This is your 1 stop guide to the Calanques of Cassis. From how to get there to what to bring. You will not regret visiting the Calanques they are truly beautiful.
What is a Calanque?
First things first, how to pronounce the word Calanque: Ka-lank.
A Calanque is a naturally formed cove or bay specifically on the Mediterranean coast of France. What makes a calanque particularly amazing to visit is the contrast of the walled ‘calanque’ and the perfect blue sea. So not only do you have the beauty of the water you also have the stunning coastline too.
There is a ‘Calanque National Park’ that is about 520km2 so good luck trying to visit all of it! When I was visiting the area and my friend (who is from Marseille – gotta trust a local!) said if I could visit only one thing in the region it would be the Calanques of Cassis – and she was NOT wrong!! I had the aim of going there and spending a few hours max and continuing on my road trip – I spent the whole day because I loved it so much. I visited in September 2021 and this is what I learnt on my trip.
The Calanques De Cassis
Cassis is a lovely small port town with lots to keep you entertained. This is the start point of your hike to the Calanques. There is lots to do in Cassis itself, that is for a discussion another day, right now we are discussing the guide to the Calanques of Cassis!
How many Calanques de Cassis are there?
There are 3 different Calanques of the Calanques de Cassis
- Calanque Port Miou
- Calanque Port Pin
- Calanque D’En Vau
Calanque Port Miou
This is the closest Calanque to Cassis and is approx. 25 minutes walk from Cassis. You cannot actually swim in this Calanque as it is an operational port. But saying that it is beautiful to see all of the different boats coming and going! You get a great view of the port from the main pathway towards Port Pin.
Calanque Port Pin
This Calanque is the smallest but is my (possibly controversial opinion!) favourite. It is about a 45 minute walk from Cassis. Calanque Port Pin has a perfect sand beach and beautiful clear water to swim in. It also is closer so if you are tight on time, why not stop here and enjoy? OR do as I did and swim at this beach and D’en Vau?
Calanque D’En Vau
This is the ‘crown jewel’ of the Calanques de cassis. It is the biggest and most popular. The most common path to the Calanque D’en Vau, is quite tricky and gets steep at parts. But it is definitely worth the walk there. The Calanque D’en Vau is beautiful and a perfect place for a swim.
What to Bring with you to the Calanques de Cassis
The tourist office advises a minimum of 2 litres of water, sufficient food for how long you want to stay and proper walking shoes. I did it in running trainers and didn’t have any issues but closed shoes are a must. There is no shop or water fountain once you have entered the park so make sure you have enough food/water for the whole day plus a little extra just in case.
If you are planning to swim don’t forget swimming things and a towel. Also, a change of clothes if you want to walk back without wet swimwear on. There are no changing rooms though so you might need to perfect the changing under a towel technique. Shady spots are limited so sun cream and a sun hat are great things to bring.
Before leaving Cassis I definitely recommend stopping off at the tourist office as they will provide you a map of the whole area with each of the paths. Or maybe just because I am a map nerd! The Tourist office is at the tip of the port.
How to walk to the Calanques de Cassis
The Calanques of Cassis are easily accessible by foot from Cassis Port.
How to get to Cassis
I drove into Cassis and there are lots of possibilities of car parks that are well sign posted throughout the town. They are not particularly expensive and within a short walk of the town centre. One thing to be aware of is that Cassis is on a hill so if you choose to park further away from the city centre be prepared for a hill.
There is a bus from Marseille (the M8) that takes 40-50 minutes and will drop you off in the town centre of Cassis.
How to get to the Calanques from Cassis Port
From the centre of Cassis the Calanques are sign posted pretty clearly. From the port of Cassis, if you are looking at the sea, you want to head right. As you walk around the seafront at the port the pathway turns into some steps and this will take you to avenue de l’Amiral Ganteaume. This road will then turn into Avenue des Calanques. And as you guessed, that leads to the Calanques! It brings you to Port Miou and this is the beginning of the national park. The pathways are very well signposted so it’s pretty easy to follow.
The end of your Guide to the Calanques of Cassis
Thats the end of this Guide to the Calanques of Cassis, right now you are good to go! Enjoy the swim, the beautiful views and the the lovely sunshine. I hope you have fun and love it as much as I did.