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No visit to Marseille is complete without experiencing the truly awe-inspiring natural beauty of the Calanques National Park. Generations of painters and poets have been drawn to these dramatic limestone cliffs, inlets and coves. The calanques are the perfect day trip from Marseille, and can be seen from roadside observation points, or by hiking or sea kayaking.
In 2012 the calanques were designated as a national park due to their wild beauty and the unique habitats they support. The park begins within Marseille’s city limits and stretches for 12 miles (20 kilometers) south to the town of Cassis.
There are numerous ways to experience the calanques. Book a ticket on the Blue Coast train from Marseille and simply enjoy the passing calanque landscape from your window seat. Or, join one of the many informative guided boat tours which leave daily from Marseille’s Vieux Port.
Rent a car and drive to two of the most popular calanques, Sormiou and Morgiou. Both offer panoramic lookouts just short distances from the parking lots. Sormiou features a beach, seafood restaurants and small harbor, while the picturesque settlement of Morgiou has swimming inlets.
One of the best ways to explore this incredible region is on foot. Follow the miles of marked trails and enjoy the hundreds of plant species which thrive in this arid landscape. Keep an eye out for foxes, rabbits, sea turtles and dolphins, and look to the skies for eagles and falcons.
Be sure to pack plenty of water before hitting the trails and avoid the exposed cliff faces on windy days. Don’t be put off by cloudy weather, as the white cliffs are often at their photographic best on overcast days when crowd numbers are down. Most calanques are closed in the hottest summer months due to risk of forest fire.
Allow at least a day to properly experience the calanques, including travel time there and back.
This apartment building is located in Marseille (9th Arrondissement), close to Parc du Roy d'Espagne, Musee d'Art Contemporain and Massif des Calanques. Local attractions also include Velodrome Stadium and Parc Chanot Convention and Exhibition Center.
Located in 8th Arrondissement, this residence is within a 15-minute walk of Prado Market and Parc Chanot Convention and Exhibition Center. Marseille Provence Cruise Terminal and Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations are also within 3 miles (5 km). Perier Metro Station is only a 2-minute walk and Castellane Station is 9 minutes.
Located in 9th Arrondissement, this hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Parc du Roy d'Espagne, Musee d'Art Contemporain and Borely Park. Escale Borely and Calanque Sormiou are also within 3 mi (5 km).
Located in 8th Arrondissement, this villa is 0.7 mi (1.2 km) from Gulf of Lion and within 3 miles (5 km) of Plage de la Bonne Brise and Bonne Brise Beach. Colombet Beach and Calanque Marseilleveyre are also within 3 miles (5 km).
Located in 8th Arrondissement, this beach hotel is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from La Corniche and 2.3 mi (3.6 km) from Parc Chanot Convention and Exhibition Center. Plage de la Pointe Rouge and Borely Beach are also within 10 minutes.
Situated by the sea, this spa apartment building is within 1 mile (2 km) of Calanque de Port Miou and Cassis Beach. Calanques National Park is 2.3 mi (3.7 km) away.
Located in 9th Arrondissement, this guesthouse is 2.1 mi (3.4 km) from Musee d'Art Contemporain and 3 mi (4.8 km) from Parc Chanot Convention and Exhibition Center. Parc du Roy d'Espagne and Palais des Sports de Marseille are also within 3 miles (5 km).
Located in 9th Arrondissement, this bed & breakfast is 0.9 mi (1.5 km) from Musee d'Art Contemporain and 2.4 mi (3.8 km) from Parc Chanot Convention and Exhibition Center. Parc du Roy d'Espagne and La Corniche are also within 2 miles (3 km).