Welcome to the Marseille you don't expect, made of beaches, sun and simply irresistible coastal languages where you can enjoy a holiday in full Mediterranean style. Here the water is blue and the convivial climate will make you want to take a long holiday full of fun and relaxation.
If you have chosen to visit Marseille to immerse yourself in the history of one of the most interesting cities in the world, you'll want to take a look at some of the most beautiful beaches in the area, which we at Costa Cruises have selected for you:
- Prophet's Beach
- Prado Beach
- Catalan Beach
- Pointe Rouge Beach
- Sainte Croix Beach
- Monkey Bay
- Malmousque Beach
- Anse de la Maronaise
- L'Estaque Beach
- Sausset-les-Pins beaches
- Cassis Beaches
- Ensues-la-Redonne beaches
- Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer beaches
- Carry Le Rouet Beaches
- La Ciotat Beaches
- Espiguette Beach
- Beaches of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
- Piemanson Beach
- Bonnieu Beach
In the heart of La Corniche stands one of the few precious sandy beaches of Marseille: You have come to Plage du Prophète, the Prophet's beach. It is one of the oldest coastlines of the city and also one of the most loved and popular. Very popular in summer, you will be surprised to discover that residents and tourists love to come here even in winter, taking long walks with their camera to hand.
The sandy seabed welcomes you with a very gentle drop-off, which allows you to touch the bed to a decent distance from the shore. Another point in favour of the beach of the Prophet, which is also perfect for families with children. And if after a swim you want to entertain yourself along with the other holidaymakers, you can always join one of the many games of beach volleyball that are regularly organised along the coast.
If you prefer relaxation and comfort, you're still in the right place. The establishments on this beach are equipped with public bathrooms, changing rooms, showers and, of course, bars and restaurants on the coast where you can enjoy some of the typical traditional local dishes.
In the morning, Prophet’s beach is mainly populated by families with children. In the afternoon the area tends to come alive with many locals, who come here for find refuge from the chaos of the city. In the evening, however, leave room for the young people, who arrive en masse to enjoy an aperitif and the sea breeze.
With miles of coastline disappearing beyond the horizon, the long Prado beach was developed in 1970 with the aim of lending practical use to a little-used and little-frequented area. Prado beach has become an important attraction for tourists, who visit this location every year attracted by the particularity of the place. The Prado Park beaches have in fact been artificially obtained from the sea as a result of the construction of the city's subway network, and attract almost 4 million curious visitors every year. With its 3 1/2 kilometres, Prado beach is the largest in all of Marseille – made up of a series of smaller beaches and each equipped with a unique identity. There is something for all tastes, in short.
At the Prado, you can not only spend a spectacular beach day of sun, blue sea, surfing and windsurfing, but you can also enjoy the beauties of the natural park equipped with gardens, benches, dining areas, play parks with children's rides and a skateboarding area. This way, all family members can enjoy their favourite activity.
Welcome to Plage des Catalans, Catalan beach. This spectacular location is a short walk from Vieux Port in Marseille, and attracts tourists with its distinctive horseshoe shape, good sea and reputation that has built up over the years. It is called "Catalan" because a group of fishermen from Catalunya landed here in the 17th century, taking refuge in an old hospital. The same beach appears in the third chapter of the famous book The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Towards the end of the 19th century, the fishermen were no longer there, but the area around their accommodation was populated carrying on the history of their settlement.
For a short time, this was a beautiful private beach. In 2003, the property passed into the hands of the Marseille City Council, and now everyone can enjoy this spectacular stretch of coast with its white beach. The area is open and accessible to the public, but like each of the few sandy beaches of Marseille, tends to be quite crowded in the summer. Those who arrive outside the high season will be amazed by the tranquillity of the location, where you can find full relaxation and take amazing photos of the Riviera French.
You arrive at Catalan beach in about a 15-minute walk from Vieux Port. Access to the beach is only possible via a flight of stairs.
Pointe Rouge Beach
The beach of Pointe Rouge is located in the east of the city of Marseille and is one of the largest in its area. While not having the luxuriness of a tropical coast, such as a transparent sea plunging itself into the reef or coconut palms that shade you, Pointe Rouge is a perfect location to relax and have fun in company.
Despite being wider than Catalan beach, this small stretch of coastline tends to be very crowded – especially during the summer. When the mistral wind rises, the beach is less crowded and usually welcomes many surfers who can't wait to dive into the water to try to tame the perfect wave.
Sainte Croix Beach
Sainte Croix beach is a little piece of heaven near Martigue, a few kilometres west of Marseille. It is a beautiful, sandy location surrounded by rocks, where bathing is a real pleasure. Not as many people come here as Catalan beach for example, and although it is a very small cove, the spectacle that awaits you is superb. The sand, white and well maintained, is soft on contact and offers a perfect bedding to rest on during long days at the beach. You can stroll along the whole stretch and enjoy the sea breeze, or explore the surroundings with small hikes and, of course, take a stroll to some of the local restaurants.
Sainte Croix beach is also known by the name of Saulce Beach and is used in off-season times for filming a popular French television show, "Camping Paradis".
We are in Marseille, but still for little. Welcome to Baie des Singes, i.e. the well-known Monkey Bay. Once you arrive at the site you will see a sign that seems to be planted in a build-up of lunar rocks. This is your personal welcome to Monkey Bay, which is about 250 metres away from the road and offers a one-of-a-kind spectacle.
The Bay looks silently towards the Ile de Maire, a small natural paradise easily accessible by a boat trip that you can book here. It owes its name to the fact that the rocky nature of this beach offered a protected access point to Marseille, where smugglers had easy lives. Children who roamed the area or worked here were told to "stay silent like monkeys" about the illicit trades they witnessed. The beach is dotted with white rocks typical of the coves and offers a view of the Mediterranean that is very different from the one you can have, for example, by going to Prado beach.
Another note of merit for the Bay of The Apes are certainly the restaurants in the area. In addition to being able to enjoy a fabulous Bouillabaisse, come here for enjoy the freshness and goodness of grilled fish, the perfect conclusion for a day of sea and sand.
Malmousque is a village in the seventh Arrondissement that gives its visitors some unique glimpses of what the city was like at the time of its founding. Get lost in the neighbourhood's narrow slopes, such as "Rue va à la Calanque," and you'll reach a small cove or a magnificent fishing harbour. The district is quiet and relatively unpopular with tourists. That's why it's worth a visit!
The Malmousque beaches offer a privileged view of the Endoume Archipelago, on Degaby Island, and are the backdrop to some of the area's most distinctive – and delicious – seafood restaurants. Here the waters are clear and calm, and the bathing areas are much less frequented than those of the popular Prophet’s or Catalan beaches.
Come here if you want to enjoy a day of peace at the beach, in the hot sun, or if you have a real passion for fishing. Go to Petite Niche or the beach of La Fausse Monnaie and enjoy some of Malmousque's most exclusive locations.
Anse de la Maronaise
You are just a few kilometres from Cap Croisette, between Les Gourdes and Monkey Bay. Welcome to the Beach of Anse de la Maronaise, once known for its famous nightclub – now dismantled – and now famous for its almost lunar-like beach.
If you want to find a place in La Maronaise, during the summer, you will have to wake up early in the morning and plant your parasol before everyone else. The area, in fact, is relatively small, and tends to get very crowded during peak hours. The Maronaise is mainly frequented by Marseilles locals; tourists tend not to know it, but it's a shame. The landscape dotted with rocks and shrubs offers a perfect location for a dip with the whole family.
The Maronaise is also the perfect place for lovers of scuba fishing and diving. Come here to admire the wreck of the "Mahonne", a boat that has been lying on the seabed of this beach for over 50 years, a few tens of metres from the entrance to the small gulf. Florists can come here to admire the specimens of Erica Multiflora, a beautiful icon that grows only in the period between October and November.
The extraordinary Estaque beach is an authentic paradise of rocks and vegetation overlooking the north part of Marseille. Despite being close to the Mediterranean Sea and the city buildings, these rugged and jagged beaches offer a fabulous retreat for tourists looking for quiet and, at the same time, clean water for a great swim. The sand is well maintained, the access is very comfortable and you can enjoy a magnificent privileged view of Marseille at any time of the year.
Between dips, don't miss the opportunity to take a ride to the the village of Estaque. Over the centuries, this magnificent location has been a source of inspiration for many artists, painters and writers – and it's no accident. In addition to being the setting for a famous Robert Guédiguian film, Estaque has worked hard to preserve its typically Provencal charm and not succumb to the practical needs of tourism.
You have to come to the Estaque if you're a sailing fan, looking for personalities to share your great hobby with. In addition, here you can enjoy some of the best panisses in Marseille. Enter one of the many bistros or restaurants of the place and enjoy a menu of local delicacies made from fresh fish.
L’Estaque consists of three main beaches frequented mainly by families. The sea is calm and suitable for children too, and on the right days is considered to be one of the areas with the cleanest waters of the city.
Welcome to the Blue Coast, and in this case to the resort of Sausset-les-Pins, where some of the most beautiful and important seaside areas in the surroundings of Marseille lie. 30 minutes from the centre are the small beaches sheltered by the currents that, every year, make thousands of tourists fall in love. Let's start for example from Baumettes beach, east of Sausset-les-Pins, on the side of Carry le Rouet. This spectacular coastal area is sandy and beautiful, but tends to be very busy in the summer. Its great advantage is its accessibility and the presence of countless restaurants, which make the stay a real paradise.
We continue with the beach of Le Four à Chaud, which you will meet on the road leading from Sausset-les-Pins to La Couronne. This wonderful stretch of stony coast is particularly loved by tourists, who await the beautiful season to lay out their beach towel here.
Let's then move on to Le Petit Nid, another exquisite pebble beach that you will meet on the way to La Couronne. This is the ideal location for a dip and for underwater fishing, being one of the favourite spots of sea urchins.
Then let's move on to Le Grand Rouveau, a small pebble, accessible one down one staircase.only.
La Corniche is another famous beach in the resort of Sausset-les-Pins. This too is paved with pebbles and offers the public a range of amenities such as public bathrooms, changing rooms, first aid area and, last but not least, seaside restaurants.
So let's get to Le Ports, where a beautiful pebble beach offers the bravest tourists a place to rest away from the crowds. Beware, however, as this area is not guarded by lifeguards.
The honourable mention of Sausset-les-Pins goes however to Le Grand Nid, a beach located a few dozen metres from Le Petit Nid, which offers a seabed paved with rocks and a well-protected rock inlet.
We are referring to the famous words of Frédéric Mistral, the famous Provencal poet, to describe in a few words the splendours that await you at the Cassis beaches: "Anyone who saw Paris and not Cassis, didn't see anything". And according to the number of tourists who flock to this quaint port village every year, Mistral was right! Cassis and vast landscape made of gorges, cliffs, coves and lots, lots of sun. It is one of the peak locations of beach tourism in Marseille and, indeed, of the whole of France. Its picturesque harbour offers a beautiful picture of what it must have been like to live here several decades ago.
Cassis is a very small city that sees the number of inhabitants grow dramatically in the summer. While Cassis once lived mainly in fishing, tourism is now driving the economy – being also one of the oldest and most extensive ports of antiquity.
History also states that the rocks that form the basis of the Statue of Liberty of New York are from Cassis. But Cassis was born well before that moment. The first traces of this city can be found in a cave not far away, the Cosquer. In the 15th century, the city became part of Provence, but until the 17th century its beauty did not really blossom.
Be enchanted by the beauty of the harbour, where you can stop at one of the bars or restaurants to enjoy the typical local cuisine, and order a bottle of Sauternes or Chateauneuf du Pape, the two typical names of the city. At this point you just have to take a tour amongst the ravines: Cassis is full of coves and small beaches that offer shelter, serenity and sun to tourists eager for a day of relaxation. The best beaches are reached after a small climb, but it's really worth it. Be sure to bring your equipment with you for snorkelling: The turquoise waters of Cassis are the perfect location to dive and discover the seabed.
Welcome to Ensues-la-Redonne, a typical Blue Coast village ready to make you lose your mind because of its extraordinary charm. It is famous for its port, for the ravines and the pebble beaches line it, embellishing a coast that already makes you want to work your camera to full capacity. Make a stop at Petit Méjean to enjoy a Provencal-style cliff from which to sunbathe and dive – with caution. This isn't exactly a family-friendly location, but we recommend a trip to Petit Méjean for diving enthusiasts: the biodiversity of the seabed around here will leave them breathless.
Two kilometres from Ensues-la-Redonne, however, there is Grand Méjean, where tourists are greeted by a beautiful port and a summer restaurant. Here, too, the rocks are the master and offer perfect shelters for enjoy a spectacular day of sun and sea.
Last but not least is the Erevine cove, considered undoubtedly to be one of the most beautiful areas on the Blue Coast. It takes about an hour's walk to get there, but every single step is worth the difficult path that separates you from one of Provence's most magical destinations.
Come to Marseille for history, stay for good food and beaches that know how to conquer a place in your heart and, with a bit of luck, also in your camera’s memory. Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer is a popular destination amongst beach holiday enthusiasts, and offers unique establishments and landscape views in the south of France. The beaches here almost all boast the blue flag for water quality, and swimming is a real pleasure.
Let's for example take a trip to Les Cailloux Plats, towards La Ciotat. This spectacular cobblestone beach is unpopular as it's a bit apart from the others, but it's really worth a visit. Also La Reinette deserves every minute of your time: located on the left side of the port of La Madrague, is perfect for families with children and boasts large shady stretches especially during the morning.
Take a trip to Les Lecques, the most famous beach in Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer: with its 2 kilometres of sand and pebbles, it offers a corner of paradise suitable for all needs. The water is shallow and warm, and the most intrepid can also try their hand at renting pedalling, kayaking, or paddle surfing.
Go to La Madrague, Brameou Creek, Port Alon and La Moutte, the show will leave you breathless.
Carry Le Rouet Beaches
Beaches of La Ciotat
Beaches of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
Bonnieu Beach is located in Bonnieu Bay and offers a refreshment area for all tourists and residents who want to enjoy a sun and sea holiday just a few kilometres from the historic centre of Marseille. Come here to lay down your beach towel on fantastic sand in a very quiet coastal area, where swimming is a pleasure and activities are aplenty. Stop to watch the sunset at one of the many local restaurants.
Depart for Marseille with Costa Cruises
If you've never seen the beautiful beaches near Marseille, such as Prophet's beach, book your holiday with Costa Cruises! Sand, sun, surf and lots of happiness await you in this extraordinary place