© Katie Schofield
© Katie Schofield
© Katie Schofield
© Jo Morgan
© Jo Morgan
© Jo Morgan
© Jo Morgan
© Jo Morgan
Cap d’Antibes is a stunning and famous headland of grand villas with sweet-smelling pines, Belle Époque hotels and rocky, tranquil coves.
These hidden coves are only accessible if you're walking the route known as the 'Sentier Littoral' around the coast line of Cap d'Antibes. However we would not recommend any of these areas as actual 'beach' and would not advise you to head there for a day's sunbathing, swimming and beach games.
The Cap is actually very large and you cannot walk the whole way around as private properties block the path in places thereby forcing you back onto the road away from the coast. As such, it's best to approach the beaches from either the Antibes side, the Plage de la Garoupe coastal path, or from the Juan les Pins side of the Cap. There is parking along Boulevard Bacon, Plage de la Garoupe, Villa Ellen and Boulevard Bd Maréchal Juin.
If you’re coming up to the coves and rocks of the Cap d’Antibes for the day, bring a picnic. There’s a small Petit Casino on the Cap, but it’s a bit of a walk from the sea, so if you’re catching the bus it’s probably better visiting one of the bigger supermarkets in Antibes or Juan les Pins to pack your hamper. Even better, hit the famous Antibes Provencal market for olives, cheeses and baguettes.
Cap d’Antibes Beaches and Coves: Antibes side
There are a few little coves with stretches of beach on this section of the Cap, but be aware, they’re not sandy, and the council doesn’t clear them of rocks and seaweed, so they’re much wilder and natural than the town beaches. There are no facilities whatsoever, no kiosks and no lifeguards. Absolutely stunning views across the bay though, with the crystal clear waters of gorgeous Mediterranean blues. Bring rubber-soled swim shoes if you can. Because they’re out on the Cap itself, these coves and beaches don’t have the same shelter from wind and waves as the town beaches, and the water quickly becomes deep and on a calm day they’re glorious, but always exercise caution.
Around Pointe Bacon
There is a small beach down the steep slope across from the very classy Bacon restaurant on the first bend of the Cap. The bus stop is also called ‘Bacon’, and is situated on Boulevard du Bacon. ‘Bacon Beach’ might not sound that lovely so far with all this talk of pork products, but it really is a stunning small cove hidden down a steep hill edged by fragrant pines, looking back across the Bay of Angels to Antibes and the Alps rising up behind Nice.
There’s only a relatively small patch of smooth fine pebbles (often covered with seaweed, so take big blankets or towels) but there are also lots of rocks to find a spot to lay your towel. There’s great shade on the actual beach a lot of the day from the tall pines, while the rocks stay exposed in the sun for the sun-worshippers among you. The rocks in the water aren’t overly sharp here so you can swim without rubber shoes, and there are lots of rockpools to keep the kids entertained too. Bring your snorkels, and whilst the shallows are great for the kids, it does drop off quite quickly so be careful.
This is a wild beach, with no wheelchair accessibility, no lifeguards, no snack kiosks and no toilets. People often bring their dogs here, particularly in the summer months when they’re banned from the open beaches.
Just past ‘Bacon Beach’ you’ll see a park bench looking out across the bay. If you climb down a short few steps from here, you’ll find another rocky cove beach. This one’s very popular with fishermen and snorkelers too and you’ll see lots of people congregated there on the long summer evenings, eating picnics and sometimes playing music.
Rocky bathing platforms
When we think of the Med, many of us imagine some steps carved into a rocky headland, leading down to a concrete platform where we can dive off into those bewitching blue waters and explore the rockpools and crystal clear inlets. If this is what you’re looking for, the Cap d’Antibes is your place. As you walk around the Cap, you’ll see a few stairways leading away over the pale rocks down to the sea, where you can dive from concrete platforms or stretch out in the sun. You’ll see quite a few families scattered about the rocks with picnics and fishing rods and generally having a good time. These rocks aren’t exactly designed for sunbathing, but if you can’t nab the (few) concrete bathing platforms then there are lots of big rocks where you can stretch out a towel or two and set up for the day. Bring your snorkels.
How to find them
Walk around the headland, or park up on Boulevard Bacon (free parking) and explore. The main stretch is as you curve around the headland and Antibes falls out of view.
Cap d’Antibes Coastal Path Beaches
Some of the wild beaches of the Cap d’Antibes are to be found when you take the coastal path (Chemin de la Garoupe) that begins at Plage de la Garoupe.
Park in the free car park at Garoupe or take bus no.2 from Antibes, and walk along the path that runs along the little headland. To do the complete walk is a long and sometimes strenuous walk of around an hour each way, but the first beach is reachable within an easy 5-10 minutes’ walk along a flat path. You could also park at the other end of this path near Villa Eilenroc on Park on Avenue Mlle Beaumont in order to access the far beaches more easily.
Again, there are no facilities, lifeguards or kiosks. Rubber shoes will come in very handy while swimming at all these rocky beaches.
You’ll quickly come to the first pebbled beach which a great spot for some picnicking, swimming and snorkelling. It’s quite a wide beach, and you can choose to have your picnic down on the rocks or in the shade of the tree up on the grassy headland. The water also stays shallow for quite a long way, making it a fairly safe spot. As always, exercise caution as Cap beaches aren’t sheltered from wind and waves.
Who wouldn’t want to swim at a place called Millionaire’s Bay? This rocky stretch of beach has only been accessible for a few years via the new path so you can see the huge cliffs and villas that were once the preserve of the billionaire set. There’s also the hugely impressive stone grotto here, you can swim from the rocks but only if you’re a very good swimmer and the sea is very calm. It’s deep!
Carry on along the path past the small beach at Millionaire’s Bay and you’ll find some steps leading down to a tiny, stunning ‘Fake Silver Beach’. Clamber down a step ladder into the beautiful water and float about in a natural pool. Bliss.
Please exercise extreme caution swimming at any spot on the Cap, there have been accidents in the past so only swim in calm conditions, even if you're an experienced swimmer.
Cap d’Antibes Beaches and Coves: Juan les Pins Side
After a walk out to the rocky headland of Cap d'Antibes and Pointe de l'Ilette, you will need to get back in your car (or on the bus) to make your way up the west coast of the Cap.
Port de l'Olivette is a particularly pretty little harbour which is used as a shelter for small fishing and pleasure boats. Very picturesque and worth stopping to grab a few photos.
The Plage des Ondes is a narrow strip of sand that runs alongside the main road. During the busy summer months, you're unlikely to get a parking spot here and we would recommend carrying on around the coast to Plage du Crouton where you'll find parking and the amenities of the lovely Cap d'Antibes Beach Club.
The rugged coastline is wonderful snorkelling territory, where scuba divers will find themselves in the very spot that the world underwater photography competitions were staged for several years, and there are some excellent dives off the Cap.
Paddleboarders and kayakers will have a treat of some simply stunning coastline on a calm day, there are sea kayaking and paddleboarding tours that will lead you around the Cap, pointing out the celebrity villas and taking you to the best swimming spots.
See our Antibes watersports guide for details.