With the Riviera covering around 550 miles of coast and basking in 3,000 hours of sunshine every year, heading to the beach seems like an obvious choice when you’re in the neighbourhood. With all that coastline it’s no surprise that there’s some beautiful beaches – some busy, some blissfully removed from the crowds. From millionaires’ playgrounds to family-friendly coves, we’ve put together our favourites for you to try.
Catch a ferry from Hyères or St Tropez to these beautiful traffic free islands and enjoy the freedom of the beautiful deserted sandy white beaches edged with fragrant pines. The beaches are surrounded by pristine nature (so keep to the paths). April and May are quieter, yes still lovely and warm, and are the best months to spot some of the 114 bird species who call these islands home. Visit for walks, bike rides and picnics or a swim in crystal-clear turquoise waters.
Escape to this pretty pebbly beach with great views across the bay towards St Tropez and also to Ile D’Or. Stretch out and relax or pop for a spot of lunch at the few beach bars and cafes available. Energy to burn? There are kayaks and paddle boarding available on the beach for the active, or take a stroll and enjoy the nearby Estérel forest, with its maritime pines and fragrant herb meadows.
A popular destination for celebs and millionaires, half of this pretty beach is private, but that doesn’t stop you looking! Or you can pay admission to the beach club and take advantage of its spic-and-span changing rooms, chairs, towels, summer soundtrack and water sports. And the food and cocktails at the bar aren’t so pricey that you need to be a millionaire to tuck in. See main pic above.
Agay’s main beach enjoys a superb setting in a horseshoe-shaped cove. There are a few small shops and cafes alongside the main road through the village, and the water is shallow, warm and inviting all summer long. The sand’s a little too coarse for sandcastle building though, so if you’re intent on that (or you know someone who is), you’re best heading to Fréjus’ small but clean and well-catered beach, or seek out one of the smaller beaches and creeks along the coast from here. Try east, towards Trayas.
If a beach suitable for babies and toddlers is high on your holiday wish list, look no further than sunny and safe Port de Crouton Plage near Juan Les Pins. Sandy and quieter than neighbouring beaches, it’s sheltered and has toilets, showers and plenty of shady parasols to keep young skin safe.
Soft sands and the crystal clear water of the Mediterranean make Rayol heavenly, surrounded by views of the Golden Islands and Canadel Pass. But this is more than a series of beaches. Rayol, at the extreme west coast of the Massif des Maures, is a delightful Mediterranean garden, consisting of 400 species imported from around the world. Rayol Canadel is built in terraces down to the water, each festooned with fragrant blooms and succulents. It’s a heavenly experience.
A real gem of Riviera beaches, made famous by Brigitte Bardot, Plage des Pampelonne offers splendid views, fine white sand and beautiful Mediterranean waters. Choose between the public areas or a range of fancy beach clubs, and sunbathe in style. Here, you really can feel a million miles away from the crowds, with no buildings, no promenade or souvenir stalls to ruin the views of this rare slice of the Riviera untainted by tourist developments.
You may think you’re approaching a beach in Fiji but paradise is closer than you think, if you know where to look. Visit early morning or take the last ferry to the island (make sure you catch the last ferry off again!) and you could be lucky enough to be the only ones here. Your very own castaway fantasies await!
The hidden bays of the Calanques really are a world apart. Untouched Mediterranean paradise can be yours if you’re willing to walk/hike for it. These pocket sized little inlets are like Mediterranean fjords, with vivid green water and invitingly sun-warmed sands. The 10-mile stretch of coast between Cassis and the city of Marseille features not only France’s highest sea cliffs, but also these delightful mini coves, carved into the white limestone.
If you’re tempted by the long list of beautiful beaches in the Riviera, organise your visit with our parcs in this beautiful region. And don’t forget your bucket and spade!