Located on the western edge of the Côte d’Azur, between Marseille and Toulon, the charming Port of Cassis is home to an array of stylish cafés and restaurants which attract well-to-do Marseillais every weekend. The town is well-known for its wine production and serves as a gateway to the nearby Calanques National Park. Cruise ship passengers arriving here on tender boats can admire the historic and pastel coloured buildings of the Old Town before enjoying a typical Provençal lunch overlooking the harbour. Frequent boat trips along the fjord-like coastline are very popular as well as wine tours of the local vineyards.
Port of Cassis
The Port of Cassis is a popular shore excursion for passengers on vessels docking at various ports along the French Riviera including Marseille, Toulon, La Seyne-sur-Mer and Bandol. Its ancient fishing port cannot accommodate cruise ships so they drop anchor offshore and tender their passengers to a pier in the heart of the town centre. The charming Old Town is easily accessible on foot.
Transport to Cassis from Marseille Airport
Travellers who are meeting up with a cruise ship at one of the ports of the French Riviera will most likely be arriving in France through Marseille Provence Airport which lies 55km north-west of the Port of Cassis. There are buses and trains from the airport into the centre of Marseille from where trains run to Cassis, Bandol and Toulon.
A far more convenient option for cruise ship passengers is to pre-book a private transfer from Marseille Airport to Cassis with Shuttledirect. This company specialises in airport transfers and can provide transport to all ports and holiday destinations along the Côte d’Azur.
Getting Around in Cassis
There are Boat Tours from the port which visit the nearby calanques as well as a Petit train de Cassis which runs from outside the tourist office on the harbour (Quai des Moulins) to the peninsula overlooking the Calanque de Port-Miou. Passengers travelling along the coast towards Marseille or Toulon can do so from La Gare de Cassis (Quartier de la gare) train station which lies 4km inland from the harbour.
Main Tourist Attractions
The village surrounding the port of Cassis is a lovely place to take a short stroll during your time ashore. Its main historical attractions include the 14th century Château de Cassis which is an upmarket B&B overlooking the port from the east. In the village itself the church of Paroisse de Cassis (2 Rue Abbé Paul Mouton) and the Bibliothèque municipale (22 Avenue Dr Emmanuel Agostini) are well worth a visit. Other attractions include the local Provençal market which is held every Wednesday and Friday morning and the proximity to some lovely beaches including Plage de la Grande Mer which lies just a short stroll to the south of the port.
Shore Excursions From Cassis
For most visitors to Cassis it is not the charming village which serves as the main attraction but the Calanques which lie along the coast. A calanque is a common geographic feature along this coast of France which is formed when coastal erosion creates fjord-like inlets in the limestone cliffs. Between Marseille to the north-west and Cassis there are about twenty of these features with three of the most beautiful ones located close to Cassis. Cruise ship passengers arriving at ports along this coastline usually visit the calanques on boat trips which depart from the Port of Cassis although they can be reached on foot for those who come prepared.
Calanques by Boat: Boat tours of the calanques depart from Quai Saint Pierre in the Port of Cassis where small kiosks sell tickets for a range of tours with different operators. There are frequent departures on tours which last between 45 minutes and two hours. The shorter ones include visits to the three nearest calanques (Port Miou, Port Pin and En Vau) whilst the longer tours go as far as the Calanque de Sormiou which is the biggest calanque in the Calanques National Park. Visitors who are prone to sea sickness should be aware that the sea off this coast can get very rough.
Calanques on Foot: Few cruise ship passengers choose to hike to any of the calanques although it is an option. From the western edge of Cassis there’s a well-marked footpath which goes to the Calanque de Port-Miou (30 minutes). Serious hikers may be interested in continuing on to Calanque de Port Pin (60 minutes) or going as far as Calanque d’En-Vau which lies two hours from Cassis. In the scorching heat of summer walkers should come well prepared with hiking boots, sunscreen and plenty of water as there are no cafés en route.
Other than a visit to the calanques, the other major attraction of Cassis and its environs is the vineyards which produce small quantities of highly regarded white wines. Visitors can arrange to take wine tours of the region through their cruise line or with local agencies. Alternatively, there are a number of fine seafood restaurants in the port which serve the traditional Provençal fish stew known as ‘bouillabaisse’ accompanied by a few glasses of this local wine.
About Shuttle Direct
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