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Cassis is a dreamy port town along the French Riviera full of colorful buildings, steep, limestone cliffs, and crystal-clear water. There are so many incredible things to do in Cassis, so when I heard it was called the “poor man’s Saint-Tropez,” I was surprised.
This beautiful village is so rich in beauty but had humble beginnings as a fishing town. Now, it is a lovely weekend getaway for families, couples, and more in the area!
But the best part is that it still has a level of low-keyness that places like Cannes, Marseille, and Nice don’t. Yes, those places are great in their own ways, but upon gazing across Cassis during a sunset on the beach, it quickly became my favorite stop during my 7-Day Provence road trip.
This is why I’m here to let you know the top Cassis, France things to do so that you have the most amazing visit there!
17 Incredible Things to do in Cassis, France
From beaches to the old city, these are the best things to do in Cassis, France!
1. Port de Cassis
Located in between the Calanques National Park and Cap Canaille is the colorful Port de Cassis.
Here you’ll find several cafes with outdoor dining, boats ranging from speedboats to tiny painted boats with “Cassis” written on them, and the most vibrant buildings.
It also has stunning views of the water and the Chateau de Cassis.
This is a great place to stroll along, stop in a cafe, or grab a gelato on a hot day.
2. Old Town Cassis
The town itself has likely been inhabited since around 600-500 BC by the Lingures and has been a fishing village for centuries, so the port is where a lot of life and history took place.
But surrounding the port is the old town of Cassis. Cobbled streets, small alleys, and sun-drenched buildings all make up the stunning old town. Here you’ll find cute shops, lively cafes, and even a lovely plaza that hosts part of the farmers market and the beautiful La Fontaine Baragnon.
You could spend a bit of time just wandering around the streets of the old city.
3. Cassis Market
Located along Place Baragnon, Rue Alexandre Gervais, Place Clemenceau, and Rue de l’Arene is the farmers market that takes place between 8 am-12:30 pm on Wednesdays and Fridays.
With fresh fruits and veggies, as well as cheeses, meats, flowers, and locally made products, this is one of the Cassis, France tourism must-dos if you’re here during the week!
4. A Boat Ride Along the Calanques is One of the Top Things to do in Cassis
Located between Marseille and Cassis is Calanques National Park. The Calanques are steep, limestone cliffs with a deep valley below that make a cove merging with the sea. There are several of these hidden coves, and you can take a boat ride to see a lot of them!
You can hire a boat if you wish with its own skipper, and you can enjoy them at your own pace and go swimming!
But if you just want to check them out (and save money), there is an option to do a group tour of the various Calanques from Cassis.
Just next to the port is a stand where you can purchase boat tickets to ride around the Calanques. Just an FYI, the tour is in French, but you can visit 3, 5, 8, or 9 Calanques via the boat tour.
The 3 calanques tour visits Port Miou, Port Pin, and En Vau. The 5 calanques tour adds on L’Oule and Devenson, and the 8 calanques tour adds on Sugiton and Morgiou. Lastly, if you choose the 9 Calanques tour, you’ll also add on Sormiou.
These all vary in price and time, with the shortest visit being around 45 minutes for 3 Calanques or 1 hour 50 minutes for 9 Calanques. We did 5 on our boat tour and it was stunning! And at around 65 minutes, there was plenty of time to enjoy the views.
5. Hike Along the Calanques
Just know the Calanques National Park is a huge attraction for Cassis, so there are many ways to see them. Aside from either renting a boat or taking a boat tour, you can also hike to some of the Calanques from Cassis!
You can reach Calanque de Port Miou, Port Pin, and En-Vau from Cassis on a 4.8-mile challenging hike round-trip, especially if you make the descent to En-Vau. This should take about 3-4 hours round-trip unless, of course, you stop and hang out at the beaches!
Be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks, as well as sunscreen, as you’ll be in direct sunlight for a lot of the hike. And be sure to bring things you’d need for a beach day if you stop to swim!
But a bonus of hiking to the Calanques is the chance to stop and swim at these incredible beaches with fewer crowds than the beaches of Cassis.
6. Biking the Calanques
Aside from boating and hiking to the Calanques, you can opt for a bike tour. And luckily for you, there are bike tours with e-bikes, making it far less challenging.
This e-bike tour goes to 3 Calanques and stops at a beach for a dip in the Mediterranean Sea!
7. Kayak Tour
Okay, the last option for visiting the amazing Calanques is a kayak tour. Paddle along the coast and spot Port Miou, Port Pin, En Vau, and Essaidon as you partake in a half-day or full-day tour.
8. Château de Cassis
Perched atop a hill overlooking the town and sea, this fortress has origins dating back to the 5th Century! If only walls could talk, right?
The Chateau de Cassis has been through quite the history, including being home to many nobles before being invaded, abandoned, used in defense, purchased by a tobacco grower, and now, it is a guest house.
This massive beauty is great to see from afar, but, sadly, it is not open to public visits. You can, however, stay here as a guest! Prices start at around €350 per night.
9. Cap Canaille is One of the Best Cassis Attractions
The highest sea cliff in France happens to be a big focal point in Cassis. Aside from seeing this breathtakingly beautiful cliff from the town itself, you can enjoy views of Cassis and the sea below from the top.
There is a driving route called Corniche des Cretes that will take you there with stops along the way to enjoy all the views. Just be careful, as these are some tight roads!
10. Enjoy Cassis Wine
Being in Provence, and just France in general, you know there are vineyards close by! And there are actually 12 wine estates in the district of Cassis!
Thanks to being sheltered by Cap Canaille, this microclimate produces some seriously tasty wine. So if you love dry, fruity white and rose wines, this is something to add to your Cassis itinerary!
11. Beach Hop at the Best Beaches of Cassis
While not nearly as popular for its beaches as Cannes and Saint Tropez, that doesn’t mean this place isn’t brimming with iconic and stunning places to get some sun and swim.
And many are tucked away, so you’ll want to walk from the port to access these gems. Here are the Cassis, France beaches to visit:
- Plage de la Grande Mer
The first beach you’ll likely happen upon if you’re at the main port is Plage de la Grande Mer. This sandy beach is lined with places to eat and drink, and you can also rent a kayak here.
As a bonus, for families, this is a great beach as it has a lifeguard during the day.
- Plage du Corton
This beach we just happened upon from a car park. We parked at Parking Cassis La Madie and saw restrooms. But behind the restrooms was a pathway. Being curious, we wandered down it to this amazing tucked-away beach.
With views of the Cap Canaille and lovely clear water, this is a great little place to go if you want to avoid some of the crows at the other beaches. However, it isn’t hard to get here if you’re at the port or Plage de la Grande Mer. Just take the Promenade des Lombards.
- Plage de l’Arene
Just a bit further from Plage du Corton as you’re heading away from the port is Plage de l’Arene. This is another off-the-beaten-path beach in Cassis, so it’s great for escaping the crowds in the summertime.
This is another great rocky beach with even more incredible views of the Cap Canaille.
- Plage du Bestouan
I absolutely fell in love with this beach. We just happened upon this beach during sunset! This is a popular spot, and there is even a beach bar and restaurant for refreshments.
Plus, I really enjoyed climbing up the headlands next to the beach for incredible views of the sea and Cassis Lighthouse!
- Calanques Beaches
Then, of course, you’ll want to visit the beaches of Port Pin and En Vau to sunbathe and swim in the stunning waters of the Calanques. While there is a tiny beach at Port Miou, there are a ton of boats, so it can be a bit tricky. Instead, opt for the other Calanques!
Port Pin is easier to reach from parking at Port Miou, but it can be a trek to get down (and back up) En Vau. However, the beach here is absolutely worth it!
12. Go Diving!
Want to explore Calanques National Park even deeper? Why not go diving to spot the amazing flora and fauna of the Calanques?
Admire breathtaking coral and colorful fish as you dive into a super unique destination. Whether you’re certified or a beginner, they offer many options at Cassis Calanques Plongee.
13. Rock Climbing is One of the More Adventurous Things to do Near Cassis
If you’re a rock climber and you love the beach, why not combine the two with a visit to Cassis? With so many cliffs in Calanques National Park and Cap Canaille, you can climb to your heart’s content! Here is even a rock climbing tour.
14. Take the Tourist Train
Yes, we know this is a bit touristy, but for things to do in Cassis with kids, this is a fun idea. Known as Le Petit Train Touristique de Cassis, you can purchase tickets at the port across from the Tourism Office, and take this tiny train around Cassis.
The train has commentary in both French and English, and it lasts about 45 minutes.
15. Catch a Stunning Sunset
There isn’t a bad place to catch a sunset in Cassis! Whether you want to view it from Cap Canaille, the port, the beaches, or even the Cassis Lighthouse, there is nothing better than having a drink and watching as the sun sets with views of the sea and town.
16. Celebrate Cassis Festivals
Like any French town, you know they have some great celebrations to partake in. Here are some you’ll want to mark your calendar for!
- Cassis Wine Festival
Wine tastings, delicious food, a parade, folk dancing, and more make the Cassis Wine Festival, celebrated in September, well worth it.
- Feast of Fisherman and the Sea
Being a historic fishing village, you know they have to have a festival to honor their traditions. The last weekend of June is the celebration of fishermen and the sea, where there is a blessing of Saint-Pierre in the Church of Saint Michel followed by a procession down to the boats to bless them.
- Provincial Christmas Market
And around the holidays, there is a Christmas market in Place Baragnon with locally made crafts and treats.
17. Day Trips From Cassis
There are quite a few places that you can visit from Cassis for the day. Some great ideas are to visit cities like Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, and Marseille.
Or you can enjoy the sights (and lavender in the summer) of the villages of the Luberon like Gordes, Roussillon, Lourmarin, Bonnieux, Menerbes, etc.
You also could make a day trip out of visiting the Camargue Natural Regional Park for its stunning scenery and wildlife or the Saint-Baume Natural Regional Park for great hiking and cliffs.
When to Visit Cassis, France
Is there really a bad time to visit Cassis? I mean, the south of France has pretty good weather year-round. But there are some super busy times to be aware of if you’re planning your trip to Cassis.
For starters, for beach time, you’ll want to aim between May and October. However, from June-September, it can get crowded, especially on weekends. Parking can be an absolute nightmare during that time too.
So if you want to enjoy Cassis without as many people, May and October is the best time to visit for good weather and fewer crowds. Again, though, weekends and holidays can be a bit busy.
And if you want a bit of sunshine and don’t need to swim, the off-season, or November through April is a great time to visit!
How to Get to Cassis, France
The easiest way to get to Cassis is to drive. We rented a car during our trip through Provence and were able to snag parking decently close to the port on a Sunday in October. However, parking can be a challenge in the summer and on many weekends. Note that parking in the city is paid to park, but it isn’t terribly expensive.
Thankfully, on busier days, you can park at Parking relais des Gorguettes outside the city and take the shuttle bus in. Parking is free, but the shuttle costs about €1.60 round-trip for a ride.
You can also take the train to Cassis, but the station isn’t in the city center. So you’ll need to take a shuttle in from there.
Lastly, there is an option to do a day trip through a group tour from Aix-en-Provence.
Best Places to Stay in Cassis
While a day trip is pretty sufficient to see the ins and outs of Cassis, if you prefer to make it a beach vacation and stick around a while, here are some great hotels:
There are a lot of great VRBO options under $100 per night, like this amazing apartment with incredible views!
Mid-Range: Hotel Les Volets Rouges – Cassis
With chic rooms, terraces, and beautiful views, you’ll fall in love with this hotel. It is just outside the town, but it is a lovely place to stay if you want to stick around Cassis and have a car for exploring!
Luxury: Hotel Les Roches Blanches Cassis
Located super close to Plage du Bestouan, you’ll be in the perfect spot for sunbathing, sunset watching, and just exploring the town of Cassis itself. The hotel offers several rooms and suites, some with ocean views and terraces. You’ll also love their spa, infinity pool overlooking the sea, and many restaurants to enjoy.
Luxury: Chateau de Cassis
I couldn’t forget to mention that you can also stay at the Chateau de Cassis! This luxury guesthouse has all the views and feels secluded on top of the hill. Enjoy one of their suites, and their lovely pool, and learn more about the history of the estate!
These are the best hotels in Cassis for your dreamy vacation!
These are hands down the best things to do in and around Cassis, France for your ultimate trip! Whether you’re stopping in for a day or hanging out for a while, Cassis is a Mediterranean dream that you’ll want to visit ASAP.
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