One of Provence’s prettiest coastal villages, Cassis enjoys an idyllic setting amid Mediterranean calanques (rock-sheltered coves), the Cap Canaille sea cliffs, and vineyard-carpeted hills. As well as beaches, a boat-filled harbor, and the historic Château de Cassis, the town also boasts ample boutiques, cafés, and hotels.
Many visitors explore Cassis as part of day tours from Aix-en-Provence. Tours typically incorporate either guided walking tours or free time in the town itself, as well as boat trips around Calanques National Park (Parc National des Calanques), stop-offs at Cape Canaille, and visits to wineries in either the Bandol or Cassis wine region. Some shore excursions from Marseille cruise port combine Cassis with nearby Aix-en-Provence.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Cassis is a must for scenery seekers, beach lovers, and wine enthusiasts.
- Plenty of restaurants along the Cassis waterfront serve fresh fish and local white and rosé wines.
- If you are planning to hike the calanques in summer, bring sunscreen, a hat, ample water, and sturdy footwear.
How to Get There
Cassis is situated in the South of France, about 18.5 miles (30 kilometers) from Marseille and 34 miles (55 kilometers) from Aix-en-Provence. From Marseille, ride the M8 bus or take the TER (regional train) from Saint Charles train station to Cassis. Cassis train station is about a 10-minute drive or short bus ride from the town center.
When to Get There
The best time to visit Cassis is in summer, when you can take full advantage of the area’s beaches and coves. Note that access to the calanques is occasionally restricted between June and September, based on the fire risk; check ahead before departing on a hike.
Exploring Calanques National Park
Cassis is the gateway to scenic Calanques National Park, a 199-square-mile (515-square-kilometer) swath of protected land incorporating upland massifs and parts of the Mediterranean coast, including the magnificent calanques. As well as presenting extensive hiking opportunities, the park can also be explored by boat tour. However you travel, look out for the park’s rare wildlife species, including ocellated lizards, which can reach 3 feet (1 meter) in length, and Montpellier snakes, which can grow up to 6.5 feet (2 meters) in length.