My Marseille Travel Guide

marseille travel guide

I created this Marseille travel guide for anyone who’s looking for a lively and inviting city to visit in France. Marseille is a port city in southern France, on the Mediterranean Sea. It is the second-largest city in France, after Paris, and the capital of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. Pronounced “mar-say”, it is a major cultural and economic centre and is home to many museums, theatres, and universities. The city is also a popular tourist destination, known for its beautiful beaches, historic architecture, and vibrant nightlife.

I recently had the opportunity to visit Marseille, and I was absolutely blown away by the city. It is a truly unique and special place, with something to offer everyone. Here are 10 fun things to do in Marseille.


Marseille Travel Guide: Best Activities

1. Explore the Old Town

The Old Town, or Vieux-Port to the locals, is the heart of Marseille. It is a maze of narrow streets and alleyways, filled with shops, restaurants, and cafes. There are also several historical landmarks in the Old Town, including the Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica and the Fort Saint-Jean.

2. Visit the Calanques National Park

travel guide Marseille

The Calanques National Park is located just outside of Marseille. It is a stunning area of limestone cliffs, coves, and beaches. There are several hiking trails in the park, which offer stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea.

3. Take a boat tour of the Old Port

A boat tour is a great way to see the Old Port and the surrounding area. You can also get up close to the Calanques National Park.

4. Visit the MuCEM

The MuCEM is a museum of civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean. It is located in the Old Port and is housed in a stunning building designed by Rudy Ricciotti.

5. Hike to the top of Notre-Dame de la Garde

Notre-Dame de la Garde is a basilica located on a hill overlooking Marseille. The hike to the top is steep, but the views from the top are worth it.

6. Visit the Château d’If

The Château d’If is a 16th-century castle located on an island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is famous for being the prison of the Count of Monte Cristo.

7. Take a walk along the Corniche

The Corniche is a road that runs along the Mediterranean Sea. It is a popular spot for walking, jogging, and biking. There are also several cafes and restaurants with stunning views of the sea.

8. Visit the Musée d’Histoire de Marseille

The Musée d’Histoire de Marseille is a museum of the history of Marseille. It is located in the Old Town and houses a collection of artefacts and documents that tell the story of the city.

9. Take a Cooking Class

Marseille is known for its delicious food. There are plenty of cooking classes available in the city, where you can learn to make traditional Provençal dishes.

10. Go Shopping

Marseille is a great place to shop for souvenirs and gifts. There are many shops in the Old Town selling traditional Provençal products, such as olive oil, lavender, and honey.

Planning Tips for Your Marseille Tour

I’d like to give a few tips for planning your trip to Marseille:

  • The best time to visit Marseille is during the spring or fall when the weather is mild.
  • The city is easily accessible by plane, train, or car.
  • There are a variety of hotels and hostels to choose from, to suit all budgets.
  • Marseille is a relatively affordable city, especially when compared to other major European cities.
  • Be sure to try some of the local cuisine, such as bouillabaisse, a fish stew.
  • Marseille is a very walkable city, so you can easily get around without needing to use public transportation.

Marseille Travel Guide: Where to Eat

Marseille is a city with a rich culinary history, and there are many amazing restaurants to choose from. Here are a few of my favourites:

La Mercerie

La Mercerie is a Michelin-starred restaurant that offers creative takes on classic French cuisine. The menu changes seasonally, but you can always expect to find fresh, local ingredients used in innovative dishes.

Tuba Club

A rooftop restaurant with stunning views of the city, their menu features Mediterranean cuisine with a modern twist, and the wine list is extensive.


Limmat is a casual restaurant that serves up delicious Swiss-inspired food. The menu is small but perfectly formed, and the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly.

Carlotta With

A trendy restaurant that serves modern Italian cuisine, its menu is designed to share, and the pizzas are particularly good.

Christian Qui

Christian Qui is a fine-dining restaurant that offers a tasting menu of modern French cuisine. The food is beautifully presented, and the service is impeccable.

If you’re looking for something a little more casual, there are plenty of great options too. Here are a few of our favourites:

Le Panier

Le Panier is a traditional Provençal restaurant located in the Old Town. The menu features hearty dishes like bouillabaisse and ratatouille.

La Cantine de Lynn

A popular spot for lunch and dinner, their menu features a mix of French and Mediterranean dishes, and the prices are very reasonable.

Chez Mère Teresa

Chez Mère Teresa is a no-frills restaurant that serves up delicious home-cooked food. The menu changes daily, but you can always expect to find something hearty and satisfying.

Marseille Travel Guide: Where to Stay

Marseille offers a wide variety of accommodations to choose from. You can find the perfect place to stay for your budget.

Here are a few great options for accommodations in Marseille:

Affordable Options:

Hôtel 96

This charming hotel is located in the heart of Marseille, just steps from the Vieux Port. It offers clean and comfortable rooms at an affordable price.

Hotel C2

This modern hotel is also located in the heart of Marseille, and it offers a rooftop terrace with stunning views of the city.

InterContinental Marseille – Hotel Dieu

This historic hotel is located in a former hospital, and it offers luxurious accommodations and a spa.

Mid-range Options:

Alex Hotel & Spa

This contemporary hotel is located in the Vieux Port, and it offers a pool, a fitness centre, and a spa.

Grand Hotel Beauvau Marseille Vieux-Port-MGallery

This elegant hotel is located in the Vieux Port, and it offers a Michelin-starred restaurant and a bar with live music.

Hôtel La Residence du Vieux Port

As the name implies, this charming hotel is located in the Vieux Port. It offers stunning views of the harbour.

Luxury Options:

Château Beaupin Chambres et Suites By Les Collectionneurs

This luxurious hotel is located in a 17th-century castle, and it offers stunning views of the city.

Les Bords De Mer

This exclusive hotel is located on the beach, and it offers private balconies with stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea.

Sofitel Marseille Vieux-Port

This iconic hotel is located in the Vieux Port, and it offers a Michelin-starred restaurant and a bar with live music.

No matter what your budget is, you’re sure to find the perfect place to stay in Marseille.

Here’s hoping that this Marseille travel guide will inspire you to visit the city. If you are looking for a city with a rich history, culture, and diversity, then Marseille is a great place to visit. With its beautiful setting on the Mediterranean coast, Marseille is also a great place to relax and enjoy the sun.

Convent de la Missio

A holiday in Spain requires only the best accommodation. With the never-ending sightseeing, one definitely needs a daily refuge. I particularly found mine in the luxurious sanctuary of Convent de la Missio. Not only was it beautifully curated, the service I experienced was outstanding.


The hotel is located in 07003 Palma de Mallorca, Islas Baleares, approximately 2 km from the legendary electric train railway in Ferrocarril de Soller. What made me ultimately pick the area is its proximity to the majestic 14th-century Gothic-inspired Bellver Castle, one of the few circular castles in entire Europe.

Interior Design


The interior of this renowned boutique hotel is beyond description. I found the designs rich but not quite ostentatious. I particularly liked the play of earth tones and warm lights that filled every space, from the reception to the patio. The walls are painted white and cream, the furniture pieces are beautiful minimalist designs. Once you step into the building, you immediately sense the relaxed, calming vibe every traveler so desperately craves.

The exterior is equally gorgeous especially at night. Well-illuminated, this 17-century hotel is a spectacular Mediterranean beauty.


All rooms look sophisticated, complete with WiFi access, study desks, television sets, and of course, mini bars. I checked into a room with a canopied bed, mini salon for receiving guests, and a balcony. The city view is dramatically splendid at night.

I have friends in the city who sometimes dropped by and together we would dine in the Michelin-rated restaurant right within the hotel – Marc Fosh. The dishes are flavorful Mediterranean cuisine with a twist. It also boasts of an Art Bar that not only offers a range of time-honored wine and spirits, but also an exhibit of gorgeous artworks.

Apart from the restaurant, Convent de la Missio has a pool, a bar, a fitness center, and a meeting room for those keen to meet clients and friends privately. I personally love lounging by the pool just before hitting the buffet breakfast table. It’s a nice reading nook when you want fresh air and sunlight. The area is non-smoking, so fresh air is guaranteed.


Concierge is available for those who need extra helping hands for carrying the luggage. This service is extremely helpful for me because I am never without at least 5 bags. I have been to many destinations and rubbed elbows with different hotel staff. I can guarantee that the service at Convent de la Missio is above par.

The staff, from the receptionist to the room attendants, are all friendly and accommodating. I may not be capable of speaking Spanish but I was able to put my message across without any hindrances. That is, there were no wrong food orders or directions.


Convent de la Missio gives every guest a truly rewarding stay. Choosing it is an ultimate value for money. The place is artsy but definitely not the distracting kind. Its atmosphere is warm, calming, and friendly. You don’t get intimated nor lost because there’s always a cheerful staff.

Since it’s within the commercial center, the shops are within reach and the transportation is convenient. I even availed of the hotel’s airport transfer, a rather wise decision especially if you are taking a late flight.

The Peninsula Shanghai

I went to Shanghai in the summer for a business trip. I booked a 4-day, 3-night stay at the Peninsula Shanghai simply because it was right in front of The Bund where historically designed buildings lined up the street. It was also the first hotel to be built in the area after a few decades.

The Architecture

My first impression of The Peninsula’s facade was that it was bland. Its walls were a brown-gray color and its windows took a shade of green because of the curtains. It looked serious to me save for the green awnings near the entrance. However, it looked very big. It towered among trees and the nearby buildings and I could say that its architecture was meant to be at The Bund.

It also had its own driveway that doubled as a courtyard. Right in front of the hotel’s entrance were small fountains that gave life to the hotel.

The Interiors

When I entered the lobby, I found myself in a high-ceilinged room where a restaurant was right in the middle. There were barely any walls. Instead, there were giant columns made of marble. Since I went there for the summer, the marble was a welcoming sight.

If I could describe The Peninsula in one word, it would be “Paris”. Although I was in Shanghai, The Peninsula brought me to a time when Paris was full of architecture like this. There were cream and beige colored walls, carpets, and marble posts. This theme was consistent everywhere, but what made it unique to The Peninsula Shanghai was that it retained features of Shanghai – there were ivory and celadon green ornaments everywhere.

The Amenities

Since I was taking a business trip, I did not roam around the hotel as much as I wanted. However, I made sure that I used their swimming pool every morning. The Peninsula’s pool is located at the third floor and it opens at 6 AM. It was convenient for me because it gave me enough time to relax without having a lot of people splashing around.

The pool is a vast marbled room. It’s indoors and it made me feel like I was in Beverly Hills. The ceiling had glass on it and you can see the sun’s rays pass through it. This room was my favorite among the other amenities because the water was heated to the right temperature, there was a fireplace at the end of the room and a terrace where you can eat a healthy meal overlooking the British Consulate.

The Staff

Last but definitely the best of my experience was the staff. Upon arrival at the airport, The Peninsula already had a ride for me going to the hotel. When I arrived, they had people carry my luggage straight to the room without stopping at the reception. It was a great relief for me because, with the people in the restaurant, I wouldn’t want to hear the chatter of the whole room when I arrived.

The staff was warm and welcoming and they made my whole stay feel very hassle-free. Since it was my first time in Shanghai, they helped me navigate through the city, emphasizing how beautiful The Bund is which was a few steps from the hotel.

Mandarin Oriental Tokyo


When I was invited to an event at the Nihonbashi Mitsui Tower, I was surprised that it had a hotel in the same building. Usually hotels have buildings of their own or they occupied space on their own so they can house the amenities, rooms, suites, and many more. To my surprise, this particular hotel, the Mandarin Oriental in Tokyo, only occupied the top floors of the Nihonbashi Mitsui Tower.


Nihonbashi Mitsui Tower is located at 2-1-1, Nihonbashi Muromachi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo. It is only a few minutes’ walk to the Tokyo Stock Exchange (you can actually view it from the hotel) as well as the Tokyo Station.

To be exact, Mandarin Oriental occupies the top 9 floors of this building, specifically from the 30th to 38th floors. My room was located on the 32nd floor and this fact alone scared me because of my fear of heights. Don’t get me wrong, the view was nice and the location was strategic. I was able to go around to shop during my free time and I got to the Imperial Palace gardens on foot in no time.

Interior Design

In spite of my fear of heights, the interior of the hotel made up for the fact that it was occupying 9 floors in a building the establishment did not have all to themselves. It was all glass and lights that I felt every bit as luxurious in every corner of the hotel.

The lobby is a high-ceilinged room with posts on the sides. All the windows are made of glass and it took advantage of the sun. The light that it cast on the furniture and floors illuminated the room and it was the most beautiful sight.

I had the same lighting effect in my room. You can easily spot the Japanese-inspired design because of the technology and the minimalism that went with it. At the same time, the color scheme was composed of white, orange, and brown hues that blended with each other perfectly to make the room feel oriental.


For a hotel that only has 9 floors, it also has 9 restaurants. A few of those restaurants like the Tapas Molecular Bar and Sense have been awarded Michelin Stars. Mandarin Oriental also has an indoor spa which was commended for being one of the 25 best spas in the world.

I took the time to try out the spa for myself. Everyone who makes a spa appointment was offered a foot ritual which was a symbol to wash away all the bonds to the material world. There was also a menu of Western and Asian spas. After my appointment, I found myself wanting for more so I went and visited their Sanctuary Chapel.


For a very Asian hotel, I did not have any trouble communicating with the staff. They were very accommodating especially to a foreigner like me who did not know much about Japan. I think they noticed that I did not know how to go around and so they helped me understand the directions from maps. They were also very open to all the questions I asked which was more than I could ever want from a hotel staff.

Overall, I would say that the Mandarin Oriental in Tokyo is a great hotel. I had a great time and my fear of heights was easily allayed because of the warm and cozy feel of the place.

Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo


I was planning a leisure trip to Italy when I first encountered Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo on one of the trip review sites. At first, I thought it would be one of the hotels that would scare me since it looked old and located just across the Greek Theatre. Fortunately, I took a chance and booked myself for a 4-day stay there. It was single-handedly one of the best hotels I’ve ever been to.


Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo is nestled at the heart of Sicily. It is situated perfectly between views of the Greek Theatre, Mount Etna, and the Sicilian Coast. Without stepping outside the hotel, you would already feel as if you’re in those three places. Although it’s a 45-minute drive from Catania Airport, it’s a good enough price to pay for what awaits you in the hotel.

Interior Design

Stepping inside the hotel, I didn’t know what to expect. Well, I thought it would look like any other Sicilian-inspired hotel since it is just fitting to have the same design in that area. However, Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo is more than just Sicilian architecture. The moment you step out of your car, you will be greeted by a bougainvillea walk. Flowers are weaving around a trellis as you make your way to the doors. Even if the hotel is at least a hundred years old, you would think that it was just there for a few years. There were polished yards everywhere (not to mention trees lining the pool). The interior was well-maintained with mixes of beige, light pink, and blue windows all around. If you ask me, it’s one of the best subtle color palettes you’ll see in a hotel.


Now let’s talk about amenities. At a glance, the hotel has around 70 rooms and suites combined. Of course, it has its own pool which I love because there was something uniquely Sicilian in its design. Just beside it is a restaurant that offers an American buffet breakfast, but there are days where it also serves Mediterranean cuisine. There’s also a wellness center for people who want to exercise and meditate. You can even ask for a private massage to your room.


Since the hotel is so huge, what made it easier for me to get around was the hospitable staff. Most of them are locals and it was a great experience knowing that they personally make me feel welcome in their town. They were very helpful in directing me to the different amenities of the hotel, too. And even when I asked for a ride going to the beach, they easily reserved a slot in the shuttle for me.

Overall, a stay at the Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo is something I would repeat over and over again. Unlike other hotels that stand out from their surroundings, this hotel fits perfectly with its interiors and design similar and yet very captivating. Just by walking around their halls made me feel that I was whisked away to a different time and place.

Bela Kuka Hotel, Bitola


On my first trip to Macedonia, I was given the choice to head to Skopje or Bitola instead. Knowing that Bitola is the famed ancient Ottoman City of the Consuls and besides the fact that I’ve never been there before, I knew I had to skip the northern city and head south. Thankfully, a guide directed me to the Bela Kuka Hotel where I was instantly drawn by the warmth and cordiality of the people running the establishment. It’s not much, but it’s definitely where the heart is.

I later found out that there are plenty of hotels with more luxurious amenities, grander designs, and more robust services on offer in this part of the country. However, I was deeply intrigued by the throngs of travelers lining up to book a room at Bela Kuka. It’s the friendliness and genuine hospitality of the staff that’s something that no other accommodation can ever replicate. It captures the very essence of a hotel being a home away from home.

Deciding to dig even further, locals say that the Bela Kuka has consistently been rated by travelers as the best place to be in this side of Macedonia, not because of the accommodation and the various services that the hotel provides but rather because of the warm greetings, genuine smiles, and general helpfulness of every single member of the staff.

It is a place where you’d have someone readily showing you the ins and outs of the city, arranging transportation when needed, and all that stuff that all hotel staff are trained to do. However, I did get the sense that Bela Kuka staff don’t just do it because it’s expected of them; they do it because they love seeing their guests happy and content. Now that is really something unexpected.

Bela Kuka Hotel is situated right in the center of the city, just several minutes’ walk towards the Main Square where I got to see the city come to life. The ever-busy Shirok Sokak Street with its many shops and cafes serving piping hot drinks is just right outside the doors of Bela Kuka.

The suite I stayed in is very homey complete with a private bath and shower that I thought I would never find in this part of the world. There’s a mini bar, although I find it quite unnecessary as I’d rather have more time chatting with the staff who are so knowledgeable about the history of the hotel and the city. On hindsight, I think I can ditch my traveler’s guide and just spend 30 minutes or so with these real-life talking historians and story-tellers. They’d definitely bring me up to speed with all that’s happening in the city.

With its central location, a very friendly atmosphere, and hotel accommodation that are quite commendable by themselves, it’s the perfect den for lovers everywhere. Too bad I was traveling alone.

I could have always gone to a classier, chicer hotel and be treated like any other guest. But I’m sure glad I stayed at the Bela Kuka Hotel where I got to become part of a big family, even for a short while.

Soho Grand Hotel, New York


Among the hotels in Lower Manhattan, New York, Soho Grand Hotel is one of the more famous ones. I would say that it’s famous because it has been in the New York scene since 1996. It was also featured in several shows like Sex and the City, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and The Sopranos.


The exact location for Soho Grand Hotel is at 310 West Broadway, right between the Canal and Grand streets. The place used to be occupied by a church and among the 8 or so attempts of having a hotel built up in the exact spot, the Soho Grand Hotel stands today with 17 stories and a total of 353 guest rooms and 2 penthouses.

I also found out that the Soho Grand Hotel is just a few minutes’ walk to boutiques and restaurants around New York City. This made me love the hotel more because I don’t have to hail a cab to go around Lower Manhattan. Everything was very accessible from the hotel.

Interior Design

If there’s one thing I can say regarding the interior design of Soho Grand Hotel, is that it is the perfect depiction of the old and new times. The interior showed a glimpse of the time when it was built and this was incorporated into the modern times we have now.

The lobby, hallways, and the dining areas are filled with plush seats that are very inviting. But at the same time, they aren’t bulky as to make the hotel look smaller. There is actually a lot of space for anyone who just wants to walk around the hotel.

However, the room that I stayed in was nothing plush. Instead, the room had a background of New York City on its walls and it gave an industrial and city vibe. I appreciate the effort they put into integrating the culture of The Big Apple, but I just wished they were able to match patterns better. There were patterns that made the room look “noisy”.


As for the amenities, the Soho Grand Hotel has everything you can wish for in a New York hotel. As I was on a business trip, it made no sense for me to stay in a place that has a lot of amenities and that was also filled with families.

It was such a relief that the Soho Grand Hotel felt that it was made for businessmen and adults rather than families. You can actually notice it in the amenities they have – they don’t have play places for children and there aren’t any family activities offered. For someone who was on a business trip, I was very content with this.

Instead of having those family-friendly amenities, the hotel has its own fitness center, bar, restaurant, and spa. The room services were also superb so it was a perfect opportunity to just stay in bed during the free time I had in the city.


Since it was my first time to stay in Soho, I was unfamiliar with where to go and where the amenities were located. Good thing that the staff were accommodating and I didn’t feel the need to be ashamed that I was a first-timer there.