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Things to do in Marseille

Things to do in  Marseille

Welcome to Marseille

France’s second-largest city and most important port, bustling Marseille offers visitors vibrant old neighborhoods and historic sights. Roughly 482 miles (775 km) south of Paris on the Mediterranean coast, Marseille, a major transportation hub, serves as an ideal base for exploring the French Riviera and Provence. Half-day and full-day guided tours show off Marseille’s shore, wine, and neighboring regions. Take a walking tour of Marseille’s historic center around the Old Port (Vieux Port) to learn about the city’s Greek and Roman roots. Travel through time with a visit to the Abbey of Saint Victor to see its fifth- century crypts; and stop in the 19th-century Neo-Byzantine Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde, one of Marseille's most recognized monuments. Climb on an electric bike to glide along the pretty road known as Corniche Kennedy, plus stop for panoramic coastal views. Tour the opera house, and score tickets to a performance. Day trips take you beyond the city on a tour of the Calanques National Park, a stretch of rugged coastline near Marseille; or to the gorgeous natural landscapes around the Luberon Massif. Take a day tour of Provence to see Avignon, charming Aix-en-Provence, and Arles. Or head to soak up the sun along the French Riviera, with stops in Cannes and Nice. For coastal charm closer to the Marseille’s city center, join a tour to the UNESCO-listed inlet of Cassis, which features magnificent views from its dramatic sea cliff, Cape Canaille.

Top 10 attractions in Marseille

#1
Calanques National Park (Parc National des Calanques)

Calanques National Park (Parc National des Calanques)

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As Europe's only protected park to contain land, water, and semi-urban areas, Calanques National Park (Parc National des Calanques) is a mecca for outdoor adventurers. Whether you want to snorkel and sail, kayak and climb, or hike and watch out for wildlife, France's answer to the Garden of Eden has it all.More
#2
Camargue

Camargue

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Located in southwest Provence, the Camargue is one of France’s wildest and most scenic landscapes. Protected as a regional natural park, the expanse of wetlands, beaches, salt pans, and rice paddies is known for its herds of white Camargue horses and Camargue bulls, all tended to by localgardians (cowboys).More
#3
Marseille Cruise Port (Terminal Croisières Marseille)

Marseille Cruise Port (Terminal Croisières Marseille)

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Marseille is France’s largest and busiest port, welcoming over 1.5 million cruise passengers to its shores each year. As the gateway to Provence and the south of France, Marseille is a popular stop on Europe cruise itineraries, and offers ferry connections to Corsica, Sardinia, Algeria, and Tunisia.More
#4
Chateau d'If

Chateau d'If

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The Chateau d’If, situated just off the coast of Marseille, is a former French naval base and prison that was immortalized by Alexandre Dumas in the novelThe Count of Monte Cristo. Visit the island fortress to see its jail cells and enjoy panoramic views of the city of Marseille.More
#5
La Corniche

La Corniche

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Winding along the Mediterranean coast along the South of France, La Corniche is a waterfront roadway that stretches five kilometers through Marseille. As both a walkway and a road for cars, it offers wonderful views of the sea and coastline. It was a particularly popular promenade for residents of Marseille in the 1920s. From there you can also see the Iles du Frioul, elegant villas of the late 19th century, and the Prado beaches. The Chateau d’If (of the Count of Monte Cristo fame) is also visible.Along the way sits the Maregraph Building, which took measurements over thirteen years to determine France’s sea level elevation. The bench of La Corniche runs three kilometers between the Pont de la Fausse-Monnaie and Hotel Sofitel Palm Beach, making it the longest bench in the world. Part of the roadway is named after President Kennedy, who was assassinated during its construction.More
#6
Notre-Dame de la Garde Basilica (La Bonne Mère)

Notre-Dame de la Garde Basilica (La Bonne Mère)

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Perched atop the city’s highest hill, the magnificent Notre-Dame de la Garde, which is visible from all over the Marseille, is one of the city’s most striking landmarks. The Romano-Byzantine basilica dates back to the 19th century and is best known for its grand bell tower, which is capped with a gleaming gold statue of the Virgin Mary.More
#7
Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations (Le Mucem)

Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations (Le Mucem)

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The Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations (Le Mucem)—or Musée des Civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée, in French—is a national museum in Marseille, France. It was inaugurated in 2013, the same year Marseille was designated as the ‘European Capital of Culture,’ and is dedicated to showcasing the multifaceted history of the Mediterranean and its different landscapes, cities, and shores.The museum is built on reclaimed land at the entrance to Marseille’s harbour. Its exhibits are devoted to European and Mediterranean civilizations in the Mediterranean basin, taking an interdisciplinary approach to presenting the different societies who have called this area home throughout the ages and in modern times. It is the first museum in the world to focus entirely on the cultures of the Mediterranean, and it includes all the social sciences: anthropology, political science, sociology, history, archaeology, and art history. In addition to the Mucem’s permanent collections, there are also rotating temporary exhibitions and seminars, feature films and documentaries, and performances focusing on the Mediterranean’s current affairs.More
#8
Cassis

Cassis

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One of Provence’s prettiest coastal villages, Cassis enjoys an idyllic setting amid Mediterranean calanques (rock-sheltered coves), the Cap Canaille sea cliffs, and vineyard-carpeted hills. As well as beaches, a boat-filled harbor, and the historic Château de Cassis, the town also boasts ample boutiques, cafés, and hotels.More
#9
Frioul Islands (Îles du Frioul)

Frioul Islands (Îles du Frioul)

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The Îles du Frioul is a collection of four small islands just off the coast of Marseille. In their long history, the islands have been used as the site of a fortress and prison, and a quarantine zone for people suspected of carrying the plague cholera. Nowadays visitors come to hike the islands and visit the famous Chateau d’If.More
#10
Calanque de Sormiou

Calanque de Sormiou

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The calanques are narrow and steep inlets along the limestone coast of southern France, the most impressive ones being located along the little stretch of coastline between Marseilles and Cassis. They are romantic, wild and, being surrounded by huge cliffs, often protrude fjord-like into the landscape. While many calanques require hours of hiking or kayaking to reach, the Calanque de Sormiou is more easily accessible and still provides a true visual spectacle for visitors.After a 15 minute drive or 45 minute walk from the main road down the hills, a sandy beach awaits next to the bright blue Mediterranean water. A couple weekend homes dot the landscape and then there is Le Château, the modest but immensely popular bouillabaisse restaurant that requires a phone reservation well ahead of time to snag a seat.As sparse as the landscape might appear, Sormiou actually serves as a habitat for a rich flora and fauna. Over 900 plants grow here and birdwatchers will find many rare birds nesting in the steep cliffs. Swimming and sunbathing is popular, but the area is also crossed by numerous hiking trails, some more demanding than others, and the little bay is also a popular destination for visitors arriving by boat.More

Trip ideas

Food and Wine in Marseille

Food and Wine in Marseille

Provence Tours from Marseille

Provence Tours from Marseille

Recent reviews from experiences in Marseille

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Fantastic tour and amazing tour guide
amylkennedy2020, Jan 2020
Marseille Shore Excursion: Half Day Tour of Marseille by Electric Bike
You get to see the whole city and learn about the history of this spectacular port.
star-5
Romain was the best tour guide ever!
Laura W, May 2019
Aix en Provence, Marseille & Cassis Private Tour in Minivan
We never felt rushed and were sad to see our time with him come to a close.
star-5
So fun!
courtney_g, May 2019
Marseille Shore Excursion: Half Day Tour of Marseille by Electric Bike
We got to see so many sights and view this gorgeous provence with time to spare to explore on our own.
star-5
Best way ever to see Marseille. Our...
Robert B, Mar 2018
Marseille Smalll Group Electric Bike Tour
Best way ever to see Marseille.
star-5
Great way to see Marseille and...
Geoff A, Oct 2016
Provence, Marseille and Cassis Sightseeing Tour
Great way to see Marseille and Cassis if you have limited time.
star-5
Best way to see the main city sights...
Lucia_C, Oct 2016
Electric Bike Tour to the Calanques from Marseille
Best way to see the main city sights of Marseille.
star-4
Great way to see Marseille including...
Lynne S, Oct 2016
Marseille Smalll Group Electric Bike Tour
Great way to see Marseille including some little hidden gems with a friendly and enthusiastic local guide but cycling through busy town traffic in a group of 8 or 9 was nerve-wracking and felt slightly dangerous at times and you really need to put in quite a bit of effort on the hills - the electric bike definitely doesn't do all the work!
star-5
Our tour guide was amazing. She is...
Cindy, Jun 2015
Provence in a Day Tour from Marseille
Highly recommend this trip to people who wanna spend a day to see neighboring cities of Marseille.
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This was a fun and healthy way to...
Robert P, Aug 2015
Marseille Shore Excursion: Private Electric Bike Tour
This was a fun and healthy way to see Marseille.
star-5
Fantastic guide, and an awesome way...
Cristine_V, May 2018
Marseille Shore Excursion: Half Day Tour of Marseille by Electric Bike
Fantastic guide, and an awesome way to see Marseille.
star-5
Very nice tour... glad we did it...
John G, Oct 2015
Provence, Marseille and Cassis Sightseeing Tour
Enjoyed the boat cruise to visit the Calanques and the quantness of the village of Cassis.
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Clean vehicle and good driver - polite...
John M, Oct 2007
Marseille Airport to Avignon Private Arrival Transfer
Clean vehicle and good driver - polite and friendly with sound English.
star-5
A great and fun way to see Marseille!
Stephanie_A, Apr 2021
Electric Bike Tour to the Calanques from Marseille
It was a perfect way to see and cover so much of the city.
star-5
A taste of little and big cities, a blend of quiet and bustling places
Cristina_N, Mar 2020
Aix en Provence, Marseille & Cassis Private Tour in Minivan
This tour is perfect if you'd like to see key sights without a lot of walking and want to hit 3 great spots in the south of France on a comfortable luxury car drive.
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Aix-en-Provence from Marseille
waibing89, Dec 2019
Private Tour of Aix-en-Provence from Marseille
We were lucky to have her because there were a lot of sights we wanted to see; she delivered abundant information covering the background on Aix - its history, art, attractions, food.
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Perfect day in Marseilles
Inspire46991065853, May 2019
Marseille Shore Excursion: City Sightseeing Tour of Marseille
Touring with a small group of 7 made the excursion so enjoyable - we were able to see so much in 4 hours.
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Excellent day trip to Luberon
Tugrul_D, Mar 2019
Perched Villages of the Luberon Day Trip from Marseille
The trip consisted of visits to Lourmarin (45 min, where we had our morning coffee), Roussillon (1 hr, where there was a small market and you could also take a short hike to the Ochre trails), Gordes (1 hr 15, where we had lunch), Fountaine-de-Vaucluse (1 hr, where you could take a walk along the source of the spring), L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue (1 hr 10 min, where you could also see the only church in France with Liberty, Equality, Fraternity written on its facade).
star-5
Absolutely the best way to see...
agood25, Sep 2016
Marseille Shore Excursion: Full Day Tour of Marseille by Electric Bike
Absolutely the best way to see Marseille and it's beautiful surroundings.
star-5
Great way to see Marseille! Mia was...
Lauren L, Jun 2016
Marseille Smalll Group Electric Bike Tour
Great way to see Marseille!
star-4
Susei was a very friendly guide and...
Elizabeth S, Jun 2017
Aix-en-Provence, Cassis and Marseille Small-Group Tour from Marseille
Her English was almost impeccable.

All about Marseille

When to visit

Marseille’s Mediterranean climate, along with music festivals such as Rock Island and Marsatac, draws vacationers south in the balmy summer months. For the best deals, visit in late September, when the summer hordes have left, but it’s still warm enough to hit the beach or take a day trip to the French Riviera.

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