Marseille travel guide

The Ultimate Marseille City Travel Guide

If you’re planning a trip to Marseille and want to know what to see, where to stay and where to eat then look no further with our ultimate travel guide!

Marseille is France’s second biggest city and whilst often overlooked by tourists, it’s an incredibly vibrant city with so much to offer. Personally I’m a huge fan – I love visiting in Summer and even off season in Winter. With plenty of cultural, outdoor and culinary activities there’s something for everyone in Marseille.

Read on and discover our in-depth guides on the city and our FAQ to help you plan your trip.

Why Should you Visit Marseille?

You might be here wondering if you should visit Marseille as, unlike Paris, it’s not as well known as a tourist destination.

Regardless of the season Marseille is a great city to visit for a weekend or longer if you want to visit the surrounding areas. It’s a charming Mediterranean city with a lot to do and is perfect for those wanting to eat, drink, explore and relax!

It may not have the glitz of its neighbouring cities in the riviera but it’s a genuine, vibrant, exciting place to be. Read on and check out our sub guides to learn more about what there is to do in Marseille.

What to Visit in Marseille

Planning your trip around sightseeing and exploring the winding streets of Marseille? There is plenty to visit in Marseille and the surrounding areas.

If you like getting outdoors and being in nature then the local Calanques are a must do. There’s also the beautiful islands of Frioul to explore which are accessibly by daily ferries from the Vieux Port. Want to stay in the city? Explore the old town by foot and then wander over the picturesque Port du Vallon des Auffes to try the local dish – Bouillabaisse.

Check out our guide below on our recommendations to what to see and do in Marseille city:

Where to Stay in Marseille

There’s some great boutique, luxury and budget hotels in Marseille located in some diverse and interesting neighbourhoods.

I would recommend staying in the areas around the Old Port, in the 1st, 2nd, 6th and 7th arrondissements. Avoid the northern arrondissements such as the 3rd, 13th, 14th and 15th.

If you’re looking for hotel recommendations check out our Best Hotels to Stay At in Marseille guide below:

Where to Eat in Marseille

Marseille has an incredible culinary scene which is bursting with talented chefs. There’s a whole array of superb restaurants to eat and I’ve tried a lot of them to make sure you’ll eat at only the best spots in the city.

If you’re looking for a casual restaurant to eat great food at from pizza to steak then check out our best restaurant guide below:

In the mood for something special? There are a lot of great fine dining restaurants in Marseille with a total of 15 Michelin Starred restaurants. Click below to discover our guide to the best Michelin star restaurants in Marseille:

Michelin Star Restaurants in Marseille

Looking to try the Marseille’s famous dish, Bouillabaisse soup, during your trip? You’ll find it everywhere in city but in my experience, only a few restaurants actually prepare it properly. Click below to read our guide on where to find the best Bouillabaisse in Marseille:

Where to find Bouillabaisse in Marseille

Cafes, Bars and Nightlife in Marseille

Alongside the buzzing culinary scene there’s also an amazing speciality coffee, natural wine and craft cocktail scene. Marseille is the city in the South of France for those wanting to drink great coffee, beer and wine with a really cool crowd.

If you’re a coffee fan then there’s good news – there’s a lot of really good speciality coffee shops. Click below to read our round up on the best spots to get your caffeine fix:

Into craft beer? There’s a lot of awesome beer bars in Marseille that you need to check out. Discover our favourite spots with our guide below:

Finally if you Natural Wine and Craft Cocktails are more your thing then don’t worry – there’s a thriving specialty drinks scene in Marseille too. Click below to read our guide on the best bars in the town:

Natural Wine & Craft Cocktail Bars in Marseille

Beaches in Marseille

A city trip to Marseille doesn’t just mean that you have to stay in the confines of the city centre. There’s a wealth of incredible beaches around Marseille from sandy spots to rocky outcrops perfect to let you enjoy the crystal clear water around the city. Marseille is a great destination if you want to relax and enjoy the sun and there are some hidden gems to explore. Click below to read our guide on the best beaches in Marseille:

Guide to the Best Beaches in Marseille

When is Best to Visit Marseille?

In my experience there isn’t really a bad time to visit Marseille. Unlike Paris, the winters in Marseille are generally very mild with temperatures ranging from 13-16c/ 55-43f from December to March. The Summer months are hot with most days hitting around 28-32c/82-90f.

For me, the best time to visit Marseille is in late spring or early fall. The temperatures are more tolerable than the scorching summer months and there’s a lot less people to contend with. It also means hiking and other outdoor activities such as exploring the Calanques are much easier compared to doing so in the hotter months.

Is Marseille Safe for Tourists?

This is a common question that I’m asked and unfortunately Marseille does have a reputation for being a dangerous city. However in reality it’s no more dangerous than other French cities as long as you avoid certain areas. Realistically if you’re visiting for a weekend you won’t be venturing into the poorer, residential areas where there are higher crime rates.

My advice is to stay within the central arrondissements around the Vieux Port and to avoid the Northern arrondissements (3rd, 13th, 14th and 15th). I’ve personally never had any problems in Marseille and neither have many friends who live there.

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