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Calanque d’En Vau Hike, Calanques Cassis, France

Calanque d’En-Vau is irrefutably the most dazzling and grandiose calanque in Calanques National Park in Southern France

A calanque is a narrow, limestone-walled inlet, often shaped like a fjord. Along the Mediterranean coast between Marseille and Cassis, there are 26 such calanques.

With its vertiginous bone-white limestone walls, lapping turquoise waters, and pristine cliff-framed beach, Calanque d’En Vau is the most spectacular. 

The En Vau Calanque is only accessible by foot, or by boat. There is no road access. 

To get to Calanque d’En-vau, first head to Cassis, the pretty fishing village east of Marseille.

The hike from Cassis to Calanque d’En-vau clings to the coast, passing Calanque de Port-Miou and Calanque de Port Pin along the way. 

If you wish to extend this hike to Luminy University Campus, read our Devenson Cliffs hiking guide.

Cassis to Calanque d'en Vau Hike, Calanques National Park, France

Calanque d’En Vau Hiking Map

How to read this map | Click icons and trails to display further information. The Cassis-Calanque de’En-Vau hike is highlighted in teal. The yellow line highlights the Cassis – Devenson Cliffs – Luminy trail, which is a possible extension. For reference, GR-98 route is delineated in gray. And finally, the green line indicates the boundary of Calanques National Park.

Where to Start the Calanque d’En-Vau Hike


Cassis, France

Cassis is a fishing village turned seaside resort town along the Mediterranean coast, between Marseille and La Ciotat. 

The town lies between the Calanques Massif and Cap Canaille in the Bouches-du-Rhône department of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. 

The Calanque d’En-vau trailhead is a short walk away from the Port of Cassis, the pretty harbor rimmed with restaurants and cafés. 

If you’re staying in Cassis, it’s best to leave your car parked at your accommodation and walk to the trailhead. 

If you’re driving to Cassis, you can park along Avenue Notre Dame (parking fees apply). Arrive early to secure a parking spot. Parking machines accept credit cards and EUR coins. You can also use the mobile parking app. 

How to Get to Cassis from Marseille

If you’re staying in Marseille, you can reach Cassis in an hour with public transit. Take bus 78 from Castellane to Cassis and disembark the bus at the Gendarmerie bus stop. You can purchase your bus ticket directly on the bus. 

During our visit, Castellane was under construction. Bus 78 departed from Avenue de Toulon (Google Maps), near the roundabout. 

Check for updates. 

The timetable is synced with Google Maps, but the terminus isn’t up-to-date. 

Cassis to Calanque d’En-Vau Trail Difficulty

Calanque d'en Vau hiking trail, Calanques National Park, France

This hike is moderate-moderately difficult. 

The difficulty lies in the limestone terrain, which is rugged, uneven, and sometimes polished, and thus slippery. 

The steepest sections of trail are secured with fixed handrails. And, the trail has been carefully chiseled for greater accessibility. 

Hikers should be comfortable with uneven surfaces and loose rock. Wear sturdy hiking boots and bring sun protection and sufficient water. 

There are no facilities along the trail. 

When to Hike to Calanque d’En-Vau

Hiking the Calanque d'en Vau panoramic trail, Calanques National Park, France

The hiking season in Calanques National Park stretches between October and May. 

While it’s possible to hike here in summer, the heat may be unbearable. Moreover, Calanques National Park is often closed in summer (June – September) due to the high risk of fire. 

Every day, authorities assess fire risk and determine whether the park will be open the following day.

Download the official Calanques National Park mobile app (Apple / Google Play) for live updates and alerts to find out if Calanques National Park is open. 

Cassis to Calanque d’En-vau Trail Description

Gendarmerie Bus Stop to Port of Cassis (10 minutes)

Port of Cassis, France

From the Gendarmerie Bus Stop in Cassis, walk to the roundabout and then turn right on Rue de la Ciotat.

When Rue de la Ciotat intersects with Avenue Victor Hugo, turn left and follow the café and bakery-line street down to the Port of Cassis. 

Port of Cassis to Calanque de Port-Miou (35 minutes)

Plage du Bestouan, Cassis, France

When you reach the attractive harbor, turn right and follow the pedestrian promenade along the water. 

Turn right along Avenue de l’Amiral Ganteaume and follow this street in a westerly direction to Plage du Bestouan.

Soon after passing the Bestouan Beach, turn right on Trav. du Soleil, following the red and white sticker trail markers. 

Turn right again on the residential Avenue Révérend Père Jayne, which later turns into Avenue des Calanques as you progress. 

Note | If you parked along Avenue Notre Dame, there’s a narrow footpath, starting here, that links Avenue Notre Dame to Avenue des Calanques.

Avenue des Calanques slopes down, steering you to the Port-Miou Calanques National Park trailhead, marked by signs and info boards. Turn left at the gate, following signs to Calanque de Port-Pin and Calanque d’en Vau. 

The way is marked with green and red-white waymarks 

Calanque de Port-Miou – Calanque de Port-Pin – Plage de Port Pin  (25 minutes)

Calanque de Port-Miou - Calanque de Port-Pin hiking trail, Cassis Calanques, France

The Calanque En Vau-bound trail initially follows a wide gravel path, beneath vertical cliffs and above the glistening waters of Calanque de Port-Miou. 

Port-Miou Calanque is a narrow slither of water that serves as a docking area for sailboats of the local yacht club.

Calanque de Port-Miou, Cassis Calanques, France

With peekaboo views of Calanque de Port-Miou, the flat trail progresses towards the mouth of calanque and splits. 

The right gravel trail rises steadily to the crest, whereas the scenic left path hugs the coast, following the contours of the Port-Miou Calanque.

Calanque de Port-Miou Coastal Trail, Calanques Cassis, France

You can see the ochre-colored Cap Canaille in the distance, rising behind the Port Miou headland.

View of Cap Cap Canaille, Calanques National Park, France

Both trails converge atop the crest. Follow signs to Port Pin. 

The rocky trail descends between timber posts and wire fencing to Plage de Port Pin. 

Calanque de Port-Miou to Calanque de Port Pin hike, Calanques, France

Plage de Port Pin is a pebbly beach at the end of the pine-fringed Calanque de Port Pin. 

Plage de Port Pin – Panoramic Trail – Calanque d’En-vau Viewpoint – Le Portalet d’en Vau (1 hour)

Plage de Port Pin, Cassis Calanques, Calanques National Park, France

Cross the beach to reach the next trail junction. Signs indicate 1:10 hours to Calanque d’en Vau following the white-red trail (GR 98-51), or 1:30 hours to Calanque d’en Vau via the Sentier Panoramique trail, marked in blue

Bear left and follow the blue-waymarked panoramic trail to Calanque d’En-vau. 

Calanque En Vau panoramic trail, Cassis, Calanques National Park, France

The rocky path ascends immediately, beneath a canopy of Aleppo pine. With elevation gain, views open up to the Calanque de Port-Pin and again to the red cliffs of Cap Canaille.

As the coastal trail turns northwest, the mouth of Calanque d’En-vau comes into focus.

Calanque d'En Vau Viewpoint, Panoramic Trail, Calanques National Park, France

A series of viewpoints reveal the grandiosity of the En Vau Calanque, the pearl of Calanques National Park.

The narrow teal inlet is bordered by vertiginous limestone walls, spangled with greenery. The divine scene is made even more heavenly by the spectrum of clear teal waters below. 

Calanque d'en Vau Beach, Calanques National Park, France

From the cliffside trail, hikers are also treated to an aerial view of the rectangular Calanque d’en Vau Beach and later the Riou archipelago. 

Riou archipelago, Calanque En Vau hiking trail, Calanques National Park, France

The panoramic path meanders inland to join the direct GR 98-51 (red-white) trail at Le Portalet d’en Vau. 

Calanque d'En Vau  Sentier Panoramique, Calanques National Park, France

Le Portalet d’en Vau to Plage d’En Vau (30 minutes)

Le Portalet d’en Vau to Plage d’En Vau hiking trail, Calanques National Park, France

At the Le Portalet d’en Vau trail junction, the trail sign indicates 30 minutes to Calanque d’en Vau (difficult access) along the red-white-striped trail. 

The trail steeply descends a narrow rocky path. Caution is needed, as there’s loose rock and some steep rock steps. Part of the trail is secured with handrails, affixed to the rock. 

The Calanque En-Vau-bound trail is steep and rugged and may prove difficult. 

The path tumbles down a rocky path to the bed of the valley, beneath soaring pinnacles rising up to breathtaking heights. 

GR98-51 hike, Vallon d'en Vau, Calanques National Park, France

Once the trail eases, it’s a very pleasant walk to Plage d’En Vau. Before reaching the beach, the trail splits. Take the left trail to the beach. 

Vallon d'en Vau, Calanques, France

The flat gravel path progresses beneath pinnacles.

Plage d’En Vau Beach

Plage d’En Vau Beach, Calanque d'en vau, Calanques National Park, France

Plage d’En Vau Beach is the most devastatingly beautiful beach we’ve ever visited. We stayed here over an hour, before making our return to Cassis. 

There are no facilities on the beach, so please pack out all your garbage. Bring water and food to avoid Futterneid, as the French certainly know how to pack a picnic.

En Vau Beach –  Le Portalet d’en Vau – Plage de Port Pin –  Cassis (1:45 hours)

Calanque d'En-Vau Hiking Trail difficulty, Calanques National Park, France

Retrace your steps through the valley and scale the steep path to Le Portalet d’en Vau.

From here, you can decide whether to return to Port Pin Beach by way of the panoramic trail, or the more direct GR 98 trail. 

We opted for the red-white GR 98 trail, which descends continuously through bush and forest. This path offers no scenic value, but it’s the faster route. 

From the Port Pin beach, ascend the familiar fenced-in trail to the crest separating Calanque de Port Pin from Calanque de Port-Miou. 

And, continue along the wide gravel trail, parallel to Calanque de Port-Miou, to the Avenue des Calanques. 

The way to Cassis passes by Plage du Bestouan. Grab a bite to eat at Hotel De La Plage – Mahogany, or at the beach bar across the street. 

Where to Stay near Calanque En Vau


Hotel de la Plage, Cassis, France
Hotel De La Plage

Top Choice – Midrange | Managed by caring hosts, Chambre d’hôtes Clos du Petit Jésus is a quiet and comfortable B&B with an outdoor swimming pool, terrace, and generous breakfast. Parking is included. The guesthouse is a short 10-minute walk to the port of Cassis.  

Luxury | HPC Suites offers well-kept, self-catering apartments in an idyllic and central location in Cassis, walking distance to the port (10 minutes). Free parking is available. 

Luxury | Hotel De La Plage – Mahogany is situated along Avenue de l’Amiral Ganteaume across from Plage du Bestouan beach, a 5-minute walk from the Port of Cassis. This beachfront hotel offers 28 comfortable, air-conditioned rooms, many of which have sea views. Extra perks: sunny sea-facing terrace, bar, restaurant (summer only), spa and pool (seasonal / extra charge). Parking is available for an extra fee (reserve in advance). 

Top Choice – Luxury | Hôtel Les Roches Blanches occupies a privileged cliffside position in Cassis, overlooking the sea and Cap canaille. Stay here for the dreamy setting and excellent breakfast. Restaurants and pools are open seasonally. Book a sea-view room. On-site parking is available for an extra fee. 

Look for accommodation in Cassis.


Hôtel Le M , Marseille, France
Hôtel Le M

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. 

Look for accommodation in Marseille.

Southern France Travel Guides


Calanques National Park:

Calanque En Vau Hiking Trail in Cassis, France

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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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