3 Days in Marseille: Itinerary with Top 30 Things to Do

Best things to do in Marseilles

Have you chosen to visit Marseille, one of the most famous cities in the South of France?

To help you organize your visit, I have prepared a guide of 30 things to do during your stay in Marseille. I’ll give you all my advice for discovering the unmissable places of interest in Marseille.

At the end of the article, also find my itineraries to visit Marseille in 1, 2, 3 days or more and my selection of the best hotels to stay in according to your budget.

So, what to do in Marseille?

Visit Marseille: the essentials

1. The Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde

We start with one of the most famous places of interest in Marseille: the Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde.

Nicknamed the Good Mother, this emblematic monument of Marseille, built on a hill 150 meters above sea level, dominates the entire Marseille city. From the esplanade of Notre-Dame, you can contemplate a 360° panorama of the city and the sea.

A major place of pilgrimage for 800 years, the basilica is dedicated to Mary, whose statue at the top of the bell tower is the protector of the city and sailors. Covered in gold, it weighs more than 9700 kg!

The interior of the basilica, all in white and red marble, can be visited free of charge. You can admire very beautiful Byzantine-style mosaics.

To reach Notre-Dame de la Garde, you have several options:

  • On foot: many paths reach the top of the hill but you will have to push your calves a little!
  • By car: paid parking next to the basilica
  • By bus: line 60 drops you off in front of the entrance
  • By little tourist train.
Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde, Marseilles itinerary
Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde in Marseilles

And there is a last, much more original way to climb up there: on a Segway!

The Segway tour that I suggest allows you to discover the best places in Marseille such as the Old Port or the MuCEM and then go up to Notre-Dame de la Garde to enjoy the view.

It’s really a great experience and the guide is really nice and interesting.

Book your Marseille Segway tour now.

Tips for your Marseille itinerary:

To visit Marseille, I advise you to take the city pass. Valid for 24h, 48h or 72h, it includes in particular:

  • Free access to all museums including the MuCEM
  • Free and unlimited access to public transport : bus, metro and tram
  • A circuit in a small tourist train of your choice between Notre-Dame de la Garde or Old Marseille
  • The boat for Frioul or the Château d’If
  • Discounts for boat trips in the creeks
  • Discounts in some stores.

The Marseille City Pass can be purchased by clicking here.

2. The Panier District

Le Panier is the essential district in Marseille.

Visiting the Panier is nothing less than discovering the oldest district of the city. It suffered for a long time from its bad reputation, but the trend has now been reversed and it has become a must on a circuit in Marseille.

And the famous series “Plus belle la vie” has something to do with it since the Mistral district is largely inspired by Le Panier and many outdoor scenes are filmed there.

Strolling through the narrow and steep streets of the Panier also allows you to discover craft shops and many small bistros.

What to see in the Panier district, in Marseille:

  • Place de Lenche and its view of the Bonne Mère
  • Place des Moulins where there were several mills
  • The old Charité, a former hospice which now houses 4 museums
  • Place des Pistoles, ideal for lunch on the terrace
  • Basket Street
  • Street art

Tips for your Marseille itinerary:

If you feel like taking a guided tour of the Panier, I recommend 3  options:

Do not hesitate to click on the links in orange for more information and to reserve them.

Panier district, Marseilles itinerary 3 day
Panier district, Marseille

3. The Old Port

Impossible to miss the Old Port during your stay in Marseille.

Symbol of the city (with the Good Mother!), it is here that landed in Antiquity, the Phocaeans who founded Massalia. Since then, the port has continued to see its activity develop until it became the second largest port in France in the 19th century.

Nowadays, industrial activity has been transferred to the new port of La Joliette and the Old Port welcomes pleasure boats.

The quays of the Old Port, recently refurbished, have become an essential place to stroll in Marseille. They are bordered by a row of cafes and restaurants and the people of Marseille like to gather there during sporting or cultural events.

This is also where the Marseille fish market is held every morning .

Finally, the Old Port is the starting point for boat trips to visit the creeks, the Château d’If or Frioul. I talk about it in detail below.

The Tips for your Marseille itinerary: anecdote

You have probably already heard of the sardine that blocked the Old Port! But do you know where this story comes from?

It was in 1779 that “La Sartine”, a frigate carrying French prisoners who had just been liberated, ran aground at the entrance to the Old Port. Very imposing, the ship will block all the activity of the port for quite a while!

It was enough for the Marseillais to transform “the SarTine” into a Sardine and make it one of the most famous anecdotes of the city!

Old Port Marseille, 3 days in Marseilles
Old Port Marseille

4. The MuCEM

The MuCEM is the must-visit museum in Marseille. It is located at the end of the Old Port.

Open since only 2013, the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations has quickly become an emblem as essential as Notre-Dame de la Garde with more than 2 million visitors per year.

The MuCEM is actually divided into 2 parts:

  • The J4, the futuristic building built as part of Marseille’s election as European Capital of Culture and which hosts exhibitions dedicated to the Mediterranean world. There is also a bookstore and a panoramic restaurant.
  • Fort Saint Jean connected to J4 by a footbridge offering an exceptional view of the whole city on one side and the Frioul islands on the other.

Access to the exterior spaces and walkways of the MuCEM is free.

If you want to discover the exhibitions, it will be paying. The MuCEM visit is included in the Marseille city pass.

Otherwise, due to very high attendance, you can buy your MuCEM tickets in advance by clicking here!

Schedules and information on current exhibitions on the official website.

Marseilles itinerary 3 day
The Mucem, in Marseilles

5. The Major Cathedral

Another tourist site in Marseille: the Cathedral of the Major, also called “Sainte-Marie-Majeure Cathedral”.

It is located on the edge of the Panier district and not far from the MuCEM.

Built in the 19th century, this imposing Byzantine-style church is one of the largest in France. And for good reason, its dimensions are very close to those of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

From the outside, with its white and green marble facade, it is very reminiscent of the magnificent cathedrals of Florence and SienaAnd the interior, with its arcades, statues and mosaics is definitely worth a look.

Free entry.

Tips for your Marseille itinerary:

You will have a very nice view of the Major from the MuCEM footbridge and Fort Saint-Jean.

The Major's Cathedral, Marseilles 3-day itinerary
The Major’s Cathedral

6. The Cours Julien

I continue this guide to Marseille with another emblematic district: the Cours Julien.

The artists’ quarter is famous for its street art with many graffiti covering the facades between Cours Julien and Place Jean Jaurès.

If you don’t want to miss any of the most famous graffiti, I advise you to book a special 2-hour Street Art guided tour by clicking here!

Very lively and with a bohemian atmosphere, the Cours Julien is also home to many shops of local artists and designers, thrift stores, booksellers and second-hand goods dealers.

Depending on the day of the week, several markets are also organized there, such as the farmers’ market or the organic market.

The Cours Julien, Marseilles itinerary
The Cours Julien, Marseilles

7. The Auffes Valley

During your trip to Marseille, be sure to pass through the Vallon des Auffes.

This small port is very picturesque with its fishing huts and the typical fishing boats of Marseille: the pointus. An authentic and typical atmosphere far from the hustle and bustle of the city center.

You can also treat yourself to excellent traditional cuisine in one of the renowned restaurants there. For a pizza, we can mention “Chez Jeannot” and for the fresh fish caught the same day or the bouillabaisse, head to “Chez Fonfon”, an institution in the Vallon des Auffes!

And for those who have a little more budget and want to indulge themselves with gourmet cuisine and an exceptional setting, I advise you to try the restaurant “L’Epuisette”.

Reservation recommended because eating in the Vallon des Auffes is really a must in Marseille!

Valley of the Auffes, top thing to do in Marseilles
Valley of the Auffes

8. The JF Kennedy Corniche

The Corniche Kennedy is a long landscaped promenade along the seaside.

It starts from the beach of the Catalans and passes in particular by the beach of the Prophet, the valley of the Auffes and ends at the level of the beaches of the Prado. The place is very popular with people from Marseille who come here to cycle, scooter or run.

By taking the corniche on foot, you can enjoy pretty views of the islands and the Château d’If. I also advise you to go up to Valmer Park to contemplate the panorama.

Tips for your Marseille itinerary:

If you don’t want to walk, bus 83 leaves from the Old Port and runs along the entire Corniche to the Prado.

Marseilles itinerary 3 day
Corniche JF Kennedy-Marseille

9. The Longchamp Palace

If there’s one place that I recommend you absolutely must see in Marseille, it’s the Palais Longchamp.

Its architecture is really impressive and for me it is one of the most beautiful monuments in the city. It was built in 1862 to celebrate the arrival of the waters of the Durance in Marseilles and there is therefore a monumental fountain representing abundance and fertility.

The Longchamp Palace is made up of 2 wings which house the Natural History Museum and the Fine Arts Museum.

By taking the stairs that reach the top of the fountain, you can access the garden of the Palais Longchamp, which is one of the most beautiful parks in the city. This is one of the best places to go in Marseille for a walk.

You will find there in particular the garden of the observatory which houses the museum of astronomy, and the zoological garden. The latter previously hosted animals such as giraffes, lions and even an elephant (the star of the zoo) which have now been replaced by colorful life-size statues.

The museums are free with the city pass marseille and the entrance to the Longchamp park is free.

The Longchamp Palace in Marseilles
The Longchamp Palace in Marseilles

10. The Frioul Islands

If you no longer know what to do in Marseille, I advise you to take to the open sea to reach the Frioul islands.

Maritime shuttles depart daily from the Old Port. It takes about 25 minutes to cross for about ten euros round trip. Timetables and prices here.

The Frioul archipelago is made up of 4 islands:

  • Pomègues which is the largest. It is known to shelter one of the most beautiful beaches of Frioul: the beach of Tahiti.
  • Ratonneau, popular for its creeks and beaches
  • Tiboulen which is not served by shuttles
  • The islet of If where the castle of the same name is located: I will tell you about it right after.

The boat will drop you off on the island of Ratonneau where there are a few restaurants. You can then go all around the island on foot (no vehicles are allowed) and swim in the small creeks with turquoise water.

There are also beautiful views of If and Marseille  to admire from the Fort de Ratonneau and the old hospital.

From Ratonneau, passing on foot on the dike which is to the left of the port, you will reach the island of Pomègues.

To discover the islands of Frioul, you can also go for a day by sailboat around Marseille. Your skipper will show you the most beautiful places to swim!

For a romantic evening, I also recommend a cruise on a traditional wooden schooner at sunset.

You will sail towards the Frioul archipelago before stopping for a swim in a small cove with crystal clear water.

You will then enjoy dinner served on board as you watch the sun set over the islands.

Book your sunset cruise in Marseille by clicking here.

And if you just want to take a little boat trip around Friuli for the sunset but without dinner, click here to book this trip!

Tips for your Marseille itinerary:

If you want to visit Ratonneau and Pomègues, plan a full day to walk around and swim. I advise you at this time to take your picnic because the only restaurants are at the port.

For Ratonneau, 1/2 day is enough. Take the sea shuttle at least 3 hours before sunset because otherwise you won’t have time to discover the island. If you are in a hurry, the right side towards the Fort is to be preferred.

Island of Ratonneau Frioul
Island of Ratonneau Frioul

11. Chateau d’If

The same shuttles going to Ratonneau also stop at the islet of If where the Château d’IF is located .

Its construction was decided in the 16th century by King François I to defend the coasts from invasions but also to monitor the city which had just been attached to the Kingdom of France. With its keep, towers, ramparts and moat, it is designed as a real fortress.

It will also be transformed into a state prison in 1580. Among the famous prisoners are Mirabeau and the Marquis de Sade, but the Château d’If is also the place where the Count of Monte-Cristo is detained in the novel by Alexandre Dumas.

You can visit the Château d’If freely or through a guided tour. In all cases, the visit is chargeable, in addition to the price of the maritime shuttle. You can buy your tickets on arrival or in advance on the internet by clicking here.

Tips for your Marseille itinerary:

To go to the Château d’If, you can choose between:

  • A round trip only for If
  • A combined ticket for If + the Frioul islands: the boat drops you off on If, you visit the castle and you take the shuttle back to Ratonneau.

Pay attention to the timetables because the last boat for If is at 3 p.m. or 4 p.m. depending on the season. More information here.

As the Château d’If is one of Marseille’s top tourist attractions, it is best to book your shuttle tickets online in advance (especially in summer).

Marseilles itinerary 3 day
Chateau d’If

12. The Creeks of Marseille

This is the essential activity to do in Marseille: a boat trip to discover the creeks.

These mini cruises allow you to discover the most beautiful places in the Calanques National Park. On the program: sumptuous natural landscapes and magnificent coves with translucent water.

Departing from the Old Port, there are 2 circuits to visit the creeks of Marseille:

  • The “Integral creeks” circuit where you will enter all the creeks from Marseille to Cassis. It lasts about 3h15 with a departure in the morning and one in the afternoon.
  • The small circuit “The essential of the creeks” which lasts 2h15 and allows you to pass through the 3 most famous creeks: Sormiou, Morgiou and Sugiton.

You can find more information on the website of the shipping company.

The big drawback is that the boats can accommodate hundreds of people so it’s not necessarily ideal for being quiet or taking beautiful photos. And these circuits do not allow you to swim either.

But, good news, there are also slightly more luxurious cruises with fewer people, including a lunch and a swimming break in the creeks. It is this type of excursion that I recommend to you to make the most of the magnificent landscapes!

For this type of high-end cruise, you will have several options:

This catamaran cruise in the creeks can be booked directly here.

  • A full-day cruise on a magnificent sailboat (which I recommend!)

Departing from the Old Port, you will discover the Calanques National Park on a very beautiful boat: a traditional wooden schooner.

2 swimming stops in the creeks are planned (snorkeling equipment provided!) interspersed with an aperitif and a lunch highlighting local and organic products.

To enjoy a great day by boat in the creeks of Marseille, you must book in advance by clicking here.

Boat trips are the best way to discover several creeks in 1 day, but you can also choose to reach these magnificent coves on foot. 

Several hiking trails run through the national park and allow you to descend into the creeks. Bring good shoes and plenty of water.

If hiking isn’t really your thing, I still recommend going to Sugiton Lookout. From the Luminy parking lot, the starting point of the trail, it only takes 35 minutes to get there.

The belvedere offers a splendid 360° view of the park, and, at your feet, of the creek of Morgiou and that of Sugiton.

Tips for your Marseille itinerary:

After the boat or the hike, I end with another very nice means of transport to visit the creeks of Marseille: the electric mountain bike.

This 3-hour itinerary accompanied by a guide leaves from Pointe Rouge beach and leads to the Calanque de Sormiou. The course is really well thought out and the landscapes breathtaking.

This activity can be booked here.

You should also know that the Parc des Calanques is the ideal playground for climbing and the Via Cordata. 

Marseilles itinerary 3 day
The Calanques of Marseille

13. The Beaches of Marseilles

During your holidays in Marseille, it is very likely that you want to enjoy a bit of the beach!

So I have prepared for you the list of places to go to the beach in and around Marseille:

  • Catalans beach, not necessarily the prettiest but it is the closest to the city center and therefore the most practical if you don’t have a car
  • Prophet’s Beach, located below the Corniche, is the most popular beach in Marseille. Ideal with children as the water is shallow far enough. Accessible with bus 83.
  • The Prado beaches, a succession of beaches over several kilometres. Access by bus 19 or 83. By car, paid parking all along.
  • La Pointe Rouge, a long sandy beach well protected from the wind where you can try your hand at flyboarding
  • The very small Baie des Singes beach in the Goudes district
  • The beach of Anse de la Maronaise, not far from Baie des Singes
  • The 3 beaches of L’Estaque, north of Marseille
  • The beaches and coves of the Frioul islands
  • The creeks of course! Among the most popular are Calanque de Sormiou, Calanque de Sugiton, Calanque de l’En-Vau and Port-Pin.
  • Sainte-Croix beach, located towards Martigues. This small sandy beach located at the foot of the rocks and on the edge of the pine forest is really very pretty. A path also allows you to follow the entire coastline.
  • The magnificent beaches of La Couronne, very well equipped, they are ideal for families
  • The beaches of Cassis
  • The many beaches of Sausset-les-Pins, a seaside resort located on the Côte Bleue.
Marseilles itinerary 3 day
Sainte-Croix beach

14. The Velodrome Stadium

Visit Marseille without going through the Vélodrome stadium, inconceivable for OM supporters! Olympique de Marseille is the mythical football club par excellence and it is the pride of the whole city.

If you are not lucky enough to attend a match during your stay in Marseille, you can make up for it by visiting the inside of the stadium. The discovery of the players’ locker rooms, private boxes and backstage is planned as well as a passage on the ground to tread the lawn!

And you can take the opportunity to leave with a souvenir sold at the official store. A scarf, a jersey, a mug in the colors of OM, you’ll be spoiled for choice.

To organize your visit to the Vélodrome de Marseille stadium, it’s on the official website.

Tips for your Marseille itinerary:

You will have a nice overview of the stadium then Notre-Dame de la Garde.

Marseilles itinerary 3 day
Marseille Velodrome Stadium

15. Saint-Victor Abbey

Founded in the 5th century, the Saint-Victor Abbey is a very beautiful building classified as a historical monument. 

Inside, you can visit the crypt (2€) which is made up of several chapels and contains many early Christian sarcophagi. 

From the terrace located opposite the entrance to the Abbey, you can enjoy the unobstructed view of the Old Port and the MuCEM.

Tips for your Marseille itinerary:

Jute next to the Abbey, in rue Sainte, is the oldest bakery in Marseille, “Le Four des Navettes”. Founded in the 18th century, it is here that the emblematic biscuit of Marseille was created: the shuttle.

Now you know where to go to taste them!

Marseilles itinerary 3 day
Saint-Victor Abbey Marseille

16. The Goudes District

Located at the gates of the creeks, the Goudes district revolves around a small fishing port and its cabins.

The picturesque setting attracts every year, and especially in summer, its flood of visitors who come to swim on the beach of Baie des Singes or go hiking in the creeks.

There are also several bars and restaurants. 

Marseilles itinerary 3 day
The Goudes district

17. Borely Park

Borely Park is a huge 18-hectare park located near the Prado beaches.

There is a lake, play areas for children, a rose garden and a botanical garden.

On weekends, it’s the busiest park in Marseille: picnics, walks, rollerblading, cycling or football games, there’s plenty to keep you busy! It is very nice, well laid out and it is the perfect place for a walk outside the city.

Borely Park has been famous for a long time because Marcel Pagnol mentions it in his book “La Gloire de mon père”, and more recently the series “Plus belle la vie” regularly invests the place to shoot scenes there.

The park offers a rental service for rosalies, bicycles and boats. You will also find a café and the castle which houses the Museum of Decorative Arts. 

Free entry to Borely park / €3 for the botanical garden.

Marseilles itinerary 3 day
Parc Borely Marseille

18. The Canebiere

We continue this session of tourism in Marseille by the Canebière.

The emblematic avenue of the city connects the Reformed Church to the Old Port for nearly 1 km. This long shopping street is lined with shops, restaurants and cafes. You can also admire several historic monuments there , such as the Opera or the Hôtel Noailles, a super-luxurious hotel that has now been transformed into a police station.

The Marseille tourist office is also on the Canebière.

A small problem all the same because the Canebière is often cited as a place to see absolutely in Marseille, but frankly it is far from being very clean and smelling good…

Marseilles itinerary 3 day
Chamber of Commerce Canebière Marseille

19. Other Museums to Visit in Marseille

It’s not just the MuCEM as a museum to visit in Marseille.

If you have decided to go to Marseille for a few days, I recommend that you discover other museums:

Visiting most of these museums is free with the City Pass Marseille. 

Marseilles itinerary 3 day
The Marseilles History Museum

20. Other Monuments in Marseille

In addition to the main places of interest in Marseille, there are some other beautiful monuments not to be missed:

  • The town hall built in the 17th century
  • The Alcazar Library, a highly reputed former performance hall named after the Alhambra in Granada
  • The Daviel pavilion, the former courthouse in Marseille
  • The Stock Exchange Palace
  • The David statue, an exact replica of the one exhibited in the Accademia Gallery, in Florence
  • The Arc de Triomphe, listed as a historical monument
  • The prefecture, a very beautiful building located on rue Saint-Ferréol
  • The Docks of Marseille for its atypical architecture
  • The Marseilles Opera
  • The Palace of Arts
  • The Diamantée house and its facade with pointed stones
  • The Hôtel-Dieu, the city’s main hospital from the Middle Ages. Today transformed into a 5* luxury hotel: the Intercontinental Hotel.
  • The Palais du Pharo for its view of the MuCEM and Fort Saint-Jean
Marseilles itinerary 3 day
Marseilles Opera

21. Other Activities to Do in Marseille

In addition to everything I told you about, here is my selection of other unusual activities to try during your stay in Marseille (to book by clicking on the links in orange):

  • A Food tour of 4h30 where it is in your interest to have a good stomach with the quantity of food to taste: Provençal burgers, panisses, ice creams, macaroons, shuttles and oriental pastries are on the program.
  • A cocktail workshop to learn how to make 2 different cocktails
  • An introduction to oenology with tasting of 5 wines from the South-East of France
  • A brewing and beer tasting workshop
  • Visit of the old town of Marseille by mehari 
  • Sidecar ride in the main districts of Marseille
  • A private VIP tour of Marseille by van or limousine
  • A Quiz Room: as a team, you will have to answer questions on the theme of sport, music or daily life, in a setting inspired by the most famous TV games. A great activity to do in Marseille with friends or family.
  • An escape game: there are a lot of themes to choose from and you will now know what to do in Marseille when it rains
  • Virtual reality laser tag
  • A helicopter flight over the city and the seafront

22. The Markets of Marseilles

I now suggest you take a tour of one of the city’s markets to soak up the smells and flavors of Provence.

In terms of smell, you will be served with the fish market which is held every morning on the Old Port. Best place to buy fresh caught morning fish!

Each district of Marseille has its own dedicated market:

  • La Castellane: food and clothing market, you can find a bit of everything here and it is one of the most popular
  • Les Capucins for fruit and vegetables
  • The farmer’s market at the Friche de la Belle de Mai
  • The flower market on Boulevard Chave
  • The Cours Julien organic market
  • The Sunday flea market at Arnavaux.

Tips for your Marseille itinerary:

To discover the specialties of Marseille, nothing better than a gastronomic visit!

This 3-hour tour which includes many tastings will allow you to discover all the gastronomy of the South of France: pastries, seafood, tapenade, shuttles, panisses and of course pastis!

I advise you to book this gastronomic walking tour of Marseille by clicking here.

Marseilles itinerary 3 day
Shopping, Marseille

23. Go Shopping in Marseille

If you fancy heating up the blue card while visiting Marseille, here are the best places to go:

  • Les Terrasses du Port, one of the newest shopping centers in the city and whose rooftop overlooking the sea has quickly become a trendy place to go out in the evening in Marseille
  • Cours Julien for its more bohemian shops
  • Saint-Férreol pedestrian street and its well-known brands such as Zara and H&M
  • The Bourse center where the Galeries Lafayette, the FNAC, Go Sport are located
  • The fashion street and its trendy designer, jewelry and accessory shops
  • Rue Paradis for more luxurious shopping with high-end boutiques like Lacoste or Kenzo
  • The brand new “Le Prado” shopping center , next to the Vélodrome
  • The Dock Village, a trendy shopping center with an atypical interior.

If you don’t know what to do in Marseille on Sundays, most shopping centers and museums are open.

Marseilles itinerary 3 day
The docks, shopping in Marseille

24. L’Estaque

L’Estaque is the northernmost district of Marseille.

The name of l’Estaque is often associated with painting because it inspired many famous painters such as Cézanne, Renoir or Braque. A pedestrian circuit entitled “the little path of the painters of L’Estaque” allows you to discover the places represented on their paintings as well as the history of the district.

L’Estaque also has a beautiful beach equipped with a nautical base, showers and toilets.

During your discovery of the district, do as the Marseillais do and do not hesitate to taste the chichis (sweet donuts) and the panisses (made with chickpea flour) in one of the kiosks by the sea.

From L’Estaque, you can also enjoy a superb kayak trip along the Blue Coast and its turquoise water coves.

Tips for your Marseille itinerary:

To go to L’Estaque, I advise you to take the maritime shuttle from the Old Port. It’s super nice to enjoy the scenery.

Marseilles itinerary 3 day

What to do around Marseille?

There you go, you now know what to do in Marseille!

But my advice does not stop there since I have prepared a list of the most beautiful places to visit around Marseille. They are all easily accessible by car or through organized excursions from Marseille.

25. Aix-en-Provence

First city that I suggest you discover in the surroundings of Marseille: Aix-en-Provence.

There aren’t necessarily any major monuments to see apart from the Saint-Sauveur Cathedral, but the stroll through the center where shops, restaurants and brasseries are concentrated is very pleasant.

Art lovers can also visit Cézanne’s studio and the Granet museum.

From Marseille, it is also possible to choose an organized excursion to visit Aix-en-Provence. 

3 types of outings are offered:

The tour, in small groups, offers a guided walking tour of Aix-en-Provence and a free walk in Cassis. As an option, you can take a boat trip in the creeks.

Marseilles itinerary 3 day
Aix en Provence

26. Arles

Arles is located about 1 hour by car from Marseille.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you can discover many Roman monuments there such as the amphitheater, the ancient theater or the baths of Constantine.

If you want to visit Arles with an organized tour, I recommend that you choose this one. You will visit not only the historic center of Arles but also the magnificent village of Les Baux-de-Provence and that of Saint Rémy de Provence.

To book by clicking here.

To organize your visit to Arles, I have prepared a complete guide for you in this article: Top 20 things to do in Arles?

Marseilles itinerary 3 day
Arles arenas

27. Cassis

Around Marseille, I recommend you to visit Cassis. You can get there in just 40 minutes by car.

With its small fishing port and picturesque alleys, the setting is very nice. Boat trips from Cassis allow you to discover the creeks of En-Vau, Port-miou and Port-Pin. 

If you have time, I also advise you to take the Route des Crêtes which starts from Cassis and goes as far as La Ciotat. The landscapes are sublime!

If you don’t have a car, no problem, you can visit Cassis with an organized tour.

Tips for your Marseille itinerary:

As for the creeks of Marseille, 3-hour electric mountain bike tours with an experienced guide are offered to discover 3 creeks of Cassis.

To book directly by clicking here. 

You can also opt for (click on the links in orange for details):

Marseilles itinerary 3 day
The creeks of Cassis

28. Les Baux-de-Provence

Ranked among the most beautiful villages in France, it would be a shame not to go up to Baux-de-Provence during your trip to Marseille.

The medieval village shelters a castle overhanging all the Alpilles. A nice panorama in perspective!

Just 5 minutes on foot from the village, don’t miss a visit to the Carrières de Lumière.

These completely refurbished old quarries where truly original multimedia exhibitions are organized with the projection of works of art on walls over 15 meters high.

Marseilles itinerary 3 day

29. The Luberon

Near Marseille, why not plan a day to visit the Luberon?

Not to be missed in the region:

  • The perched village of Gordes, which is one of the most beautiful villages in France
  • Sénanque Abbey, a 12th century Cistercian monastery
  • The village of Roussillon where it is absolutely necessary that you take the walk along the ocher path, in the heart of an old ocher quarry. The colors are just gorgeous!

And good news if you don’t have a vehicle, all you have to do is opt for an organized excursion to discover the Luberon and the villages I have just mentioned.

Marseilles itinerary 3 day
Abbey of Senanque

30. The Camargue

Another magnificent region to visit around Marseille: the Camargue.

It’s up to you to discover the herds of bullshorseback riding, observation of pink flamingos or cruises on the Rhône!

It’s really a great idea of ​​things to do for a weekend in PACA!

Marseilles itinerary 3 day
The ornithological park of Pont-de-Gau in the Camargue

31. The Verdon

A little further away but still doable, I suggest you visit the Verdon.

Allow about 1h40 to reach Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, the most famous village in the area. From there, you can also go to the Lac de Sainte-Croix, entrance to the Gorges du Verdon.

And if you prefer to take an organized tour, the best from Marseille is this one. It also includes a passage through the Valensole plateau to discover the lavender fields (in season).

Marseilles itinerary 3 day
Left bank of the Verdon

How many days to visit Marseille?

I advise you to plan at least 3 or 4 days to visit Marseille. This gives you time to discover the city but also to visit the Frioul islands and the creeks which are really magnificent.

And if you want to visit the surroundings, a week will not be too much. No risk of getting bored!

Tips for your Marseille itinerary:

Do not forget that to visit Marseille in 24h, 48h or 72h, the City Pass Marseille which I told you about at the very beginning is really interesting to save money.

1 Day Marseille Itinerary

Do you have a day to visit Marseille?

Here is the itinerary that I advise you to follow to see the main neighborhoods and places of interest:

  • Discovery of the Panier district
  • Passage through the cathedral La Major
  • The MuCEM: visit or just climb on the catwalk for the view
  • Walk in the Old Port
  • The Julien Course
  • Ascent to Notre-Dame de la Garde
  • Passage through the Abbey of Saint-Victor or the Palais du Pharo to contemplate the view

If you are unwilling or unable to walk, you have several other options (click on the links to book):

Marseilles itinerary 3 day
View of the MuCEM at night

2 Days Marseille Itinerary

If you have planned to spend a weekend in Marseille, I advise you to take the circuit from day 1.

For the second day, I suggest you visit the creeks of Marseille:

You can also spend a whole day in the Calanques for hiking and swimming.

Tips for your Marseille itinerary:

You will find all the information to organize these 2 days in Marseille in my other article:  Week end in Marseille.

3 Days Marseille Itinerary

What to do in Marseille in 3 days? Take my suggestions for visits for day 1 and 2.

On the third day, you have the choice:

1) Visit of the Château d’If and the Frioul Islands : walking and swimming

Or cruise around the Frioul archipelago:

2) Stay in Marseille:

  • Take the Corniche to reach the Vallon des Auffes
  • Follow it to the Prado beaches
  • Enjoy the beach or a stroll in Borely Park
  • Then you can reach the Vélodrome stadium which is not far away or continue on the seaside road to reach Les Goudes. 
Marseilles itinerary 3 day
Frioul Islands

Visit Marseille for 4, 5 days or more

On the fourth day in Marseille, I advise you to choose the option that you did not have time to do on day 3.

If you spend 5 days or even a week in Marseille, leave the city to visit the surroundings:

Wine lovers can also plan a visit to a wine estate, Marseille being located near the vineyard of the Bandol appellation.

Accommodation in Marseille

  • Toyoko INN Marseille Saint Charles: located 1 km from the Old Port and 5 minutes from the train station. Very clean and comfortable double room from 70€ per night, breakfast included. Most: the choice at breakfast, the warm welcome, the location close to the train station and the city center.
  • Citadines Castellane Marseille: located 400 meters from the metro and 1.3 km from Notre-Dame de la Garde. Modern studio and apartment with fully equipped kitchen (dishwasher, microwave, hotplates, etc.) from €78, breakfast €10. Most: the very practical location, the comfortable bedding, the calm. It is our favorite for its price/performance ratio in Marseille!
  • Staycity Aparthotels Center Vieux Port: located 550 meters from the port. Designer and fully equipped studios and apartments from €92, breakfast €9. The pluses: spacious, the perfect location for visiting Marseille, the great friendliness of the staff.
  • NH Collection Marseille: located in the Joliette district, 900 meters from the MuCEM. Double room with sober and elegant decoration from 160€. Most: the excellent breakfast and the very varied choice, the comfort of the beds, the geographical location. One of the best hotels to sleep in Marseille!
  • La Résidence Du Vieux Port: located on the quays of the Old Port. Modern double room with sea view from 200€. Most: the view of the port and Notre-Dame de la Garde, the charming staff, the location. I recommend it for an upscale stay in Marseille.
  • InterContinental Marseille – Hotel Dieu: located in the historic district of Marseille, 300 meters from the port. This 5* hotel offers comfortable and warm rooms from €290, breakfast at €29. The pluses: the Spa, the swimming pool, the gourmet restaurants, the terrace with a view. This is our recommendation for a luxury stay in Marseille.
Marseilles itinerary 3 day
Interior of the Cathedral of the Major

Where to eat in Marseilles

  • Bistrot o’prado : located at 1 boulevard Perier, right next to the Perier metro station. This brasserie offers a menu with few choices but a guarantee of quality. The dishes are delicious, with a touch of originality and really hearty. Very reasonable price.
  • The Bistro du Panier: located 58 rue Caisserie. If you want to eat a good burger in Marseille, head to the Panier district. This small restaurant offers excellent burgers whose products (bread, meat, cheese) are fresh and of high quality, without forgetting the homemade fries that go with it! And don’t hesitate to save some room for the desserts, which are also homemade.
  • Lacaille restaurant: located 42 rue des Trois Mages. On the program: atypical and gourmet cuisine, a very good wine list, top-notch staff, a pleasant setting and affordable prices with a 30€ formula (starter/main course/dessert).

Tourist Map of Marseille

To help you visualize the city a little better, I made you a  tourist map of Marseille listing the places to visit that I talk about in this top 30 things to do in Marseille. You can display the map legend by clicking on the top left button with a small arrow.

FAQ – Questions about Marseille

What to do in Marseille with the family?

If you have planned to visit Marseille with your children, I recommend the following activities:

  • Take the little train and go to Notre Dame de la Garde
  • Take the boat to reach the Iles du Frioul and/or the Château d’If.
  • Go to Parc Borély
  • Take advantage of the Prado beach located just in front of the park
  • Take a tour of the creeks, on foot (easy walk) or by boat!
  • A tree climbing course at Ecopark Adventures – There’s even a mini park for children aged 2 to 4.

What are the neighborhoods of Marseille to visit?

The districts and places to visit absolutely in Marseille are:

  • The Panier district, the oldest district of the city
  • The Old Port district
  • La Canebière, the most famous street in Marseille
  • The Vallon des Auffes, for its picturesque little port and its excellent restaurants
  • The Goudes district, out of the way, close to the creeks.

How to visit the Calanques of Marseille?

To visit the Calanques of Marseille, you have 4 options:

And you, what do you plan to do in Marseille?

Are you going to France? Read also

Discover all our articles on France: All our tips on Mauritius are listed here.

Camille L.

Passionate about foreign languages, cooking and writing. I wish to share with you the places, the meetings and the gastronomic discoveries which gave relief to my travels.

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