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