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Best tours of Marseille

Marseille is a city steeped in history, that smells of soap and lavender and has an excellent gastronomy. Don't miss these tours to discover it in depth.

Sonsoles Jimenez

Sonsoles Jimenez

11 min read

Best tours of Marseille

Port of Marseille | ©kbxxus

There are cities that always surprise, and Marseille is one of them. Its old port and its two forts still remind us of ancient times of splendor when Marseille was the gateway to Africa and one of the great commercial cities of the Mediterranean.

But Marseille is much more than its port. It hides neighborhoods full of charm such as Le Panier, magnificent museums, impressive monuments and finger-licking gastronomy. Not to mention the beauty of its surroundings. There are many things to see and do in Marseille. These excursions will allow you to discover all its secrets.

1. Discover the best of Marseille on a guided walking tour

Vieille Charité| ©Tiberio Frascari
Vieille Charité| ©Tiberio Frascari

If you have to see Marseille in one day or you want to make a first approach to the city and then explore it at your leisure, a guided tour is perfect. It will allow you to discover the most attractive places, immerse yourself in a history of more than 2500 years and reveal a few secrets.

The tours usually begin in the Old Port, the heart of the city. After getting to know its historical importance, the tours usually go into Le Panier. This is the oldest district of Marseille, the place where the city was founded. Today, its steep, narrow streets are dotted with bistros and craft stores.

There is still much to see: the Vieille Charite, an old 17th-century asylum; the cathedral of St. Mary Major, which surprises with its oriental style; and the Fort Saint-Jean, among other treasures.

Interesting facts about this excursion

  • Price: from 25 euros
  • Duration: approximately 3 hours
  • Advantages and disadvantages of this excursion: it allows a first approach to the city and to know its main attractions, although it does not move away from the port area.

The best tours of Marseille

2. Complete tour of Marseille by bus

Marseille tourist bus| ©Mike Brocklebank
Marseille tourist bus| ©Mike Brocklebank

This is a city with countless attractions. If you do not have much time to discover them, I recommend you to take one of the tours in the tourist bus of Marseille. You can take a panoramic bus tour on your own, but the ideal is to take a guided tour. You will be fully immersed in the charm of the city without missing anything.

The tours usually start from the port, the nerve center and heart of Marseille. The first stop is the Basilica of one of the symbols of Marseille. From here, you can also enjoy magnificent views of Marseille and the island and castle of If, prison of the Count of Monte Cristo.

In addition, the route will allow you to see other key sites of Marseille, such as the Abbey of St. Victor and the forts of St. John and St. Nicholas. This way you will have a broad and very complete vision of everything that awaits you in the city and then you can explore it at your leisure and discover some other treasures, such as the neighborhoods of Le Panier or Endoume or the magnificent Museum of the Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean.

Interesting facts about this excursion

  • Price: from 25 euros
  • Duration: about 5 hours
  • Advantages and disadvantages of this excursion: it allows a first approach to the city and to know its major attractions, although it does not leave the port area and its surroundings.

3. Tour of Marseille by bike or sidecar

Bike tour of Marseille| ©Max Ofmars
Bike tour of Marseille| ©Max Ofmars

If you don't want to miss anything in Marseille, either of these options is perfect. You will get much further than on foot and to places that buses can't reach. Another advantage is that you can choose between longer or shorter tours, depending on the time you have available or what interests you most.

If you choose the bike, a guided tour will take you through the harbor area and the coast or also through the heart of the city, if you opt for the longer ones. You will discover the importance of the old port for the history of Marseille, its cathedral, the basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde or the Corniche, a coastal road from which you will have another view of the city.

If you have to make plans in Marseille with children cycling is a good idea. On the one hand, you can enjoy the beauty of the city. On the other hand, the kids will have a great time while riding in a stroller or in a trailer.

Do you prefer the comfort of a sidecar? In that case, you can go even further and ride along the Corniche. Your guide will also take you to the charming port of Goudes, a place where there is no room for rushing.

Interesting facts about this excursion

  • Price: from 35 euros by bike and about 100 euros by sidecar.
  • Duration: between 1 hour and 30 minutes and 3 hours and 30 minutes, depending on the vehicle and the type of excursion chosen.
  • Advantages and disadvantages of this tour: it is a good option if you are only going to spend one day in the city or if you want to discover places a little further away from the center that are not reached by other types of guided tours. However, the sidecar tours are not suitable for very young children.

Book your Sidecar Tour in Marseille

4. Route to enjoy the nightlife in Marseille

Marseille by night| ©François Roland
Marseille by night| ©François Roland

Marseille is an old city, but with a young spirit. Therefore, a different way to enjoy it is touring some of its best entertainment venues and bars. As the is very mild, there are also plenty of terraces and rooftops where you can enjoy the Marseille nightlife.

We are talking about the second city of France, which means that the nightlife offer is really immense. Therefore, a guided tour is always a good idea. The routes will take you through the most lively areas of the city, stopping at some of the trendiest bars.

And, if you are still in Marseille for a few days, you can continue to enjoy the nightlife. The expert guides will recommend many other places where you will have a great time.

Interesting facts about this excursion

  • Price: from 15 euros
  • Duration: approximately 4 hours
  • Advantages of this tour: the tours usually include a shot in the locals, as well as games to liven up the route.

5. Gastronomic tour of Marseille

Marseille market| ©Gilbert Harrison
Marseille market| ©Gilbert Harrison

If you are one of those who appreciate exquisite aromas and flavors, this tour is for you. Marseille's gastronomy is really exquisite and also very varied. Keep in mind that this millenary city has been a meeting of cultures, so its cuisine has a myriad of influences that make it special.

What can you taste in the best gastronomic tours of Marseille? Of course, bouillabaisse, a soup made with various fish. Also typical sweets such as navettes, ship-shaped cookies, or chocolate. Not forgetting the delicious Provençal cheeses, accompanied by a good local wine.

Tasting the gastronomy of Marseille will allow you to discover not only its flavors and aromas, but also the history of the city and Provence. Did you know that it was the Phoenicians who brought the first vines to Provence? This is just one of the curiosities that you will learn on these tours.

Interesting facts about this excursion

  • Price: from 35 euros
  • Duration: about 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Advantages of this tour: you will taste the best specialties of Marseille in a single tour and in typical places that still preserve the culinary traditions of the city.

6. Hiking in the Calanques and cycling tours

Calanques National Park| ©travelmag.com
Calanques National Park| ©travelmag.com

The Calanques National Park is one of the great treasures of the South of France, and it is next to Marseille. Its hidden coves and white cliffs make for a spectacular postcard. If you like hiking, this is one of the best routes you can do in Provence.

The Calanques hide many corners of great beauty. That is why there are different hiking trails both in duration and level of difficulty. However, in any of them you will contemplate breathtaking landscapes while walking among pines, junipers and oaks.

A guided route will take you to the calanques of Col des Chèvres, Sugiton or Saint-Jean de Dieu. You can even take a dip in the turquoise waters of some of them. In addition, Marseille enjoys good weather, so you can include this excursion in your plans to see Marseille in February, November or even Christmas.

Walking is not the only option to enjoy the Calanques from the ground. Some of the best bike tours in Marseille take you through this natural treasure. The bike will allow you to reach particularly beautiful coves and effortlessly, as they are electric vehicles.

Interesting facts about this excursion

  • Price: from 30 euros for a walking tour and 55 euros for a bike tour.
  • Duration: between 3 and 7 hours, depending on the chosen excursion.
  • Advantages and disadvantages of this excursion: it is one of the best things to do in Marseille in August if in addition to seeing spectacular scenery you feel like taking a swim in a truly dreamlike place.

7. Sailing trip along the coast of Marseille

Boat trip| ©Rémi Avignon
Boat trip| ©Rémi Avignon

The coast of Marseille is really spectacular. From the waters of the Mediterranean, the views of the entrance to the port, the silhouette of the city or the island and the castle of If are postcards that you will not forget. And if the boat ride coincides with sunset, you will see one of the most incredible sunsets on the Mediterranean coast.

But sailing around Marseille is a much broader experience. The tours usually depart with enough time to take a little dip and snorkel before the sun begins to set.

And to top off the trip, the tours usually include a small snack-dinner and music to put a finishing touch to one of the best plans to enjoy a city closely linked to the sea.

Interesting facts about this excursion

  • Price: about 75 euros
  • Duration: about 4 hours
  • Advantages and disadvantages of this excursion: some routes also approach the Calanques, which allows to contemplate a natural space of enormous ecological and landscape value. However, the availability of this excursion is usually limited to the warmer months.

8. Calanques route by boat

Boating in Marseille| ©johannes Hartzheim
Boating in Marseille| ©johannes Hartzheim

One of the best boat tours in Marseille is the one that follows the coastline to tour the Calanques National Park. There are 20 kilometers of coastline dotted with a kind of small fjords that end in coves with crystal clear waters.

From the sea is from where you can best contemplate the beauty and contrasts of the Calanques. Here the green of the vegetation intermingles with the white and ochre of the cliffs and the turquoise blue of the Mediterranean waters. Prepare your camera because you will not be able to stop taking pictures.

The tours of the Calanques usually include the possibility of taking a dip and snorkeling to also contemplate the richness of these waters. They also include a small lunch on board.

Interesting facts about this excursion

  • Price: from 130 euros
  • Duration: about 7 hours
  • Advantages and disadvantages of this excursion: it is the perfect complement to a walking or cycling tour of the Calanques. But it requires a full day.

Enjoy a day of sailing in the heart of the calanques

9. Visit the Endoume district

In Endoume| ©Jeanne Menjoulet
In Endoume| ©Jeanne Menjoulet

Endoume is one of the most charming districts of Marseille. It is a place where you can still breathe a seafaring air and discover the most authentic side of the city. The port of Vallon des Auffes is lined with fishermen's houses painted in a thousand different colors. And, in front of them, small boats typical of this area.

This small port is one of the typical images of Marseille. But on this guided tour you will discover much more. You will discover, for example, the Corniche Kennedy, a road that overlooks the Mediterranean and from which you can appreciate some of the most beautiful views of the city.

On the way to Endoume you will also see other faces of Marseille, from the exclusive villas of the neighboring district of Bompard to the most idyllic images you can imagine stopping at one of the viewpoints that mark the coast of Marseille.

Interesting facts about this excursion

  • Price: about 15 euros
  • Duration: about 2 hours
  • Advantages and disadvantages of this excursion: if you have to make plans to see Marseille in two days or even more, you will be able to discover one of the most charming places in the city that is off the beaten tourist track. However, if you are traveling with children there are better plans to do with them.

10. A tour of the Noailles district

In Noailles| ©Fred Romero
In Noailles| ©Fred Romero

Behind the Old Port, Noailles is one of the most lively and multicultural neighborhoods of Marseille. Strolling through its cobblestone streets is a very special experience. The aromas of spices fill every corner and in its centuries-old stores you can buy everything from food to handicrafts.

With a guided tour you can visit the bustling and exotic Capuchins market. It is located in what used to be a former convent, hence its name. Inside you can take a real journey through the flavors, aromas and colors of much of the world, especially the Orient.

The market is the heart of Noailles and the Canebière, the artery that leads to it. This is Marseille's main shopping street, its most famous avenue. Founded in the 17th century, it is home to some of the city's most interesting sights. But above all, it is a place where you can immerse yourself in Marseille's everyday life.

Interesting facts about this excursion

  • Price: about 20 euros
  • Duration: about 2 hours
  • Advantages and disadvantages of this tour: if you like shopping or you are one of those who are looking for the most unique corners of the cities you visit, this tour is perfect. It is a perfect experience to include in the plans to see Marseille in three days.

11. Tour of the area around Notre-Dame de La Garde

Notre-Dame de la Garde Basilica| ©Jorge Láscar
Notre-Dame de la Garde Basilica| ©Jorge Láscar

This basilica offers the best views of Marseille, both of the harbor and the bay. It is a neo-Byzantine temple as spectacular inside as outside, crowned by a spectacular golden sculpture of the Virgin Mary.

But a guided tour will take you to other interesting places nearby that you might otherwise overlook, such as the Bois Sacré, the Latin Quarter or the very steep Boulevard André Aune.

If you are in good shape, you can make the tour without any major problems. But if you do not feel like getting too tired, you have the option of doing it by segway, which is also super fun.

Interesting facts about this excursion

  • Price: about 20 euros on foot and about 50 euros on segway.
  • Duration: between 2 hours and 2 hours and a half.
  • Advantages and disadvantages of this option: it allows you to see Marseille from a bird's eye view, but walking up to the basilica requires some effort.