When you hear cigales calling out for you in southern France, that’s the cue to get ready for your adventure hiking in Calanques National Park! It is time to start packing your backpack because the summer has arrived.
Hiking in Calanques National Park is undoubtedly one of the most stunning and impressive hikes that should be on your summer bucket list in Marseille. The first time I discovered it, I was blown away. It was like discovering a treasure chest in southern France.
I’ve never seen such a beautiful place in my whole life. The mixture of beaches, rocks, cliffs, and steep mountains will surely make your knees wobbly, but it’s worth every step and sweat.
Here is a short Calanques hiking guide that will give you an overview of this summer escapade.
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The Ultimate Guide To Calanques
Where To Stay Nearby
For information, camping in the national park is strictly prohibited. But you’ll be pleased to know a broad selection of hotels and campsites is available near the park, allowing you to disconnect from the busy city life and enjoy mother nature.
Here are some options where you can spend the night :
- Camping Pascalounet – Perfect for family or friends and easily accessible by foot to the white sandy beaches of La Saulce and Ste Croix.
- Camping Du Garlaban – Situated just outside of Marseille, this camping site nestled in a forest is an ideal spot for your summer holiday, and it’s pet friendly!
- Hôtel Les Roches Blanches Cassis – A step away from Marseille’s Calanque de Port Miou. Guaranteed relaxing experience at this fantastic hotel after a long hiking day in the national park of Calanques.
- HÔTEL LES VOLETS ROUGES Cassis – Strategic location Situated in the national park of les calanques giving you a direct acces to the calanques of Cassis
I stayed at this student accommodation and rented a car during my trip as it gave me the flexibility to explore anywhere I wanted to. Otherwise, you can find other places to stay in Marseille or Cassis based on your preference.
Things To Do
Calanques National Park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering many beautiful trails, challenging climbs, and exciting activities. After a long and sweaty hike, you will be so satisfied when taking a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters of the Calanques.
The park’s beaches are famous for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving, especially during peak season. For those interested in boating, kayaking, and other water sports, rentals are available, but it’s best to bring your own supplies as some areas may not have access to these facilities.
Qualified guides offer guided tour packages for a relaxing holiday, including hikes, nature walks, and cruises. They will take care of everything for you, leaving you to enjoy the stunning scenery and the calm surroundings of the park.
It’s important to note that all activities within the park are strictly regulated for visitors’ safety and the area’s protection. The entrance to the park is free for all, but visitors must familiarise themselves with the rules and regulations before their visit to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
How To Get There
Reaching Calanques National Park can be an adventure and definitely a thrilling one. The main entrance to the national park is about 10 miles from Marseille and 14 miles from Cassis.
So, first things first, make sure which calanques you are going to and check where it is accessible from. There are no direct train services to the park entrances, so I recommend driving or taking the bus, and from there, you can start hiking in Calanques.
If you’re coming from Marseille and heading to Calanques de Sugitton by car, you can take a car, head down to Avenue de Luminy, or take a bus from Marseille and head to Campus de Luminy.
If you’re coming by bus, here are the buses that could take you to your preferred calanques :
- Bus number B1 – Castellane to Campus de Luminy (direction Campus de Luminy, Luminy)
- Bus number 521 in the evening
- Bus numbers 19 & 20 – Castellane to Mont Rose, then change to Bus 20 direction Callelongue to the terminus.
- Bus number 23 – direction Beauvallon, La Cayolle stop
- Bus number 22 – direction Les Baumettes to the terminus
- Bus number 22 – direction Les Baumettes to the terminus
If you’re short on time and will only have one day in Marseille, consider going on a Calanques day trip from Marseille with guided tours.
Travelling to Cassis by car, it’s recommended to park at the Les Gorguettes Park and Ride Car Park and then take a free shuttle to the park entrance. If you prefer to walk, the park entrance and the Calanque de Port-Miou are a 30-minute from the town centre.
I suggest you have an early head start in the morning if you are driving; parking spaces are limited in Cassis, making it difficult to find parking when the crowd starts coming over.
Important: During summer, it is prohibited to drive motorised vehicles on the roads that lead to Sormiou, Morgiou, and Callelongue villages. Do keep in mind the regulations during the summer season.
Best Calanques To Visit During Summer
Calanque de Sugiton
Sugiton is a stunning destination that never fails to leave its visitors in awe. Its magnificent white cliffs and turquoise coves are truly breathtaking. However, if you plan on visiting during the summer months, it’s best to steer clear of the crowds, despite the new reservation system in place.
To reach Sugiton, simply take the fire road from Luminy and follow the well-marked trail. And while you’re there, make sure to set aside some time to visit the Belvédère viewpoint – the view is simply magnificent and well worth taking a detour for.
Calanque de Marseilleveyre
Escape the hustle and bustle of Marseille and explore the tranquil Calanque de Marseilleveyre, which is only accessible by foot or boat. This picturesque turquoise cove is considered one of the most peaceful Calanques in Marseille and is perfect for swimming and sunbathing. Pack a picnic and spend a day in paradise.
To reach this hidden gem, take an easy 50-minute hike from port of Callelongue. After your hike, you can embark on the Pas de la Demi-Lune hike, which offers excellent hiking and climbing opportunities.
Calanque de Sormiou
Calanque de Sormiou is the biggest calanque in Marseille and has a stunning sandy beach. It’s a popular destination due to its close proximity to the city and the beautiful blue water and landscape. If you’re planning to hike there, the quickest and most scenic route starts from Les Baumettes.
Calanque de Port Miou
You can reach Port Miou in just a 20-minute walk from Cassis village. For those who do not wish to embark on a major exploration of the Calanques, Calanque De Port Miou is the perfect one for you. It’s pretty accessible without exerting too much energy and effort, making it an ideal Calanques for everyone.
Calanque de Port Pin
Located between Port Miou and Calanques d’En Vau, this Calanques offers quiet and calm surroundings. Port Pin is a stunning beach popular among locals for summer outings.
From there, you can access a steep track to the lookout point overlooking Calanque d’En Vau.
From Calanques de Port Miou, if you walk for an hour more, you will arrive at En Vau, which boasts soaring cliffs, a remote sandy beach, and neon-blue waters — a truly breathtaking sight and one of the most impressive attractions in the Calanques National Park. It is considered one of the most beautiful Calanques.
FAQ on Hiking In Calanques National Park
Where Is The Best Place to Hike in Calanques National Park?
The best places to hike in Calanques National Park will be the famous Calanque of Port-Miou, Calanque of Port-Pin, and Calanque of En-Vau. These three Calanques are along the same trail.
It will take you around 2 hours to reach Calanques d’En Vau. If you are familiar with hiking, it may take less than 2 hours.
Can You Hike The Calanques?
Yes, you can hike the Calanques without any problem, but walking in the Calanques requires preparation. Some are easy to access, but some require a minimum physical fitness.
Every year, when summer is around the corner, locals and foreigners flock to Calanques as soon as possible to see these beautiful paradises. Some Calanques now require you to book in advance to avoid over-tourism and protect the National Park.
How Do You Hike Calanques National Park?
If you plan to explore Calanques the Sugiton, I recommend you park at the car park near the Luminy University and follow the marked tracks from the end of Avenue de Luminy.
It’s easy to park there if you beat the crowd in the morning. Just head for the entrance, and you’ll easily find the trail down to Sugiton.
Don’t forget these essentials while you’re happily packing and planning your itinerary!
- Camera. You do not want to miss out on beautiful snaps and Instagrammable corners after all your hikes.
- Lots of water. Calanques has no fresh water, so bring at least 1.5 litres per person for a half-day hike. Summer can be scorching hot out there.
- Sun protection. Bring a bucket hat, a straw hat or anything that can cover your head to avoid heatstroke.
- Wear light clothing with long sleeves. My favourite all-time Airism wear is always from Uniqlo. Always the best choice!
- Good hiking shoes. If you’re planning to swim, please bring along water shoes or aqua shoes to prevent stepping into sharp corals or stones in the water. I just get mine from Decathlon.
- A rubbish bag to keep all your waste as there are no rubbish bins in the Calanques.
I hope that this article gives you the essential information that you need to know about Hiking In Calanques Natural Park.
A la prochaine, bisous.