Stage 3: View from the highest cliffs of France to the fjord-like coast of the Parc national des Calanques

The vibrant Mediterranean metropolis of Marseille has developed in recent years from a port city with high unemployment and a mediocre reputation into a real insider tip for culture and city travelers: Mediterranean, southern French lifestyle, new museums and a freshly renovated harbor promenade, coupled with a good dash of wildness and multiculturalism, make Marseille interesting and unique at the same time.

However, France's second-largest city can also boast a very special asset - since 2012, almost a third of the city's area has been a nature reserve: the Parc National des Calanques stretches along the Mediterranean coast south of Marseille. At its heart is a rugged limestone mountain range with many fjord-like bays, known as calanques in French. The Calanque massif, which is about 20 km long, is a beautiful hiking area that we will cross as a scenic highlight on the last two days of our five-day long-distance hike.

StageDurationRouteIncreaseDescentStage destinationOvernight stay
Stage 16:45 a.m20 km490 m340 mLa Cadière d'AzurBoutique hotel Bérard
Stage 27:00 a.m22.9 km610 m660 mLa CiotatLa Maison d'Odette
Stage 34:45 a.m10.9 km630 m630 mCassisLe Clos des Aromas
Stage 46:30 a.m15.7km780 m690 mLes BaumettesLe Garage des Calanques
Stage 55:30 a.m12.3 km480 m550 mMarseille (Madrague de Montredon)Accommodation in Marseille
30:30 h81.8 km2,990m2,870m

Long-distance hike option

The hiking route can not only be explored as a long-distance hike, but almost as well as part of a hiking holiday with fixed accommodation. Details can be found here: Variant: hiking holiday with permanent accommodation in Marseille.

Overview of all stages: map

In five daily stages from Bandol via La Ciotat and Cassis to the Parc National des Calanques in Marseille:

Sentier Littoral and GR 51 cleverly combined

Our long-distance hike starts in Bandol, a coastal and seaside resort easily accessible by train about 35 km as the crow flies from Marseille. We first hike on the yellow marked coastal hiking trail "Sentier Littoral", but in Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer we turn inland to La Cadière-d'Azur. On the second day, we follow the red and white GR 51 long-distance hiking trail through the hinterland, which is characterized by viticulture and agriculture, to just above La Ciotat. So that we can include the spectacular cliff hike between La Ciotat and Cassis on the third hiking day, we leave the GR 51 again at the end of stage 2 and also treat ourselves to a short ride on the city bus.

Stage 3 leads us very scenic on the "Sentier du Cap Canaille" from La Ciotat over the highest cliffs in France to Cassis. On the fourth and fifth day we hike from Cassis through the Parc National des Calanques, on both days again on the long-distance hiking trail GR 51.

Elevation profile of the coastal hike "Bandol - Marseille"