If you have already visited Marseille, you may have already spotted the Riou archipelago, which is visible from the Marseille coast. Covering 160 hectares, the Riou archipelago consists of four large main islands and many islets, all uninhabited: Riou island (in French, l'Ile de Riou), Jarre island, Jarron island, Calseraigne island, Maïre island and Moyade island. All these islands belong to the Conservatoire du littoral since 1993 and have been part of the Calanques National Park since 2012. The Riou archipelago is the only uninhabited archipelago on the French mainland coast, but it is the only archipelago on the French coast where nature is preserved in its "purest" version. Unlike the Frioul Islands, there is no shuttle bus that can take you to the archipelago: the only way to reach Riou island and the Riou archipelago is hiring a boat in Marseille. During your holidays in Marseille and its surroundings, come and spend a day in the heart of this protected archipelago that is known for its exceptional biodiversity!
Riou island, also known as "the island of birds" and which is about 2 kilometres long and 500 metres wide, is the largest and most important island in the Riou archipelago. It is also the only island in the archipelago where it is possible to land, while access to the other islands is forbidden. The island is formed by high cliffs of white limestone in the south part and sandy beaches and pebbles in the north. The island is a true paradise for nature lovers who can discover exceptional fauna and flora: the island hosts more than 320 species, 18 of which are protected. Since the island has been under protection for many years, you may meet many species of birds (the seagull, also named the seagull of Marseille - the shearwater, a rarer species that only reproduces on the island of Riou and on the slope of Ibiza - and hawks) but also the wild rabbit and the ocellated lizard. Once back on board your sailboat or catamaran, go and discover the numerous coves bathed in turquoise waters! If you are looking for a dream mooring, we recommend that you stop at the Anse de Monasterio! During your visit to Riou archipelago, you will feel completely in another dimension, in the midst of a preserved environment, and it is only accessible by boat. You will feel privileged to be able to spend unique moments in such an incredible environment.
One of the most beautiful diving spots in France
The city of Marseille and its preserved coast is a special place for scuba diving and Riou island with its archipelago will offer you a magnificent setting! Youi can enjoy more than 40 dive sites, including wrecks and caves. The dive site "Les tombants des Moyades", located in the northern end of Riou island, is known for hosting some of the most beautiful dive sites in Marseille! The site "Impériaux de Terre" is an ideal place for beginners and you can make many discoveries. What makes this dive unforgettable is the game of light that take place when the weather is nice.
If you are looking for peace and quietness and exceptional landscapes for a day during your next holiday in Marseille and it surrounding areas, go and discover Riou island! Riou island and its archipelago are incredible and you will enjoy some good navigation. For one day you will feel privileged to visit a preserved site in the heart of a Marine Park.