Visit Cassis: What are the best things to do and see in this pearl of the Mediterranean Sea?
Cassis is a superb small fishing port located in the Bouches-du-Rhône department, about twenty kilometres east of the Marseille metropolis. The city is famous for its paths along the gigantic Cape Canaille, its creeks and their majestic cliffs plunging into deep blue water, its round pebble beaches and the castle overlooking the town, but also for its adorable little port lined with multicolored buildings, cafés and delicious restaurants offering bubbles, seafood and fish dishes! In the countryside, vineyards produce the famous white wine of Cassis and many hiking trails await lovers of escapades in the heart of nature. Needless to say, whatever your ambitions, you will be spoiled for choice when you look for what to do in Cassis when you stay in the area!
1. The Port-Miou calanque
What a charming little name! In fact, the cove – a geological formation made up of a cove with steep edges into which the sea sinks – of Port-Miou is the easternmost cove on the coast between Marseille and Cassis: it is located in the city of Cassis, which has three creeks, just at the entrance!
If we tell you about it, it is indeed a must when you come to visit Cassis: it stands out from the other creeks by its large size and its relief, particularly tortured! In addition, this cove is one of the only ones accessible by car… as long as the visitor looking for something to do in Cassis has taken the time to park in the early morning in this very busy natural area!
2. The small port of Cassis
When you come to visit Cassis, you first discover a port: a charming little fishing port where the boats – the “sharp ones” – come every morning to sell fish and seafood at the auction: a typical Provençal atmosphere guaranteed!
From there you can also organize an excursion with a local guide who will help you choose what to do in Cassis: hiking to discover the hinterland, wine tasting or a nice boat trip. If Cassis has a charming little historic town center, its port is indeed the soul of the town: here, we meet, quarrel, laugh or enjoy a pastis in the shade of a parasol while enjoying the sweet southern lifestyle of the southern cities.
3. The Cassis market
What to do in Cassis when you have to make some food purchases? Visit the market of Cassis, of course! The latter, located in the very center of the city, on Place Baragnon, a stone’s throw from the fishing port, is held every Wednesday and Friday. Producers and merchants come to supply their stalls with delicious regional specialties, and here, good humor is essential! If the place is particularly popular with tourists, the prices remain correct and the freshness is always there.
Learn about Provençal flavours, fill up with raw vegetables and olive oil, enjoy the best of local produce while talking to the shopkeepers: their joie de vivre is priceless and quite frankly contagious!
4. The beaches
When looking for what to do in Cassis, you can also choose to… do nothing at all. And that’s perfectly fine, especially during the summer: the town has several beaches, including the Bestouan beach – located very close to the cove of Port-Miou -, the Great Sea beach – the largest and most touristic beach in the area – or the Arena beach – the latter being surely, with its pebbles, the most quiet since it is the least frequented.
It is pleasant, after sunbathing, to bring a pair of swimming flippers and a snorkel to discover the marine fauna of the surrounding rocks; depending on the season, it may even be possible to fish in these waters which are full of rock fish.
5. Cape Canaille
Cape Canaille only reaches an altitude of a few hundred meters, but this reddish rocky promontory is undoubtedly one of the best spots in the region! The panoramic view is really worth a look; you can access it by taking a pretty coastal path linking Cassis to La Ciotat, where hiking enthusiasts who come to visit Cassis will appreciate the majesty of the place. In addition to the view of the creeks, you can also enjoy a scare from the top of the famous Soubeyran cliffs: with their 394-meter high peak, these are the highest sea cliffs in France and are among the most colossal in Europe.
As you will have understood, organizing a getaway to Cap Canaille is one of the must-do things when you are looking for something to do in Cassis: so go for a walk!
6. The little train of Cassis
An inexpensive activity, while perhaps a bit cheesy, that is quite appreciated by young kids, the little train of Cassis is certainly one of the most fun things to do when you go there: from the tourist office located on the fishing port, the little train takes you for a 45 minutes journey through the most beautiful places in the area.
The train is mainly a guided tour that will allow you to learn more about the history of the town, discover the beach of Bestouan and enjoy a stop on the Port Miou peninsula before finishing your journey by returning to the heights of the city. We recommend it as a low-effort way to visit Cassis without tiring under the blazing sun that reigns supreme during the summer, especially while traveling as a family with younger kids.
7. A sea kayak excursion in the Calanques
As you can imagine, the splendid creeks can obviously be explored by foot but also from the sea side: the creeks, sheltered and often calm, are easily accessible by sea kayak and many tourists come to enjoy the beauty of the place on the occasion of a nautical and refreshing escapade!
Get ready with a life jacket, sunscreen and some cold water and enjoy an unusual view of the Cassidain coast. When you look for what to do in Cassis, it is obviously one of the most enjoyable activities! It is not necessary to be sporty or particularly trained to have fun and move easily, the handling of sea kayaks being rather simple. Do not hesitate any more, go and visit Cassis by rowing!
8. Scuba diving
It is near the small fishing port, a stone’s throw from the tourist office, that companies and stands are concentrated, offering tourists who come to visit Cassis to learn how to dive. It must be said that the spots, sublime and preserved, are particularly numerous in the surroundings, and that it is pleasant to enjoy the freshness of Mediterranean waters when it is very hot! The instructors accompanying you will explain precisely the steps to know and the use of the elements that make up your equipment, to ensure safe exploration for all. If you wish to enjoy this extraordinary moment, do not hesitate to consult the various formulas and services offered directly with these experienced professionals!
How to get to Cassis?
The city of Cassis is located a few dozen minutes by car from Marseille Provence airport, one of the larger airports in France from which you will find many flights from London , either Stansted or Heathrow, as well as from Edinburgh or Manchester. You can easily find a low-cost flight to these destinations on Skyscanner.
Several shuttles run between the airport and Cassis and you can also rent a car at the airport, which will be quite convenient if you plan on visiting some of the more wild and off the beaten path calanques.
In addition, the city has its own station, the Cassis station, located on the line linking Marseille-Saint-Charles to Ventimiglia! Rail transport is therefore a simple and economical way to get to this little pearl surrounded by creeks.
If, finally, you would like to travel to the latter by car, and walk freely, know that if the roads that will lead you to Cassis are particularly pretty – nothing surprising, given the beauty of the place – they can be very busy during the summer… not to mention the fact that it can be difficult to move around and park there: a good alternative solution can be to rent a scooter. So, it’s up to you!
Where to stay in Cassis?
When looking for what to do in Cassis, you must also carefully prepare your arrival on site and therefore, the neighborhood/place in which to stay. In fact, you will find on site several types of accommodation to choose according to your desires, and your budget: Cassis is a small town and is very busy, especially during the summer season, and you can therefore take advantage of the many possibilities offered to find a place to sleep.
There are hotels in and around the town, but as the latter are often overwhelmed by visitors, it may be interesting to check the rooms available in Marseille or Aix-en-Provence, for example; we recommend that you discover the different possibilities by using this online booking platform. Campgrounds are also scattered around the countryside, and are perfect for enjoying the singing of cicadas while enjoying a flexible and affordable solution. Finally, in this small fishing port, it may be useful to consult the offers offered on rental platforms such as Airbnb: apartments, villas, studios are often offered by owners wishing to introduce tourists to the area, and these ads can make you feel like you are in Cassis as at home!
That’s it! You now know how to discover Cassis with little trouble and whille fully enjoying your stay in this typically Mediterranean town. Which activities sound appealing: which will entice you when you come to visit Cassis?
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