Marseille is a beautiful city in the south of France and is extremely popular as a tourist destination. It is a port city and has a rich connection with various historical civilizations such as the Romans and the Greeks. This is reflected in many of the places on interest within the city.
There are many beautiful areas to explore in Marseille such as quaint alleyways and bustling market squares as well as some gorgeous ocean views.
The city is quite a large one and has a population of just over 800,000 people. This coupled with the amount of tourists that the city sees each year makes for a busy yet welcoming city.
If you are planning to make a visit to this historical place, you may be considering your options when it comes to what to see and do whilst here. In this article, we are going to be looking at some of the best things to do whilst paying a visit to this sunny French city.
1. Old Port of Marseille
This has been the natural harbor of Marseille as far back as anyone would care to remember, certainly to a period that one would call ancient. The old port of Marseille is one of the most popular places in the city and is often used as a meeting and social hub for the locals.
In 2013 the area was largely pedestrianized, meaning that it is now much more safe. There are a great variety of places to eat here especially if you are a fan of seafood. Why not sit back and relax in one of the restaurants here and take in the stunning sea views.
2. Chateau d’If
The Chateau d’If is set on an island and was originally used as a fortress and a prison many years ago. However, nowadays the site is used as a museum. Located one and a half kilometers of the coast, visitors can take a short boat ride to the island.
An interesting fact for fans of literature is that this place was one of the main settings for the well loved novel, The Count of Monte Cristo.
3. Museum of Civilizations of Europe
Back in 2013, Marseille won the title of the designated European capital of culture and as such the museum of civilizations of Europe was opened. You will find much useful information here surrounding the subject. The museum has been very well received since its opening and has even won prizes to show this.
4. Palais Longchamp
The Palais Longchamp is a beautiful palace which features a stunning water feature for which it is highly famed. In the grounds you can find the natural history museum as well as the Musee de Beaux arts.
The gardens are truly spectacular and it has been said that these gardens are one of the most notable in all of France. For us, that makes this a sight that cannot be missed when visiting Marseille.
5. Frioul Archipelago
If you are in the market to see some beautiful islands then a trip to the Frioul archipelago is in order. You can take a boat trip out to this group of four small islands which are located just four miles from the coast of Marseille.
There are actually people living here, albeit only 146 of them, so these islands are not purely touristic, although the breath taking scenery here certainly draws in visitors.
6. Vallon des Auffes
Do you have a passion for fishing? If so, Vallon des Auffes is an incredibly popular fishing location which is well loved by both locals and tourists alike. Fishing vessels spread as far as the eye can see, make this a real haven for the avid fisherman.
Perhaps you might like to sample some of the commercial catches in one of the local seafood restaurants after a long day of making a catch yourself.
7. Abbaye Saint Victor
This abbey was built during the 11th century, around the later Roman period of time. The most notable and interesting aspect of this building, besides the beautiful Roman architecture, is that it was built using a crypt as its foundation.
The crypt, which was used as a burial place for Christians was originally built in the 3rd century, really causing this place to be steeped in history. In the 19th century the abbey was given a full make over when it was restored to its former glory.
8. Marseille History Museum
If you have an interest in history then the Marseille history museum is a must visit attraction whilst in this city. Here you will find a variety of both historical and archaeological displays. The museum opened in 1983 after there were some very relevant archaeological discoveries made at the location, where originally there was to be a shopping mall built.
In the garden outside the museum, you can take a look at some stabilized archaeological remains including a necropolis, classic rampart and some port buildings.
9. Calanque en Vau
The Calanque d’en Vau is a national park in Marseille and is a very popular place due to the amazing landscapes which can be seen here. It is loved by both locals and tourists, especially because of the crystal clear, bright blue sea in the park.
There are many rocky walls here which are great for those with a love for climbing. The beautiful beach here is ideal for relaxing and soaking up the glorious sunshine that Marseille experiences in the summer time.
10. Calanque Port Pin
Another notable place which will bring you back to nature is Calanque de Port Pin where visitors can take part in a great amount of activities. These activities come in the form of hiking and climbing, cycling or swimming.
If you like to get active then this is a great place to do it. With gorgeous views over the rocky cliffs and the sea, this place is a real treat. And for those of your who just want to relax, why not sit on one of the delightful sandy beaches that can be found here.
11. Restaurant Michel
This is a restaurant which has received absolutely astounding reviews. It is a restaurant which specializes in seafood and since the 1940s, their expertly trained chef has prepared fish dishes that leave nothing to be desired.
The eatery serves both regional and speciality dishes giving you a flavor for both local and national cuisine.
12. Orange Velodrome
Are you a fan of sports? If so, then why not take a tour of the Orange velodrome which is the main stadium in Marseille. Visitors can take a guided tour of the venue and get to see behind the scenes in the changing rooms as well as having the chance to explore the football pitch.
You can also take a look at the many trophies which are housed here for various sporting achievements. The stadium is used for a variety of sporting events but it is also known for holding concerts. Why not check out which events are taking place here during your stay in the city.
13. Colorbus Marseille
If you would prefer to see the sights that Marseille has to offer from the comfort of a vehicle then perhaps the colorbus is for you. These double decker buses run at various times throughout the day and provide visitors with a great opportunity to explore the city with a guide.
14. Porte d’Aix
The Porte d’Aix is a triumphal arch which is located at the place where it used to serve as an entrance into the city of Marseille on the road from Aix-en-Provence. The arch was built in the 1700s and is a great monument to view for those who are interested in architecture.
It is a monument which has a lot of history behind it and for this reason it has become one of the most prominent tourist spots in the city.
15. Magic Park Land
Are you travelling as a family with children? If you are, then you will know the importance of making sure that the kids have something interesting and exciting to do. This need could not be better attended to than with a visit to the Magic park land which is a theme park based in Marseille.
There are a variety of rides here for people of all ages, including thrill rides for the bigger ones and some smaller rides for the little kids. The park is set in a lovely sea side location and also houses a variety of shops and places to eat.
A visit to the French city of Marseille is certainly one which many tourists will love. With so many things to see and do here, it could become a little overwhelming, but this guide to the very best that Marseille has to offer will hopefully help you to narrow down your choices.
Whether you love a little bit of history or perhaps you prefer trying local cuisine, you are guaranteed to find plenty of activities that will appeal in this historical place. Marseille is a great place for anyone including lone travelers all the way through to families taking their annual vacation.
Last Updated on March 22, 2023