Calanques National Park, Marseille, France (with Map & Photos)

One of the most surprising places in Marseille is its coastline and it is home to one of the natural jewels of the Mediterranean. In this post I tell you how to visit the Calanques National Park, a place with beautiful sea and mountain landscapes just 15 kilometers from the center of the second most important city in France.

Calanques National Park
Calanques National Park

What is the Calanques National Park


The Calanques National Park is a land and marine reserve of more than 43,000 hectares, with about 20 kilometers of coastline spread between Marseille, Cassis and La Ciotat. In it there are about 200 species of protected animals, it has been a National Park since 2012 and every year more than 2 million people visit it.

It is an ideal place for hiking with stunning views of the sea and the mountains. The landscape of some coves is very striking, with an intense turquoise color of the sea. The best of all is that being so close to the city, it is very easy to spend a different day, surrounded by nature and I also think it is positive that it is not allowed to enter with the car in high season.

Calanques National Park
Calanques National Park

Visit the Calanques National Park from Marseille


Next I am going to tell you how to get to the main calanques on your own, but if you prefer not to complicate your life, go with more people or bring a guide, there is a 4-hour excursion to hike through the park with a guide.

If you go on your own, as the National Park is quite extensive, to get to each of the coves you have to go to a different area. Both by car and by bus you can get to the park gates, but then you have to walk a minimum of 45 minutes to reach the coves (depending on the cove it will be one distance or another).

Calanques National Park
Calanques National Park

Visit the Calanques National Park from Cassis and La Ciotat


Cassis and La Ciotat are two coastal towns near Marseille that share this Calanques National Park with it. The easternmost coves and some of the best known and busiest in the park belong to them. In Cassis there are the Calanque d'en Vau, the Calanque de Port Pin and the Calanque de Port Mieu. The latter is the most accessible, since it is very close to Cassis, but to get to the other two you have to walk.

For its part, in La Ciotat, the best known cove is that of Figueroles. I was neither in Cassis nor in La Ciotat, so I cannot give you many more details. In any case, both Cassis and La Ciotat can be reached by public transport from Marseille and, once there, walk to the coves. You can always stop by their tourist offices to find out the most recommended route.

Calanques National Park
Calanques National Park

Tips for visiting the Calanques National Park


Although it is an idyllic place a few kilometers from a big city, we must not forget that it is a mountain place and quite isolated, in the sense that there is no electricity, drinking water and other basic services that there are in any civilized place. Hence, if you are going to visit the Calanques National Park, do it with common sense and keep a few things in mind.

Calanques National Park
Calanques National Park

The basics


Take a lot of water, since there are no fountains on the way, and food. In the National Park there are several restaurants, but they are usually only open during the tourist season. Just in case they are closed, it is best to always bring some food. Some also have no electricity so they only accept cash.

Although the star of the National Park is in the coves, remember that it is also a mountain and that you will walk on trekking trails. For this reason, it is important to wear suitable footwear and comfortable clothing.

Calanques National Park Map