The best outdoor adventures in Marseille take advantage of the city’s sunny weather and enviable location on the south coast of France. The country’s second-largest city is a superb destination for anyone who loves the great outdoors. To the south, Calanques National Park has hiking and climbing amid dramatic scenery, while islands dotted around the bay are filled with history and wildlife.

    There's lots of fun like scuba diving, kayaking, hiking, and climbing, but Marseille also offers relaxed adventures like admiring the city's eye-catching street art, tasting crisp rosé wines at vineyards, and alfresco feasting on delicious local seafood. See more amazing experiences in our roundup of the best outdoor adventures in Marseille.

    1

    Calanques National Park

    An enchanting experience on land or by sea

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    Calanques National Park is a magnificent area of natural beauty, a unique landscape of limestone cliffs and rocky inlets. The area is rich in wildlife, and you might see rockfish, octopuses, and loggerhead turtles, as well as several species of owls and eagles. Hiking is the most popular way to explore the park, with dozens of well-maintained trails offering breathtaking clifftop views.

    Climbing is another popular sport in the Calanques, as is diving the underwater caves and nearby wrecks. Take a kayaking tour to explore narrow canyons and hidden beaches that are only accessible from the sea, or have a go at stand-up paddleboarding. Swimming in Calanques National Park's sparkling blue waters is an unforgettable experience.

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    2

    Marseille street art tour

    Discover the city's alternative art scene

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    Wander around Marseille and you'll soon start to spot colourful murals and imaginative graffiti art. Many of the works have political slants, protesting everything from surveillance to gentrification, but you also see portraits, cartoons, and paintings of nautical scenes. Look out for the enormous trompe l'oeil mural of a street on the Palais de la Bourse.

    Cours Julien is famous for its street art, but the Panier district, one of the city's oldest, is also a great place to look. Tours give you more insight into the art and artists and show you the newest pieces as they pop up. Several family tours take you to Marseille's most fun and kid-friendly street art.

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    Dive in underwater caverns

    Explore a whole new side of Marseille

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    The waters around Marseille offer some spectacular opportunities for diving, but its cave dives are truly unforgettable. Underwater caves contain strangely shaped stalactites and stalagmites, while red coral grows on the walls, and you can also see yellow anemones and rare sponges. The seas are crystal clear, and in the right conditions, visibility can be up to 25 metres.

    Cosquer Cave is the star of the show, filled with dozens of Stone Age paintings and carvings. The Riou Islands have a huge network of tunnels and caverns, which are home to moray eels, crabs, and the occasional octopus. Visit the Blue Grotto to see the reflection of sunlight on the sea filling the cave with a magical blue light.

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    Explore Marseille by bike

    Peddle around pretty parks and vibrant markets

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    Cycling is a delightful way to explore more of Marseille's charming streets and quaint old buildings. Cycle around the winding streets of Le Panier district and visit its artsy shops and restaurants, or take advantage of two wheels to cruise along the city's endless waterfront. The neighbourhood of Noailles is also a good stop for its cobbled alleys and thriving markets.

    The parks and leafy streets of the Cinq-Avenues district are also popular with cyclists. Take advantage of the city's bike rental scheme, and check out a bike from automated terminals across the city. Organised tours can take you further afield, including the stunning landscape of Calanques National Park.

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    Go rock climbing on the cliffs

    For adrenaline junkies with a head for heights

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    The rocky inlets that surround Marseille, known as the Calanques, are some of the most beautiful places to climb in France. Many of the climbs include breathtaking views of the crystal blue waters from the top of the cliffs. Routes range from beginner to advanced, with a mix of hiking, easy climbing and rope walking available for beginners.

    The Calanques National Park has around 1,000 traditional routes and 2,500 sport routes, as well as deep-water solo climbs on the rocky overhangs. If you've never climbed before, there are plenty of guided climbing tours that give you all the support and reassurance you need, while practised climbers will appreciate local expertise on the best spots to try.

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    Sail along the coast

    Enjoy dazzling views of Marseille's coastline

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    Marseille is a well-known maritime city, so it’s no surprise boat tours are among the most popular ways to explore. Hop on a slick catamaran to see the sights in style, or relax with a leisurely tour on an old wooden sailboat. Trips usually follow the coastline and include lunch, deck space for sunbathing, and lots of stops for a swim in the sea.

    If you're after something a bit more romantic, consider a night cruise with dinner and cocktails, where you can admire the twinkling lights of the city. Other excursions take you out to fish for seabass, mackerel, tunny, or barracuda. There are also glass-bottomed boats for you to see Marseille's colourful marine life without getting into the water.

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    Water-skiing in the Bay of Marseille

    Test your balance with this action-packed activity

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    The extensive coastline and clear seas around Marseille make it a fantastic spot for all kinds of water sports. Water-skiing is particularly popular in the calm waters of the Bay of Marseille, where the water is warm for most of the year. You don't need any experience to hop on some skis and give this adrenaline-fuelled sport a try.

    You'll get some guidance before starting from professional instructors, but wear swim clothes and be ready to get wet! If you enjoy water-skiing, you'll probably get a kick out of wakeboarding or wakesurfing. For a more relaxing day, try tubing in the Bay of Marseille.

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    Tour Marseille's vineyards

    Sample the area's most esteemed wines

    The countryside around Marseille has been producing wines for more than 2,000 years, thanks to ideal conditions, well-drained soil and around 3,000 hours of sunshine each year. The province mostly produces rosé, but many nearby vineyards also sell excellent red wines. The town of Cassis, just down the coast from Marseille, is famous for its herb-scented white wines.

    Vineyard tours usually cover several different wineries in the area, taking in magnificent views along the coastal roads and including a picnic on the estates. Learn more about traditional wine-making techniques, and be steered through a tasting by the vineyards' expert wine guides. Many vineyards also have pretty walking trails around the estates.

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    Cap Croisette

    For a classic seaside experience in Marseille

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    A narrow peninsula jutting out into the Mediterranean, Cap Croisette's dramatic limestone peaks and panoramic sea views make for a spectacular day out. There's a small sandy beach where you can spread out your towel, and a sheltered bay of brilliant azure water for swimming. You can enjoy lunch at Restaurant La Baie des Singes, which serves gourmet seafood dishes on a sunny terrace.

    The cape has a scuba diving club and plenty of underwater attractions, including the wreck of the Lebanon, a liner that sank in the early 20th century. Just 100 metres across the water, Maïre Island is a former industrial site with some beautiful ruins.

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    10

    Frioul Islands

    Abundant wildlife and historic ruins

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    • Petualangan

    The biggest attraction of the Frioul Islands is undoubtedly the murky dungeons of the famous Château d'If prison. There are more fortresses to explore on Pomègues and Ratonneau islands, plus a 19th-century hospital that treated sailors with yellow fever. Cory's shearwaters and European storm petrels make their home here, and dozens of protected plant species thrive in the rocky environment.

    There are 2 beaches – Saint-Estève and Morgiret Cove – on Ratonneau Island. The rest of the coastline includes plenty of limestone rocks for sunbathing, or you can swim in the clear turquoise waters. Clustered around the port on Ratonneau Island are a handful of Mediterranean restaurants and a tearoom with a pretty, tree-shaded deck.

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    Victoria Hughes | Penulis yang Berkontribusi

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