Irresistible things to do in Cassis, South of France

We are very excited to write this travel guide on irresistible things to do in Cassis! Why? Because the adorable fishing village exceeded all our expectations. With the variety of things to do, the tranquil vibe, the picture-perfect streets, the beautiful Port of Cassis and finger-licking food it quickly became one of our favourite places in the South of France! So pack your bags and discover Cassis now for unforgettable travel memories.

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Is Cassis worth visiting?

Obviously yes. Because it didn’t become one of our favourite places in France for nothing. They might say that Cassis is the “poor Saint Tropez”, but it’s perfect. Every day can be a fun day in Cassis or surroundings. From great scenery, Mediterranean vibes and water activities, to unique nature with the Calanques. The coastal town is not only charming by the way it looks, but the friendly locals truly make a difference. They made us feel extremely welcome in their accommodation, restaurants, shops, supermarkets, or streets.

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How many days do you need in Cassis?

The number of days recommended in Cassis varies. In general, there are two options. Firstly, you could visit for a day trip if you stay in for example Marseille. It is truly a lovely day out of the bustling city! However, as the second option, we recommend you stay here for multiple days or a weekend getaway. 3 to 4 leisurely and non-rushing days are perfect, with the option to also visit Marseille from here if you prefer to avoid a stay in the city.

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How to get to Cassis

Secondly, you can visit by train from Marseille. This takes about 25 minutes to the train station of Cassis. Do keep in mind that the train station in Cassis is not centrally located in the tourist area. You will need to take another bus to arrive in the adorable village centre of Cassis. If you are more into taking a bus directly from Marseille, you can do so with the RTM or LER bus which takes around 1 to 1,5 hours.

Parking in Cassis

We never had issues finding a parking spot in Cassis. There are many options available in parking lots or street parking. It is well organized as they notify you with parking information on electric signs once you enter town. It shows an overview of the different parking lots and the spots available. We mostly ended up at “Parking Mimosas”. Keep in mind that it’s paid parking!

Travel Spots Navigator – Google Maps

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Where to stay in Cassis

Irresistible things to do in Cassis

Discover the old town of Cassis

The old town is one of the main reasons to visit Cassis. Imagine yourself wandering through narrow streets, with vibrant flowers and greenery around, the scent of Jasmine flowers in the air, the Mediterranean colours and a laid-back vibe. The old town might be small, but great in details and other delights for the eye. The few quaint squares around invite you to take a seat on the benches to soak in the local lifestyle and pleasant atmosphere. We could sit here for hours! Do not forget your camera, because the old town’s buildings with pastel hues and golden sun rays are worth capturing!

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Stroll around the boulevard and Cassis Port

With direct access to the Mediterranean Sea, exploring the Port of Cassis is the second thing you must do. Along the boulevard, there are many cafes with lots of chatter from the terraces that offer great views over the sparkling water and many bobbing boats and yachts along the waterfront. Freshly brewed coffee and croissants are ready for you to have a well-deserved break. From here you will also have great views of Château de Cassis on top of the cliff. Which is an iconic mark of the town’s rich history. It is currently a hotel, and therefore not inaccessible to visitors. Nevertheless, it does add a nice touch to the picturesque scenery of the port.

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Visit the beach in Cassis

Ready for a dip in the fresh waters of the Mediterranean Sea? To fully confess, there are more attractive long-stretched sand beaches on the French Riviera compared to the ones in Cassis. Nevertheless, you will surely find a perfect swimming spot around. There are several beaches in Cassis:

  • Plage de la Grande Mer: as the main beach. This beach is perfect for swimming and sunbathing and has more facilities such as a lifeguard. Which also makes it family-friendly.
  • Plage du Bestouan: One of our favourites is tucked away between cliffs and great views. Besides that, we love food! So the beach club serving fresh seafood is a big plus!
  • Plage du Corton: More hidden, and an unexpected find when parking our car. It is a small beach and more relaxed as it is distant from the buzz of the town itself.
  • Plage de Port Miou: one of the famous beaches in the scenic Calanques. The turquoise waters are impressive, however, it is a harbour for many small boats. It might therefore not be the best option for everyone.
  • Plage de Port Pin: only accessible via a scenic hike, but worth the walk with crystal clear waters!
  • D’en Vau Beach: The beach many hikers are going for! After a hike on a steep trail, you will reach a true gem with the best waters and views!

Tip: do keep in mind that some beaches and waters are rocky. It is therefore advised to wear water shoes.

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A touristic train ride with “Le petit Train”

If you are visiting Cassis for a day trip, you might want to make great use of your limited time available. Enjoy yourself on a 45-minute guided train ride through Cassis. These are the typical white trains on wheels you see more often in France. In the end, it is the ultimate tourist attraction, especially for families! The mini train departs, depending on the season, around 6 to 8 times per day. Click on the link for more information about “Le Petit Train”.

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Hike the Calanques 

Hiking the Calanques is an essential experience when visiting Cassis. One day a few pictures from cliffs surrounded by incredible turquoise waters ended up on our Instagram timeline. Only then discover that this true gem was in Europe, in France! You have to see this spectacular coastal scenery with your own eyes. If hiking is not an option, you can always take a boat or kayak trip. You can also join a guided hiking trip for a full day!

The Calanques are rocky cliffs in a natural park between Marseille and Cassis. The panoramic views of the Calanques are endless, and the small inlets and beaches make the whole trip complete. There is a variety of trails available to suit all hiking levels with a maximum of 4 hours of hiking. You can start from Calanque de Port Miou. However, to reach the prettiest beaches of Port Pin and d’En Vau, you do need to pass rocky and steep terrain. Bring your swim outfit, a towel, snorkelling gear and protection such as sunscreen. Water is a must! There are no shops around.

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Tip: To protect the area from fires, and for your own safety, the Calanques Natural Park can be closed during heatwaves in high seasons. Do check day by day the accessibility of the hiking trails.

Discover the Calanques by bike

Add a little bit more speed and adventure to your Calanques trip. Treat yourself to a spectacular tour of the Calanques by E-bike! The viewpoints will surely be breathtaking. You can choose between a guided or virtually guided tour. Whatever tour you prefer, feel the freedom on the bike with the warm Mediterranean breeze through your hair as you go!

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Enjoy the local wine

The vineyards always add something special to the nature and surroundings. The long rows of green vines with grapes, ready to end up in some lovely wines! The French wines are already famous and wanted. And the wines produced in Cassis can also join that list. In the Provencal countryside, under the Mediterranean sun, the vineyards and its estates are happy to welcome you for a tour and (obviously) a tasting. Find more information about the locations and a local tour here. Cheers to that!

Roadtrip the “Route des Cretes” & Cap Canaille

Time to jump on the bike or in your car! The scenic drive of Route des Crêtes is one of the nicest things to do in Cassis. Unfortunately, we had a rainy day, so the views were minimal with a slightly cold breeze. Pick a day with clear blue skies to experience the road that winds its way along the cliffs of the coastline around Cassis. The panoramic views are endless from several viewpoints.

Cap Canaille is the highest sea cliff in France and definitely a spot to stretch your legs and take the photo opportunity having Cassis and azure waters gorgeously in the background.

Shop for unique outfits or local must-haves

One thing was clear, we could not stick to window shopping in Cassis! The various shops and boutiques were too attractive to not enter. If you love some unique outfits or linen, you can find some new statement outfits! There are (chic) boutiques for all price ranges with dresses, bags and swimwear. We surely filled our suitcase a bit more with some unique finds. If you are looking for some Cassis speciality, you can find them in the local delicacies. Either on the market or in the shops itself.

Visit the Cassis market

The French markets are always a vibe! It is always worth checking if there are day and/or night markets during your visit. Even if you do not feel like spending, the experience of cosy lighting, people-watching and happy faces is enough. The market in Cassis is fun to enjoy some fresh and local flavours with fruits, cheeses and vegetables. Besides that, it also gets very colourful with the artisanal products (like the handmade soap from Marseille, a great souvenir!), local crafts and the flower market. And above all, the ears will also be entertained by some great street performers.

Go on a boat or kayak trip

Does your vacation feel incomplete without a splash of water? A boat trip is always a great thing to do in Cassis! In Cassis itself, you have various options to book a trip where you will explore the Calanques and its beautiful blue waters. See this natural wonder from the waterside and discover the marine with a spot of snorkelling. But what about a Kayak trip or paddleboarding to be a bit more hands-on? See below the available options to create these memories!

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Best restaurants in Cassis

Would we ever go back to Cassis? Yes, even if it is just for the food! Even if the village is small, the restaurant scene is big! From a great variety of restaurants and their menus to the quality served. We are true lovers of seafood. It will not be a surprise that with so many fishermen around, the food prepared is fresh and YUM. If you decide to take a seat in one of the restaurants in the Port of Cassis, you might feel a little more romantic. This is due to the wonderful and cosy lights and decorations around. See below a list of some restaurants that we enjoyed a lot:

  • Le Grand Bleu: by far our favourite for seafood and great vibes with the team working here.
  • La Stazione: a pizza is a must during your holidays right? Get the good ones at La Stazione! Make sure you make reservations ahead.
  • La Nonna D’oro: to enjoy great views with lovely decorated plates for tasty food.

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Things to do – Day trips from Cassis

Day trip to Marseille from Cassis

Oh Marseille, for us truly a very underrated city! We often heard negative comments about Marseille from French natives and wondered if we should visit. We are happy we followed our own plan! Marseille is fun but also “raw” in different ways. However, the area of the Port and the Old Town impressed us most. It was such a great experience to stroll around! Besides that, Marseille truly has some amazing restaurants with culinary highlights.

A day trip to beautiful villages in the Provence

Water activities in Gorges du Verdon

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Are you ready to discover the irresistible things to do in Cassis? Let us know if you enjoyed your trip!

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