Calanques National Park

About Calanques National Park

Tucked between Marseille and Cassis, on the western front of the French Riviera, the Calanques National Park is one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in southern France. Created in the year 2012, at the park you can witness the scintillating cliffs, hiking trails, crystal clear blue waters and partake in a variety of water sports and activities.

This national park attracts hundreds and thousands of visitors every year, and you can indulge in admiring the steep cliffs made of limestone. You can also witness the coves that trail for almost 12 miles along the coast of the splendid Mediterranean Sea. The park is also home to several stunning islands located off the coast, which together form a beautiful archipelago, and make the waters here perfect for diving, kayaking and cruises as well. The Calanques National Park also serves as a wildlife haven, where you can witness numerous birds, terrestrial as well as marine animal species, including starfish, striped dolphins, rabbits, sea turtles, eagles and more.

Things to Do in Calanques National Park

Walks and hikes

One of the best Things to do in Naples at Calanques National Park is to indulge in several walks and hikes, since this is the most popular way of exploring this national park. Walking along the many trails inside the park allow you a chance to discover numerous hidden wonders and features of this attraction, whilst also letting you soak in the scenic natural landscapes. Essential things to have in your bag- A bag to collect all the waste and rubbish during your visit- Dry food and snacks to keep yourself energised during the long walks or hikes- Sturdy walking or hiking shoes- Sun protection, such as caps or hats, sunscreen as well as sunglasses- Drinking water to remain hydrated

Beaches and swimming

The Calanques National Park is home to several cliffs which are surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea. You can also find a few beaches here, which are located in the coves and are often quite difficult to access. However, you can still enjoy swimming in the park. Where to swim- When looking for places to swim in the Calanques, some of the popular spots include the Saint-Estève, Sormiou, Sugiton, En-Vau, Port-Pin and Figuerolles, which are rather overcrowded during the summers- You can also find numerous spots to swim near the Calanques, such as the beaches in the towns of Marseille, Cassis and La Ciotat, in addition to Côte Bleue, among others

Cultural visits

Another one of the top Things to do in Calanques National Park is to go on cultural visits to the different monuments located here. Quite a few of the monuments in the park are listed and labelled, and are also accessible by foot or by boat. You can also find several museums here where you can learn about the history of Calanques.

Monuments to visit- Château d’If- Hôpital Caroline- L’Escalette industrial remains- The Château de Forbin- Fondation Camargo- The chapel of Notre-Dame de la Garde de La Ciotat- The Bec de l’Aigle semaphore station- The Callelongue semaphore station- The Château de Port-Miou- Villa Michel Simon- Grotte Cosquer

Heritage walks- The villages of Les Goudes, Callelongue, Sormiou and Morgiou- The Fontaine de Voire- The Parc Pastré- The Parc du Mugel- Esprit Parc national excursions- Underwater wrecks

Exhibitions and museums- L’Escalette industrial remains- The Château de Forbin- The museums around the Calanques

Kayaking and paddleboarding

The waters of the Calanques National Park offer visitors a chance to indulge in water sports like kayaking and paddleboarding, whilst also getting a chance to explore the stunning marine area, and catching sights of the marine species from up close.

Routes- Pointe Rouge in Marseille to Cap Croisette (for half day), or Calanque de Marseilleveyre (for full day)- Cassis to Falaises Soubeyranes- La Ciotat to Île Verte and then to the cliffs of Bec de l'Aigle and Figuerolles


Escalation or climbing is amongst the most adventurous Things to do in Calanques National Park. The park boasts of numerous different mountainous routes that you can explore, which make it a climber’s haven, and cater to climbers with different levels of experiences.


A visit to the Calanques National Park will remain incomplete without indulging in a diving adventure here. The park is home to over 60 different species of marine animals, which you can catch sights of with a scuba diving experience here. Diving sites like the Canyon de la Cassidaigne is one of the richest underwater canyons in the whole Mediterranean Sea, where biodiversity is concerned, and is perfect to spend time exploring the mysterious marine world.


Besides other activities, you can also enjoy biking, which is one of the most thrilling Things to do in Calanques National Park. There are several biking roads and trails in the park, passing along the cliffs, where you can enjoy biking whilst also soaking on the surrounding panoramic views.

Things to See in Calanques National Park

The creeks of La Ciotat
Frioul and the islands
Hills and Valleys
The seabed

One of the best attractions to see in the Calanques National Park are the creeks of La Ciotat, which rise from the water, and are located to the east of Cap Canaille. These calanques, such as Ile Verte, Cape Canaille, Figuerolles as well as Mugle and Bec de l’Aigle boast of crystal-clear waters and striking limestone cliffs, and are a perfect spot for a day of swimming, snorkelling, kayaking or just relaxing.

During your visit to the park, you can also witness the calanques around Cassis, Marseille and La Ciotat, which are surrounded by a group of islands. These include the Frioul archipelago, which is located off the coast of Marseille and has four islands, namely Pomègues, Ratonneau, If, and Tiboulen. Towards the south, you can find the Riou archipelago, which is rich in biodiversity. On the west is Planier, while the eastern boundary of the park is home to Ile Verte.

The numerous hills and valleys are also some of the best things to see in the Calanques National Park. The areas behind Marseille, located within the national park are more than a hill, but not entirely a mountain. They are rather hybrid, and include inland Provence. You can see the Huveaune Valley which lies between Pagnol’s territory and the Calanques hills, and merges into the sea in the northern areas of the park. You can also find several mountains or hills in the park, including the Marseilleveyre, with a height of 432 metres, Mont Puget which is 563 metres in height and is the highest point in the Calanques Ranges. Also witness the Mont Carpiagne, which is 646 metres tall and is the highest point in the entire national park.

The Calanques National Park boasts of some of the best seabed in the western Mediterranean region, with an extensive collection of phenomenal underwater treasures. In addition to the Planier and Cassaigne canyons, you can also find many caves, slopes as well as the Posidonia meadows in the seabed here.

Tips to Visit Calanques National Park

  • When planning a visit to the Calanques National Park, it is important to remember that the park remains closed between June 1st to September 30th owing to fire risks.
  • If you are coming to the park by car or other vehicles, you must first find out the roads that prohibit the entry of any vehicles during certain times of the year.
  • It is also advisable to do a proper research of all the routes and carry a map and proper gear when visiting the park, as majority of the calanques here are only accessible by foot, with the trails being quite challenging.
  • Wearing sturdy hiking or running shoes are recommended since you will have to walk for long hours inside the Calanques National Park.
  • It is always best to find out everything you wish to see during your visit to the park, so that you can plan your itinerary accordingly.

FAQs of Calanques National Park

Is Calanques worth visiting?

Yes, the Calanques National Park is definitely worth visiting, as it is one of the most beautiful natural sites in southern France, where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Massif des Calanques mountains, The park is also home to stunning coves and limestone cliffs, in addition to turquoise waters that are home to exotic marine species.You can indulge in a variety of adventure sports and activities, from kayaking and paddleboarding, to climbing, biking, hiking and more.

Can you swim in Calanques?

Yes, you can swim in Calanques. However, a lot of the swimming spots here are located inside coves and caves, which are quite difficult to reach.

How do I explore the Calanques?

The best way to explore the Calanques National Park is by foot. Hiking or walking inside the park is the best way to discover the cliffs and admire the views of the Mediterranean. You can also discover and know about different birds and animals.

Is Parc National des Calanques open?

Yes, the Calanques National Park is open. It remains open all through the year, except from the period between June 1st to September 30th, to preserve the natural environment here.

What is the best time to visit Calanques National Park?

The best time to visit the Calanques National Park is during the months of April and May, when the weather here is quite pleasant. This is just before the peak summer season, with mild temperatures, which makes it great to explore the park and enjoy the different activities here.


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