Welcome to the island of Port Cros, a true natural treasure loaded with history and home to exceptionally beautiful underwater landscapes. Located in the heart of the Mediterranean, this unique island offers sailors an immersive experience within a preserved environment rich in biodiversity.
Whether you are passionate about history, a hiking enthusiast, or a diving lover, the island of Port-Cros will captivate you with its pristine natural character and its unique underwater treasures. Get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure amidst the best anchorages of Port Cros!
3 good reasons to visit Port-Cros
1- Unique underwater wonderworld
The major attraction of Port-Cros lies in its exceptional underwater landscapes. Dive into the crystal-clear waters and discover an aquatic world of unparalleled beauty. Colorful corals, tropical fish, and historic shipwrecks tell the island’s rich history and offer an unforgettable diving experience.
Part of the western point of the Pelagos Marine Sanctuary, you can observe whales and dolphins there. As you approach the coast, you will encounter the famous groupers, rays, and multicolored fish in their natural habitat.
2 - Hikes amidst lush nature and fascinating history
Port-Cros is renowned for its wild and preserved nature, where picturesque landscapes harmoniously blend with a fascinating history. As a French national park, the island provides optimal protection for its flora and fauna, making it a paradise for nature lovers.
Hiking trails will guide you through breathtaking coastal landscapes, secluded coves, and lush forests. You will be amazed by the diversity of plant and animal species that inhabit the island, some of which are unique to this region.
Bucolic walks will also introduce you to the fascinating military past of the island through its historic monuments. Don’t miss the Fort du Moulin, a vestige of the 16th century, the Batteries du Graillon, a defense against invasions in the 19th century as well as the Monument au Morts, commemorating the fallen of World War II.
3 - A perfect cruising destination
Indeed, we wouldn’t be talking about Port-Cros if it weren’t a popular destination for boaters. The island offers numerous coves, bays, and “calanques” to explore by boat! The natural beauty of its coastline and favorable navigation conditions in an ideal climate are all reasons that make Port-Cros an exceptional destination! From the deck of your boat, you can be enchanted by its paradisiacal nature.
Protected marine park: beware of hefty fines!
Be aware, a naturally preserved paradise inevitably comes with its set of regulations. To protect the endemic fauna and flora of the island, anchoring is prohibited in most areas. Fortunately, many buoy parks with booking options have emerged to balance boating and environmental conservation.
We strongly advise you to consult the regulations prior to your departure and book your buoys through the island’s online portal. Additionally, check the numerous reviews from boaters on Navily, which provides relevant and up-to-date information!
Calanque Longue (for boats under 12 meters)
Off the Cape Bénat and with a near-perfect rating, Calanque Longue is a highly appreciated anchorage by the Navily community. Located in a natural cove blending steep rocks and dense vegetation, Calanque Longue benefits from exceptional protection from northwestern to southern winds by the west.
Despite its rugged appearance, the anchorage holds well in 8 meters of depth. You will need to carefully choose a sandy patch among the Posidonia meadows that populate the seabed (anchoring directly into them is, of course, prohibited). Since 2022, boats over 12 meters in length are required to moor to a nearby buoy in the Bagau ZMEL (Zone de Mouillage et d’Équipement Léger).
Once securely anchored, you will enjoy this exceptional setting and the almost unreal sight of its transparent waters teeming with biodiversity. Snorkeling is highly recommended, allowing you to encounter the flourishing marine life. You can also swim to the island along the bottom of the “calanque”, where a trail begins and delves into the lush nature of the first marine national park in Europe (established in 1963).
As you may have understood, the island is a true natural paradise that is worth exploring. It is also a place steeped in ancient history, with accessible remains from the Greeks, Romans, and subsequently the French, offering an exciting historical journey.
Finally, the greatest advantages of Calanque Longue are the tranquility and serenity you will find there. Surprisingly less crowded than other anchorages on the island, it remains calm and accessible even during the high season!
Baie de Portman, protection in an exceptional natural bay
The “Baie de Port Man” is simply the go-to place for sheltering from the Mistral, which can blow fiercely on Port-Cros in the summer. Spacious and offering an idyllic setting with exceptional comfort, it is often compared to a harbor, as many boaters mention on Navily.
Crowded during the high season (a redundant piece of information in the islands during summer), it remains a true paradise for those visiting between September and April.
The numerous shared photos of the anchorage on Navily speak for themselves, effectively describing the wild beauty of the bay. In this paradise-like setting, you can tie your dinghy to the pontoon of the small sandy beach to start your excursion to the village (1-1.5 hours of walking or biking) and enjoy a well-deserved break!
Baie de la Palud, for an underwater hike!
Facing the famous “Rocher de Rascas”, our next stop is the ideal anchorage for discovering the rich marine biodiversity of the island. Located in the north, in a creek protected from west to southeast winds, you won’t be allowed to throw your anchor in these protected waters. However, there is usually one available buoy and a pontoon that can accommodate a few dinghies.
Some boaters recommend anchoring in the nearby “Rade de Port Cros” anchorage and accessing the “Baie de la Palud” by dinghy. The pontoon will give you access to La Palud beach and hiking trails that lead to the Fort de l’Estissac.
But it’s in the shallow depths of the anchorage where everything happens! Equip yourself with a mask, snorkel, or scuba gear and embark on the marked underwater trail of La Palud.
Six buoys create a magical route where you will likely encounter sea bass, wrasses, damselfish, barracuda, and sometimes even groupers in these reefs teeming with life! The astonishing vibration of underwater life is simply unique and will leave you amazed.
Rade de Port Cros / A most picturesque marina stopover
The last stop on our itinerary is the Rade de Port-Cros, which welcomes you in its buoy park or on the quays of its harbor. It is a highly sought-after anchorage with bustling waters protected from northern to southern winds by the west.
Port-Cros’ marina welcomes you in a charming and natural setting. The architecture of the harbor village blends with the surrounding rocky coastline, preserving the island’s natural charm.
It is the ideal starting point for visiting Port-Cros. Near the harbor, you will find the famous Fort du Moulin, the main historical landmark of the island. Built in the 19th century, it served to protect the island against maritime invasions. Today, the fort is partially in ruins, but it offers a superb panoramic view of the island and the surrounding Mediterranean Sea.
Tourist facilities are limited to the marina area, where a few hotels and restaurants are concentrated. The rest of the island is a labyrinth of wild paths, a paradise for hiking enthusiasts and breathtaking panoramas.
At the peak of the cliffs of the “Route des Crêtes”, rising above a sea with almost supernatural colors, each turn forms a tangle of islets and coves, reminiscent of those found only on treasure maps. It is a territory of pirates and dreamers, a land shaped by adventurers. In this soothing nature, only the melancholic cries of the Yelkouan shearwater, nicknamed the “mermaid bird,” haunt the rocks.
We hope that this journey through the best anchorages of Port-Cros has pleased you and will inspire your next cruise in the French Islands!