Discover the Best Things to Do in Marseille

Elisa Schmidt, Unsplash
December 19
Written by Elena Kostas

Looking for things to do in Marseille? Check out our guide to the top attractions and activities in this vibrant city.

If you're planning a trip to Marseille, you're in for a treat. This vibrant city in the south of France has something for everyone, from stunning architecture and beautiful beaches to delicious cuisine and a thriving cultural scene. In this guide, we'll show you the best things to do, the must-visit places, and the hidden gems that make Marseille so special.

Start your adventure in Marseille by exploring the Old Port, a lively area filled with bars, restaurants, and traditional fishing boats. Take a walk along the waterfront, enjoy a drink on a terrace, and soak up the Mediterranean vibes.

Another must-see attraction in Marseille is the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, a stunning basilica located on a hill offering breathtaking views of the city and the sea. Climb to the top and admire the panoramic vistas.

Don't miss the opportunity to indulge in Marseille's culinary delights. Try the famous bouillabaisse, a traditional fish stew, and savor the flavors of the Mediterranean.

All in all, Marseille is a city that will capture your heart. Explore its rich history, enjoy its vibrant culture, and create unforgettable memories in Marseille.

1. Old Port of Marseille

History and Cultural Heritage
white boats at a dock
Old Port of Marseille / Elisa Schmidt, Unsplash

The Old Port of Marseille is one of the most iconic places in the city and a must-visit for all tourists. With its historical charm and breathtaking views of the sea, it's the perfect place for a romantic stroll or simply to relax.

In the Old Port of Marseille you'll find a wide variety of restaurants, shops, and tourist attractions. You can walk along the quays and admire the boats or enjoy a delicious plate of fresh seafood at one of the restaurants with sea views.

In addition to its beauty, the Old Port of Marseille also has great historical significance. It was the economic center of the city for centuries and still retains its original charm. Here you'll find historical buildings, such as the Marseille City Hall, dating back to the medieval period.

2. Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde

Historical Monuments and Architecture
a golden statue on top of a building
Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde / fred pet, Unsplash

The Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde is one of the must-see places in Marseille. This basilica located on top of a hill is a symbol of the city and offers stunning panoramic views.

Built in the 19th century, the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde combines different architectural styles and stands out for its imposing bell tower and its facade decorated with mosaics. The interior of the basilica is also impressive, with a wealth of artistic details and a sacred atmosphere.

From the top of the hill where the basilica is located, visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of Marseille, including the harbor, the old town, and the Mediterranean Sea. It is a perfect place to appreciate the beauty of the city and take memorable photographs.

3. Marseille Cathedral

Historical Monuments and Architecture

Marseille Cathedral, also known as La Cathédrale de Marseille, is one of the main tourist attractions in the city. This impressive Romanesque building stands out for its stunning architecture and historical value.

Located in the heart of the city, Marseille Cathedral is a sacred place that has fascinated and inspired devotion for centuries. Since its construction in the 12th century, it has witnessed important events and enriched the cultural heritage of the region.

When visiting Marseille Cathedral, tourists can admire the beauty of its facade, adorned with intricate sculptures and an incredible variety of reliefs. Inside, there are architectural treasures such as its imposing central nave and beautiful stained glass windows that fill the space with light and color.

4. Château d'If - Marseille

Historical Monuments and Architecture

Château d'If is one of Marseille's most iconic landmarks and a must-visit destination for history and architecture lovers. This maritime fortress, located on a small island in the Frioul archipelago, was built in the 16th century and has witnessed numerous historical events over the years.

Since its construction, Château d'If has served as a prison, military hospital, and even as a haven for sailors. Its strategic position in the Mediterranean made it a key location for the defense of Marseille.

Today, Château d'If welcomes thousands of visitors who want to uncover its fascinating past. Explore its walls, walk through its cobbled streets, and admire the breathtaking views of the sea. Undoubtedly, a unique experience that will transport you to bygone eras.

5. MuCEM Marseille

Museums and Art Galleries

MuCEM Marseille is an impressive museum located in the city of Marseille, France. This tourist attraction is a must-visit for culture and history enthusiasts. The museum offers a wide variety of exhibitions and cultural events that explore the history and culture of Marseille.

Since its opening in 2013, MuCEM has become one of the city's landmarks. With its modern architecture and waterfront location, the museum offers spectacular views and a unique experience for visitors.

The museum's exhibitions range from contemporary art and photography to history and archaeology. In addition, MuCEM houses a library and a gift shop where visitors can find products related to the local culture.

6. Le Panier

History and Cultural Heritage

Le Panier is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Marseille and is known for its bohemian charm. Its narrow cobblestone streets are filled with colorful buildings, art shops, and restaurants.

While strolling through Le Panier, you'll discover numerous art galleries and artist studios, where unique creations are displayed and sold. You'll also find charming cafes and bistros where you can indulge in delicious local cuisine.

This neighborhood is also home to important landmarks, such as the Vieille Charité, a former hospice that now houses museums and exhibitions. Climb up to La Major Cathedral to enjoy stunning views of Marseille and the Mediterranean Sea.

7. Calanques National Park

Natural Spaces and Parks$$$

Calanques National Park is one of the most popular destinations for nature lovers in Marseille. Located on the Mediterranean coast, this park offers stunning panoramic views, crystal-clear waters and rocky cliffs that will leave you breathless.

Stretching over 20 kilometers, Calanques National Park is perfect for hiking, diving and other outdoor activities. Explore its numerous hidden coves, discover its unique wildlife and flora, and enjoy moments of tranquility in this haven of peace.

If you're looking for a place to reconnect with nature and escape the hustle and bustle of the city, Calanques National Park is a must-visit on your trip to Marseille. Don't miss it!

8. Vallon des Auffes

Natural Spaces and Parks

Located in the heart of Marseille, Vallon des Auffes is a hidden gem that you cannot miss during your visit to the city. Surrounded by colorful houses and fishing boats, this small fishing port is the perfect place to enjoy the tranquility and beauty of the Mediterranean Sea.

With its authentic and charming atmosphere, Vallon des Auffes transports you to another time. Stroll through its narrow and steep streets, discover its typical fishermen's taverns, and admire the breathtaking views of the sea and cliffs.

Don't miss the opportunity to try delicious fresh fish dishes at the port's restaurants while enjoying the stunning views and relaxed atmosphere. Vallon des Auffes is a true paradise for sea lovers, good food, and authenticity.

9. La Corniche de Marseille

Natural Spaces and Parks

La Corniche de Marseille is a stunning coastal road located in Marseille, France. It offers panoramic views of the Mediterranean and is considered one of the top tourist attractions in the city.

Known for its steep cliffs and natural beauty, La Corniche is the perfect place to enjoy a scenic walk and admire the breathtaking views. Whether you're on the top of the cliffs or on the winding road along the coast, you won't be able to stop marveling at the majesty of this place.

While strolling along La Corniche, you'll find numerous restaurants, cafes, and shops offering local products and souvenirs. There are also resting areas and parks where you can relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.

10. Frioul Islands

Natural Spaces and Parks

The Frioul Islands are an archipelago of small islands located off the coast of Marseille, in the south of France. Known for their natural beauty and rich history, these islands are a true paradise for nature lovers and history enthusiasts.

On the Frioul Islands, you can enjoy stunning landscapes, crystal-clear beaches, and abundant marine life. You can also explore the ancient forts built to protect the city of Marseille for centuries.

Explore the natural trails, relax on beautiful beaches, or indulge in delicious food at one of the local restaurants. The Frioul Islands have something for everyone!