Best hostel in town!Vertigo Vieux Port Hostel has a true home from home atmosphere. Close to the beautiful beaches and the restaurants and bars along Marseille's coast.
1. Go on a Free Walking Tour
The best way to explore a city is getting into a free walking tour. Marseille is full of hidden gems and what the best way to expore it than with a local guide? You will get around the city and hear about all the stories about Marseille history and culture. Every inch of the city is covered in history. Believe us – it’s worth the walk!
Going on a bike tour in Marseille is also an excelent way to know the city. Baja Bikes offers a lot of options with local guides and routes for all tastes!
2. The Notre Dame de la Garde
Probably the most renowned landmark in Marseille, it’s hard to miss given its immense presence over the city. Aside from its architectural splendour, the views from the church’s 148ft tower are staggeringly impressive. As Marseille’s biggest tourist attraction it gets understandably busy but it’s certainly worth it.
One of Marseille’s hippest areas, the graffiti daubed Cours Julien square hosts various morning markets: fresh flowers on Wednesday and Saturday, antique books on alternate Saturdays, and stamps or antique books on Sunday. A laidback area that’ll give you a feel for the real Marseille.
4. Petit Train de Marseille
Like a tiny theme park train this is a rather cute but nevertheless efficient way of getting around and seeing the sights of Marseille. Increasingly popular, these blue and white motor driven train-and-trailers travel several designated routes around the city taking in a little bit of everything that Marseille has to offer.
5. Centre de la Vieille Charité
For those looking for more than a suntan you may want to indulge in some museum exploration. Conveniently many of the town’s museums reside in the Centre de la Vielle Charite. You’ll find you can wile away plenty of time in the Musée d’Archéologie Méditerranéenne (Museum of Mediterranean Archeology) or the Musée d’Arts Africains, Océaniens & Amérindiens (Museum of African, Oceanic & American Indian Art).
Just outside Marseille is the small fishing village of Cassis. Small it may be but it’s busy, bustling and buses from Marseille make it easy to reach. The reason for its increasing popularity lies with wine. Not, as many assume, the home to Crème-de-Cassis but expert producers of rosé and white. Come the end of the day there’s nothing better than grabbing a bottle, sitting yourself on the dock and watching the fishing boats come in.
7. The Calanques
When it comes to natural wonders one of the finest in Marseille is the Calanques. Running 20km in length between Marseille and Cassis these are steep-sided valleys formed after many, many years of water erosion. Amateur rock-formation lessons aside, the Calanques are also perfect for hiking and mountain climbing, and with that come some beautiful ocean views. Make a day out of this and tie it in with a trip to Cassis.
8. Palais de Longchamp
Built in 1869 to celebrate the construction of the Canal de Marseille the Palais de Longchamp remains one Marseille’s most majestic historic sites. Given the reason behind its construction, water is a large part of the palace makeup. That doesn’t mean it’s got problems with damp but it does mean it houses several grand ponds and a manmade waterfall. The Palais de Longchamp is also where you’ll find the city’s Museum of Fine Arts and Natural History Museum. On top of that it’s surrounded by the Parc Longchamp, a lush parkland listed as one of the Notable Gardens of France.
9. The Santon
OK, to some they will just look like dolls but Santons are a huge part of Marseille heritage. Depending on when you visit you’ll quickly appreciate their importance. The Santon Fair, which runs from November to December 31st, is one of Marseille’s favourite events and marks the start of the Christmas holiday period.
These traditional Native Provencal figurines, and specially made Santon cribs, are displayed at the fair, which also aims at uniting the ancient Santon-makers’ families. Alternatively, should you arrive outside the winter months, you can always pop into the tiny Musee du Santon which holds many of them throughout the year.
10. Take to the seas
While there’s plenty of fun to be had on the beaches of Marseille why not kick the sand off and explore the waters? Being a coastal city you’ll find flotillas of boats that can take you out for coastal tours, fishing trips or even a spot of deep-sea diving.
We’ve skirted around it enough, one of the best things to do in Marseille is to make the most out of one, some, or all of its beaches. There are plenty to pick from, admittedly of varying qualities, but whether you want a place to chill out, catch some surf or just enjoy a beer at a beachside bar you’ll find something to suit you. Plage du Roucas Blanc, Plage Borély and Plage Bonneveine are held in particularly high regar
Where we’ll be...
MEETING POINT: We’ll be waiting for you with our light blue umbrella at the exit “Vieux Port” of the metro 1, under the mirror canopy, next to the water.