarine is perfectly preserved, which makes the spot idyllic. Only suitable for experienced divers, of course.
8 – Le Cap Gros. Not far from Cap d’Antibes, this diving site is very easy to access. Commonly known as the “Tombant du Cap Gros”, this site offers great underwater fauna.
Spot 9: Pointe de Saint-Hospice at Cap Ferrat
At Cap-Ferrat, this is a dive only suitable for good divers, located at Pointe de Saint-Hospice in an easterly direction. The spot has a depth of between 30 and 45 metres and is not recommended in summer due to the omnipresent pleasure craft in the area. The spot is however very colourful with its underwater fauna. You will be able to see white sea bream, groupers, lobsters as well as scorpion fish!