The Calanques National Park in the Mediterranean, a magical place that illuminates small fjords of turquoise waters and white cliffs that look like a paradise on earth. The landscape of Marseille in the Calanques is steep and rugged, full of cliff paths, beautiful white beaches and secret coves that suddenly appear where the Mediterranean Sea has sculpted the rock.
Some of these coves, called "calanques", are only accessible by sea, by boat or kayak excursions. With this in mind, an original way to discover the area is to take a cruise in Marseille to enjoy the views, a sunny day and the sea breeze in your face.
Sailing trip along the coast of the Calanques National Park with lunch included.
This Calanques cruise with lunch and snorkeling will allow you to enjoy this wonderful national park from the sea, completing your trip to Marseille with a very relaxing day of sun and sea with breathtaking views.
The feeling of sailing aboard a sailboat, having a delicious lunch and relaxing under the sun while observing a great nature is the plan everyone dreams of during the vacations.
The adventure begins at 11:00 am at Pier 72 of the harbor, where you will set sail along the French coast on a fascinating journey of about 7 hours through the Old Port and the island of If to the beautiful Calanques National Park.
This is where one of my favorite parts of this excursion takes place: the captain drops anchor in the Calanques so travelers can dive into the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean. And that's not all! You'll even have the opportunity to use the snorkeling equipment provided by the activity operator to dive under the sea. That's great!
Recommended if... You don't want to miss this experience in Marseille with which to enjoy a relaxing day aboard a comfortable sailboat including lunch, drinks and snorkeling equipment.
What will you see on the boat trip in Marseille?
Today, the Vieux Port serves as a marina, but it was once one of the most important ports in the western Mediterranean. Some of the surrounding monuments are:
- Fort Saint-Jean: dating from the 12th century, it is a unique place to observe the skyline of the city. It is connected by a walkway to the MuCem museum.
- The Mucem: it is the Museum of the Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean, opened in 2013 for the dissemination of the different Mediterranean cultures. You can visit it by buying in advance tickets for the Mucem.
- Fort Saint Nicolas: it is a 17th century military building commissioned by King Louis XIV to control maritime access to the city. Its ramparts can be visited to admire the views of the harbor and Marseille.
- The Cathedral of Marseille: built in the 19th century, this Romanesque-Byzantine style temple is unique in France, as it evokes the oriental air very much in vogue at the time.
- The Lighthouse Palace: Napoleon III had this palace built for his wife, Empress Eugénie, in 1852. It was later used as a hospital and medical school.
- Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde: located on the highest hill near the Old Port. This Byzantine-style basilica is crowned by a sculpture of the Virgin Mary, protector of sailors and Marseille.
- The Château d'If: this 16th century fortress inspired the writer Alexandre Dumas to locate the prison where the protagonist of his famous novel "The Count of Monte Cristo" was imprisoned. You can book tickets for the Château d'If to see inside.
- Finally, the boat arrives at the Calanques National Park, a magical place of white cliffs with small coves of turquoise waters. The landscapes are magnificent, worthy of a postcard.
Why is it worth visiting the Calanques?
In the Calanques National Park, south of Marseille, there is a coastal strip of more than 20 kilometers between the village of La Madrague and Cassis, whose coves are very popular with the people of Marseille.
Many travelers flock there, especially in summer, to spend a relaxing vacation in Provence and enjoy the sun, water and nature in all its splendor.
If you are planning a trip to Marseille, Les Calanques can be the perfect complement to your trip to the city to enjoy a few moments of relaxation and disconnection while admiring the beautiful scenery from the sea. In this incredible place you can also enjoy the following activities:
- Bike tour to Calanques National Park from Marseille - From $ 88.
- Hiking tour to the Calanques National Park from Marseille - From $ 44.
Boat trip, the best option
These popular coves of Marseille are one of the major tourist attractions in the south of France for their beauty.
In my opinion, this boat trip is the best way to discover the Calanques National Park and spend a relaxing day in Marseille while being in touch with nature and enjoying the spectacular views of the Mediterranean.
Whether you choose the shorter cruise or the more complete option, seeing the cliffs and the waters of the Calanques from the boat is amazing.
Tips to enjoy a Calanques cruise in Marseille
Book in advance
To guarantee your place on a cruise in Marseille, my advice is to book online as far in advance as possible. This will allow you to make the best choice.
Once you have made your reservation, you will receive a confirmation email with all the details that will serve as your voucher or receipt.
Be on time to get the best seat
Try to arrive at the pier a little early to get on board first and get a good spot on the deck of the boat to take the best pictures, the views from these coves are beautiful!
Don't get obsessed with photos
Once you start sailing, you will have plenty of time to take lots of pictures of the scenery along the way. So enjoy the trip at your leisure and let you be the protagonist of the moment, not your camera.
Combine it with other activities
You've already seen that there are cruises that also include other experiences such as picnics, dinners, dancing or swimming in the coves. With these packages, you can save time and money, so if you have another activity in Marseille in mind, I suggest you consider this option.
Choose a sunny day
For a Mediterranean cruise, it's best to check the weather forecast to make sure it's going to be sunny on the date you want to book your place.
Marseille has a pleasant and mild climate most of the year, and as the summer is dry and hot, everything is much more pleasant under the Provence sun!
Protect yourself from the sun during the cruise
During the cruise, your skin will be exposed to the sun, so protect yourself with a good sunscreen to avoid sunburn, a hat to protect your head and sunglasses to protect your eyesight, as the Mediterranean light can be very intense around midday.
Wear appropriate clothing and footwear
When dressing for a cruise in the Calanques or Marseille, I recommend that you take into account the type of cruise you are going on. That is, a cruise with dinner and dancing on board is not the same as a cruise where you will have a picnic or stop during the crossing to dive into the sea.
I suggest you wear comfortable shoes and casual clothes for this type of activity, to which you can add a more elegant touch with accessories if, for example, the event takes place in the evening, and you will have dinner and dancing on board the ship.
If you are interested in a boat trip on the Calanques, you will also be interested in
A cruise to Marseille is a wonderful experience to relax during your vacation and enjoy the Mediterranean and this corner of Provence in a different way.
However, a walking tour of Marseille is also an excellent plan to discover its most emblematic monuments, learn about the history of this city and its rich cultural heritage. It is the oldest city in France! In my post What to see and what to do in Marseille, I tell you the essentials you should not miss.
This is your chance to stroll through its charming streets, soak up the relaxed atmosphere of its neighborhoods and let yourself be seduced by the best bouillabaisse in the world that is prepared there. You will fall in love with Marseille!