There are so many stunning places to visit in the South of France that you can’t really go wrong anywhere along the Coté d’Azure. I only had a week to explore the coastline before traveling to Spain so I spent quite a few weeks planning out a solid itinerary of must-see locations. Cassis caught my attention after seeing photos of the Calanques National Park, a series of gorges with turquoise Mediterranean beaches in the valleys between. For those who are looking to escape the city hustle, Cassis has the perfect mix of quaint, small coastal town vibes and relaxed luxuries.
The park entrance for the Calanques is about a 30-minute walk from town – uphill. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time and be prepared to get lost, there is very little signage that helps directs you to the park. After a few trial and errors, I discovered that all the roads more or less end up at the park entrance if you know the general bearing that you need to go.
I had heard about how picturesque the gorges are from people in town who would also rave about how enjoyable the hike in the park was. Let me tell you – I would not call that a “hike.” If I can be dramatic for a second, it felt more like an incredibly long journey to the end of the earth. I like to think of myself as a fairly accomplished hiker, but that was a challenge! I would not recommend getting to the gorges by foot unless you are in prime condition, instead, there are many boat tours available from the harbor in town that offers options to see 1, 2 or all 3 Calanques.
For the duration of my time in Cassis, the National Park was closed due to high winds. I was super bummed that I wouldn’t get to see them before heading out to Barcelona, so my partner and I tried one last time before our departure, early in the morning. After struggling with the “hike” portion, we got to the first Calanque and because it was so early, the turquoise waters were in the shade.
Our accommodation at Cassis Hostel felt more like staying in a private french villa than a hostel. Complete with an infinity pool, free breakfast, and sea views, the hostel was ideally located about 10-minutes from the center of town.