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Exploring France's Calanques National Park

Exploring France's Calanques National Park

TripBlog
Oct 14, 20201,4440

Calanques National Park, established in 2012, is one of France's youngest national parks. Famous for the rugged Massif des Calanques, which runs between Marseille to Cassis, the park is the perfect place to enjoy some outdoor activities such as hiking, diving, and kayaking.

Table of Contents

Parc National Des Calanques
Marseille Carlanques Cruises
Raskas Kayak
Snorkeling and Diving
Calanque Walking Tours

Parc National Des Calanques

Calanques National Park is located on France's southern coast, near Marseille. It includes parts of the famous Massif des Calanques where you will find unique reddish-brown limestone walls and hidden beaches, some of which can only be reached by kayaking. These areas, known as calanques, are especially beautiful for their rugged appearance and beautiful vistas. From June to October, the best way to explore Calanques National Park is to follow the trails along the Mediterranean Sea. Every year, the park attracts countless outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world who enjoy hiking, rock climbing, diving, kayaking and other outdoor sports. At Calanque de Sormiou, a large stone island, you can enjoy the amazing views over a meal at Le Chatearu and Le Lunch.

Exploring France's Calanques National Park

Marseille Carlanques Cruises

If you are staying in Marseille for a short time, or if you don't feel up to the hiking, but also don't want to miss the calanques, you can take a boat tour with Marseille Carlanques Cruises, which depart from the historic Port of Marseille. There are many tour options including a two-hour voyage comprising six major calanques. There is also a three-hour version that visits just about all of the most famous locations. Alternatively, there is a 1.5-hour cruise to Cassis, which will take you around the Baie de Marsielle. Regrettably however, there are no stops along the way so if you also want to see the scenery up close, you might opt to go with a kayaking tour instead. This way you can really explore in the depths of the calanques.

Exploring France's Calanques National Park

Raskas Kayak

Raskas Kayak is a popular kayaking club in Marseille. They offer half-day or full-day kayak experiences. Under the watchful eye of a local guide, you can swim in the calanques and explore the local flora and fauna on foot. The club requires advanced reservation and their website has English-language information. You can also call or email them.

Exploring France's Calanques National Park

Snorkeling and Diving

If you really want to explore Calanques National Park, don't pass up the opportunity for some snorkeling and diving. See the glorious local marine life in the emerald Mediterranean waters. Sign up at the diving club DUNE Marseille, which offers tours departing from the Port of Marseille. Snorkeling tours are open to everyone. Also, visitors with diving certificates can rent equipment. Of course, if you're more ambitious and have the time, the club offers diving courses where you can get your certification.

Exploring France's Calanques National Park

Calanque Walking Tours

Hiking is the best way to visit the calanques. The easiest thing to do is just explore the walking paths on foot. Calanque de Sugiton in particular is popular as it's easy to reach from a trail starting in the Luminy University City area. Given it is located within Marseille city limits, Calanque de Sugiton is a great option for time-limited visitors. Another option is Calanque de Sormiou, which is the largest calanque in the national park. A bit harder to access in the summer when automobile traffic is restricted due to increased risk of brush fires, it is one of the most spectacular calanques. The azure and dark green palate is dotted with many splashes of rocky color. If it’s something truly memorizing you’re after, Calanque d'En-Vau is one of the most beautiful. The emerald waters appear like gems embedded among cliffs. They’re suitable for hiking, snorkeling, and kayaking.

However you slice it, Calanques National Park is an impressive location and a wonderful addition to France’s many national parks. Be sure to take your time and explore the hidden nooks and crannies where you're sure to discover amazing sites. This is one place you will end up with boatloads of Instagram-worthy photos in no time flat.

Exploring France's Calanques National Park

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