Hiking the Calanques in Marseille

Earlier this year, I managed to snag really cheap return flight tickets to Marseille, France which only costed £19.98! Right after two of my most important and difficult examination papers in early May, I embarked on my first solo trip outside of the U.K. to Marseille – the second biggest city in France.

I enjoy outdoor activities and hiking, so when I read about the Parc National des Calanques, I knew I had to go there to see the beautiful coves and crystal-clear waters for myself. There are a number of calanques (map here) in the south of Marseille, but many are not accessible by public transport.

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Sugiton.

After doing some research, I decided to start my hike at Calanque de Sugiton, as it seemed the easiest to get to by public transport. I used Google Maps to plan my route – I took the Metro to Rond-Point du Prado, then bus 921 to Luminy. The journey took around 40 minutes in total! Luminy is a university town. There is a trail to Sugiton which starts from Luminy and the paths are well-marked.

The weather was incredibly sunny that day, so I hiked from Sugiton, to Morgiou, then to Sormiou. I ended the hike at Sormiou because I knew that there was public transport from Sormiou back to Marseille’s city centre. (But do take note that the nearest bus station is an hour of uphill hike from Sormiou.) It was one of the most beautiful hikes that I have done! The view is truly spectacular, with the steep cliffs and limestone valleys, and blue waters. When you visit Marseille, I would highly recommend that you take a short trip out of the bustling port city centre, and visit the beautiful calanques to see a different side of Marseille!

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Tips:

  • The hike from Luminy to Sugiton is rather manageable. The paths are well-marked and easy to walk on.
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Even doggo could handle the Luminy – Sugiton walk.

  • The hikes from Sugiton to Morgiou, and Morgiou to Sormiou are more challenging. The trails can be steep and rocky, so a certain level of fitness would be required. I personally would not recommend doing the complete Sugiton – Morgiou – Sormiou trail in one go because it was exhausting, even for me, especially when the weather got very hot. Covering all three calanques meant hiking down to sea level, then back up to the top three times. At some points, I had to scramble up and down 80 degree ascends and descends, which was fun!
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This steep and rocky wall was a part of the trail.

  • I hiked alone, but I would recommend hiking with a buddy. Some parts of the trail were completely deserted, perhaps because it was not peak season when I was there. The Sugiton to Morgiou and Morgiou to Sormiou trails are not as well-marked, some areas had edges with sharp drops and the wind can be very strong, so it’s always safer if you have someone else with you.
  • Bring lots of water and enough food.
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Eating my canelé at Sugiton.

  • Bring sun protection – hats, sunglasses, sunscreen. For some reason, I thought that it wouldn’t be that hot in early May, so I didn’t bring a hat or sunglasses, and barely had any sunscreen on. It was horribly foolish of me and I ended up being so sun burnt. There is barely any shade at all, especially when you reach the top of the trails. With the scorching sun shining down on me, I felt like I was in the middle of a dessert by the sea.
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No shade at the top.

  • Access to the calanques is restricted in summer due to the risk of fire, so do check before heading there.

With that being said, I am so happy that I was crazy enough to hike Sugiton – Morgiou – Sormiou alone. The breathtaking views made it all worth it and the adventure made this trip like no other. After all, as Hellen Keller said, ‘life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all’. (;

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Easy and manageable paths to Sugiton.

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Morgiou.

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Sormiou from afar. 

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Crystal clear waters.

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I’m already craving for another adventure.

Until next time, stay hungry and keep exploring!