The best way to visit the coves of Marseille is, of course, by boat. SamBoat takes you on a deep dive of all the secrets of this region, and has prepared a Marseille dayboat route, which will dazzle young and old throughout the trip.
To make the most of this experience, we recommend that you plan to leave around 9am and return around 6pm, on a motor boat leaving from the Port of Marseille or Pointe-Rouge.
Discover the most beautiful coves and hidden treasures for a memorable day at the Parc national des Calanques (National Park of the Coves). Between land and sea, explore this region’s natural jewels with a boat rental in Marseille.
1) Port of Marseille → The Cove du Monastério in the Riou Archipelago
6.9 nautical miles, 28 minutes of navigation
Allow about 45 minutes of sailing before reaching the nature reserve of the Riou archipelago, the only uninhabited archipelago on the French mainland coast. After crossing the southern port of Marseille, the Passage des Croisettes is the gateway to the creeks. In this narrow and shallow passage, the seabed and the turquoise waters welcome you at the entrance to the massif of the creeks. Welcome to Paradise on Earth, and one of the best places to hire a boat in France.
Once on the island of Riou, head directly to the Cala de Monasterio, a white sandy beach with clear water in the north of the island where it is possible to swim.
Take advantage of the morning calm to enjoy a moment of solace, dive in the clear waters of the cove which is one of the most beautiful dive sites, or even just relax on the boat in a breathtaking environment, surrounded by wild and arid flora. Return to Cassis by 1pm, and depending on your appetite, you may decide to have lunch in the Riou archipelago before departing again, or on your boat at the next anchorage in the wonderful Vau Cove.
2) Cove du Monastério → Vau Cove
5 nautical miles, 20 minutes of navigation
Sail in a straight line towards Cassis for about 20 minutes. For the curious, it passes through the cove of Port Miou and then Port Pin, before dropping anchor in the cove of Vau, undoubtedly the most beautiful of all, boasting of the most grand of cliff walls.
This perfectly sheltered cove, sheltered from the wind, is worth anchoring in. It is also one of the coolest in summer. You can even see some wild boars swimming and sunbathing on the beach, making for a truly amazing sight!
At around 3pm, begin sailing towards Sormiou Cove.
3) Vau Cove → Sormiou Cove
3.4 nautical miles, 14 minutes of navigation
Before arriving in Sormiou, take a walk around the Morgiou Cove, a must-see mineral and aquatic paradise, where you can watch the waters change from emerald to turquoise. Right next door, enter the magnificent and vast Sormiou Cove, recognized as one of the cradles of scuba diving.
Again, without a doubt, you are in one of the most beautiful streams in the National Park. So while on your boat rental in France, grab your masks and snorkels, and immerse yourself in the translucent water. After this moment of bliss, refreshment and relaxation, go to the beautiful sandy beach and settle in a hut for a snack and enjoy the view.
4) Sormiou Cove → Ratonneau Cove in the Frioul Archipelago
10.7 nautical miles, 43 minutes of navigation
For the last stop before the end of the tour, head to the Frioul archipelago, where the Ratonneau Cove is located. This little known cove offers a breathtaking view of the port of Marseille and the If Castle. Its sandy bottom and transparent waters reflecting incredible shades of blue make for an amazing sight. This location is particularly appreciated by divers for its impressive aquatic fauna, and by nature lovers for the wild and preserved environment that the creek offers.
Access is a bit tricky as the road is a bit steep, but it is a guarantee of finding a little corner of paradise away from the hustle and bustle of the big beaches of the island. Those who prefer can choose to stop at the more easily accessible Frioul Port and enjoy an ice cream to end the day in style.
At 5:30pm, it is time to head back to the mainland after a dreamy day in the coves. It takes about 20 minutes to reach the Old Port of Marseille.
There are still many secret places to discover between Marseille and Cassis, so be warned, as you may want to charter a boat again to explore all the treasures this region has to offer.