Visit Marseille: Top 33 Things To Do and Must-See Attractions


Things to do in Marseille: The 33 Best Places to Visit and Highlights

You’re planning to visit Marseille, in the south of France?

Great idea!

In order to help you plan your stay, I have written this guide of the 33 best things to do in Marseille, with all must-see attractions and points of interest.

In addition to the best places to visit, you will also find itineraries to visit Marseille in 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 days (or more!) as well as my selection of the best hotels depending on your budget.

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

Let’s find out!

Visit Marseille: 33 Must-See Attractions

1. The Basilica of Our Lady of the Guard

Start with one of the best known landmarks in Marseille: the Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde (Our Lady of the Guard).

Known as the Good Mother, this iconic monument of Marseille, built on a hill 150 metres above sea level, dominates the entire city. From the Esplanade de Notre-Dame, you can admire a 360° panorama of the city and the sea.

A place of pilgrimage for 800 years, the basilica is dedicated to Mary, whose statue located at the top of the bell tower is the protector of the city and of sailors. Covered with gold, it weighs more than 9700 kg!

The interior of the basilica, all in white and red marble, can be visited free of charge. You can admire the beautiful Byzantine mosaics.

To reach Notre-Dame de la Garde, you have several options:

  • On foot: many paths lead to the top of the hill but it will take some effort on your calves!
  • By car: paid parking next to the basilica
  • By bus: line 60 will take you to the entrance
  • By small tourist train.
Notre-Dame de la Garde à Marseille
Notre-Dame de la Garde, in Marseille

And there’s one last, much more original way to climb up there. Segway!

The Segway tour that I propose allows you to discover the best places in Marseille like the Old Port and the MuCEM and then go up to Notre-Dame de la Garde to enjoy the view.

It’s a fabulous experience and the guide is really lovely and interesting.

Book your Marseille Segway tour now below:

Voyage Tips - Advice

To visit Marseille, I recommend you take the city pass. Valid for 24h, 48h or 72h, it includes:

  • Free entry to all museums including the MuCEM
  • Free and unlimited use of public transport: bus, metro and tram
  • A small tourist train ride between Notre-Dame de la Garde and the old town of Marseille
  • The boat to Frioul or Château d’If
  • Discounts for boat trips in the Calanques
  • Discounts in some shops.

The City Pass Marseille needs to be purchased by clicking on the following green button:

2. Le Panier

Le Panier is the highlight district of Marseille.

Visiting Le Panier means discovering the oldest part of the city. It has long suffered from a poor reputation, but the trend has now reversed and it has become an unmissable stop on any tour of Marseille.

And the famous French series “Plus belle la vie” might look familiar since the Mistral district that features in the show was very largely inspired by Le Panier, and many of the outdoor scenes were filmed there.

Strolling through the narrow and steep streets of Le Panier is also a great way to discover the craft shops and many small bistros.

What to see in the district of Le Panier, in Marseille:

  • The Place de Lenche and its view of the Good Mother
  • The Place des Moulins where several mills were once located
  • The Vieille Charité, a former hospice that now houses four museums
  • The Place des Pistoles, the perfect spot for lunch on a terrace
  • The rue du Panier
  • Street art

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you want to take a guided tour of the Le Panier, I recommend three options:

Simply click on the orange links for more information and to book.

Panier Marseille
Panier distrcit, Marseille

3. The Old Port

It is impossible to miss the Old Port (“Vieux Port” in French) during your stay in Marseille.

Symbol of the city (along with the Good Mother!), this is where the Phoceans landed in antiquity and founded Massalia. Since then, the port has continued to develop, becoming France’s second port in the 19th century.

Today, industrial activity has been transferred to the new port of La Joliette, while the Old Port hosts pleasure boats.

The Old Port docks, recently redeveloped, have become a highlight part of a walk in Marseille. They are bordered by a row of cafés and restaurants and the locals of Marseille like to gather there during sports or cultural events.

This is also where the Marseille fish market takes place every morning.

Finally, the Old Port is the starting point for boat trips to visit the Calanques, the Château d’If and Frioul. I’ll tell you more about that later.

Voyage Tips - Advice

You’ve probably already heard about the sardine that choked the Old Port! But do you know where this story came from?

In 1779, “La Sartine”, a frigate carrying French prisoners who had just been released, ran aground at the entrance to the Old Port. The mighty ship would block all the activity at the port for a good while!

The people of Marseille couldn’t help but turn the “La SarTine” into Sardine, and make it one of the best known anecdotes of the city!

Vieux-Port Marseille
The Old Port of Marseille

4. The MuCEM

The MuCEM is the one museum you must visit in Marseille. It is located at the end of the Old Port.

Opened only in 2013, the Museum of Civilisations of Europe and the Mediterranean quickly became an icon as unmissable as Notre-Dame de la Garde, with more than 2 million visitors per year.

The MuCEM is actually divided into two parts:

  • The J4, the futuristic building built to mark Marseille becoming the European Capital of Culture, which hosts exhibitions dedicated to the Mediterranean world. There is also a bookshop and a panoramic restaurant.
  • The Fort Saint Jean is connected to the J4 by a footbridge offering an exceptional view of the whole city on one side and the Frioul islands on the other.

Entry to the MuCEM’s outdoor areas and walkways is free.

If you want to discover the exhibitions, however, you will have to pay an entrance fee. The MuCEM visit is included in the City Pass Marseille.

Alternatively, because this is a very popular attraction, you can buy your tickets for the MuCEM in advance by clicking here!

Opening hours and information about current exhibitions can be found on the official website.

Mucem Marseille
The Mucem, in Marseille

5. La Major Cathedral

Other tourist attractions in Marseille: the Cathedral of La Major, also known as the “Sainte-Marie-Majeure Cathedral”.

It is located on the edge of the Le Panier district and is not far from the MuCEM.

Built in the 19th century, this imposing Byzantine-style church is one of the largest in France. It’s very similar in size to the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome.

From the outside, with its white and green marble façade, it is very reminiscent of the magnificent cathedrals of Florence and Siena. And the interior, with its archways, statues and mosaics, is well worth a look.

Entry is free.

Voyage Tips - Advice

You will have a beautiful view of La Major from the MuCEM footbridge and Fort Saint-Jean.

cathédrale de la Major
La Major Cathedral

6. The Cours Julian

I continue this guide to Marseille through another iconic district: the Cours Julien.

The artists‘ district is famous for its street art with many graffiti covering the façades between Cours Julien and Place Jean Jaurès.

If you don’t want to miss any of the most famous graffiti, I suggest you book a special 2-h guided tour of the street art by clicking here!

With its very lively and bohemian atmosphere, the Cours Julien is also home to many shops run by local artists and designers, second-hand shops, bookshops and junk shops.

Depending on the day of the week, there are also several markets, such as the farmers’ market or the organic market.

Voyage Tips - Advice

You’re going to Marseille?

You probably know it: the hardest part of planning your trip is to find an hotel offering a good value for money!

The closer you get to your travel dates, the harder it will be to get a good deal. Lots of people will be visiting Marseille on the same dates as you, so you can be sure that the best deals are booked extremely quickly!

Hopefully, there is a pretty simple solution to this problem: do like me and book your hotel as early as possible!

So, my best advice is to take 5 minutes (now) to have a look at the list of travelers’ favorite hotels in Marseille.

And if you see a good offer, book it!

Most hotels offer free cancellation, so it’s quick, easy, and you will avoid the the inconvenience of finding nothing but mediocre rooms at exorbitant prices.

To check the current best deals for your hotel in Marseille, simply click on the green button below 😎:

Once you’ve booked your hotel, it will be time to continue reading this guide and find out more about the best things to do in Marseille!

Cours Julien Marseille
Cours Julien, Marseille

7. The Vallon des Auffes

During your trip to Marseille, do not miss the Vallon des Auffes.

This small port is very picturesque with its fishing huts and the fishing boats typical of Marseille: the pointus. An authentic and typical atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre.

You can also treat yourself to excellent traditional cuisine in one of the renowned restaurants there. For pizza, there’s “Chez Jeannot” and for fresh fish caught the same day or bouillabaisse, head for “Chez Fonfon”, an institution in the Vallon des Auffes!

Or if you have a slightly bigger budget and want to indulge yourself with gourmet cuisine and an exceptional setting, I advise you to try the restaurant “L’Epuisette”.

Reservation recommended because eating at the Vallon des Auffes is a real highlight in Marseille!

Vallon des Auffes Marseille
Vallon des Auffes

8. Corniche JF Kennedy

The Corniche Kennedy is a long promenade along the seafront.

It starts at Les Catalans beach and in particular passes the Prophet’s beach, the Vallon des Auffes and ends at the Prado beaches. The place is very popular with Marseille locals who come here to cycle, ride their scooters or go for a run.

On foot, you can enjoy beautiful views of the islands and château d’If. I also advise you to go up to Valmer park to contemplate the panorama.

Voyage Tips - Advice

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

Corniche JF Kennedy-Marseille
Corniche JF Kennedy – Marseille

9. The Palais Longchamp

If there is one place that I recommend you to see in Marseille, it is the Palais Longchamp.

Its architecture is really impressive and it is for me one of the city’s most beautiful monuments. It was built in 1862 to celebrate the arrival of the waters of the Durance in Marseille and there is therefore a commemorative fountain representing abundance and fertility.

The Palais Longchamp is made up of two wings that housethe Natural History Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts.

Take the stairs up to the top of the fountain to reach the gardens of the Palais Longchamp, one of the most beautiful parks in the city. It is one of the best places for a walk in Marseille.

Here you will find the observatory garden that houses the Museum of Astronomy, and the Zoological Garden. The latter used to house animals such as giraffes, lions, and even an elephant (the star of the zoo), which have now been replaced by life-size colourful statues.

The museums are free of charge with the City Pass Marseille, and entrance to the Longchamp park is also free.

palais Longchamp Marseille
Palais Longchamp, in Marseille

10. The Frioul islands

If you’ve run out of things to do in Marseille, I advise you to escape to the Frioul islands.

Waterfront shuttles leave daily from the Old Port. The crossing takes about 25 minutes and costs about €10 for a round-trip. Prices and times can be found here.

The Frioul archipelago consists of four islands:

  • The largest of these is Pomègues. It is known for having one of the most beautiful beaches in Frioul: Tahiti beach.
  • Ratonneau, popular for its coves and beaches
  • Tiboulen which is not served by shuttles
  • If island where the castle of the same name is located: I’ll tell you about that later.

The boat will drop you off on the island of Ratonneau where there are a few restaurants. You can then go right around the island on foot (no vehicles are allowed) and swim in the small creeks with turquoise water.

There are also great views of If and Marseille from the Fort de Ratonneau and the former hospital.

From Ratonneau, walk along the seawall to the left of the port to reach the island of Pomègues.

To discover the Frioul islands, you can also spend a day sailing around Marseille. Yur skipper will show you the most beautiful places to swim!

Book via the button below:

For a romantic evening, I also recommend a sunset boat ride on a traditional wooden schooner.

You will sail towards the Frioul archipelago before stopping for a swim in a small cove with crystal clear water.

You can then enjoy a dinner served on board while admiring the sunset over the islands.

Book your sunset boat tour in Marseille by clicking on the button below:

And if you just want to go on a boat trip around Frioul islands for sunset but without dinner, click here to book this trip!

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you want to visit Ratonneau and Pomègues, allow for a full day to walk around and bathe. I advise you to take a picnic with you as the only restaurants are at the harbour.

For Ratonneau, 1/2 day is enough. Take the shuttle boat at least 3 hours before sunset, otherwise you won’t have time to discover the island. If you are in a hurry, the right side towards the Fort is preferable.

Ile de Ratonneau Frioul
Ratonneau island, Frioul

11. Château d’If (If Castle)

The same shuttles that go to Ratonneau also stop at If island where château d’If is located .

Its construction was decided in the 16th century by King François I to defend the shores against invasion but also to supervise the town that had just been annexed to the Kingdom of France. With its dungeon, towers, ramparts and moat, it is designed as a true fortress.

It was converted into a state prison in 1580. Famous prisoners include Mirabeau and the Marquis de Sade, but Château d’If is also where the Count of Monte-Cristo is held in the novel by Alexandre Dumas.

Guests can visit the Château d’If on their own or take a guided tour. There is an entrance fee to pay, and the waterfront shuttle costs extra. You can pick up your tickets on arrival or in advance online by clicking here.

Voyage Tips - Advice

To visit Château d’If, you can choose between:

  • A return trip for If only
  • A combined ticket for If + the Frioul islands: the boat drops you off on If, you visit the castle and take the shuttle back to Ratonneau.

Read the timetables carefully, as the last boat for If is at 3.00 pm or 4.00 pm depending on the season. More information can be found here.

As the Château d’If is one of Marseille‘s top tourist attractions, it is best to book your tickets online in advance for the shuttle (especially in summer).

Chateau d'If
Chateau d’If

12. The Calanques of Marseille

This is the highlight activity to do in Marseille: a boat trip to discover the Calanques.

These mini boat tours allow you to discover the most beautiful places in the Calanques National Park. On the programme: magnificent natural landscapes and beautiful creeks with translucent water.

From the Old Port, there are two tours to visit the Calanques of Marseille:

  • The “L’integral des calanques” (Complete Calanques) route where you will enter all the Calanques from Marseille to Cassis. It lasts about 3 hours and a quarter hours, with a departure in the morning and in the afternoon.
  • The small “L’essential des calanques” (Best of the Calanques) route which lasts 2 and a quarter hours, and allows you to pass through the three best known Calanques: Sormiou, Morgiou and Sugiton.

You will find more information on the shipping company’s website.

The big disadvantage is that the boats can carry hundreds of people so they are not necessarily ideal if you want peace and quiet or to take beautiful photos. And these tours don’t give you any opportunity to swim either.

But, good news, there are also some boat tours that are a little more luxurious and with fewer people, plus they include lunch and a swim in the Calanques. This is the type of day trip I recommend to make the most of the beautiful scenery!

For this type of high-end boat tour, you will have several options:

  • A hybrid electric boat tour (max. 6 people – duration 7 hours – lunch included)

  • A 5-hour catamaran trip.

This catamaran boat tour in the Calanques can be booked directly here:

  • A full-day VIP boat tour on a magnificent boat (my favorite option!)

From the Old Port, you will discover the Calanque National Park on a beautiful boat: a traditional wooden schooner.

2 swimming stops in the Calanques are included (snorkelling equipment provided!), plus an aperitif and lunch highlighting local and organic products.

To enjoy a great day by boat in the Calanques of Marseille, you must book in advance by clicking on the button below:

Boat trips are the best way to discover several Calanques in one day, but you can also choose to walk to these magnificent coves. 

Several hiking trails run through the national park and allow you to go down in the coves. Bring sturdy shoes and plenty of water.

You can also go hiking in the Calanques with a guide. This activity must be booked in advance right here!

If hiking isn’t your thing, I recommend going to the Sugiton viewpoint. From the car park in Luminy, the starting point of the trail, it only takes 35 minutes to get there.

The viewpoint offers a splendid 360° view of the park and, below you, of the Calanque of Morgiou and that of Sugiton.

Finally, if you want to try scuba diving, I recommend that you opt for a an immersive scuba diving course in the Calanques. You can find more info and book by clicking here!

Voyage Tips - Advice

After the boat trip or hike, I end with another very nice way to visit the Calanques of Marseille: electric mountain bike.

This 3-hour itinerary with a tour leader leaves from the beach of Pointe Rouge beach and leads to the Calanque of Sormiou. The route is really well thought out and the landscapes are breathtaking.

You can book this activity via the green button below:

And remember, the Calanques park is the ideal playground for climbing and Via Cordata. If you would like more information, click the links:

Calanques Marseille
Marseille Calanques

13. Marseille’s beaches

During your holiday in Marseille, you will most probably want to enjoy the beach!

So I have compiled a list for you of beaches to visit in and around Marseille:

  • Catalans beach is not necessarily the prettiest, but it is the most centrally located and therefore the most practical if you don’t have a car
  • Prophet’s beach located below the Corniche, is the most popular beach in Marseille. Ideal with children as the water is shallow to quite far out. Can be reached by bus number 83.
  • The beaches of the Prado, a succession of beaches over several miles. Can be reached by bus 19 or 83. By car, payed parking is available along the whole stretch.
  • Pointe Rouge, a long sandy beach well protected from the wind where you can have a go on a flyboard
  • The very small beach of the Baie des Singes in the Les Goudes district
  • The beach of L’Anse de la Maronais, not far from the Baie des Singes
  • The three beaches of L’Estaque, north of Marseille
  • The beaches and coves of the Frioul islands
  • The Calanques, of course! Some of the most popular are the Calanque de Sormiou, Sugiton, the Calanque de l’En-Vau and Port-Pin.
  • Sainte-Croix beach, located towards Martigues. This small sandy beach located at the foot of the rocks and on the edge of the pine forest is very pretty. There is also a path along the entire coastline.
  • The beautiful beaches of La Couronne, which are very well equipped, are ideal for families
  • The beaches of Cassis
  • The numerous beaches of Sausset-les-Pins, a seaside resort located on the Côte Bleue.
plage de Sainte-Croix
Sainte-Croix beach

14. Stade Velodrome

A visit to Marseille without seeing the Stade Velodrome is inconceivable for OM supporters! The Olympique de Marseille is the legendary football club par excellence and is the pride of the whole city.

If you don’t have the chance to watch a match during your stay in Marseille, you can make up for it by visiting the inside of the stadium. The tour includes the players’ dressing rooms, the private boxes and behind the scenes, as well as a walk on the pitch to feel the turf!

And you can buy a souvenir of your visit from the official shop. A scarf, a shirt, a mug in OM colours: you will be spoilt for choice.

To organise your visit to the Stade Velodrome de Marseille, see the official website .

Voyage Tips - Advice

You will have a beautiful view of the stadium and Notre-Dame de la Garde.

Stade Velodrome Marseille
Stade Vélodrome, Marseille

15. Abbey of Saint-Victor

Founded in the 5th century, the Abbey of Saint-Victor is a very beautiful building listed as a historical monument. 

Inside, you can visit the crypt (€2) which is made up of several chapels and contains numerous Paleochristian sarcophagi. 

From the terrace opposite the entrance to the Abbey, you can enjoy the unobstructed view of the Old Port and the MuCEM.

Voyage Tips - Advice

Just next to the Abbey, on Rue Sainte is the oldest bakery in Marseille “Le Four des Navettes” . Founded in the 18th century, this is where the iconic biscuit of Marseille was created: the navette.

You now know where to go to taste them!

Abbaye Saint-Victor Marseille
Abbaye Saint-Victor Marseille

16. The Goudes district

Located at the gateway to the Calanques, the Goudes district is built around a small fishing port and its huts.

The picturesque setting attracts visitors every year, especially in the summer, to swim on the beach of the Baie des Singes or go hiking in the Calanques.

There are also several bars and restaurants. 

quartier des Goudes
Goudes district

17. Borély Park

Borély Park is a huge 18-hectare park located near the Prado beaches.

There is a lake, playgrounds for the children, a rose garden and a botanical garden.

 At weekends, it is the busiest park in Marseille: picnics, strolls, rollerblades, bikes or football games, there’s plenty to keep busy! It is very nice, well equipped and is the perfect place for a walk outside the city.

Borély Park has long been famous because Marcel Pagnol mentions it in his book “La Gloire de Mon Père (The Glory of My Father). More recently, the series “Plus belle la vie” (Most Beautiful Life) regularly descends on the place to shoot scenes.

The park offers a pedalo, bicycle and boat rental service. There is also a café and the château which houses the Museum of Decorative Arts. 

Free entry to the Borély park/€3 for the botanical garden.

Parc Borely Marseille
Borely park, Marseille

18. La Canebière

Let’s continue this tourist trail through Marseille with La Canebière.

The city‘s iconic avenue connects the Reformed Church to the Old Port for nearly 1 km. This long retail street is lined with shops, restaurants and cafés.  You can also admire several historical monuments like the Opera or the Hotel de Noailles Hotel, a highly luxurious hotel now converted into a police station.

The Marseille information centre is also located on La Canebière.

But there is one slight drawback: La Canebière is often mentioned as a must-see spot in Marseille, but frankly it’s far from being very clean and doesn’t always smell great… 😅

Chambre de commerce Canebière Marseille
Chamber of commerce – Canebière Marseille

19. Other museums to visit in Marseille

The MuCEM is not the only museum to visit in Marseille.

If you have decided to spend a few days in Marseille, I recommend that you explore some of the other museums:

Most of these museums are free to visit with the City Pass Marseille. 

musée d’histoire de Marseille
Marseille history museum

20. Other monuments to see in Marseille

In addition to the main attractions of Marseille, there are a few other beautiful landmarks not to be missed:

  • The town hall, built in the 17th century
  • The Alcazar library, a very famous former concert hall named after the Alhambra in Granada
  • The Daviel Pavilion, the former courthouse of Marseille
  • The Palais de la Bourse
  • The Statue of David, an exact replica of the one displayed at the Accademia Gallery in Florence
  • The triumphal arch, listed as a historical monument
  • The prefecture, a very beautiful building located on rue Saint-Ferréol
  • The Docks of Marseille for its unusual architecture
  • The Marseille Opera House
  • The Palais des Arts
  • The Diamantée House and its pointed stone façade
  • The Hôtel-Dieu, the city’s main hospital dating back to the Middle Ages. Today converted into a 5* luxury hotel: Hotel Intercontinental.
  • The Pharo Palace for its view of the MuCEM and the Fort Saint-Jean
Opéra de Marseille
Marseille Opera

21. Other activities to do in Marseille

In addition to everything I’ve told you about, here is my selection of other unusual activities to try during your stay in Marseille (you can book by clicking on the links in orange):

Do not hesitate to discover the best activities to do in and around Marseille by clicking on the button below:

22. Marseille’s markets

I suggest you now take a tour of one of the city’s markets to soak up the scents and flavours of Provence.

For smell, you will visit the fish market that is held every morning at the Old Port. It’s the best place to buy the morning’s freshly caught fish!

Each district of Marseille has its own dedicated market:

  • La Castellane: food and clothing market, with a bit of everything is one of the most popular
  • Capuchins for fruits and vegetables
  • La Friche de la Belle de Mai farmers’ market
  • The flower market on Boulevard Chave
  • The organic market at Cours Julien
  • The Sunday flea market at Les Arnavaux.
Voyage Tips - Advice

To discover Marseille’s specialities, there’ nothing better than a gastronomic visit!

This three-hour tour includes many tastings, and will allow you to discover all the gastronomy of the South of France: pastries, seafood, tapenade, navettes, panisses and of course pastis!

I recommend that you book this gastronomic walking tour of Marseille on foot by clicking on the following button:

marché Marseille
Going to the market in Marseille

23. Shopping in Marseille

If you want to blow the budget during your visit to Marseille, here are the best places to go:

  • Les Terrasses du Port, one of the city’s newest shopping centres, whose rooftop with a sea view quickly became a trendy place to go out in Marseille in the evening
  • The Cours Julien for its more bohemian boutiques
  • Saint-Férreol pedestrian street and its well-known brands such as Zara and H&M
  • The Bourse centre, home to Galeries Lafayette, FNAC, Go Sport
  • The street dedicated to fashion with its trendy boutiques of designers, jewellery and accessories
  • La rue Paradis for more luxurious shopping with high-end boutiques such as Lacoste and Kenzo
  • The brand new shopping centre “Le Prado”, next to the Velodrome
  • Les Docks Village, an atypical indoor shopping centre.

If you don’t know what to do in Marseille on a Sunday, remember that most of the shopping centres and museums are open.

les docks Marseille
The Docks, shopping in Marseille

24. L’Estaque

L’Estaque is the district located to the north of Marseille.

The name L’Estaque is often associated with painting because it has inspired many famous artists such as Cézanne, Renoir and Braque. A walking tour called “le petit chemin des peintres de l’Estaque” (a short trail following the artists of L’Estaque) allows you to discover the places depicted in their paintings as well as the history of the neighbourhood.

L’Estaque also has a beautiful beach with with a water sports centre, showers and toilets.

When exploring the area, do what Marseille’s locals do and taste chichis (sweet doughnuts) and panisses (made with chickpea flour) in one of the kiosks on the seafront.

From the L’Estaque, you can also enjoy a superb kayak ride along the Côte Bleue and its creeks with turquoise water. Book in advance by clicking here!

This trip is also available at sunset (reservation here).

Voyage Tips - Advice

To go to L’Estaque, I advise you to take the waterfront shuttle from the Old Port. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy the scenery.

Estaque Marseille

What to do around Marseille?

Now you know what to do in Marseille!

But my recommendations don’t stop there since I have compiled a list of the most beautiful places to visit in the surroundings of Marseille. They are all easily accessible by car or through organised excursions from Marseille.

25. Aix-en-Provence

The first city I suggest you explore in the surroundings of Marseille: Aix-en-Provence.

There aren’t necessarily any great monuments to see apart from the Cathedral of Saint-Sauveur, but the walk through the centre is very pleasant, with its shops, restaurants and brasseries.

Art lovers can also visit the Cézanne studio and the Granet Museum.

From Marseille, you can also take an organised day trip to visit Aix-en-Provence. 

There are three types of trip:

  • A 4-hour guided tour of Aix-en Provence.

  • A visit of Aix-en-Provence + Cassis.

The tour, in a small party, offers a guided walking tour of Aix-en-Provence and a walk on your own in Cassis. Alternatively, you can take a boat ride in the Calanques.

  • A tour on your own of Aix-en-Provence + exploration of the lavender fields of Valensole


26. Arles

Arles is about a one-hour drive from Marseille.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you can discover many Roman monuments such as the amphitheatre, the ancient theatre and the Constantin thermal baths.

If you want to visit Arles with an organised tour, I recommend you choose this one. You will not only visit the historic centre of Arles but also the beautiful village of Les Baux-de-Provence and that of Saint Rémy de Provence.

You can book by clicking the green button below:

To organize your visit to Arles, I have prepared a complete guide in this article: What to do in Arles?

arènes Arles
Arles arenas

27. Cassis

Around Marseille, I advise you to visit Cassis. You can drive there in just 40 minutes.

With its small fishing port and the picturesque alleys, the setting is really lovely. Boat trips from Cassis allow you to discover the Calanques of En-Vau, Port-Miou and Port-Pin. 

If you have time, I also advise you to take the route des Crêtes that goes from Cassis to Ciotat. The landscape is beautiful!

If you don’t have a car, no problem, you can visit Cassis with an organised tour:

Voyage Tips - Advice

As with the Calanques of Marseille, three-hour electric mountain bike tours with an experienced instructor are offered to discover three Calanques of Cassis.

You can book directly by clicking here. 

You can also opt for (click the orange links for details):

Cassis Calanques
Calanques of Cassis

28. Baux-de-Provence

Known as one of the most beautiful villages in France, it would be a shame not to go to Baux-de-Provence during your trip to Marseille.

The mediaeval village has a castle overlooking all the Alpilles. A beautiful panorama in perspective!

Just a five-minute walk from the village, do not miss visiting the Carrières de Lumière.

These former quarries have been completely reimagined and offer truly original multimedia exhibitions with works of art projected on the walls at more than 15 metres high.


29. The Luberon

Near Marseille, why not plan a day to visit the Luberon?

Not to be missed in the region:

  • The perched village of Gordes, one of the most beautiful villages in France
  • Senanque Abbey, a 12th century Cistercian monastery
  • The village of Roussillon, where you absolutely have to go for a walk along the Ochre Trail, in the heart of an ancient ochre quarry. The colours are simply splendid!

And good news if you don’t have a car, just opt for an organised day trip to discover the Luberon and the villages I just mentioned.

Senanque Abbey

30. Camargue

Another beautiful region to visit around Marseille: Camargue.

You can discover the manades (bull and horse farms), go horse riding, watch the pink flamingos or take a boat ride on the Rhone!

parc ornithologique du Pont-de-Gau
Ornithological park of Pont-de-Gau, in Camargue

31. Verdon gorges

A little further away but still feasible, I suggest you visit Verdon.

It takes about an hour and 40 minutes to get Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, the best known village in the area. From here, you can also visit the Lake of Sainte-Croix, the gateway the Verdon Gorge.

And if you prefer to take an organised tour, the best one from Marseille is this one. It also includes a visit through the Valensole plateau to discover the lavender fields (in high season).

Gorges du Verdon rive gauche
Rive gauche du Verdon

32. Take a boat trip from Marseille

In addition to the sea excursions I mentioned above, I recommend two other options that will allow you to discover the surroundings of Marseille by boat away from other tourists.

To enjoy a VIP experience, I therefore suggest you:

1) Book a private boat trip from Marseille

I think this is the best way to make the most of your day at sea in Marseille!

You rent a boat with a skipper, and he will take you to the most beautiful places close to Marseille: the rocky inlets, the Frioul islands and other spots. You will be spoilt for choice!

Motor boat, sailing boat, catamaran or even yacht: just choose the right boat for your dream day!

I always recommend that you rent a boat with skipper as early as possible, as this type of VIP day trip is very much in demand, and it would be a shame to miss out!

You will find all the skippered boats in Marseille by clicking on the button below:

2) Rent a boat to discover the surroundings of Marseille

If you have a boat licence, the 2nd solution for a great day at sea is simply to opt for to rent a boat in Marseille!

It’s very simple to do: click on the button below and book your boat immediately:

louer un bateau

33. Visit a vineyard in Provence

You will find a list of all the vineyards open to visitors near Marseille by clicking on the green button below:

And even better, some of the tours are free! Here are my three favourites (click on the orange links to book):

How many days to visit Marseille?

I advise you to allow at least three or four days to visit Marseille. This gives you time to discover the cityas well as the Frioul islands and the truly magnificent rocky inlets.

And if you want to visit the surroundings, a week won’t be too long. No risk of getting bored!

Voyage Tips - Advice

Do not forget that to visit Marseille in 24h, 48h or 72h, the City Pass Marseille that I told you about at the very beginning is a great way to save money.

One day in Marseille

Do you have one day to visit Marseille?

Here is the itinerary I suggest you follow to see the main districts and landmarks:

  • Explore the Le Panier district
  • Taking in the Cathedral of La Major
  • The MuCEM: visit or just take the footbridge for the view
  • A stroll in the Old Port
  • The Cours Julian
  • Go up to Notre-Dame de la Garde
  • See the Abbey of Saint-Victor or the Palais du Pharo to admire the view

If you don’t want to or can’t walk, you have several other options (click the links to book):

Marseille Mucem nuit
View over the  MuCEM by night

2 Days in Marseille

If you plan to spend a weekend in Marseille, I suggest you start by following the itinerary for day one.

For the second day, I recommend you visit the Calanques of Marseille:

You can also spend an entire day hiking and swimming in the Calanques.

To make the most of your 2-day stay in Marseille, you should read my detailed itinerary: How to visit Marseille in 2 days?

3 Days in Marseille

What to do in Marseille in three days? Repeat my suggestions for days one and two.

On the third day, you can choose to:

1) Visit to the Château d’If and the Frioul islands: walking and bathing

Or take a boat ride around the Frioul archipelago:

2) Stay in Marseille:

  • Take the Corniche to reach the Vallon des Auffes
  • Follow the road to the Prado beaches
  • Enjoy the beach or a walk in Borély park
  • Then you can continue to the nearby Stade Velodrome or follow the seaside road to reach Les Goudes. 
Iles du Frioul
Frioul islands

4, 5 days in Marseille or more

On the fourth day in Marseille, I advise you to choose the option that you didn’t have time to do on day three.

If you spend five days or even a week in Marseille, get out of the city and visit the surrounding areas:

Wine lovers can also plan a visit to a winery, Marseille being close to the vineyards of Bandol appellation.

You will find all the vineyards to visit around Marseille by clicking on the button below:

And even better, some of the tours are free!

Some of the most popular include (click on the links to book):

Where to stay in Marseille

  • 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.
cathédrale de la Major interieur
Inside La Major Cathedral

Where to eat in Marseille

  • Bistro o’Prado: located at 1 Boulevard Perier, just next to the Perier metro station. This brasserie offers a menu with few choices but a guarantee of quality. The dishes are delicious, with a touch of originality, and really plentiful. Very reasonable price.
  • Le Bistro du Panier: located at 58 rue Caisserie. If you fancy a good burger in Marseille, head for the district of Le Panier. This small restaurant offers excellent burgers made entirely from fresh, high-quality ingredients (bread, meat, cheese), plus there’s the home-made fries that go with them! And don’t forget to save some room for the desserts, which are also home-made.
  • Lacaille restaurant: located at 42 rue des Trois Mages. On the menu: atypical and gastronomic cuisine, a very good wine list, top-notch staff, a pleasant setting and affordable prices with a €30 fixed menu (starter/main/dessert).

How to get to Marseille?

Marseille has an international airport.

The prices of flights to Marseille vary greatly, so it is a good idea to compare them as soon as possible. To do this, you can use our flight comparison tools in partnership with Skyscanner. This will guarantee you the best price.

 You can also reach Marseille by bus or train.

I advise you to check the train times and fares and book your tickets directly here:

Finally, if you need to rent a car for your stay in Marseille, I recommend you go through

You can compare the rates of all the rental companies with one click! And the you can change or cancel your booking at no cost.

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? 😊

Tourist map of Marseille

To help you visualise the city a bit better, I have created this tourist map of Marseille, with all the best places to visit and things to do in Marseille and its surroundings.

You can display the map legend by clicking on the top left button, the one with a small arrow on it.

FAQ – I answer your questions about Marseille

What to do in Marseille with your family?

If you are planning to visit Marseille with your children, I recommend the following activities:

  • Take the little train and visit Notre-Dame de la Garde
  • Take the boat to the Frioul Islands and/or the Château d’If.
  • Visit Borély Park
  • Enjoy the Prado beach just opposite the park
  • Take a trip to the Calanques, on foot (easy stroll) or by boat!
  • A tree-top adventure trail at Ecopark Adventures – There is even a mini park for 2-to-4-year-olds.

Which districts of Marseille to visit?

The districts and places to visit in Marseille are:

  • Le Panier district, the oldest part of the city
  • The Old Port district
  • La Canebière, the most famous street in Marseille
  • The Vallon des Auffes, for its picturesque port and excellent restaurants
  • The Les Goudes district, far from the centre, close to the calanques.

How to visit the Calanques de Marseille?

To visit the Calanques de Marseille, you have four options:

How to visit Marseille on foot?

If you want to visit Marseille on foot, I recommend following the itinerary which I have described in the section: Visit Marseille in one day . This tour will allow you to discover the highlight sites of the city such as the district of Le Panier, the MuCEM, the Old Port and Notre-Dame de la Garde.

If you need help planning your stay in Marseille, don’t hesitate to ask me your questions in the comments section below.

Book your trip now and save money!

France travel Guides

You’re traveling in France? These articles will help you!

Discover all our articles about France: All Voyage Tips articles about France are listed here.

You’re using Pinterest? Here is the picture to pin!

Best places to visit in Marseille
Best places to visit in Marseille

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

Leave A Reply