Alright, alright, it’s the end of the summer and thus the end of summer season awards which so far constitutes of the “best beach” award. For those intrigued, it is presented to the town with the best beach. Plot twist, I know. The beach deserving of such a prestigious accolade is a place which I haven’t even written about yet but started to spend an increasing amount of time at towards the last few weeks of being here. Below are the contenders:
Starting with the infamous “Rocky Road” beach, cleverly named by yours truly for it’s torturous footing from end to end, Nice beach is definitely the worst. For anyone that has actually travelled to other places along the Riviera, I think this must be conclusive. In high season, it can get extremely busy and the water can get very opaque, although at times the crystal blue water is in sight. It’s nice for a quick morning swim but the embarrassing rock climb to get out is always something to put anyone off taking a dip. Convenience is the positive alongside a selection of water-sports.
HOT SCORE – 4/10
A short 81/100 bus ride away is the bay of Villefranche. Well documented as it is, it’s a picturesque village with a narrow strip of beach at the epicentre of the cap. It certainly looks deceiving from a distance, with a distinct golden glaze of sand. Sadly, they are still rocks, only smaller and pretty relaxing. The view isn’t half bad either. Either side you have Villefranche and Cap Ferrat and directly in front are a host of luxury yachts and sailing boats, alongside little runners such as the Fun-Yak. It’s quieter and has a small swimming area that isn’t buoyed off and therefore isn’t the worst of our selection here.
HOT SCORE – 6/10
Frustratingly don’t have a picture of Villefranche
Just outside of the old town of Antibes, which is a beautiful part of the town, is a quaint little beach which seems distinctly less populated than it’s adversaries in the vicinity. The swimming area is very short and there isn’t much to do here other than to relax and unwind away from the hustle and bustle of the more populated areas along the riviera.
HOT SCORE – 6/10
Juan Les Pins
Just next door to beautiful Antibes is Juan Les Pins. A long narrow strip of beach which has the warm, comforting soft feel of sand beneath. This would arguably be the best beach along the riviera, if it didn’t get so crowded. The water is clear, there’s waters-sports galore and a plethora of restaurants and cafe’s to get a bite after a hard day bronzing. Even the sandwich van’s along the beach serve really good food, my salad was ultimately refreshing on a hot July day. It’s also nice to dip into the town for a drink in the local bars, which are the only decent cocktail stops between here and Nice.
HOT SCORE – 8/10
Frustratingly don’t have a picture of Juan Les Pin
Another excellent beach, especially those interested in water-sports. They have everything from kayaking to jet-ski’s, to those ridiculously cool water jet shoot you up in the air thingy’s (I think that’s what they’re called). The beach also has volleyball, is quite densely set back and there are rocks at the end of the beach to go fishing or snorkelling through the coral. There’s also the magnificence of the world’s super yachts ahead, making you question every possible way of making the money to afford one of those badboys. It’s very close to Saint Jean where you can pick up a lovely pizza at Le Cadillac at a very reasonable price and the restaurant even has live music every Friday. A really great venue.
HOT SCORE – 8/10
Beau Lieu’s beauty lies in it’s view and the wonderful Le Berlugan, which serves a great set of drinks and food and has an infinity pool, if you can’t be arsed walking down the steps to the sea. The beach itself is pretty grimy to be honest and isn’t one I’d be too interested going back to. It descends back into rocks here too, albeit pebbles, but the water isn’t what is it in different areas of the riv.
HOT SCORE – 5/10
Frustratingly don’t have a piccy of old Beaulieu
I can’t really comment, as I only walked along the promenade during the film festival. It looks distinctively similar in all aspects to Nice beach, with sand. For that reason, I’ll give it a bumper score of 5.
The infamous Paloma Beach at Cap Ferrat is where the stars wonder down. Surrounded by villas owned by U2, Led Zeppelin and more, the Paloma Beach is a small, quaint, pebbly beach of wealth. The restaurant is great at an extremely modest price, where local fish is used and there is even a boat pick up service from them if you fancy a bite whilst reading this on your yacht. The beach is quite small and so is the swimming area but explore around the rocks where there’s great spots for spearfishing, snorkelling and getting some sexy GoPro footage.
HOT SCORE – 8/10
Frustratingly don’t have a picture of Paloma Beach. I need to be more trigger happy…
Mala Plage – Cap D’Ail
This place is the clear winner for me though and would deserve it’s on post if it wasn’t just a beach! It’s so picturesque and quiet, probably due to the 15 minute hike to get back up to the main strip after your stressful day of sunbathing. Take the 100 bus towards Monaco and get off at Cap D’Ail and head downhill away from the main road. It takes 10 minutes to get there and is clearly signposted but once you get there you are overawed by stunning cliffs landscaping a secluded and relatively quiet beach. This beach has everything. Watersports, 2 great restaurants, one with a more relaxed beach vibe and a more sophisticated restaurant where I think you can get a sturdy massage, beautiful swimming area, gorgeous views, cliff diving and rock climbing and crystal blue water. The sandy, pebbly beach is big enough to have your own space and there is a lovely walk along the seafront to get back to the main road. If you want a beach experience that will make you feeling fulfilled, Mala Plage is the one
HOT SCORE – 9/10