The waters of the Cote d'Azur simply doesn't get bluer than in these creeks! And high white cliffs offer impressive sea views. Les Calanques is the name of the rock formations that come straight out of the sea. This natural phenomenon, sometimes referred to as the Mediterranean fjords, runs from Marseille to the smaller Cassis and extends over a length of nearly 20 kilometres. View here the nicest calanques between Marseille and Cassis.
Calanque de Sormieu
The largest and most famous Calanque near Marseille is one of the few inhabited calanques: around the small beach there are several fishermen houses and two restaurants. Above the cliffs runs a hiking path with breathtaking views and on the left of the calanque the Sormieu is the sea cave of Cosquer with prehistoric paintings
Calanque d'En Veau
For the truly breathtaking calanque En Vau calanque visitors have to make some effort: from the parking lot next to the beautiful sea route from Marseille to Cassis it's a long walk (about 1 hour) all the way down. But then you get to a small beach with pebbles for the clearest turquoise water, that's calling you for a swim.
Calanque de Port-Pin
As the name suggests, this narrow calanque is bordered by pine trees, which gives the place a downright idyllic appearance. Port-Pin additionally ends in two separate inlets, each with a private beach (one with sand, the other with stones) where you can't even see the open ocean, that's how deep the calanque runs into the country.
Calanque Port Miou
Even closer to Cassis, this calanque is located at the beginning of a small harbour with pleasure boats. Closer to the sea, Port-Miou once again becomes purely natural and the cliffs that rise from the water appear even whiter than elsewhere along the coast. From this calanque you can reach the above mentioned calques de Port Pin (40 minutes walk) and d'En Veau (1.5 hours walk).
Calanque de Sugiton
One of the smaller calanques but very popular because it's close to Marseille. You can also reach it with a city bus and from the stop at the university Luminy you are down within an hour. There is a viewpoint on the road with a 360 degree panorama, on the calanque de Sormieu for example, which is located nearby. And from below, this creek is downright gorgeous, with beautiful rocks in the water, pebble beaches and fine places to picnic with the sound of cicadas in the background.
Practical tips for visiting the calanques
- The best time to visit the calanques is from April to June or in September and October, due to heat and crowds. In summer, the calanques are sometimes closed to hikers because of fire hazard. There is a special telephone number (0811-20113 also in English) and a website where you can check the night before whether the calanques are open.
- This is nature with a raw edge and temperatures can be high in the calanques so always go out with the essentials (water, sunscreen, hat, good shoes).
- To see the calanques you really need your own transport.