Things to do in Marseille

Best Things to do in Marseille

Known as the Gateway to the French Riviera, Marseille is also the second largest city in France, in addition to being the capital of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. Located along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, on Gulf de Lyon, there are a wide range of Things to do in Marseille, a lot of which offer visitors amazing insights into the culture, heritage and history of this city. Offering a great blend of the French and African cultures, Marseille is home to numerous age-old monuments, like the Le Château d'If or the Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica, visiting which is sure to take you hundreds of years back in time. Some of the best things to do in Marseille also include exploring the Stade Velodrome, which is the home of Olympique de Marseille, or hiking in the Calanques of Marseille, which are considered to be some of the most spectacular natural landscapes in the whole country. The city of Marseille is one that will mesmerise you with its azure blue waters, while also captivating you with its historic landmarks. The city has something for everyone, and regardless of whether you are here for a relaxing holiday or to have some fun, you are sure to go back with a bucketful of memories.

Explore Notre‑Dame de la Garde basilica

One of the best things to do in Marseille is to explore the Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica, perched atop a hill, and overlooking the ships sailing in the Mediterranean sea. It is the highest building in the city, with a height of 150 metres above the sea level, and boasts of a statue of the Virgin Mary at the very top. Built in the late 19th century, the basilica is also one of the very first monuments that you can see as you enter the city.

Visit Palais Longchamp

When looking for Things to do in Marseille, pay a visit to Palais Longchamp, which is a monument that was built as a means of celebration when the construction of the Canal de Marseille was completed in the city. Home to several green spaces and parks, Palais Longchamp is also the abode of the Museum of Fine Arts, which dates back to 1801, in addition to the Natural History Museum as well. It is also often said to be the oldest museum in the city.

Admire Le Château d'If

Admiring the Chateau d’If is ranked amongst the best things to do in Marseille, as it is this very castle which served as the setting for the famous novel by Alexander Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo. The castle was originally built as a fortress, and served as a prison for political prisoners later on. Located just off the coast of Marseille in the Mediterranean Sea, Chateau d’If is currently listed as a historic national monument which you can visit via a ferry ride.

Explore the Calanques National Park

Amongst the most popular Things to do in Marseille is to explore the Calanques National Park on a day trip from the city. It is one of the most popular national parks in the country, in addition to being the only national park in all of Europe which is located near urban areas, and is situated on land as well as on sea. It is from here where you soak in views of the stunning limestone cliffs, coves and creeks in the sea, whilst also indulging in a myriad of adventure activities, and witnessing birds, animals as well as marine species from up close.

Visit Marseille History Museum

When in doubt, head over to the Marseille History Museum, which is one of the more offbeat Things to do in Marseille. Also known as Musée d’Histoire de Marseille, the museum is home to over 4000 exhibits, artefacts as well as interactive displays which offer insights into the 26 centuries old past of Marseille. The museum was founded in 1983. Some of the main highlights of the Marseille History Museum are the ancient ships of the world displayed here, in addition to artefacts discovered from the 5th century Malaval church as well as the many thousands of paintings found in caves that were inhabited by early human species.

Visit Stade Velodrome

Looking for unique Things to do in Marseille? Visit the Stade Velodrome, also known as the Orange Velodrome. This stadium is also considered to be an important symbol of the city, and was built as a venue for the 1938 World Cup. Years later, it became the home of Olympique de Marseille, in addition to a cycling and running track around the pitch, the stadium also has a bowl shape, with a capacity to accommodate up to 60,000 people at once.

Discover The MuCEM - Museum of Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean

Amongst the best Things to do in Marseille is to discover the displays in the MUCEM, also known as the Museum of Civilisations of Europe and the Mediterranean. The museum was built as part of the inauguration of Marseille as the European Capital of Culture in 2013. Located right near the waterfront, between land and sea, MuCEM boasts of exhibits and galleries, which house everything related to the culture and history of the Mediterranean.

Admire La Cathédrale de la Major

Admiring the Cathédrale de la Major is surely amongst the most popular Things to do in Marseille. Built in a splendid blend of the Romanesque and byzantine styles of architecture, the cathedral dates back to the 19th century, and is known for its dome towers, which reach a height of 52 feet. Also known as the Cathedral of Sainte-Marie-Majeure, the cathedral is also the only one that was built in the entire 19th century, and was classified as a historical monument in the year 1906.

Explore The Calanques of Marseille

Your visit to the city will not be complete without exploring the Calanques of Marseille. The cliffs of the Calanques are some of the most scintillating natural wonders in this region, boasting of breath-taking scenery, complete with beaches and small inlets filled with azure blue waters. The Calanques are also a great place to enjoy a wide range of activities, in addition to being the abode of an extraordinary plants, trees, birds as well as animals and marine species.


Is Marseille France worth visiting?

Yes, the city of Marseille in France is definitely worth visiting. It is the second largest city in the country, and is also known as the gateway to the French Riviera. In addition to being home to a plethora of historical monuments and landmarks, like the Marseille History Museum, the Notre Dame de la Garde and more, the city is also home to the spectacular Calanques National Park, and other picturesque natural landmarks, and is also a hub of many activities, from hiking and swimming to biking and sightseeing, among others.

What is Marseille best known for?

Marseille is best known as an important trade centre of France, owing to its strategic and scenic location on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Additionally, it is also the main commercial port of the country, in addition to being the abode of a wide range of natural as well as cultural attractions.

What are the best attractions in Marseille?

Some of the best attractions in Marseille include the Vieux Port, the Marseille Cathedral, the Museum of Civilisations of Europe and the Mediterranean, as well as the La Panier district. Additionally, other popular sightseeing and tourist attractions here are Palais Longchamp, the Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde and the Calanques of Marseille, among others.

How many days should I spend in Marseille?

You should ideally spend at least 3 days in Marseille. While you can see all the major attractions and monuments in a single day or in a day and a half, you will require a lot of time to explore other attractions like the Old Port and the Calanques National Park.

What is the best time to visit Marseille?

The best time to visit Marseille is between the months of September to November, during the off season in the city. With a lot of the tourist crowds on their way back home, the beaches and other attractions in the city remain quieter and emptier during these months, thereby giving you a chance to explore them at your own pace.

What do I need to know before going to Marseille?

When planning a visit to Marseille, it is best to keep a few things in mind, which include:- Choose the right neighbourhood for your stay, one that is safe - Visit the hotspots to get a chance to taste local delicacies in the city- Plan an itinerary that includes offbeat attractions along with the top sightseeing spots- Explore the city with public transportations like cycles and boats, rather than cabs- Dress in comfortable, loose-fitting outfits, and remember to use sunscreen, caps or hats- Avoid wandering around alone, especially at night- Be aware of pickpockets, and keep a vigilant eye on your personal belongings


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