Best beaches in Marseille – Lonely Planet

This historical Greek port and Roman colony might now be France’s 2nd-greatest metropolis, but the sprawling metropolis of Marseille retains its seafaring appeal.

Several mythical seaside towns – Cassis, Bandol in in a natural way glamorous Var, the Côte Bleue tangoing into flamingo-stitched Camargue – are all inside an simple educate trip of the Provencal capital. The Parc Countrywide des Calanques, meanwhile, consists of a string of ravishingly wild inlets arrived at on foot or by boat.

But as each individual self-respecting Marseillais will proudly explain to you, there is no have to have to depart the metropolis to obtain powder-comfortable golden sand, pebbled coves shaded by perfumed Aleppo pines and old-college rock ladders plunging into turquoise, gin-distinct water. These are eight of the finest.

Calanque de Marseilleveyre is ideal for lunch in the wild

A hike in Les Calanques is a Marseille rite of passage. In this national park, rocky footpaths spiral amongst maquis (natural scrub), sun-scorched agaves and parasol pines to unveil larger sized-than-lifetime vistas of the Med and vertiginous limestone cliffs plunging down to doll-sized calanques (coves) considerably down below. 

The best known (Calanques de Morgiou, Sormiou and En-Vau) get hideously overrun with visitors – an on-line scheduling technique is getting trialed at Calanque de Sorgiton this summer season to limit customer figures to 300 a working day. Prevent.

Head instead to the most delicious of neighborhood techniques: Calanque de Marseilleveyre. Pick up the signposted mountaineering path to the paradisiac cove in Callelongue in the 8e it should really acquire about 50 minutes. Linger above lunch at Chez Le Belge, an isolated, ramshackle cottage with no electrical energy, no street accessibility, no reservations – just a few of plats du jour and salads, plastic tables and chairs on the sand – additionally the most amazing tranquility and a look at no dollars can purchase. Paddling in this article by sea kayak is a enjoyment alternative.

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A wooden staircase leading down to a crowded beach
Plage des Catalans lured the initial dippers in the 19th century and turned wildly stylish in the 1920s © olrat / Shutterstock

Plage des Catalans is most effective for urban dips, volleyball and underwater artwork

From the Vieux Port, wander 20 minutes or seize a public-sharing e-scooter to glide beneath Norman Foster’s big mirrored canopy and west alongside Quai de Rive Neuve and Boulevard Charles Livon to the town center’s closest beach. Modest-sized and sheltered, it lured the first dippers in the 19th century and turned wildly trendy in the 1920s, when swimmers made the elite swim club Cercle des Nageurs de Marseille listed here. 

Catalans’ legendary sands are the present-day HQ for the city’s beach front volleyball club. In in between sea dips, view bronzed players thump balls all around on the court. Deliver your personal snorkeling equipment to admire giant underwater sculptures at the Musée Subaquatique, Marseille’s most abnormal museum, 100m (328ft) from shore at the base of the sea. 

Pack seashore refreshments, or reserve a desk for a tapas lunch or early-evening drinks and kémia (Maghreb-design and style hors d’oeuvres) at Les Akolytes, throughout the traffic-noisy avenue from Plage des Catalans. Irresistible: traditional Marseillais panisses (chickpea pancakes with chili sauce), Camargue oysters and parmesan-laced sardine crumble.

Plage de la Bonne Brise is best for sunrise swims and sleepovers

Comply with a regional crowd to this tiny sandy seaside (also identified as Plage de la Verrerie), tucked down a flight of actions in between La Madrague de Montredon and Anse des Sablettes in the 8e arrondissement.

Views of Port de la Madrague are rather plenty of, but the significant attract is overnighting on the seashore in a vintage cabanon de pêcheur (fisherman’s hut), with a weathered terrace gazing out to sea (you may find many on AirBnB.) Owning the beach all to your self at the time noisy sunlight-seekers have left for the day or waking up to a dawn swim and breakfast alone on the sand is magic.

A scenic shot of the beach near Prado Beach Park with mountains in the background
Actually a trio of shorelines, Plages du Prado is Marseille’s biggest and busiest seaside strip © Maremagnum / Getty Visuals

Plages du Prado is finest for family exciting

Bewitching views of seaside Marseille unfold together the coastal corniche that cruises 5km (3.1 miles) south from Catalans to Plages du Prado. Actually a trio of seashores, Prado is Marseille’s major and busiest seaside strip – pink sizzling at weekends and in summertime. Sign up for locals chilling on the wide shingle seaside, sunset smooching and lingering till late over takeaway pizza from one particular of the trucks parked alongside the 3.5km (2.2-mile) stretch.

Prado is Marseille’s prime daytime playground. Ogle the 1903 marble reproduction of Michelangelo’s David, kick a football all around on the grassy garden separating seashore from traffic-clogged road, consider the young children for a spherical of mini-golf or to the playground and flex your muscular tissues at a avenue workout station. On the drinking water, there is sailing, sea kayaking and innumerable other nautical functions. Observing talented riders flip tricks in Prado’s hallowed “bowl” – a skate park of globe renown – is a hypnotic emphasize.

Île Degaby is the ideal desert-island beach

If it is five-star luxurious and paparazzi-cost-free privateness you are seeking, this uninhabited islet is all yours. It lies offshore from the picturesque port of Malmousque, close to the iconic seafront eating places of Le Petit Good Passedat and Le Rhul.

The islet fort was built below Louis XIV in 1703, later on used to isolate plague victims, and was gifted to new music-corridor star Liane Degaby by her wealthy industrialist spouse in 1914. Lounge on parasol-shaded sunlight beds, swim from the deck, eyeball fish with a snorkel and appreciate the thrill of desert-island daily life.

The hitch? Degaby Island is the non-public beach front of five-star Hôtel C2 – only accessible to resort guests. Assuming your budget doesn’t stretch that considerably, vie with locals instead for a hotly contested spot on the Malmousque rocks to lay out your beach front towel.

People at the beach on Cap Croisette's bay on a summer afternoon
Obtainable only from La Baie des Singes cafe, Plage de la Baie de Singes the stylish spot to chill © EA Images / Shutterstock

Plage de la Baie de Singes is best for seaside chic and bouillabaisse

Put together to be smitten. In the enchanting fishing village of Les Goudes in the 8e, wander by the photograph-reserve strip of cottages on most important avenue Rue Desirat Pelaprat and proceed to Cap Croisette. On this windy and untamed lunar cape of sunshine-bleached limestone, ruined WWII bunkers and clumps of exceptional Astragale de Marseille (appear for white-and-purple flowers in Spring), a narrow footpath cuts by way of white rocks to the sea and Monkey Bay.

Nicknamed Plage de Bout du Monde, this sandy seaside on a teeny bay seriously does feel like the conclude of the environment. Available only from La Baie des Singes restaurant, it’s the chic place to chill with A-listers on orange sunlight-loungers, clamber across rocks and lunch on grilled sea bass, langoustine pasta and standard bouillabaisse, Marseille’s signature fish stew. And the 360-degree views of the Med are out of this world.

Plage de la Pointe Rouge is best for sea strolling with a city watch

Hit this large seaside first matter and you won’t be the only human being on the drinking water, dotted with go-sluggish sea walkers in wetsuits and stand-up paddleboarders making the most of an early-morning do the job-out. Seafaring views of the Frioul islands and Bay of Marseille are incomparable.

Arrive midday, affordable eateries backing the seashore and cafés with plastic tables on the sand burst into motion. Get a barquette de frites (fries), pizza slice or Nutella-smeared panini and be part of the hoi polloi taking pleasure in a quintessential relatives day out at the seaside. Regular buses and seasonal shuttle boats to the Vieux Port only increase to Plage de la Pointe Rouge’s popularity.

St. Esteve Beach in Frioul Archipelago, Marseille
Plage de St-Estève in the Frioul archipelago is the spot to observe maritime life up close © Fabianodp / Shutterstock

Plage de St-Estève is best for maritime biodiversity and snorkeling

Pack snorkeling gear and a picnic along with your swimmers, and sail from the Vieux Port to Île Ratonneau (also named Île de Frioul) in the Frioul archipelago. Seabirds and unusual plants thrive on this pinprick outcrop, and Plage de St-Estève is the location to observe maritime lifetime up near.

The 50 %-sand, fifty percent-shingle seaside with cinematic views of Château d’If is a 20-moment walk from the port where by Frioul If Convey boats dock. In summertime its relatives-welcoming Sentier Sous-Marin (underwater path), marked in the shallows by 5 buoys, encourages snorkelers to understand about Marseille’s abundant indigenous maritime daily life.