For more than a half century the South of France has been an amazingly popular destination for European beach holidays. Even today many holiday-goers flock to glamorous destinations like Saint-Tropez, Cannes and Nice, leading their main beaches to be completely packed. However, there are still a number of more secluded beaches along the coast which offer those who are willing to seek them out a peaceful hideaway in this beautiful, but busy vacation spot.
Calanque d’En-vau, Cassis
It would be difficult to talk about the hidden beaches of the South of France without mentioning the famous calaques found between Marseille and Cassis. This breathtaking stretch of coastline features unique rocky inlets of white cliffs towering up from small arched beaches flanked by pines. While they aren’t a complete secret, they are definitely hidden… and challenging to reach, as aspect which keeps a certain number of crowds at bay. This particular calanque is one of the prettiest, though it can only be reached by daring down a very steep path or by the much easier means of a kayak, which also grants you exceptional views of the cove from a distance. There are no shops, so be sure to bring a picnic and water.
Plage Mala, Cap d’Ail, Alpes-Maritimes
Along the Cap d’Ail just west of ritzy Monaco is this lovely hidden beach of the French Riviera. Since the only way to reach it is down some very steep steps and protected by trees, it attracts many fewer people than most other nearby beaches. The semi-circular bay is covered in sand and pebbles and is protected by trees. You would almost not even guess you were on one of Europe’s busiest stretches of coastline. There are a few restaurants down on the cove to offer refreshments and food, plus you can even reserve your own sun lounger in advance here.
Plage de Gardanne, Point de L’Aiguille
On the other side of the Golfe de Napoule from the crowded beaches around Cannes, you’ll find several pretty, secluded beaches dotting the coast around la Pointe de L’Aiguille between Theoule-sur-Mer and Agay. These will require some walking, but your efforts will be well worth it! Within the Parc de la Pointe de l’Aiguille is the lovely secret cove of the Gardanne Beach. Surrounded by jagged boulders, here you’ll also find a cave, though very little else! The perfect hidden spot for adventurers.
Calanque de Saint-Barthélémy
While the Calanques around Cassis are the most famous of the South of France, this on near Saint Raphael is also very beautiful and remains more offbeat than the ones further to the west. It plunges down 20 meters from the Rocher de Saint-Barthélemy on the massif de l’Estérel of the Corniche d’Or area. There’s small, normally deserted pebbled beach border by sparkling turquoise waters, perfect for swimming or snorkelling to discover its impressive array of water life.
Plage de la Bastide Blanche, Cap Taillat
With such a gorgeous coastline, it’s no wonder that Saint-Tropez became a Cote d’Azur vacation hotspot. On its outskirts, you can already escape some of the crowds at nearby l’Escalet beach of the charming village of Ramatuelle, from the more adventurous can either set out on foot or by kayak to track down the even more remote Plage de la Bastide Blanche. It takes about an hour, but the journey is part of the fun. Plan to pack a picnic to spend the day on this rather long beach, doing nothing much other than relaxing to the sight of the shimmering crystal waters of the Mediterranean.
Plage de Bonporteau, Cavalaire-sur-Mer
Another nice option not far from Saint Tropez, the charming fishing village of Cavalaire-sur-Mer, has a beautiful, long sandy beach, but if you drift a little further you can discover this scenic cove. Hidden by pines and lined with a layer of fine sand, sit back and enjoy the gentle breeze, minus the boisterous beach mobs found on the crowded beaches.
Plage de Léoube, Bormes les Mimosas
Spectacular aquamarine waters drawn many to the half-moon Plage de l’Estagnol, however, it’s hard to savor its beauty due to the swarms of other sunseekers packed on the beach. Experience the same stunning scenery at this lovely beach hidden down a small footpath about a twenty minute walk or five minute drive away from Estagnol. Sip on some crisp local rosé and gaze out at the small Léoube Island, floating off the coast.
Plage de l’Espiguette, Hérault
The western side of the South of France isn’t as much on the radar of foreign visitors to the country, therefore, it’s lovely beaches tend to be frequented mainly by locals and inevitably fewer people. There are several lovely beaches on this rather unspoilt stretch, this particular beach, located near the Camargue National Park, east of Montpellier, makes for a pleasant choice thanks to its large size extending almost 10 kilometers as well as its sand dunes, both of which ensure more space and privacy.
If you’re looking for the best luxury accommodation in the South of France, the perfect oases away from the tourist masses, contact one of our local villa experts here.