A seaside city and a crossroads of different peoples and cultures for centuries, Marseille is one multiethnic city and fascinating.
Nicknamed the French Naples, the city actually has many characteristics and topoi of the Neapolitan city: dirty, noisy and very busy, without forgetting that delinquency is quite high ...
Appointed Capital of Culture 2013, the Provençal city has been the subject of a redevelopment project that has given more order and a new luster to neighborhoods that had been abandoned for decades.
Despite everything, it is a city cheerful, lively and colorful. Between imposing churches, modern museums and typically seafaring views, there are so many attractions to see. Just as the surroundings are equally beautiful, between calanques and corniche.
The charm of Marseille is fundamentally given by the ethnic and cultural mixture.
It is a city that communicates through scents, colors and flavors.
Here is a series of tips to better organize 5 days in Marseille.
- 1 day
- 2 day
- 3 day
- 4 day
- 5 day
- How much does it cost 5 days
- Before leaving: useful tips
- User questions and comments
Start in the morning with a walking tour of the old town, even better if with a local guide. It starts from Old Port, hub of the city, with the characteristic fish market held every day. Boats, yachts and typical cafes are the protagonists of this corner of the city. In 2013, the year in which Marseille was designated European Capital of Culture, the Vieux Port has been reconfigured by the architect N, author of l'Ombrièr Miroir, a mirror-effect stainless steel canopy that lends itself to sensational photographic games!
A nice walk around the harbor will lead you to the Basilica of Saint-Victoir, bare and imposing building that looks like a fortress (9: 00-19: 00, the crypt € 2,00).
Lunch at SEPIA Le chalet du jardin (€ 35,00).
Reach Notre Dame de la Guarde, the Bonne Mère of Marseille, 150 meters above sea level (7: 30-19: 00). The hill with the cathedral can be reached on foot, with a walk of about 1 km, to then arrive at the church square with a long staircase. Alternatively, the tourist train leaves from the old port and arrives directly at the square, at a cost of about € 6,00. An original alternative can be the Segway tour, with a guide who, during the journey and then at the top, will tell stories, anecdotes and curiosities about the cathedral and Marseille.
I went down again in the harbor area and walks in the area of the Fort Saint Nicolas and then head to the Jardin du Pharo, the ideal place to admire the sunset.
Dinner at Le Chalet du Pharo (€ 35,00).
- Distance traveled: 5,8 km / 1 h 20 min
- Places visited: Vieux Port (free), fish market (free), Basilica of Saint-Victoir (free church, € 2,00 the crypt), Notre Dame de la Guarde (free), Fort Saint Nicolas (free) Jardin du Pharo (free)
- Daily shopping: € 75,00 (includes cost of attractions, transfers, meals)
- Lunch at SEPIA Le chalet du jardin (Get directions), Dinner at Le Chalet du Pharo (Get directions)
Le Creeks they are the main naturalistic attraction of Marseille.
These are amazing cliffs overlooking the sea that run along the road to Cassis for 20 km. The best way to admire this breathtaking panorama is to take part in a cruise; there are 2 types of routes for an abundant hour or the full 4-hour tour. We recommend the latter. Boarding is at the old port and the cruise costs € 35,00 (book online).
Once back, have lunch in the port area at La Suite Vieux Port (€ 45,00).
After lunch walk in Rue Henri Tasso and Rue de l'Évêché. You are in the quaint neighborhood Le Panier. In the past it was the most popular and infamous area of the city; today it is the most "artistic" area. You can stroll through its alleys or take part in a fun Segway tour admiring works of street-art and shops of local crafts and vintage fashion.
To see here Old Charity, an ancient hospice that now houses two important museums (€ 5,00): the Museum of Mediterranean Archeology and MAAOA (Museum of African, Oceanic and American Arts). There is also an internal church (Tue-Sun 10: 00-18: 00).
Dinner in the square at La Terrasse Du Panier (€ 20,00).
- Distance traveled: 950 m / 13 min
- Places visited: Calanques cruise (€ 35,00), Le Panier (free), Vieille Charité (free), Museum of Mediterranean Archeology and MAAOA (€ 5,00)
- Daily shopping: € 100,00 (includes cost of attractions, transfers, meals)
- Lunch at La Suite Vieux Port (Get directions), Dinner at La Terrasse Du Panier (Get directions)
Admire the Vieux Port area from another perspective by making the tour of the port by boat. The ferry boat (free) makes the entire tour of the port passing by the forts of Saint Nicolas and Saint Jean, built by the Knights Hospitaller of San Giovanni to protect the city from attacks from the sea.
At the end of the trip enjoy the port area browsing among the various shops. Between soaps, oils and lavender essences, you will have no problem finding a souvenir to take home. Don't forget to taste the delicious Navettes with orange blossom, a typical dessert of Marseille.
Lunch at the Au Bout du Quai (€ 45,00).
Enter the Fort Saint Jean to visit the MuCEM, a very modern museum dedicated to the Civilizations of the Mediterranean (Mon-Wed-Sat 10: 00-20: 00, Thu 10: 00-19: 00, Fri 10: 00-22: 00, priority ticket online).
Then visit the marvelous Major, the mammoth cathedral that can accommodate up to 3.000 faithful built with high quality materials.
Dinner at the Bar des 13 Coins bistro (€ 20,00).
- Distance traveled: 3,7 km / 47 min
- Places visited: Port tour by boat (free), Saint Nicolas and Saint Jean forts (free), MuCEM (€ 9,50), Major (free)
- Daily shopping: € 75,00 (includes cost of attractions, transfers, meals)
- Lunch at Au Bout du Quai (Get directions), Dinner at Bar des 13 Coins (Get directions)
Visit the Frioul Islands, which are about 20 minutes by boat from Marseille; the ferry can be taken from Porto Vecchio (€ 5,50 each way).
The Frioul Islands constitute a small archipelago which includes the islands of If, Ratonneau and Pomègues; the most touristic is the first, thanks to the presence of Castle of If (€ 5,50, 9.30-18: 30), better known as the castle of the Count of Montecristo. A fortress used as a prison for delinquents and dissidents, not surprisingly nicknamed the French Alcatraz, where Dumas' novel was set.
After visiting the castle we suggest you enjoy the wonderful sea by settling in one of the coves, beaches and inlets. There are many and various types: the Maison des Pilotes and the calanca of Saint Estève are sandy, while the Havre de Morgiret and the pier beach are pebbly.
Given the type of day and the rather wild characteristics of the area, we recommend that you bring a packed lunch with you.
Back in the city in the evening, stroll along the famous Canèbiere and have dinner on a side street from L'Arôme (€ 35,00).
- Distance traveled: 32,8 km / 2 h 20 min (by ferry)
- Places visited: Frioul Islands (ferry € 5,50), Castello d'If (€ 5,50), Canèbiere (free)
- Daily shopping: € 55,00 (includes cost of attractions, transfers, meals)
- Lunch box lunch, Dinner at L'Arôme (Get directions)
Visit the Palais de Longchamp, designed in 1860, and characterized by a spectacular colonnade and splendid fountains.
The northern wing houses the Museum of Fine Arts while the opposite wing the Museum of Natural History. Both are open Tuesday to Sunday 10 am-00pm, closed on Mondays.
Have lunch in the beautiful gardens that extend to the rear of the palace. We suggest you to buy some goodies in La Fournée d'Ines (€ 6,00) and then stroll in the green admiring suggestive views and curious buildings such as the Théâtre de la Girafe.
Then take underground line M1 from Cinq-Avenues - Longcham; change at Castellane on line B1 and get off at Michelet Bousquet. 40 minutes of total travel.
Visit the Radiant City, city-garden born from the modern architectural concept of Le Corbusier, as a mere socio-anthropological experiment aimed at developing sociality. It is a gigantic 12-storey building which houses 337 apartments, a kindergarten, a rooftop swimming pool, shops and a contemporary art center. In 2016 the Cité Radieuse obtained UNESCO protection.
Last evening in the characteristic port with dinner at Le Bouchon Provençal (€ 40,00).
- Distance traveled: 13,7 km / 36 min (by car)
- Places visited: Palais de Longchamp (free), Museum of Fine Arts and Natural History Museum (€ 5,00 each, combined ticket € 9,00), Cité Radieuse (free)
- Daily shopping: € 60,00 (includes cost of attractions, transfers, meals)
- Lunch at La Fournée d'Ines (Get directions), Dinner at Le Bouchon Provençal (Get directions)
How much does it cost 5 days
NB: The costs expressed in the table above are to be intended per person.
Marseille is not exactly a low-cost destination. On the other hand, we are still in the south of France, a stone's throw from renowned areas such as the French Riviera and Provence.
Life in Marseille is more expensive than in Italy, and to this we must add the fact that it is a tourist destination ...
An accommodation starts from at least € 60,00 per room per night, obviously the price increases in high season.
For meals, you are spoiled for choice, but the premises are all quite expensive. Restaurants in the most touristic areas, for example around the Old Port, offer fixed price menus (qualitatively questionable) starting from € 20,00. The luxury restaurants, or fish restaurants, start from at least € 50,00 per person. To save money, you can opt for Tunisian, Arab-Turkish restaurants (if that's your thing) or stay in an apartment and shop in the ubiquitous Carrefours.
Many attractions are free, while the paid ones have entrance tickets similar to the Italian ones, and in any case that do not exceed € 10,00.
- starting from € 86,00 -
- Hotel and b & b starting from € 60,00 per room -
- Total cost of 5 days, flight included: from € 810,00 per person
Before leaving: useful tips
- When to visit Marseille: Mediterranean climate. It can be visited all year round. However, the best period is between April and October: temperatures are pleasant and rainfall low - find out more
- from Marseille-Provence airport (25 km), a free shuttle takes you in 5 minutes to Vitrolles station from where you can catch a train to the city (15 min, € 5,10) - Flights from € 35,00 -
- the Vieux-Port and La Canebìere districts are in the heart of the city. For exclusive properties in La Corniche; budget accommodation near Saint-Charles station
- Getting around: historic center can be visited on foot. For longer journeys there is the subway with 2 different lines and 144 bus lines. Single ticket € 1,70, season ticket € 5,20, XL24 pass valid all day - find out more
- Recommended cards and passes: City pass allows you to use public transport and visit some attractions for free for 24, 48 or 72 hours. Starting from € 27,00 per person