Escapade between land and sea in the Calanques National Park
A combined land and sea reserve, the Calanques National Park, at the gateway to Marseille, is one of only two national parks offering a true 360° experience! From Marseille to Cassis, dazzling sunlight guides visitors on and under the water to beautiful hiking trails. Explore some of the parks finest treasures with this 5-day tour in the heart of nature.
Archipel du Frioul
Step 1Marseille, where it all beginsFeel the beating heart of this ancient Greek city
After your arrival around midday, kick off the adventure with an immersion in the beating heart of the city with a visit to the Old Port (Vieux-Port), Château d’If and Panier quarter. At 7 p.m. it’s time for a cocktail evening on the Goélette Alliance sailboat. Head to Frioul archipelago for a sunset dip followed by a cocktail dinner – local and organic! – and fun evening in the company of this excellent Esprit Parc National service provider. You’ll be back on land at 10.30 p.m. for a night at the Radisson Blue or Hôtel Bellevue hotel. Both establishments are committed to an eco-friendly policy endorsed by the Clef Verte Label and promise a delicious wake-up with views over the Old Port.
Step 2A kayak trip to the Goudes quarterPlunge into a typical Provencal atmosphere
At 9 a.m. it’s time to start the day with a spot of sea kayaking – an ideal activity for exploring the riches of the Calanques National Park in slow mode, with a paddle in hand and gaze fixed on the horizon… After a sporty 5-hour session, you’ll be pleased to tuck into your picnic hamper before the afternoon’s activity. The famous and picturesque quarter of Les Goudes is a fishermen’s haven of peace, dear to the people of Marseille. After a short walk on Cap Croisette, you’ll raise your glass to give a toast to the captivating view over Ile Maire: an impressive, slender rock that appears to be delicately floating on the water. What’s on tonight’s menu? A magical waterside dinner before heading off to bed at the Hôtel 96, between Sormiou and Morgiou.
Step 3Off to En-Vau The vast blue expanse of the Massif des Calanques
After a plentiful breakfast, it’s time to start the day with En Route Provence, an Esprit Parc National service provider, in the company of Jean-Bernard Letemple – a specialist in hikes in the Calanques. The day tour crosses magnificent landscapes and Mediterranean shores lined with a stunning succession of fjords. Savour your picnic before tackling the overhanging road perched 320 metres above Port-Pin, Port-Miou and the world-famed Calanque d’En-Vau! A 7-hour walk and 8,000-metre uphill climb later – Congratulations! It’s time to head to Cassis for an evening at the charming, cosy and countrified B&B La Bastidaine, where your hosts Maud et Gabriel welcome you for a welcome dip in the pool, a good meal and a well-earned rest in a top-comfort room!
Step 4Departing from Cassis Port…Pedalling to Provencal elegance!
After a gentle awakening and some delicious delicacies to start the day, you’ll head to Cassis where an electrically-assisted mountain bike awaits you for a tour of the region’s most famous vineyards. Just a bit more effort and you’ll arrive at La Bastidaine B&B, where you’ll enjoy a picnic on the terrace in the sunshine. In the afternoon, it’s up to you how you want to make the most of this little port, an ode to the dolce vita… Pick a café table facing the sea or opt for a stroll in the paved lanes. At 5 p.m., don’t miss the invitation to taste the world-acclaimed wines produced by the talented and passionate local growers. And of course, nothing has been left to chance for the last supper, which you’ll savour at a typical Provencal eatery!
Step 5Overlooking the Massif des Calanques Roaming wild trails...
Today you’ll head back to your departure point in La Madrague de Montredon for a guided mountain bike tour with Nicolas Demay from EVTT Provence, a holder of the Esprit Parc National label. Together, you’ll climb to Mont Puget and the Massif de Marseilleveyre, overlooking the southern quarters of Marseille. The 5-hour tour crosses valleys and forests and unveils many testimonials to past human activity, including cave paintings and engravings, ancient lookout posts and ancient military architecture. Last but not least, you will cross Parc Pastré to Madrague port, then head back to Marseille city centre, making the most of the final moments of your escapade between land and sea.