Calanques of Sormiou, Morgiou and Sugiton
seen from the heights
This hike takes you to several outstanding viewpoints of the three calanques¹ from the heights overlooking the sea. It allows you to explore the amazing beauty of the Calanques without facing any long ascent. Only half an hour outside South Marseille, you first discover Sormiou. This calanque, with its fishermen cottages, small harbour, beach, and the varying blue hues of the sea, is magnificent. 30 minutes later, you get your first views of Calanque de 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 Morgiou, it offers views of Calanque de Sugiton, as well.
Walking time : 3.5 hours
Rating : moderate (rugged terrain)
¹ calanque : a narrow inlet of the sea coast, being a drowned canyon
The Sainte-Baume mountains
The relict forest, holy cave
and panoramic crest (short route)
A high, long limestone cliff on the north-facing slope of the Sainte-Baume mountains has for millennia brought about a microclimate. This specificity has fostered a relict forest, very old and unique in Provence. That is why this exceptional forest has always been a sacred wood, becoming a major pilgrimage site in France from the 11th c.. That is also the reason why it is home to a great biodiversity. 67 trees bear the label “arbre remarquable de France” in order to preserve them as cultural and natural heritage. After first gazing at some of these majestic trees, you then admire the grotto of Mary Magdalene. Later, a short but steep climb takes you up to the Saint Pilon peak. From up there the view is breathtaking ! You discover the contrast between the dark and cool forest below and the dry high-value flora of the ridges, living in sunny and windy conditions.
Walking time : 3 hours
Rating : moderate (steep descent and ascent / rugged terrain)
The incomparable view of Calanque d’En-Vau
from vantage points on top of high cliffs
En-Vau is the most breathtaking of all calanques thanks to the steep white cliffs all around, rising from the sea. Its waters have beautiful shades of blue, from turquoise to deep blue, as well as light emerald green. On this amazing hike, starting near the little fishermen port of Cassis, you firstly walk along Calanque de Port-Miou and, secondly, through the beach of Calanque de Port-Pin. Your local guide thirdly leads you to the top of cliffs, from where you can enjoy magnificent views looking down over Calanque d’En-Vau. After walking down for a while, you fourthly reach splendid viewpoints over Calanque de Port-Pin. You are now facing opposite from the beach you have walked through a good hour ago. Back to Port-Pin, you finally return to the starting point, amazed by what you have seen.
Private and public boat excursions are offered to admire different vistas of the calanques.
Walking time : 3 hours
Rating : leisurely (rugged terrain)
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 8am – 11am only, not allowed on fire risk days)
Excursion by boat non included.
Cap Canaille and the Calanque de Figuerolles
This circular hike from La Ciotat, not very difficult, allows you to see the beautiful Calanque de Figuerolles. It also offers an outstanding view from the top of the Cap Canaille, which is the highest sea cliff in Europe (394 meters/1,293 feet) and part of Calanques National Park. It also makes it possible to discover a type of rocks, called conglomerates, very different from the limestone that can be found in the other Provence massifs (Calanques, Alpilles, Sainte Victoire, Ventoux, …). You can explore one part of the brown/red siliceous Provence. The other famous siliceous Provençal massifs are the brown rock Maures and red rock Estérel. On this soil, you discover a new scrubland vegetation called maquis, denser and taller than the garrigue vegetation. Your local guide will help you with identification of the plants that grow in maquis.
Walking time : 4.5 hours
Rating : moderate
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 7:30am – 12:00pm only, not allowed on fire risk days)