The Calanques is a famous and amazing National Park on the Azure Mediterranean coast of France, between Cassis and Marseille. After a few trips and 150 K++ steps, I feel I have earned (and sweated 😰) the right to do my own little ranking of the most beautiful Calanques and hikes to discover them 😊 .
There are many ways to discover the Calanques, the easiest being boat tours from the surrounding cities (which is nice activity). Hiking them up and down is however by far the best in my view. The Calanques National Park is an amazing jewel so you’ll find below pictures and tips on my 7 favorite spots
-1- Belvedere de Sugiton
Probably the best ratio of hiking effort versus view reward 😊. You can park your car at the end of Luminy Avenue (Marseille) near the university buildings and start the hike from there. An easy 30 min hike brings you to the lookout. If you start early, you’ll enjoy a beautiful sunrise and that popular site mostly for you …
You’ll have from there an amazing view of both Sugiton and Morgiou Calanques as well as the coastline beautiful cliffs
You’ll have as well a beautiful view of the Riun natural reserve small island under the rising sunlight
As the sun gets higher, the waters around the small fishing harbor of Morgiou will start to show it’s amazing colors.
The passionate and courageous photographers or hikers would then do down to the Calanques … and would come back up to the viewpoint for great images once the harbor fully lighted …
-2- Calanque de Sugiton (My second favorite)
From the belvedere, take then the trail/road down to Calanques de Sugiton, one of the most beautiful ones in my little view.
The trail down will provide many travel photography opportunities of that amazing place on the way.
There is a “panoramic trail alternative route (mid-way with a sign). It is slightly longer this is worth taking for great views from a different angle (for photographers, good light mid-morning)
PS: Going back up is a bit exhausting under the heat (😅) so take the time for a swim in the pristine waters before leaving …
-3- Calanque de Morgiou
You can get to Morgiou by car (off-season) but frankly, it is not ideal for many reasons (views, experience, touristic pressure on that place that should be kept quiet, etc). Hiking remains the best choice, either from Luminy / Surgiton viewpoint or among the coast in 1 h+ combining Morgiou with Surgiton Calanque. The fishing harbor and small “cabanons” ancient fishermen’s houses are very nice.
Walk on the coastal trail on the east side for some beautiful views and join a little beach. Yes, you do have earned the right to take a second relaxing bath before going up again 😂…
-4- Calanque d’En-Vau (My favorite)
The nicest hike in my view is to combine En Vau with Port Miou (starting there) and Port Pin. En-Vau Calanque surrounded by steep and high cliffs is with no doubt the most beautiful Calanques (with Sugiton). But not the easiest to reach…
I’ll cover about Port-Miou and Port-Pin later in the post but, starting from the real goal of the hike, from Port Pin on the west side of the beach, leave the white-red trail and take the blue one that goes by the high road. That more difficult route is highly recommended for stunning views on the Calanque from above.
You will have as well amazing views of the natural reserve island of Riou through En-Vau cliffs.
The last part of the trail going down is a very slippery path that can be dangerous so ensure you have good shoes, plenty of water, and watch your steps carefully.
-5- Calanque d’En-Pin
That Calanque is easy to access from Cassis / Port Miou, which means that so it can get crowded during the peak season. Get there early in the morning (even off-season) if you prefer as I do deserted beaches…
The views of Port-Pin from the trail in direction of En-Vau are beautiful as well
Walk on the rocks on the east side of the beach to find some great spots with fewer tourists.
Then go up above the east side for a beautiful and different perspective (better under afternoon light).
You can walk around the “Pointe la Cacau” for some great views of Cassis Bay as well.
And, as you’ll go around the small cape, you’ll then start to see Port-Miou with Cassis in the background
-6- Calanque Port-Miou
Port Miou is a good start point (Parking “de la Presque Ile”) for Port-Pin and En-Va. It is as well a beautiful place on its own
The perspective from the start of the trail above the harbor is really nice.
Take the time to walk on the other side of the trail around the cap cable for different views and as always pristine turquoise water.
-7-Calanque de Sormiou
I have to mention Sormiou on the list as this is the largest Calanque in the park, with a beautiful bay and beach (when not crowded 😢). It can be accessed by car (very narrow road) outside of peak season or fire risk day. When closed, you need to park up and use the trail (short cuts vs the road) to go down.
For a better view, get above the west side near to the old house above the beach.
Honestly the fact that the access is easy and that it is so close to Marseille downtown means that the place can is packed and not always great (my pictures is a bit misleading 😊 – off-season-
Few practical tips
The Calanques and their access roads can be closed in summer for fire risks so check before going. The best is to use the official app with all information as well as the most popular hikes map
If you’re up for two great hikes (over 2 days), the best choices are Surgiton (including viewpoint) plus Morgiou from Luminy (Marseille) and, as a separate hike, En-Vau, Port-Pin from Port Miou (Cassis). A little map below should help orientate you through the National Park.
There are of course other hikes in the National Park so check the app. Other Calanques can as well be seen outside of the park west of Marseille like Mejan or Les Figuieres, but a bit too close to the industrial area of Berre in my little view 😱. So prioritize the National Park…
I really hope my little post gives you some inspiration to explore that wonder hiking or by boat …