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Calanques Marseille Itinerary (No Car Needed), Provence, Southern France

Marseille is a bustling, multicultural city in Provence in Southern France. We traveled to Marseille to hike in Calanques National Park, a protected area along the Mediterranean Coast that extends across land and sea between Marseille, Cassis, and La Ciotat. 

The backbone of our Marseille itinerary is the Cassis-Marseille coastal trail, which we tackled on a series of day trips from Marseille. 

This Marseille trip itinerary is perfect for outdoor travelers and hikers who want to experience the vibrance of Marseille alongside the beauty of the Calanques without a car in spring, or autumn.

This Marseille travel itinerary will help you structure your trip to Provence and our Calanques National Park hiking guide will fill in the gaps.

Sormiou Calanque, Marseille, France

Marseille Calanques Map

How to use this map | Click on the trails and icons to display further information. The green line signifies the Calanques National Park boundary.

How to Book This Marseille Itinerary (No Car Needed)

The trip planning logistics of this Marseille trip are very simple.

We recommend booking 5-7 nights in Marseille. This trip can be done with 5 nights (6 days), but with more nights you’ll be able to build in more rest days and flexibility. We stayed in Marseille 7 nights and hiked 4 days. 

Alternatively, you can book 2 nights in Cassis and 2-5 nights in Marseille. If you decide to stay in Cassis, we recommend staying in Chambre d’hôtes Clos du Petit Jésus (midrange), the cliffside Hôtel Les Roches Blanches (luxury), or beachfront Hotel De La Plage (luxury). 

Book 5-7 Nights in Marseille

Midrange | Hôtel Le M is a comfortable 3-star hotel located on Rue Paradis, a safe commercial street, near the Estrangin metro station and walking distance to both Vieux Port and Castellane. All rooms have air-conditioning and are equipped with a coffee machine and tea kettle. Staying here is very relaxing and uncomplicated: luggage storage is provided, breakfast is available (you can decide each morning whether you’d like breakfast), check-in and check-out is efficient. 

Midrange | Le Pythéas – Vue Vieux-Port avec terrasse et clim is a light-filled spacious apartment in Vieux Port. We loved the location and layout of the apartment. However, it would need a few upgrades (more towels, towel racks, more efficient self-check-in). Also check out this similar apartment: Le Pythéas Vieux Port Marseille

Budget-Midrange | Top-rated Les Appartements du Vieux Port offers a wide array of clean, modern, air-conditioned apartments in a central location in Vieux Port. 

Luxury | Maisons du Monde Hôtel & Suites – Marseille Vieux Port stands prominently across the ferry terminal of Vieux Port. This chic portside hotel offers air-conditioned rooms, lovingly furnished with Maisons du Monde decor. Book a room with a harbor view. Breakfast is available. 

Top Choice – Luxury | Housed in a 19th century private mansion, the stylish boutique Hôtel C2 stands out with its bright contemporary rooms, spa, fabulous breakfast, and phenomenal service.

More accommodations in Marseille: Maison Juste (midrange-luxury), Boutique Hôtel Provencia (midrange), and Hotel Sofitel Marseille Vieux Port (luxury).

Look for accommodation in Marseille.

Make Dinner Reservations

In addition to booking your accommodation, we recommend making several dinner reservations in advance. Marseille is increasingly becoming a foodie destination. The city’s best restaurants are small and have limited hours of operation.

Bring a Passport Photo

And finally, bring a passport photo with you, in order to create a local transit card (details explained below).

Day 1: Arrive in Marseille

This is exactly what we did on day 1 in Marseille. 

We traveled from the Marseille Airport to the Marseille Saint-Charles bus/train/metro station by bus, secured a public transit card at the RTM reception desk, traveled to the Old Port of Marseille by metro, ate lunch at Libala, checked-in, and walked around the Old Port of Marseille before eating dinner at Mouné.

How to Get from the Marseille Airport to Marseille City Center 

Step 1: Marseille Provence Airport to Marseille Saint-Charles (BUS)

The Marseille Provence Airport is located northwest of the Marseille city center. The easiest way to get from the airport to the city center is by bus. 

Throughout the day (every 10 minutes), the Le Car Airport Bus 91 shuttles passengers directly from the airport to the Marseille Saint-Charles (Gare St. Charles) train, bus, and metro station in 30 minutes. Purchase a round-trip ticket (16 EUR) at the nearby kiosk before entering the bus, or get a ticket online before your trip.

Step 2: RTM Reception Desk 

We recommend getting a RTM 7-Day Pass (Pass 7 jours Pour tous), which only costs 15.50 EUR per person, and gives you unlimited access to RTM (Régie des transports Métropolitains) transit in the blue zone. It also includes bus 78 to/from Cassis.

In order to purchase this transit pass, you must first obtain a La Carte RTM card at a RTM reception desk. 

When you arrive in Gare St. Charles, follow signs to the metro station, located two levels below the train station. 

In order to create the La Carte RTM card, the RTM officials need a passport photo and an ID. The creation of the transit card is free. 

With your La Carte RTM card in hand, you can now load the card with the RTM 7-Day Pass (Pass 7 jours Pour tous). The charging/loading station is located outside the RTM desk at the entrance to the Metro. 

Step 3: Marseille Saint-Charles to Vieux Port, Castellane, or Estrangin (Metro)

Marseille only has 2 metro lines. Ride the metro to quickly navigate to your accommodation. We don’t recommend walking from the train station to the city center. 

If you’re staying around the Old Port of Marseille (e.g. Maisons du Monde Hôtel & Suites, or Les Appartements du Vieux Port), take the M1 in the direction of La Fourragère to Vieux Port (3 minutes).

If you’re staying around Estrangin (e.g. Hôtel Le M, Hôtel C2, or Boutique Hôtel Provencia), take the M1 in the direction of La Fourragère to Estrangin (4 minutes). 

If you’re staying around Castellane, take the M2 in the direction of Sainte-Marguerite Dromel to Castellane (3 minutes). 

All transit and timetables are linked with Google Maps. 

Lunch around the Opéra District

Adjacent to the Old Port, the area around Opéra de Marseille, known as the Opéra district in the first arrondissement, is brimming with canteens, cafés, and boulangeries. Many canteens display their daily menu on chalkboards, outside their establishments. 

We ate lunch at Libala, a casual and welcoming street-food canteen, founded by Mathilde Godart and Chef Hugues Mbenda, who hails from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Maison Empereur 

Walk to Maison Empereur, the oldest hardware shop in France (Google Maps). Extending across several rooms and several floors, this maze of a shop sells cookware, textiles, tools, antique toys, fragrances, and so much more. This is the best place to purchase authentic Marseille soap (Savon de Marseille), the ultimate souvenir. 

Authentic Marseille soaps only contain four raw materials: 72% vegetable oil (olive oil), sodium hydroxide, water, and sea salt. Marseille soaps do not contain perfume, dye, preservatives, animat fat, or synthetic additives. 

Dinner at Mouné

We ate a delicious meal in Mouné, a contemporary Lebanese bistro, tucked away along Rue Fortia. This jubilant bistro is located near the buzzing, restaurant-lined square of Cours d’Estienne d’Orves.

Stay in Marseille, or Cassis 

Marseille Accommodations | Les Appartements du Vieux Port (budget-midrange), Hôtel Le M (midrange), Maisons du Monde Hôtel & Suites (luxury), or Hôtel C2 (boutique luxury)

Cassis Accommodations | Chambre d’hôtes Clos du Petit Jésus (midrange), HPC Suites (midrange-luxury), Hotel De La Plage – Mahogany (luxury), or Hôtel Les Roches Blanches (luxury)

Day 2: Cassis Day Trip 

Cassis is an attractive fishing village turned resort town, located between Marseille and La Ciotat. It’s a charming, tourist-friendly destination, which feels a world away from Marseille. Cassis delivers quintessential “French Riviera” views. 

Cassis is also a gateway to Calanques National Park and the start of our Cassis-Marseille coastal hike. 

Bus 78: Marseille to Cassis 

Bus 78 links Castellane in Marseille with Cassis. It’s a 40-minute bus ride. 

Take an early morning bus to Cassis to enjoy a peaceful morning in the town and to visit the market (Wednesday and Friday mornings), which sells fresh produce, sunhats, and regional products. 

Cassis – Marseille Calanques Hike Stage 1

For a moderate, half-day excursion, you can hike to Calanque d’En Vau beach and return to Cassis in the afternoon.

Or, for a full-day adventure, you can hike from Cassis to Luminy University Campus (Stage 1 of the Cassis-Marseille Coastal Hike). This challenging 15.6 km point-to-point hike across the Devenson Cliffs takes 6:30 hours to complete. 

Stay in Marseille, or Cassis 

Marseille Accommodations | Les Appartements du Vieux Port (budget-midrange), Hôtel Le M (midrange), Maisons du Monde Hôtel & Suites (luxury), or Hôtel C2 (boutique luxury)

Cassis Accommodations | Chambre d’hôtes Clos du Petit Jésus (midrange), HPC Suites (midrange-luxury), Hotel De La Plage – Mahogany (luxury), or Hôtel Les Roches Blanches (luxury)

Day 3: Marseille City Attractions and Neighborhoods 

We started the day with a rich and delicious breakfast at Deïa Coffee & Kitchen (Google Maps). Another great option is Carlotta With (Google Maps). 

After breakfast, we took the bus 60 to Basilica of Notre-Dame of la Garde (20 minutes), Marseille’s most conspicuous and well-known attraction.

After visiting the Byzantine-style hilltop church, we walked back to Vieux Port through the Saint-Victor neighborhood. 

A few notable stops along the way: SEPIA restaurant on Puget Hill, Sessùn Alma concept store on Rue Sainte, Marseille’s oldest bakery Le Four des Navettes, and Ateliers Marcel Carbonel, a manufacturer of Santons of Provence, which are traditional nativity scene figurines. 

Our exploration of the city continued to the colorful bohemian neighborhood of Cours Julien, where we ate lunch, and finally to the charming Le Panier district, the oldest part of Marseille, originally founded by the Greeks in 600 BC.

Read our Marseille Travel Guide for tips on where to eat in Cours Julien.

Stay in Marseille

Marseille Accommodations | Les Appartements du Vieux Port (budget-midrange), Hôtel Le M (midrange), Maisons du Monde Hôtel & Suites (luxury), or Hôtel C2 (boutique luxury)

Day 4: Calanque de Sugiton – Calanque de Morgiou Hike in Calanques National Park

Cassis – Marseille Calanques Hike Stage 2

On day 4 of your Marseille itinerary, we recommend hiking stage 2 of the Cassis-Marseille coastal hike, starting in Luminy University Campus and ending in Les Baumettes. This hike links the breathtaking ​​Belvédère de Sugiton with Calanque de Sugiton, Calanque de Morgiou, and the panoramic Morgiou Crest.

Eat lunch at Bar Nautic (cash only) in Calanque de Morgiou. 

This 11.7 km point-to-point hike takes 4:30 hours to complete, without breaks. 

Note: this hike involves some scrambling. Reverse the route in order to ascend, rather than descend, scrambling sections. 

Dinner at Ourea 

For a quintessential Marseille foodie experience, eat dinner at the fine dining Ourea restaurant (reservation needed). They serve a set dinner menu which changes weekly.

Stay in Marseille

Marseille Accommodations | Les Appartements du Vieux Port (budget-midrange), Hôtel Le M (midrange), Maisons du Monde Hôtel & Suites (luxury), or Hôtel C2 (boutique luxury)

Day 5: Les Goudes

Les Goudes is a fishing village in Marseille, which is famous for its fresh fish and seafood restaurants like Grand Bar des Goudes and Chez Paul. Les Goudes is also located within Calanques National Park and is thus a popular starting and/or ending point for day trips in the Calanques. 

Cassis – Marseille Calanques Hike Stage 3

On day 5 of your Marseille itinerary, we recommend completing the Cassis-Marseille coastal hike, by hiking from Les Baumettes to Les Goudes. This 15.4 km point-to-point hike takes 6:30 hours. 

If you’re “hiked-out,” you could also join this guided Calanques National Park SUP Tour starting in Callelongue, near Les Goudes. 

Or, you could explore the Calanques by sea on this Calanques: Full-Day Sailing Tour, Alliance Schooner Sailing Tour, or Calanques National Park Eco Boat Cruise

Watch the Sunset and Eat Dinner in Vallon des Auffes 

Vallon des Auffes is an enclosed fishing harbor off the Corniche Kennedy Road. This picturesque spot harbors some culinary gems like the fine dining restaurant L’Épuisette and the sushi restaurant Tabi

Chez Fonfon is the family-run institution that is widely known for their bouillabaisse. 

Stay in Marseille

Marseille Accommodations | Les Appartements du Vieux Port (budget-midrange), Hôtel Le M (midrange), Maisons du Monde Hôtel & Suites (luxury), or Hôtel C2 (boutique luxury)

Day 6: Depart Marseille / Extend Trip

Before departing Marseille, you may want to take the ferry to Château d’If, the island fortress, which served as the fictional setting for the Count of Monte Cristo. 

You may also want to visit the Mucem – Museum of Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean.

Return to Marseille Saint-Charles (Gare St. Charles) train, bus, and metro station in order to hop on the Le Car Airport Bus Line 91  back to the Marseille Airport.

Southern France Travel Guides


Calanques National Park:

Calanques Marseille Itinerary

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Moon & Honey Travel is an independent blog created by two passionate hikers. We are able to provide free content to you, because of ads and affiliate links. When you make a purchase using one of these links, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Happy travels and happy trails, Sabrina and Kati

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