Saturday, June 8, 2013

A sightseeing tour of the Marseille Calanques

Taking a sightseeing tour of the Calanques is a must do when visiting Marseille.

Crystalline Water - Calanque of Marseille
People taking a dip in the Calanques
Stretching from the South-East districts of the city to the lovely fishing port of Cassis, the Calanques - a kind of Mediterranean fjords - are characterized by rocky limestone cliffs, tiny coves, secluded beaches, crystalline, turquoise blue water and small remote villages. Declared National Park (Parc National des Calanques) in April 2012 due to their uniqueness, they are popular among hiking lovers and rock climbers seeking for breathtaking landscapes, as well as locals looking for a bit of relax away from the city's hustle and bustle. Most of the area cannot be reached by car, so if you want to enjoy the best views of the Calanques you may go hiking o take a boat tour.

Hiking in the Calanques

Sugiton Calanques Hiking Path
Calanques Hiking Trail Access
The easiest Calanque to access without a car is Sugiton: take bus number 21 on La Canebière (Marseille's main street) in direction of Luminy and get off at the last stop. From there, follow the hiking path: it will take you about 45 minutes to get to the lovely cove of Sugiton. From June to September, some areas may be closed to the public due to the high risks of fire, so always check out real time information on access conditions by calling 0811.20.13.13 or visiting the Conseil Général info page. You can also download the MyProvence Envie de Balade free application (available for both Iphone and Android) and check the Calanques map on your mobile. There are three risk levels: Orange (access is authorized), Red (access is authorized from 6 am to 11 am only and limited to a 200-meter coastal strip), and Black (the whole area is closed all day). Check out the official website of the Tourist Office and Convention Bureau of Marseille for more info (in English) on park alerts, recommended equipment, rules and regulations, walk suggestions and guided walking tours of the Calanques.

Calanques Boat Tour

Tourists - Marseille Calanques Boat Tour
Boat Tour of the Calanques
If the weather is too hot or your are not a big fan of hiking, you may choose to visit the Calanques by boat, which is probably the best option to see the entire coastline. I would recommend taking the longer sightseeing tour (about 3 hours) that starts from the Vieux Port of Marseille and makes you discover all the coves and the entire coastline until Cap Canaille in Cassis (the higher maritime cliff in Europe), but whichever boat trip you choose you won't be disappointed! Tickets can be booked online or by phone. They can also be purchased at the ticket booth on Quai du Port wharf (opposite the town hall) or at the Tourist Office (4, rue de La Canebière). Before taking that spectacular sightseeing tour just make sure to bring a bottle of water and put on sunscreen! :-)

Kayak trips are also available and more Calanques, such as Niolon and La Redonne, can be found along the Côte Bleue ("the Blue Cost"), near the district of L'Estaque, Marseille.

Here are a few pictures of the Calanques taken on a sightseeing tour between Marseille and Cassis:

Calanques Boat Tour - Marseille
Boat taking tourists to the Marseille Calanques

Sormiou - Marseille Calanques
Calanques of Sormiou, Marseille
Kayaking in the Calanques - Marseille
Kayaking in the Calanques - Marseille
Hiking in the Calanques - Marseille
Hiker enjoying the view from the massif of the Calanques
Beach - Calanques - Marseille
People kayaking in the Calanque of En-Vau
Calanques - Marseille
View of the Calanques Cliffs - Marseille, France
Marseille Coastline
View of the Calanques Coastline - Marseille, France
Sailboat in the Calanques of Marseille
Rocky Cliffs - Calanques of Marseille, Provence
Marseille Calanques
Blue Sky and Rocky Cliffs - Marseille Calanques
Baie des Singes - Marseille
Beach of the Baie des Singes in Marseille

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