2 Days in Marseille: The Perfect Itinerary (First Time Visit)


How to spend 2 Days in Marseille: The Best Itinerary + Where to Stay

You’re planning to spend 2 days in Marseille and you’re looking for the best things to do?

You’re at the right place!

In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared for you the perfect 2-day itinerary in Marseille.

During your trip, you will discover Marseille’s best places to visit such as the Old Port and the famous calanques of Marseille as well as some hidden gems!

In addition to the best places to visit and activities for each stage of your itinerary, I will also give you all my best tips and accommodation suggestions depending on your budget.

So, what are the best things to do in Marseille in 2 days? Where to stay?

Let’s find out!

One Last Tip for a Perfect 2-Day Stay in Marseille

If you already know your travel dates (or as soon as you will have them!), you should really book your accommodation.

As Marseille is one the most touristic city in France, the hotels offering the best value for money are often fully booked months in advance.

As a seasoned traveler, I can assure you that it’s always by planning as far in advance as possible that I’ve found the best hotels or apartments deals.

You agree that it would be a shame to somewhat ruin your stay in Marseille by ending up in a not-so-great hotel that costed you a fortune, right? 😅

So your best bet is to take 5 minutes now to have a look at traveler’s favorite hotels in Marseille.

And if you like one of the hotels you find, book it!

It’s fast, it’s easy and most accommodation offer free cancellation. That’s the best way to protect yourself from the inconvenience of finding nothing but mediocre rooms at exorbitant prices.

To check the best hotels deals in Marseille, simply click on the green button below:

After securing your dream stay, it’s time to continue reading this guide!

The Best Itinerary for 2 Days in Marseille

It’s now time to plan your 2-day itinerary in Marseille!

For each day of your stay, I will give you all the details you need to organize your visits, as well as a map showing the attractions of the day. I assume that you will be staying in Marseille for 2 full days.

If you have any questions about organizing your 48h trip to Marseille after reading everything, feel free to ask me in the comments section at the very end of the article. I will be glad to help you out!

Day 1 – Walking Around Marseille

Weekend in Marseille Itinerary Day 1
Weekend in Marseille Itinerary Day 1

A. Le Panier District

Let’s start your 2 days in Marseille by visiting the oldest district in the city: Le Panier.

Although it once had a bad reputation, it’s now one of the most touristy spots in Marseille. And if Le Panier has become “trendy,” it’s partly thanks to the television series “Plus belle la vie” aired on France 3, one of the national TV channels.

Several outdoor scenes are regularly filmed there, and the famous Mistral district where the characters live is largely inspired by Le Panier.

But if you don’t know the series, don’t worry—visiting Le Panier is still worth it for the picturesque atmosphere that prevails.

Following the narrow streets, you’ll come across many artisan shops as well as old-fashioned bistros where you can enjoy a good Pastis, the local’s favorite aperitif!

In Le Panier, you shouldn’t miss:

  • Place de Lenche and its view of Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica (Nicknamed “La Bonne Mère”)
  • Place des Moulins where several mills used to stand
  • La Vieille Charité, a former hospice that now houses 4 museums
  • Place des Pistoles, perfect for lunch on a terrace
  • The Rue du Panier.
Voyage Tips - Advice

To make the most of your visit in this historic neighborhood, you should opt for a guided tour of Le Panier.

You can do a basic walking tour, or opt for something more original, like an electric scooter or Segway tour!

Simply click on the links below for details and to book:

Le Panier District, Marseille
Le Panier District, Marseille

B. Marseille Cathedral (La Major)

After visiting Le Panier, you should head to Marseille Cathedral (La Major), located nearby.

Also known as Sainte-Marie-Majeure Cathedral, it’s one of the largest churches in France. You might be surprised to find out that its dimensions are quite similar to those of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome!

You will for sure love the cathedral’s magnificent architecture. If you’ve had the chance to visit Italy, you will notice that it strongly resembles the cathedrals of Florence and Siena. The white and green marble façade is particularly beautiful!

The interior, with its arcades, statues, and mosaics, is also worth seeing.

And the best part, entry is free!

Marseille Cathedral (La Major)
Marseille Cathedral (La Major)

C. The MuCEM

If you’re spending a weekend in Marseille, you need to visit the MuCEM.

It’s located just 500 meters from the cathedral, so you can easily walk there.

Opened a few years ago, the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations showcases a futuristic architecture, standing in stark contrast to the surrounding buildings and the area of the Old Port.

It has quickly become a must-visit during any stay in Marseille.

You can explore the exhibitions located in the two buildings: the modern building (the J4), which also houses a panoramic restaurant, and Fort Saint-Jean, connected to the J4 by a footbridge.

The footbridge offers a magnificent view of the city on one side and the Frioul islands on the other.

And the best thing is, access to the outdoor areas and footbridges is completely free. So even if you don’t visit the museum, don’t miss out on the opportunity to take some beautiful photos!

Voyage Tips - Advice

To visit the MuCEM, you need to purchase your ticket online, you will save a lot of time! You have 2 options (simply click the links below to book):

Mucem Marseille
MuCEM, a weekend in Marseille

D. The Old Port

After leaving the MuCEM, continue your 2-day itinerary in Marseille by taking a stroll along the Old Port.

This is where the Phoceans landed when they founded Massilia (the former name of Marseille) in ancient times!

The area is always bustling: In the morning, you’ll find the fish market, and throughout the day, many locals and tourists enjoy the bars and restaurants where they can sit and have a drink on the terrace.

It’s also from the Old Port that boats depart to visit the calanques (scheduled for your next day!), the Frioul islands, and the Chateau d’If.

Old Port Marseille
Old Port Marseille

E. Cours Julien

Next, take La Canebière, the city’s iconic avenue lined with shops and historical monuments, such as the Opera House or Hotel Noailles.

Head towards Cours Julien and you’ll arrive right in the middle of the artists’ district with walls covered in street art. There’s plenty to see between the steps of Cours Julien and Place Jean Jaurès.

The area also hosts several local designers boutiques, thrift shops, second-hand booksellers and antique dealers.

A colorful, bohemian ambience guaranteed!

Cours Julien Marseille
Cours Julien, Marseille

F. Notre-Dame de la Garde

You can’t spend 2 days in Marseille without visiting the city’s most famous landmark.

Overlooking the city, the Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde, often referred to as “La Bonne Mère” in French (“The Good Mother”) is for sure the most famous monument of the city.

It’s gold-covered statue of the Virgin Mary have been watching over Marseille and its inhabitants for 800 years!

Located 150 meters above sea level, its large esplanade offers a panoramic view of the entire city, the sea, and the distant islands.

During your visit to the basilica, you can appreciate the white and red marble interior and beautiful Byzantine-style mosaics. And once again, it’s free!

Voyage Tips - Advice

To get to Notre-Dame de la Garde from Cours Julien, you can:

  • Take a Walk. It’s a 2 km walk and it takes about 30 minutes. You’ll need to push a bit on the legs as the last part goes uphill quite a bit.
  • Opt for the bus: head to Bréteuil street and take bus no. 60, which will drop you off at the entrance to the basilica.

If you skip Cours Julien and want to go directly to the basilica from the Old Port, bus no. 60 departs from the harbour master’s office, along the port quay.

The little tourist train, which also starts from the same place, passes by La Bonne Mère.

Notre-Dame de la Garde in Marseille
Notre-Dame de la Garde in Marseille

G. Abbaye Saint-Victor

To wrap up the first day of your 2-day trip to Marseille, you should go down from Notre-Dame hill via the Abbey Saint-Victor.

Inside this building listed as a historical monument, you can discover a crypt and several chapels where paleochristian sarcophagi are kept.

However, the main attraction of the place is its terrace (opposite the entrance), where you can enjoy a very beautiful view over the entire Old Port and the MuCEM.

For those interested in tasting local specialties, don’t hesitate to stop by the bakery “Le Four des Navettes”. Located right next to the Abbey, between Sainte street and Endoume street.

Founded in the 18th century, it’s the oldest bakery in Marseille, the very place where the “navettes”, the iconic biscuit of the city, were created.

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you feel that it’s a bit too much walking for one day, you can instead opt for the hop-on hop-off bus.

It’s very convenient, as it stops in front of all the best places to visit in Marseille and you get an audioguide to learn mor about the city!

Abbaye Saint-Victor Marseille
Abbey Saint-Victor

Day 2 – The Calanques of Marseille

Weekend in Marseille itinerary day 2
Weekend in Marseille itinerary day 2

A. Boat Trip in the Calanques

During your 2-day itinerary in Marseille, you absolutely need to go to the world famous Calanques.

And the best way to discover the Calanques de Marseille si to opt for a boat trip. You will see all the most famous coves and enjoy the splendid natural scenery!

From the Old Port, you have a choice of several types of boat tours for the Calanques:

  • The “Complete Calanques Tour” where you will enter all the coves from Marseille to Cassis. It lasts about 3h15 with a departure in the morning and one in the afternoon.
  • The shorter “Essential Calanques Tour”, which takes 2h15 and passes by the 3 most famous Calanques: Sormiou, Morgiou, and Sugiton.
  • A 5-hour luxury catamaran cruise for a more exclusive and less crowded experience. Lunch is included, and there’s even a swimming break planned!

Book your VIP catamaran boat trip in the Calanques by clicking the button below:

  • A full-day sailing cruise with aperitif + lunch featuring local products + 2 swimming stops in the calanques! This my favorite, a perfect day guaranteed!

To enjoy a fantastic sailing day in the Marseille calanques, you need to book in advance by clicking the button below:

For all the information on the best boat trips in the calanques, you should read my dedicated article: The 10 Best Boat tours in Marseille.

Voyage Tips - Advice

As I mentioned, cruising is the only way to see many calanques in one day but it’s also possible to reach the calanques by foot.

You can choose a calanque, take along a picnic, and enjoy one of the hiking trails to get there. And if you don’t want to do it on your own, you can also do these hikes with a guide ( click here for more info!).

For a short walk, I especially recommend going to Sugiton viewpoint (35 minutes walk from the parking lot). There, you’ll enjoy a fantastic panoramic view of Morgiou and Sugiton calanques.

Finally, if you’re not a fan of either sailing or hiking, you can discover the calanques on an electric mountain bike accompanied by a guide. The route is fantastic and passes through magnificent landscapes.

You need to book this activity by clicking on the green button below:

Calanques Marseille
Spending a weekend in Marseille: Discovering the Calanques

B. Your Choice: Shopping or a Visit to Palais Longchamp

In case you didn’t opt for a full day boat trip, here are 2 options for your afternoon.

Your first option is to go shopping.

Not far from the Vieux Port, you will find one of the city’s newest shopping centers: Les Terrasses du Port, with its many international brand shops (H&M, Diesel, Adidas…).

If you have a higher budget and prefer luxury boutiques, then head to Rue Paradis, featuring more upscale stores such as Kenzo, Lacoste, and others.

If you’d rather use the remaining time to continue exploring the city, you should go to Palais Longchamp. It’s easily accessible by metro or tram from the Old Port.

The palace is an impressive monument and in my opinion, it’s one of the most beautiful in Marseille. Its architecture and monumental fountain are truly magnificent!

The two wings of the palace house the natural history museum and the Museum of Fine Arts.

Just behind the palace, there’s a huge park with a playground. It’s the perfect place if you’re planning to spend a weekend in Marseille with your children.

Palais Longchamp Marseille
Palais Longchamp in Marseille

3 Days in Marseille

If you’re lucky enough to visit Marseille in 3 days, in addition to the itinerary I’ve presented, here are several options for your third day:

1) If you want to explore the surroundings of Marseille, you should take a boat to the Frioul Islands and the Château d’If.

After a 25-minute crossing, you’ll land on the island of Ratonneau, which is full of beautiful little coves with turquoise waters.

Even if it’s not the season for swimming, the walk around the island is really worth it for its views over the Château d’If and Marseille.

After visiting Ratonneau, you can simply cross the harbor’s breakwater to reach the island of Pomègues on foot.

There, you will find one of the most beautiful beaches of the Frioul archipelago, Tahiti beach.

The shuttle boats to Ratonneau also stop at the Château d’If island, which you can visit (you need to buy your priority access tickets by clicking here).

Famous prisoners such as the Marquis de Sade or Mirabeau were held here. In Alexandre Dumas’ novel, the Count of Monte Cristo is also imprisoned at the Château d’If!

You can find the shuttle schedules and fares on the official website.

Alternatively, you can discover the Frioul islands during a cruise. You can choose from (click on the orange links for more info and to book):

Ile de Ratonneau Frioul
Ile de Ratonneau Frioul

2) Discover other parts of Marseille.

If that’s your choice, here’s the itinerary for your 3rd day in Marseille:

  • Walk along the JFK Corniche, a long seaside promenade with viewpoints over the Frioul archipelago and Château d’If.
  • Visit Vallon des Auffes, a picturesque little fishing port with its typical huts and fishing boats.
  • Head to Prado Beach for a swim.
  • Stroll through Borély Park, situated right next to Prado Beach. There, you’ll find a lake, playgrounds for children, a rose garden, and a botanical garden.
  • To end the day, football fans might enjoy a tour of the Vélodrome stadium.
  • For everyone else, I recommend continuing along the seaside and taking the bus to Les Goudes. The Goudes district is very picturesque with its small houses, and there are lovely spots to swim!
Voyage Tips - Advice

The full JFK Corniche walk, starting from Catalans Beach to Prado Beach, will take you about 1 hour (4.4 km). It’s an easy, secure route with a pedestrian path all along.

If you don’t want to walk, bus 83 leaves from the Old Port and runs along the entire Corniche up to Prado.

Corniche JF Kennedy-Marseille
Corniche JF Kennedy – Marseille

Other great activities for your 2 days in Marseille

Looking to tweak this itinerary and add other activities for your weekend in Marseille?

No problem, here are more great things to do for a short stay in Marseille (and in the surroundings!)

Looking for more ideas of things to do in Marseille? Don’t hesitate to read my detailed article: The 33 Best Things do in Marseille

Where to Stay during your 2 days in Marseille?

Now that you know the best itinerary for 2 days in Marseille, let’s move on to another important step: booking your accommodation.

To help you out, I have selected the best hotels in Marseille depending on your budget.

As Marseille is one of the most touristic cities in France, the best deals don’t last long, so if you have your travel dates, you should book your hotel as soon as possible!

  • Toyoko INN Marseille Saint Charles: located 1 km from the Old Port and 5 minutes from the train station. Very clean and comfortable double rooms from €70 per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the breakfast choices, the warm welcome, the location close to the train station and the town centre.
  • Citadines Castellane Marseille: situated 400 metres and 1.3 km from Notre Dame de la Garde. Modern studio and apartment with fully equipped kitchen (dishwasher, microwave, hob…) from €78, breakfast €10. Strong points: the very convenient location, the comfortable bedding, the quiet. It’s my favourite hotel for its excellent value for money in Marseille!
  • Staycity Aparthotels Centre Vieux Port: located 550 metres from the port. Fully equipped designer studio and apartment from €92, breakfast €9. Strong points: spacious, the perfect location to visit Marseille, the very friendly staff.
  • NH Collection Marseille: located in the Joliette district, 900 metres from the MuCEM. Double room with simple and elegant décor from €160. Strong points: the excellent breakfast and the very varied choice, the comfortable beds, the location. One of the best hotels to stay at in Marseille!
  • The Residence du Vieux Port: located on the docks of the Old Port. Modern double rooms with sea view from €200. Strong points: the view of the port and Notre-Dame de la Garde, the charming staff, the location. A great choice for a high-end stay in Marseille.
  • InterContinental Marseille – Hotel Dieu: in the historic district of Marseille, located 300 metres from the port. This 5* hotel offers comfortable and warm rooms from €290, breakfast €29. Strong points: the spa, the swimming pool, the gourmet restaurants, the terrace with view. This is my recommendation for a luxury stay in Marseille.

Map of Your 2-day itinerary in Marseille

To help you visualize your itineraries during this weekend in Marseille, I’ve created a map listing the places to visit day by day. You can display the map’s legend by clicking on the button in the top left corner with a small arrow.

This way, you can see the routes for each day.

Rent a boat in Marseille

If you want to rent a boat for a nice day at sea during your stay in Marseille, you should book it with Samboat.

Motorboats, sailboats, yachts, small boats without a license, with or without a skipper: they simply have the most complete offer for boat rental!

So, what are you waiting for to book your boat trip in Marseille? 😊

What’s the best time for a 2-day visit to Marseille?

You can plan a weekend getaway to Marseille at any time of the year.

We’re in the South of France, where the temperatures generally stay quite mild, even in the middle of winter.

The city is always bustling. No matter which month you choose to spend 2 days in Marseille, you won’t be bored and you can totally follow my itinerary.

The only thing that might be affected is the boat trip to the calanques, as the schedules can change depending on the weather and the season. This also applies to the ferry to the Frioul islands and the Château d’If.

If you want to swim a bit and enjoy the beaches, I recommend visiting in July-August, but naturally, it’ll be quite crowded as you’ll be right in the middle of the high tourist season!

For enjoying the warmth without the crowds, I think the best time to spend 2 days in Marseille is from May to the end of June (before the summer holidays) and from September to October.

How to Get to Marseille?

Marseille has an international airport, so you can easily find a flight to Marseille, at least from most European countries.

As flight prices to Marseille can vary greatly, it’s a good idea to compare them as early as possible. You can use our flight comparison tool, in partnership with Skyscanner, to ensure you get the best fare.

 You can also travel to Marseille by bus or train.

In that case, you should check the train schedules and fares and book your tickets right here:

Lastly, if you need to rent a car for your stay in Marseille, you should use Booking.com Cars. It’s, in my opinion, the best car rental site!

Here is why:

  • It allows you to compare prices between each rental company: You will instantly see who is the cheapest or has the best customer reviews.
  • The full insurance protection ensures you get reimbursed in case of an accident or theft of your rental car (without having to take the rental company’s extremely expensive insurances!). Tested and approved, as they refunded me more than 1300 euros total! 😎
  • Free modification or cancellation if your plans change and you can’t visit Puglia!

And one last thing: Booking Cars also offers a best price guarantee. It’s simple, if you find a similar vehicle cheaper elsewhere, they will refund you the difference!

Need help organizing your weekend in Marseille? Feel free to ask me your questions in the comments.

Book your trip now and save money!

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Best places to visit in Marseille in 2 days
Best places to visit in Marseille in 2 days



Creator of the Voyage Tips blog, travel and photography lover. I give you all my best tips to plan your next trip.

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