20 Best Things to do in Marseille: a Must-See Guide
How many times have you heard of a place but don’t know what’s worth seeing there? And even worse, how many times have you visited an unfamiliar city and wasted your time on things that weren’t worth it? Marseille, the second largest city in France, offers amazing things to see but has its share of tourist traps as well, so it’s important to make sure you find out the 20 best things to do in Marseille before planning your trip there.
If you follow our must-see guide below, you’ll be guaranteed to make the most of your vacation!
1. Lose Yourself in Marseilles’ Oldest Quarter – 20 Best Things to do in Marseille
One of the top things to do in Marseille is to explore its oldest quarter, known as Le Panier. This picturesque neighborhood boasts cobblestone streets lined with colorful houses, charming cafes, and art galleries that are perfect for losing yourself in. Alongside the grand, 17th-century architecture of the church of Notre Dame de la Garde, there are plenty of cozy restaurants and boutique shops to check out. Don’t miss out on sampling some of the delicious local seafood dishes, it’s one of the best things to do in Marseille!
2. Tasty Food and Marseille – 20 Best Things to do in Marseille
Marseille is an amazing city to visit and it has so much to offer for any kind of traveler. One of the best things to do when you travel to Marseille is to explore the local cuisine. From simple snacks to elaborate seafood dishes, Marseille has a vibrant and diverse food culture that is sure to please. Whether you’re looking for traditional French delicacies or something more exotic, you’re sure to find something that tickles your taste buds.
2.1. La Boqueria
The first stop on your culinary tour should be La Boqueria. This market in the Vieux Port area is a great place to sample some of the local seafood dishes. From squid to octopus, there are a variety of different types of seafood for you to try. If seafood isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other options available such as charcuterie, cheese, and even prepared dishes like ratatouille.
2.2. Les Halles de la Major
Another great spot for foodies is Les Halles de la Major. This indoor food hall has over 30 different stands featuring everything from artisanal products to street food. You can find anything from pizza and kebabs to traditional Marseillais dishes like Bouillabaisse. The atmosphere is lively and the staff is friendly, so you can enjoy your meal here.
2.3. Gâteau Navette
Finally, no trip to Marseille would be complete without stopping by one of its many bakeries and patisseries. Whether you’re looking for something sweet or savory, you’ll find it in these cozy little spots. Try the famous ‘Gâteau Navette’ (a type of cake), indulge in a traditional ‘Brioche des Rois’ (a sweet bread served during the holidays), or opt for something savory like a ‘Pissaladière’ (an onion tart).
No matter what type of cuisine you’re in the mood for, you’re sure to find something delicious in Marseille. So go ahead and taste your way around town!
3. Visit a Landmark New (and old) Museum – 20 Best Things to do in Marseille
Marseille is home to many fascinating museums, offering something for everyone. The top best thing to do in Marseille is to visit one of the iconic landmarks and explore its cultural history. The newly opened Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations is a great example of a must-see destination in Marseille. This museum showcases the region’s rich culture and history, with interactive exhibitions and artifacts on display. The building itself is an impressive feat of architecture, designed to look like two ships colliding.
The old port of Marseille also offers an interesting journey through time, showcasing the area’s maritime history. Here you can take a stroll along the docks, admiring the boats and exploring the old warehouses. For those looking for a more relaxed experience, the Calanques National Park provides some stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea and plenty of hiking trails. No matter what type of experience you’re looking for, Marseille has something for everyone!
4. See The Calanques National Park – 20 Best Things to do in Marseille
If you’re looking for one of the best things to do in Marseille, then don’t miss the chance to explore The Calanques National Park. This magnificent marine park is home to some of the most spectacular beaches and coves in the area. The stunningly beautiful waters offer a variety of activities such as kayaking, snorkeling, and diving, while the shorelines provide breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea. Whether you choose to take a stroll along the rocky coastline or enjoy a relaxing day of sunbathing, The Calanques National Park is an unforgettable experience.
5. Stumble Upon Street Art – 20 Best Things to do in Marseille
Marseille is filled with culture and has something to offer everyone. Among the best things to do in the city is to explore its world-renowned street art scene. From colorful murals painted on city walls to awe-inspiring sculptures in the parks, Marseille’s vibrant street art will captivate your senses. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or simply looking to take a unique photo, meandering through the city’s narrow streets and alleyways is sure to uncover some breathtaking works of art. So be sure to take your time and keep your eyes open for the amazing art you’ll find throughout the city.
6. Get Panoramic Views from the Basilica – 20 Best Things to do in Marseille
One of the best things to do when visiting Marseille is to check out the iconic Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica. This 19th-century Romano-Byzantine style basilica offers stunning panoramic views of the entire city. The climb to get to the top of the basilica isn’t too tricky, and you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views that you won’t soon forget. Make sure to bring a camera, the views are simply breathtaking!
7. Go on the World’s Shortest Cruise – 20 Best Things to do in Marseille
This amazing tour takes you through some of the most breathtakingly beautiful areas of the city, including La Corniche, the Old Port, and Notre Dame de la Garde. You will also get to experience the incredible view of the Mediterranean Sea, as well as a visit to the nearby fishing villages of Cassis and La Ciotat. The boat tour includes stops at some of Marseille’s most famous sites, such as Château d’If and Château de la Business. This one-hour cruise is one of the best things to do in Marseille and a must-see for anyone visiting this magnificent city.
8. Stretch your Legs Behind the Corniche – 20 Best Things to do in Marseille
One of the best things to do in Marseille is to take a stroll behind the Corniche. Located just south of the Vieux-Port, the Corniche is one of the most iconic and popular spots for locals and tourists alike. From here you can take in some of the city’s best views of the Mediterranean, as well as enjoy a picturesque promenade along the coast. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely afternoon walk or an exciting adventure, there’s something for everyone on the Corniche. Be sure to bring your camera, as you’ll be presented with plenty of opportunities to take stunning photographs of the sea and sky.
9. See the Friuli Islands – 20 Best Things to do in Marseille
If you’re looking for the best things to do in Marseille, a must-see is the Friuli Islands. This small archipelago of islands is located just off the coast of Marseille and features some of the most stunning and unique views in the region. On a clear day, you can see the old fishing village of Cassis, the rolling hills of Provence, and even the snow-capped peaks of the Alps.
The main island of Friuli is a great spot to spend a day or two explorings. You can take a stroll along its coastline, go kayaking, or simply relax on its many beaches. The waters around Friuli are crystal clear, making it a popular spot for snorkeling and scuba diving. If you’re feeling adventurous, there are plenty of opportunities to go deep-sea fishing or even island hopping.
For those seeking a bit of culture, the Friuli Islands offer several attractions. Two lighthouses are worth visiting – the Friuli Tower, which dates back to the 15th century, and the ancient Fort de l’Eau, which was built by the Order of Saint John in the 16th century. There’s also a museum dedicated to maritime history and a small chapel, as well as several traditional cafes and restaurants.
Overall, if you’re looking for the best things to do in Marseille, you’ll want to add the Friuli Islands to your list. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach getaway or an exciting adventure, there’s something here for everyone.
10. Scale the City’s Rock Faces
Marseille is one of the most vibrant cities in France, with plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained. Whether you’re a daredevil or an adrenaline junkie, scaling Marseille’s rock faces should be on your list of the best things to do.
The rocky cliffs provide some of the most spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea, and the unique terrain makes it the perfect spot for rock climbing. The cliffs range from easy to moderate difficulty levels, so they’re great for beginners and experienced climbers alike.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can explore some of the natural caves that are nestled between the rocks. For those looking for a less strenuous activity, there are also plenty of hiking trails to explore. You can take in all the beauty of Marseille while enjoying a leisurely walk through the city’s lush gardens.
Scaling Marseille’s rock faces is one of the best things to do if you want to make the most of your trip. So why not give it a try? With its stunning views and exciting activities, it’s sure to be an adventure you won’t forget!
11. Take the Rough with The Smooth on a Walking Tour
Marseille is an exciting and vibrant city, with plenty of things to do and explore. One of the best things to do in Marseille is to take a walking tour of the city. You will get a true sense of the city’s culture and history, as you make your way through its narrow streets and alleyways. As you wander, you can admire the unique architecture and iconic landmarks that make Marseille such a fascinating destination. A great way to get to know Marseille better is to go on a guided tour. This way, you can learn all about the city’s vibrant past and discover what makes it so special. You’ll also get to taste some delicious local dishes along the way! Make sure to keep your camera at the ready – there are plenty of photo opportunities along the way!
12. Play Pétanque in Its Home
If you’re looking for the best things to do in Marseille, there’s no better place to start than by playing pétanque, a traditional game that originated in this French city. Pétanque is a form of boules and is a favorite pastime among locals and visitors alike. To truly experience the best of this historic city, spend an afternoon challenging your friends and family to a friendly game of pétanque! Whether on the beach or in one of Marseille’s parks, it’s easy to find an open court to play. And with some basic instruction, you can quickly pick up the basics. Enjoy the sunshine, laughter, and competition of playing pétanque in its home – Marseille.
13. Stroll in an Old World Park
Marseille is a stunning city full of culture, history, and adventure. One of the best things to do in Marseille is to take a stroll in the old world Parc Borely. This park is a stunning green oasis in the city, and it has been around since the 18th century. The park is known for its beautiful French architecture and lush gardens. Take a walk along the winding paths or have a picnic on the lawn, and enjoy the peace and tranquility of this stunning place. As you explore the grounds, you can admire the statues, fountains, and sculptures that are scattered throughout the park. In addition to all of this, there’s plenty of wildlife to be seen as well, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for squirrels, birds, and other animals!
14. Make room for the King of Fish Stews
When visiting the stunning city of Marseille, one of the best things to do is indulge in the delicious fish stew known as Bouillabaisse. Originating in Marseille in the 19th century, this seafood-based dish consists of a variety of fish, potatoes, tomatoes, and herbs, all boiled in a broth of fish stock, garlic, and saffron. This hearty stew has become a staple of French cuisine and is a must-have for any visitor to the area.
To experience the best Bouillabaisse possible, head down to La Caravelle restaurant near the Old Port. Here you can sample a traditional version of the dish made with Monkfish, cod, scallops, turbot, and squid. For those who want something a little more substantial, the restaurant also serves a large portion suitable for two people. If you want to go all out, there are even some restaurants offering Bouillabaisse served with croutons and mayonnaise.
No matter where you choose to dine, don’t forget to top off your meal with a glass of pastis. This anise-flavored liqueur is popular throughout France and is a perfect complement to the flavor of Bouillabaisse. To truly experience the best that Marseille has to offer, make sure to set aside some time for this special fish stew and its unique accompaniment.
15. Check out a Modernist Landmark
If you’re looking for one of the best things to do in Marseille, then you’ll want to check out La Cité Radieuse. This modernist landmark, designed by the iconic architect Le Corbusier, is a unique piece of 20th-century architecture. Originally built as a social housing experiment, the complex consists of 337 homes, a roof garden, and multiple communal areas. Today it serves as a museum, providing insight into Le Corbusier’s vision for housing and living. Visitors can take guided tours of the buildings or explore the site on their own. No matter how you choose to experience it, this is a must-see attraction when visiting Marseille.
16. Discover the City’s, Traditional Wares
When it comes to the best things to do in Marseille, discovering the city’s traditional wares should be at the top of your list. Whether you’re looking for souvenirs or just a unique piece of art, there are plenty of shops to explore. From craft stalls in the old port to pottery markets in the backstreets, there is something special for everyone to find in Marseille. When browsing the streets and markets of the city, you’ll be sure to come across some beautiful, hand-crafted pottery. These pieces are made from local clay that has been naturally glazed with vivid colors. If you’re feeling especially adventurous, why not take a pottery class and create a unique piece to take home with you?
Another must-see item to look out for is Marseille’s iconic souvenir de la mer – a collection of brightly painted wooden boats that are often hung on walls or given as gifts. These small boats are a reminder of the area’s fishing heritage and can be found in many stores throughout the city.
Finally, don’t forget to check out the range of prints and postcards that showcase Marseille’s stunning landscapes. From stunning coastal views to beautiful cityscapes, these prints provide a lasting memory of your time in the city.
Whether you’re looking for something special or just a unique souvenir, there are plenty of options to explore when it comes to the best things to do in Marseille. So go out and discover the city’s traditional wares and make sure to take something home with you!
17. Get Straight to Marseilles’ Photogenic Side
The best things to do in Marseilles are to explore the city’s culture, cuisine, and sights. A perfect way to start your trip is to visit the lively Old Port of Marseille, where a variety of shops, restaurants, and cafes are found. For those looking to explore nature, the Calanques National Park is a great place to start. This national park offers crystal clear waters, lush vegetation, and stunning cliffs. Spend the day exploring the numerous beaches and trails before making a stop at Plage des Catalans for some beachside relaxation. After an afternoon of adventure, head to the vibrant Cours Julien neighborhood for dinner. Sample some delicious seafood dishes and be sure to try some local specialties such as bouillabaisse.
Whether you’re looking to explore history, nature, or cuisine, Marseilles offers plenty of the best things to do that will make your trip one to remember. So what are you waiting for? Get straight to Marseilles’ photogenic side today!
18. Wander Down an Emblematic Street
If you’re looking for the best things to do in Marseille, wandering down La Canebière is a must. This iconic boulevard is the heart of the city, and it’s lined with cafés, restaurants, galleries, and boutiques. It is often described as one of the most beautiful streets in the world and has been immortalized in both literature and film. Along the way, you can admire some of the most remarkable architectural features of Marseille, such as the historical Prefecture building, the classic Opera House, and the colorful Grand Hotel. The lively street is also a great spot to soak up the local culture – explore the traditional markets, savor some classic French cuisine and take in the vibrant street life. La Canebière is a great place to start your exploration of this fascinating city.
19. Learn About Ancient Cultures. The chapel of La Vieille Charite (Alamy)
When visiting Marseille, you’ll want to make sure you experience some of the best things to do in the city. One of the most remarkable attractions is the Chapel of La Vieille Charité. Located in the Panier district of Marseille, this chapel was built in 1671 and has been a source of inspiration for many generations. Inside, visitors can marvel at the grandeur of this beautiful building and its stunning architecture. In addition to admiring the architecture, you can also learn about ancient cultures through its various works of art.
The chapel houses several sculptures, paintings, frescoes, and artifacts from all over the Mediterranean region. It also includes an impressive collection of Greco-Roman ceramics, which were made during the fourth century BC. Not only is La Vieille Charité a great place to experience the best things to do in Marseille, but it’s also a great way to explore the city’s past. During your visit, make sure you take the time to appreciate this beautiful chapel and all the artwork it has to offer.
20. Visit Musée Subaquatique de Marseille
One of the best things to do in Marseille is to visit the Musée Subaquatique de Marseille. Located just off the coast, this underwater museum provides an incredible experience for visitors looking to explore beneath the waves. With a variety of sculptures and art installations made from found objects, the museum allows you to experience the beauty of the Mediterranean Sea and its inhabitants in a unique way. Visitors can take part in various activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving, as well as observe the local wildlife such as seahorses, starfish, and more. An educational guide is also available for those interested in learning about marine life, as well as a gift shop for souvenirs. If you’re looking for an exciting way to spend your day in Marseille, make sure to check out the Musée Subaquatique de Marseille!
So there you have it: 20 Best Things to do in Marseille. So let’s hope you enjoyed the blog journey to the Wonderful Land of Marseille Fairy Tale. And if you’re feeling adventurous, why not explore some of the other best places in France that Framey App (available on Google Play and Apple Store) has to offer?
No matter what you choose, we hope you have a fantastic time indulging in all France has to offer!
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