How to Spend 3 Days in Marseille
With three days in Marseilles, you’ll have enough time to really soak in the flavor of the Mediterranean port city, visit nearby villages and natural wonders, and spend plenty of time at sea. Check out this itinerary to learn how to make the most of your time.
Day 1: Highlights of Marseilles
Start your first day in Marseille in the center of the action, the Old Port (Vieux Port) area on the edge of the Mediterranean. Many of the city's attractions are clustered in this area, from the Cantini Museum, a showcase of contemporary art in a 17th-century mansion, to the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations (MuCEM), which explores life in the Mediterranean from ancient times to the modern day. Grab lunch at one of the many sea-facing cafés—bouillabaisse is the most celebrated local specialty—then get out to sea with a tour to the Château d’If, a 16th-century island fortress that once served as a prison, or a sunset dinner cruise.
Day 2: Cassis and the Calanques
On your second day, explore the area around Marseille, starting with the Calanques. For the best views of these beautiful limestone cliffs, which line the coast between Marseilles and Cassis, take a boat trip between the two ports. Spend time in Cassis, people watching at Place Baragnon and learning about local history at the Cassis Museum of Art and Popular Traditions (Musée d'Art et Traditions Populaires de Cassis); also be sure to stop by Cap Canaille, France's highest sea cliff. In the evening, head back to Marseille to check out the Cours Julien area, a trendy neighborhood full of bars, restaurants, street art, and little shops. If you have the energy, stop by Espace Julien, a neighborhood venue that regularly hosts concerts and comedy shows.
Day 3: A Day in Provence
Spend your final day exploring the region of Provence, known for its excellent food and wine and beautiful lavender fields. Joining a tour allows you to experience Provence's famous wines without worry. Start with a visit to Aix-en-Provence, known for its cathedral full of 15th-century art and its atmospheric main drag, Cours Mirabeau. If you're visiting in summer, continue to the Vaucluse area to see the lavender fields in bloom. From here, head to the old papal town of Avignon to explore its historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Highlights include the city’s medieval ramparts, gorgeous cathedral, and enormous fortress palace.