If you’re planning a trip to Marseille, France and wondering what to do in just 3 days, this guide is for you! Marseille is a vibrant coastal city with a rich history and culture, and there’s plenty to see and do in a short amount of time. In this guide, we’ll highlight the most important places to visit, offer tips on where to eat and stay, and suggest some free tours to make the most of your time in Marseille.
Day 1: Discovering Marseille’s Highlights
- Start your day at the Vieux-Port, Marseille’s old harbor and the heart of the city. Take a stroll along the waterfront and watch the fishermen bring in their catch of the day.
- Visit the Notre-Dame de la Garde, a stunning basilica located on a hill overlooking the city. The views from the top are breathtaking!
- Explore the Le Panier neighborhood, Marseille’s oldest district. Wander through the narrow streets, admire the colorful buildings, and stop for a coffee or a glass of pastis in one of the many charming cafes.
- End your day at the Mucem, the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations. The building itself is a work of art, and the exhibits are fascinating.
Day 2: Exploring Marseille’s Surroundings
- Take a day trip to the Calanques National Park, a stunning natural reserve located just outside Marseille. The park is famous for its dramatic limestone cliffs, crystal-clear waters, and hidden beaches. You can hike, swim, or take a boat tour to explore the area.
- Visit the Château d’If, a fortress located on a small island just off the coast of Marseille. The castle is famous for being the setting of Alexandre Dumas’ novel «The Count of Monte Cristo».
- Stop by the Stade Vélodrome, Marseille’s iconic soccer stadium. Even if you’re not a soccer fan, the atmosphere is electric on match days.
Day 3: Food and Wine in Marseille
- Start your day at the Marché des Capucins, a lively food market where you can find everything from fresh seafood to Provençal herbs and spices.
- Take a guided tour of the Château La Coste, a stunning vineyard located just outside Marseille. You’ll learn about the winemaking process and get to taste some of the best wines in the region.
- End your day at one of Marseille’s best restaurants, such as Le Petit Nice, La Table de Beaurecueil, or Le Café des Épices. Marseille is known for its seafood, so be sure to try some of the local specialties, like bouillabaisse or aioli.
Where to Stay in Marseille
Marseille has plenty of accommodation options, from budget hostels to luxury hotels. Here are some of our top picks:
- InterContinental Marseille – Hotel Dieu: This five-star hotel is located in a historic building overlooking the Vieux-Port. The rooms are spacious and luxurious, and the rooftop terrace has stunning views of the city.
- Hotel Hermes: This budget-friendly hotel is located in the heart of the city, just a few minutes’ walk from the Vieux-Port. The rooms are simple but comfortable, and the staff is friendly and helpful.
- Hostel Vertigo Vieux-Port: This hostel is perfect for budget-conscious travelers who want to be in the center of the action. It’s located just steps from the Vieux-Port and offers dormitory-style rooms and private rooms.
Where to Eat in Marseille
Marseille is a foodie’s paradise, with plenty of restaurants serving up delicious seafood, traditional Provençal dishes, and international cuisine. Here are some of our top picks:
- Le Petit Nice: This Michelin-starred restaurant is known for its innovative seafood dishes and stunning views of the Mediterranean.
- La Table de Beaurecueil: This charming restaurant is located just outside Marseille and offers a farm-to-table dining experience, with dishes made from fresh, local ingredients.
- Le Café des Épices: This casual eatery is located in the heart of the Le Panier neighborhood and serves up delicious Moroccan-inspired dishes.
Free Tours in Marseille
If you’re on a tight budget but still want to see the city with a local guide, there are several free tours available in Marseille. Here are a few options:
- Free Walking Tour Marseille: This tour takes you through the historic center of Marseille, with stops at the Vieux-Port, Le Panier, and the Mucem. The tour lasts about 2.5 hours and is available in English and Spanish.
- Calanques Free Tour: This tour takes you to the Calanques National Park, with stops at some of the most beautiful beaches and cliffs in the area. The tour lasts about 4 hours and is available in English and French.
- Street Art Free Tour: This tour takes you through the Cours Julien neighborhood, known for its vibrant street art scene. The tour lasts about 2 hours and is available in English and French.
What is the best time to visit Marseille?
The best time to visit Marseille is in the spring (March to May) or fall (September to November), when the weather is mild and the crowds are thinner. Summer can be hot and crowded, and many locals take their vacations in August, so some businesses may be closed.
Is Marseille safe?
Like any big city, Marseille has its share of crime and safety concerns. It’s important to take precautions, especially at night and in crowded areas. Stick to well-lit streets, avoid carrying valuables, and be aware of your surroundings. However, Marseille is generally a safe city for tourists, and with common sense and caution, you should have a great trip.
What should I pack for a trip to Marseille?
Be sure to pack comfortable walking shoes, as Marseille is a city best explored on foot. Sunscreen and a hat are also essential, especially in the summer months when temperatures can soar. It’s also a good idea to pack a light jacket or sweater, as evenings can be cool, even in the summer.
Marseille is a fascinating city with a rich history and culture, and there’s plenty to see and do in just 3 days. From exploring the historic Vieux-Port to hiking in the Calanques National Park to enjoying delicious seafood and wine, Marseille has something for everyone. With this guide, you’ll be able to make the most of your time in this vibrant coastal city.