Hike in the Calanque National Park of Marseille – 2 days trip on the French Riviera
The French Mediterranean coastline, the French Riviera, is well known and a popular destination. However, few tourists know about the astonishing Natural Park at the western end of the Riviera: the Calanques of Marseille. It combines both land and sea. It’s an area of outstanding natural beauty and one of the most breathtaking places you’ll visit. Read on this guide to find out more about the Calanque National Park of Marseille and tips on how to visit and hike the area.
The Calanques are series of rocky cliffs and bays, or a type of creeks. The terrain rises going towards the coast to then descend straight into turquoise blue waters. The most beautiful part lies in between Marseille and Cassis. We have visited two different spots over 2 days.
Calanque de Sormiou
Calanque de Sormiou is close to Marseille and a “short” walk from Sormiou little town. The hiking path is 3.5 km long and takes about 1h to complete. The part is rather easy, as the paved road leads all the way to the beach.
↬ Note : It’s possible to arrive all the way down to the beach by car or motorbike. However, in June and August the vehicle access is limited due to high risk of fires.
The hike itself is an exciting part because of the views around. From the top of the road you will see Marseille on one side and the beautiful mountains and sea on the other.
When arriving at the beach, you can lie on the sand or follow the path on the left and place yourself on one of the flat rocks. It will give you better views over the bay.
↬ Note : Be aware, the water temperature in the Calanques is usually around 18 degrees, making it a VERY refreshing swim.
There is a restaurant behind the parking lot where you can get water and some food. Water is 3EUR and cash only, so don’t forget your wallet. They also don’t have tap water in this place.
↬ TIP : Hike one of the mountain tops for sunset and admire the beauty of the surroundings in the warm light of setting sun. And if you really want or need to go to the beach by car (and miss big part of the fun), they will let you pass even during high season with your car, if you have a reservation at the restaurant.
You can arrive by car or motorbike until the entrance of the park and walk from there.
The easiest way is taking a bus 23 from Rond-Point du Prado in Marseille and get off at the the last stop. The bus takes only 20 min to arrive in Sormiou. From there you will have 50 min walk to the beach.
Calanque de Sugiton
On the 2nd day of this trip, let our guide take you to a possibly more challenging hike not far from Marseille:the Calanque de Sugiton. This spot is an incredible area with many beautiful hike trails. The most popular one leads to the beach at the very end. This walk is rather easy as the path is well maintained and wide. At one point, the main path splits into two. One leads down to the bay, another to the top of the mountain to an incredible view point.
↬ TIP : Take a lot of water with you for this hike! There are no shops or places to refill the bottles.
After relaxing at the idyllic beach, take the path to the right (if facing the sea). You will hike around the Cap Sugiton for the intensive part of the hike and some pretty stunnig views. This path ends at Bar Nautic Restaurants where you can get some food and refreshments. This path is marked red, thus difficult. There is a metal ladder which you must climb at one point and a climb down the steep mountain with holding on to a rope for safety.
↬ Note : We are in good physical conditions and didn’t consider it too difficult. But if you have any health problems, consider walking back the same way as you came.
You can choose to walk back the easier path to Les Baumettes from the Bar Nautic, or take a bit more difficult way to Luminy.
↬ TIP : All the hiking trails are visible on google maps. You just have to zoom in enough for every path to show. To not get lost, just check in the way on the map. But remember that the connection might be faulty at some points so just open and load the map before getting out of signal.
You can arrive by car or motorbike until the entrance of the park and walk from there.
Alternatively, the easy way is to take the bus B1 from Castellane in Marseille and getting off at the last stop. The ride to Luminy takes about 45 min. From there you follow the trail all the way to the beach. The hike will take around 45 min.
When to go
Calanque National Park is best experienced during spring and summer on a sunny day. We do not advise you to go on a rainy day. The trails will be slippery and you will miss the views.
What to bring
- Comfortable shoes!!! You do not have to wear hiking boots, but leave your flip flops at home. A good pair of sneakers or converse will be fine.
- Plenty of water. While in Sormiou there is restaurant where you can get food and drinks, Sugiton doesn’t have any spot where you can get water. Not even a fresh water source to filter it with Grayl or Life Straw.
- Hat and sunscreen. The sun is very strong specially during the peak hours. Protect you skin and head from heat stroke.
- Camera with plenty of memory to capture those breathtaking views.
- Towel, swimwear and snorkelling gear.
Where to eat in Marseille
The Calanque National Park is easiest to explore on day trips from Marseille. Base yourself in the centre of the town, close to some of the best restaurants.
Restaurant I’Inattendu: very good cuisine in a charming restaurant. For 29EUR you can get a combo of starter+main+desert. The menu changes often and products are always fresh.
L’Arome: great small restaurant in the centre of Marseille
Wood: good and easy place for dinner. Great location by the port.
Where to stay
To hike the Calanque National Park with this guide, you’ll probably need to base yourself in Marseille. There is big variety of hotels to choose from. However if coming in the summer, reserve in advance as all the best places get sold out fast.
↬ Find all the hotels in Marseille on booking.com
We recommend: Hôtel Maison Montgrand – Alex Hotel & Spa
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