Home » Regions » Guided hiking & walking tours in Calanques National Park near Marseille, France

Daily guided hiking in Calanques National Park 
one of France’s natural wonders, near Marseille

 

Calanque de Sormiou, one of the
most spectacular day trips from Marseille

 

Just 1 hour 15 minutes (drive plus walk) away from central Marseille, you can enjoy a nature getaway and discover beautiful views over one of the largest calanques¹, these steep-walled coves that beautify Provence’s coastline : Sormiou, a natural amphitheater with white limestone cliffs as terrace seats, the sea as stage and the little port and its cottages as orchestra. After 30 minutes walking from a South Marseille district, your local guide has led you into the heart of Calanques National Park and you are staring down to Calanque de Sormiou‘s turquoise waters, 250 meters below,  gazing at the red roofs of its ‘cabanons’, these fishermen’s cottages clustered at the back of each cove and towered over by rocky headlands.

 

Walking time : 2 hours 
Rating : leisurely (stony ground)


¹  calanque :  a more or less narrow inlet of the sea coast, being a drowned canyon

 

The Calanques National Park is a vast natural protected area just outside Marseille, France’s second most populous city with almost 900,000 inhabitants. Beside hiking, other outdoor activities are permitted : climbing, mountain biking, diving, kayaking. In order to preserve the natural and cultural heritages of the territory, regulations apply that you have to be aware of and follow.

 

 The calanques of Port-Pin and Port-Miou
from the picturesque port of Cassis 

 

Rich in cultural and natural heritage, this colorful walking path allows a soft approach of the eastern calanques : an ideal cocktail to discover and appreciate all peculiarities of Calanques National Park, while getting fond of the beauty of Provence seascapes. Starting just east of Marseille, in the pretty fishing port of Cassis from where a scenic view on the towering cliffs of Cap Canaille can be seen, you will reach the pebble little beach at Calanque de Port-Pin, this rocky inlet surrounded by pine trees. On your way back, you will walk along the natural marina in Calanque de Port-Miou

 

Walking time : 3 hours 
Rating : leisurely (stony ground)

 

 

 

 

Come and discover the strawberry tree
and other year end plants

 

In nature, climate is one of the different components of an ecosystem. This botanical walk will be an opportunity to get to know some species of Mediterranean plants showing their flowers or fruits at the end of the year in Calanques National Park. You will see especially the strawberry tree whose little white bells and red berries embellish, then, the so-called ‘garrigue’, the evergreen shrubby vegetation of the area. Moreover, the trail will offer you the pleasure of admiring Calanque de Sugiton from the top of Falaise des Toits, more than 200 meters above the sea. From October 20th to January 6th.

 

Walking time : 3 hours 
Rating : leisurely (stony ground)

 

 

The ‘Esprit parc national’ brand has been attributed to this guided walk by the Calanques National Park.


Calanques of Sormiou, Morgiou and
 Sugiton seen from above

 

As it takes you to several outstanding viewpoints of the three calanques from the heights overlooking the sea, this nature trail allows you to explore the amazing beauty of the Calanques without walking uphill very long. You first discover Sormiou, the largest of all, with its fishermen cottages, small harbour, beach, and the varying blue hues of the sea. 30 minutes later, you get your first views of Morgiou, after taking a balcony path that reaches the edge of the plateau. Then, your hiking guide leads you on a broad and leveled trail to the most extraordinary viewpoint, located just above Calanque of Morgiou, and offering views of Calanque de Sugiton, as well.
Quite easy walking that provides views of great beauty!

 

Walking time : 3.5 hours 
Rating : moderate (stony ground)

 

Calanque de Sugiton : a little jewel, so close, so far

 

This hike is just 4 hours and a half long but you will surely need the entire day to get the full benefit of it : when sitting on its little pebble beach or on a rock towering over its turquoise-blue waters, it is so hard to leave Calanque de Sugiton, located in the heart of Calanques National Park. You can first see it in the distance from atop the rocks, a viewpoint from where the panorama is opening over the bay. And what a breathtaking view over Calanque de Morgiou, on the other side ! After this first vista, you then can walk down to the sea and take a closer look at the two-cove calanque. One of Provence’s nature treasures.

 

Walking time : 4.5 hours 
Rating : moderate (stony ground)

 

Get expert guidance in rock *scrambling on these three longest hikes :

 

En-Vau, the pearl of Calanques National Park

 

Calanque d’En-Vau, famous for its brilliant-turquoise waters and surrounded by sheer white cliffs, is a nature paradise for hikers and rock climbers. On this walking day, you will have the opportunity to admire this Provence natural wonder from three different viewpoints : two from the top of the cliffs, behind the calanque, as shown on the picture, and from the side, quite different ; the third from the beach. On your way to the small, bustling fishing port of Cassis, your walking guide will offer you a chance to discover two other beautiful calanques : Port-Pin and Port-Miou, the last one being a natural marina, home to sailboats on half of its length.
Among all the images that will remain in your head after you trip to the South of France, those seen during this hike will undoubtedly hold a special place !

 

Walking time : 4.5 hours 
Rating : challenging (stony ground, rock scrambles)

 

 

In the heart of the Calanques

 

This large-scale hike favours the discovery of the remarkable biodiversity and gorgeous landscapes of Calanques National Park. Starting from the middle of a plateau, a varied route leads you down to the sea, to the beach at Calanque d’En-Vau, at the bottom of impressive cliffs. Later, the fantastic Devenson trail, overhanging the shore, more than 1,000 feet below, provides outstanding views over the famous calanque and over four lesser-known ones. As you walk further west, the Grande Candelle, this emblematic summit of the massif, becomes more and more imposing and beautiful.

 

Walking time : 6 hours
Rating : medium-difficult (2,500 feet elevation gain, rock scrambles)

 

 

The ‘Esprit parc national’ brand has been attributed to this guided walk by the Calanques National Park.

 

Crossing the Calanques

 

This day hike is unrivaled for its land- and seascapes. It is quite a long traverse, from the university campus in Marseille to the charming port town of Cassis : through a protected natural area, Calanques National Park, you will be walking 12 miles over stony paths. During this trip, you will enjoy countless breathtaking views, from at least 3 marked levels : the shoreline, the top of the bluffs, and, at midway up, the balcony trail. Within 7 hours, you will have the chance to watch all the most spectacular Provence’s calanques pass before your eyes : Sormiou, Morgiou, SugitonEn-Vau, Port-Pin and Port-Miou. Nothing more needs saying.
This scrambling/hiking trip resquires intermediate-advanced hiking fitness.


Walking time
: 6.5 hours
Rating : difficult (steep ascents/descents, rock scrambles)

  * scrambling is a walk up or down steep terrain involving the use of one’s hands

 

All these beautiful hikes in Calanques National Park can also be considered as attractive day trips from Nice, the city being less than a 2.5-hour drive from Cassis or the southern districts of Marseille.

 

The Côte Bleue

Another wild section of the coastline is blessed by a dozen of calanques and a few small fishing villages on the other side of the Marseille bay : the Côte Bleue (Blue Coast). A train running along a heritage track and passing over eighteen beautiful viaducts built between 1875 and 1915 can bring you to the starting point of the hike, offering you wonderful views of the coast and the Marseille bay.

 

The Côte Bleue, a walk from Niolon to La Redonne

 

The twenty miles of coast west of Marseille is called Côte Bleue (Blue Coast) due to the colour of the sea. It is the area where the Estaque range and the sea meet. Even if that massif is not elevated, its numerous escarpments and arid appearance give the landscape its unique features, particularly its beautiful inlets. The trail, called the Sentier du Douanier (coast guard footpath) and built to allow the watching of potential invaders or smugglers, offers numerous panoramic views of the sea, with the large city of Marseille in the background. 

 

Walking time : 3 hours 
Rating : challenging (stony and craggy terrain)