Be inspired, like France’s great artists before you, by the white cliffs, bays and inlets of this national park as you hike or paddle through it.
Few visit Marseille without seeing the majestic landscapes of the Calanques National Park. For generations its natural beauty has been inspiring France’s poets and artists who are drawn to the vivid shapes and tones of the limestone cliffs and the coves below. There are many ways to experience the national park, the perfect daytrip from Marseille: admire it from cliff-top lookouts, hike through the incredible terrain or look up from the water below as you kayak along the coast.
Thanks to its diverse ecosystems and rugged beauty, Calanques National Park was selected as a national park in 2012. The park stretches from within Marseille’s city limits for some 20 kilometres (12 miles) to the neighbouring town of Cassis.
Your options for exploring the park are varied. Hop aboard the Blue Coast railway line that traverses the park to admire the coastline and national park from the comfort of your seat. For a different perspective, join a guided boat tour from Vieux Port and look back at the park from the Mediterranean Sea.
Rent a car to see the park at your own pace. Drive to Sormiou and Morgiou, two of the most popular calanques to find panoramic lookouts just a short walk from the parking areas. At Sormiou you’ll find a sandy beach next to a small harbour surrounded by seafood restaurants. Go for a swim in the inlets of Morgiou, a charming coastal settlement.
Traverse the park on foot to really immerse yourself in its untamed beauty. Follow the marked trails that traverse the landscape to see the many species of plant and animal life that live here. Look out for foxes, rabbits, sea turtles and dolphins.
Don’t forget to bring water and sun protection as the park is subject to high temperatures. Overcast days make for smaller crowds and perfect conditions for photographing the white cliffs. Check for fire warnings in summer as some areas of the park are subject to closure.
Give yourself a whole day in the Calanques National Park to fully experience its sights and activities.