If you like rock formations surrounded by white sand and transparent water, don’t miss San Giovanni beach, also known as Saint Jean beach.
It is little known, hidden in the bay of Figari, but it is worth a visit.
Here is our guide to enjoy this beautiful beach.
Why visit San Giovanni beach in Pianottoli
Is San Giovanni Beach worth it?
Absolutely. It is one of our favorite beaches in Corsica (see our list).
Hidden in the bay of Figari, the beach of San Giovanni offers light golden sand and fascinating rocks of different shades of gray.
It’s a great playground for kids and photographers.
You can walk to different rocky areas and even to a Genoese tower.
Why choose this beach?
Saint-Jean is much less famous than the beaches on the Porto-Vecchio side (such as Palombaggia), but it is an excellent choice for several reasons:
- It is easy to access
- On the whole, it is not too busy
- It has several handles, allowing everyone to find their own little corner
- It has a gentle slope to enter the water
- She has beautiful rocks to play on
It is one of the most beautiful beaches around Bonifacio(see our list).
Access and Map – Saint Jean beach, Bonifacio, Corsica
Where is San Giovanni beach?
- Southwest coast of Corsica
- On the commune of Pianottoli-Caldarello
- Not far from Figari
- Driving time from Bonifacio = 30min drive
- Driving time from Figari = 15min
- Driving time from Porto-Vecchio = 40min
- 8 min detour from the main road T40
- Here is a map to help you find your way:
OUR TIPS FOR RENTING A CAR IN Corsica
- Compare prices on our preferred platform: DiscoverCars – one of the best rated sites.
- Choose a car that is powerful enough (the roads are steep) but compact (some passages are narrow).
- Think of thecomplete insurance (some roads are tortuous and narrow).
- There is a lot of demand, book it early.
How to get to Saint Jean Beach
The beach is accessible by car.
From the main road T40, turn towards the coast: to the left if you go up with Ajaccio, or to the right if you drive towards Bonifacio.
You have less than 5km left.
The last 100m are not paved and there are a lot of bumps. But as it’s not long, no worries, you don’t need a 4×4, even if the track tends to degrade.
The parking lot is located near the pond and the southern tip of the Bay of Figari.
It is a small cleared area in the middle of the dense vegetation.
It is not big. Off season no problem.
In the middle of the summer season, we still recommend arriving early.
The advantage of the small parking lot is that it limits the number of visitors.
It is free.
Sorry, we forgot to take a picture of the parking…
Beware, some people park along the road and get fines for parking in the way.
Then, just walk past the parking lot and find the small path in the middle of the vegetation in the bend.
In 3 minutes you arrive on the beach.
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On the sand and in the water… practical advice
Best time to visit
This beach is very pleasant all year round.
In winter, even if the water is too cool, you can take advantage of the rocks and the sandy strip for a walk.
As for Corsica in general, there are more people in summer, and especially between mid-July and mid-August. At this time, it is better to visit early.
The beach faces south.
The sand is rather fine and tends to be white.
No need to worry about getting into the water.
There is a good length of beach, a strip that extends into several coves. Something to walk around with.
Note that at any period, some beaches in Corsica can be covered with algae.
This can happen at any beach but not at the same time. It’s random.
Conditions for swimming
The beach is nice for swimming and ideal for snorkeling.
The waters are generally quite transparent.
Nothing special to report.
There is no equipment rental on this beach.
But it is a very good place for those who like snorkeling.
Conditions with children
Part of the water’s edge remains shallow, which is ideal for young children.
But the beach is never supervised.
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On the beach, there are no buildings and no restaurant.
You can find some restaurants in Viagenti and Pianottoli-Caldarello.
It takes less than 10 minutes to drive.
Hotels near the beach of San Giovanni
There is no hotel on the beach, but there are 2 campsites close by: Camping Kévano and Camping Le Damier.
Less than 10 minutes away by car, you can find accommodations, especially rentals, such as the apartments of the Residence Ribellinu surrounded by greenery.
– see prices, pictures and availability
WHERE TO STAY IN South Corsica
Option 2: in the maquis around Bonifacio
Option 3: in Bonifacio itself (citadel or marina)
The pond of San Giovanni
When you walk to the beach, you will pass by a small pond.
It is a back-dune pond. It can be dried out in summer.
Watch carefully where you put your feet, because the local fauna can be quite active…
The beach of San Giovanni in pictures
But in our opinion, the main attraction of the beach is the beautiful gray rocks scattered between the coves.
They are magnificent, sculpted by the elements.
Here are some pictures that should convince you of the beauty of this beach:
The beach of San Jean is also appreciated by the amateurs of snorkeling.
Bring your mask and snorkel!
You will find sandy areas and species that like to live in Posidonia meadows.
HOW TO GET TO Corsica
Option 1: by ferry
Option 2: by plane
Tower of Caldarello and archaeological remains
If you walk along the beach, don’t just look at the rocks and the sea.
Look in the vegetation, you will discover historical sites: a Genoese tower and medieval ruins!
Tower of Caldarello / Caldrellu
The most visible is the Tower of Caldadrello. It is also called Tower of Figari.
It is a Genoese tower that is part of the network established around the island.
It was built in the 16th century and was under the jurisdiction of Bonifacio.
It is a circular granite tower. But it does not have the usual crown of machicolations.
Observe its reinforced defense on the south side with a bretèche above the access door
It is forbidden to enter.
You can see it on the picture below, overlooking the beach:
Right next to the beach there is also a medieval archaeological site.
It could correspond to a Roman rural settlement of the 4th century.
There are also 3 places of worship nearby, including one on the beach.
From the seaside, you can see a sign asking you not to climb on the stone walls to preserve these ruins.
PLAN YOUR TRIP TO Corsica
Other beautiful beaches nearby
Beach of Pianotolli-Caldarello
In the continuity of the beach of San Giovanni, on the other side of the Genoese tower, you have the beach of Pianotolli-Caldarello, which is often considered as part of the beaches of San Giovanni.
The beach is another good option to relax away from the crowds.
The rocks are less pretty but you have a view on the Cape of Bruzzi and the snorkeling is also excellent.
See our article.
Beach of Figari
Along the cove of Figari, you can find several beaches. On the east coast, the beach of Figari is a narrow strip of sand with a very gentle slope.
The sand is quite thick. You have to walk to get there.
Plan your trip to Corsica
Discover all our articles to make your trip a success!
- All our practical advice for a trip to Corsica – read
- How to get to Corsica – coming soon
- Which ferry to take to Corsica – read
- Rent a car in Corsica – read
- Where to stay in Corsica – read
- Driving in Corsica – read
- 3 days in Corsica: where to go – read
- 4 or 5 days in Corsica: where to go – read
- The most beautiful destinations in Cose – read