9 must-do things to do in Cassis

Visiter Cassis

Visiting Cassis: What are the best things to see and do in this Mediterranean gem?

Cassis… well, it’s the fruit of the blackcurrant bush, all right. But it’s also, and above all, a superb little fishing port located in the Bouches-du-Rhône department, some twenty kilometers east of the Marseille metropolis. The town is famous for its footpaths along the gigantic Cap Canaille, its calanques with their majestic cliffs plunging into deep blue waters, its round pebble beaches and the castle dominating the commune, but also for its adorable little port lined with multicolored buildings, cafés and succulent restaurants serving bouillabaisses, seafood and fish dishes!

Inland, vineyards produce the famous Cassis white wine, and numerous hiking trails await nature-lovers. Needless to say, whatever your ambitions, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to what to do in Cassis when you’re staying in the area!

To help you plan your vacation or weekend, Generation Voyage has put together a selection of must-do activities in one of the Mediterranean’s most beautiful small towns. Ready to go? Let’s get started!

1. Port-Miou cove

Calanque de Port-Miou, Cassis

Photo credit: Wikipedia – Nrocks75

What a charming little name! In fact, the calanque – a geological formation consisting of a steep-sided cove into which the sea plunges – of Port-Miou is the most easterly calanque on the coast between Marseille and Cassis: it’s located in the town of Cassis, which has three calanques, right at the entrance!

We’re telling you this because it’s a must-see when visiting Cassis: it stands out from the other calanques for its sheer size and particularly tortured relief! What’s more, this calanque is one of the only ones accessible by car… provided that visitors looking for something to do in Cassis have taken the trouble to park early in the morning in this popular natural area!

2. The little port of Cassis

Port de Cassis

Photo credit: Flickr – Patrick S.

When you come to visit Cassis, the first thing you’ll discover is the harbour: a charming little fishing port where the boats – the « pointus » – come every morning to sell fish and seafood at the fish market: a typical Provencal atmosphere guaranteed!

It’s also from here that you can organize an excursion with a local guide who will help you choose what to do in Cassis: hiking while discovering the hinterland, wine tasting or a lovely boat trip.

Cassis may have a charming little historic town center, but its port is the very soul of the commune: here, people meet, squabble, have a laugh or sip pastis in the shade of a parasol, enjoying the gentle southern lifestyle typical of southern towns.

3. A boat trip

calanques-pres-cassis

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Gaspar Janos

After strolling along the quays of the little port of Cassis, why not take the opportunity to rent a boat?

In fact, having your own small boat will enable you to explore the Mediterranean coastline, its creeks and beaches. You’ll have the opportunity to discover the landscape in a different way, as seen from the water. It’s the perfect way to round off your stay in Cassis!

4. Cassis market

What to do in Cassis when you need to do some food shopping? Visit the Cassis market, of course!

Located right in the center of town, on Place Baragnon, a stone’s throw from the fishing harbor, it takes place every Wednesday and Friday. Producers and merchants come to stock their stalls with succulent regional specialities, and here, good humor is the order of the day! While the place is particularly popular with tourists, prices remain reasonable and freshness is always the order of the day.

Try your hand at Provençal flavors, stock up on crudités and olive oil, and feast on the finest local produce while chatting with local shopkeepers: their joie de vivre is priceless!

5. The beaches

Plage de Bestouan, Cap Canaille, Cassis

When you’re looking for something to do in Cassis, you can also choose not to do anything at all. And that’s just what you need, especially in summer: the commune boasts several beaches, including Bestouan beach – located right next to the Port-Miou cove – Grande Mer beach – the largest and most touristy in the area – and Arène beach – the latter, with its pebbles, surely the quietest and least crowded.

After basking in the sun, it’s pleasant to grab a pair of flippers and a snorkel to discover the marine fauna of the surrounding rocks; depending on the season, it may even be possible to fish in these waters, which are teeming with rock fish.

6. Cape Canaille

Cap Canaille is only a few hundred meters high, but this reddish rocky promontory is definitely one of the best spots in the region! The panoramic view is well worth the effort, and can be reached via a lovely coastal path between Cassis and La Ciotat, where hiking enthusiasts visiting Cassis will appreciate the majesty of the place. In addition to the view of the calanques, you can get a real scare from the top of the famous Soubeyranes cliffs: with their 394-metre-high peak, these are the highest sea cliffs in France and among the most colossal in Europe.

If you’re looking for something to do in Cassis, you’ve come to the right place: Cap Canaille!

7. The little Cassis train

Petit train touristique de Cassis

Photo Credit: Facebook – CNC Cassis

An inexpensive, kitschy activity that’s sure to please even the youngest visitors, the Cassis mini-train is certainly one of the must-do attractions when you visit Cassis: from the tourist office on the fishing port, the mini-train takes you on a 45-minute tour of the area’s most beautiful spots.

This guided tour will enable you to learn more about the history of the commune, discover Bestouan beach and enjoy a stop on the Port Miou peninsula, before completing your journey by returning to the heights of the town. We recommend that you take advantage of this great opportunity for family relaxation to explore the region, so as to visit Cassis simply and without tiring under the blazing sun that reigns supreme during the summer.

8. Sea kayaking in the Calanques

Excursion en Kayak dans les Calanques de Cassis

Photo Credit: Flickr – akunamatata

As you’d expect, the splendid calanques can also be explored from the sea: the sheltered, often calm coves are easily accessible by sea kayak, and many tourists come to enjoy the beauty of the area for a refreshing nautical getaway!

Prepare yourself with a life jacket, sun cream and ice water and enjoy an unusual view of the Cassis coastline. When you’re looking for something to do in Cassis, this is obviously one of the most enjoyable activities to do! You don’t need to be athletic or particularly well-trained to enjoy yourself and get around easily, as handling a sea kayak is pretty straightforward. So don’t hesitate, set off to visit Cassis by paddle…

9. Scuba diving

Near the little fishing port, a stone’s throw from the tourist office, are the businesses and stands offering tourists visiting Cassis the chance to try their hand at diving. The sublime, unspoilt spots are particularly numerous in the area, and it’s great to be able to enjoy the cool Mediterranean waters on a hot day! The instructors accompanying you will explain exactly what you need to do and how to use your equipment, to ensure safe exploration for all. If you’d like to treat yourself to this extraordinary experience, don’t hesitate to consult the various packages and services offered directly by these experienced professionals!

How do I get to Cassis?

By plane

Cassis is just a few dozen minutes’ drive from Marignane international airport, which in turn is very close to Marseille, providing the metropolis with regular flights to destinations all over the world. If you’re visiting Cassis by air, you can rent a car or take a bus to the tourist town of Cassis, which is well served by shuttles and public transport!

In fact, our partner Ulysse will help you get there by finding you a flight at the best price.

By train

What’s more, the town has its own train station, Cassis, located on the line linking Marseille-Saint-Charles to Ventimiglia! Rail transport is therefore an easy and economical way to get to this pearl of the calanques.

By car

If, finally, you’d like to get to Cassis by car, and enjoy the freedom of the open road, you should know that while the roads leading to Cassis are particularly pretty – not surprising, given the beauty of the place – they can get very busy in summer… not to mention the fact that they can be difficult to get around and park: a good alternative is to rent a scooter. The choice is yours!

Where to stay in Cassis?

When you’re looking for something to do in Cassis, you also need to carefully plan your arrival and, consequently, the area/place in which to stay. In fact, you’ll find several types of accommodation to choose from, depending on your wishes and your budget: Cassis is a busy little town, especially during the summer season, so you’ll be able to take advantage of the many possibilities on offer to find a place to sleep.

Hotels are available in and around the commune, but as these are often overbooked by visitors, it may be worthwhile to check out the rooms available in Marseille or Aix-en-Provence, for example; we recommend that you discover the different possibilities using this hotel comparator. Campsites are also scattered around the countryside, and are ideal for enjoying the song of the cicadas while benefiting from a flexible and affordable solution. Finally, in this small fishing port, it can be useful to consult the offers proposed on rental platforms such as Airbnb: apartments, villas and studios are often proposed by owners eager to let tourists discover the area, and these ads can help you feel at home in Cassis!

That’s it! Now you know how to discover Cassis without getting in over your head, and make the most of your stay in this typically Mediterranean commune by deciding which activities will suit you best: so, which ones will seduce you when you come to visit Cassis?

Map of hotels and accommodation – Cassis