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Marseille Travel Tips – Incredible French Harbor City

marseille travel tips
Marseille Travel Tips – Incredible French Harbor City

Marseille Travel Tips. An article sharing travel tips about visiting Marseille. How to get there and more…

mark ford

Mark Ford

It’s great to have you here searching for Marseille travel tips. Marseille is the oldest city in France and its largest commercial harbor on the Mediterranean. It’s believed that in 600 BC travelers from the Greek town of Focus founded the autonomous town of Messiah. In the Middle Ages the city’s main harbour was used by the Crusaders to embark on their journey to Jerusalem. It rivaled those of the maritime republics of Genoa Pisa and Venice. The cants of Provence first ruled here followed by the Anjou dynasty until Marseilles eventually came under the rule of the French crown. From which it was granted many privileges the developing city was awarded various trading monopolies by Ludwig XIV. Marseillaise was born and this multicultural harbour city soon gained the reputation of being a little dangerous and somewhat free and easy. But it has now grown into a magnificent coastal city from the distance one of Marseille’s main landmarks rises high above the harbour the seafarers.

Marseille Travel Tips – How To Get From The Airport To Marseille

When searching for Marseille travel tips, the city is served by Aéroport de Marseille Provence (MRS) which is located 27 km northwest of Marseille. It is the fifth busiest French airport by passenger traffic and according to the statistics from 2018, the airport handled over 9 million passengers. There are three effective and reasonably priced options getting you from the airport to Marseille, let’s look at those now. 

Airport shuttle bus

There’s a shuttle bus from Navette Marseilles Aéroport (line 91) to the Marseille Saint Charles (train station) which departs every 15-20 mins. A single ticket costs 8.30€ and you can buy tickets at the airport ticket counter and online from their website.


The closest train station to Marseille Airport is called Vitrolles-Aeroport Marseilles Provence station and there is a free shuttle bus that departs from bus platform nr.5 getting you there. A single train ticket for second class to Marseille costs €5.20. The train ride takes around 30 minutes.

Taxi service

There are 86 taxi cars at your disposal 24/7 from the airport. The price is around 50-60€ to Marseille city center and it takes around 25 minutes.

Marseille Travel Tips – How To Get Around Marseille

When searching for Marseille travel tips and how to get around Marseille, the best way to get around Marseille is on foot, a lot of the neighborhoods are pedestrian-friendly and easy to navigate. However, the metro and tram lines are fast, affordable and efficient ways of getting around, too. Taxis (or Uber) are another option, but are a more expensive option. The city’s bike-sharing program is the cheapest (and most fun?) transportation option.

marseille city

Marseille City


Marseille is very walkable, a lot of its neighborhoods, including Vieux Port and Le Panier, are best experienced on foot. If you buy the Marseille City-Pass, a walking tour of the city is included in the price. 


Cycling is a pleasant and cost-efficient way of getting around Marseille, and so is using the city’s bike-sharing program, Le Vélo. You can sign-up online for just €1 and access the bikes as many times as they want within a seven-day period. The first 30 minutes of each ride is free. Visitors who have the City-Pass get the first hour of each ride free.

Public Transport  

Régie des Transports Métropolitains – or RTM, for short is Marseille’s public transportation system and includes a two-line metro system, a couple of tramway lines and a network of buses. The metro’s M2 line, which travels north to south through downtown Marseille, as well as the tram’s T2 and T3 lines, covers downtown as well, and tend to be some of the most convenient for travelers. 

A single ticket on metro, tram or bus costs €1.60 and if you plan on using public transportation more frequently, buying a TransPass rechargeable card or a City-Pass, which offers unlimited trips and is sold in 24-, 48- and 72-hour increments makes sense. 

Best Places To Stay In Marseille

When searching for Marseille travel tips, Marseille is the second most-populated city in France, challenges those stereotypes right from its premier spot on the coast. And with over twice the surface area of Paris, it can be hard to know exactly where to stay in the city. Here are some of the best areas to stay in Marseille.

marseille harbor

Marseille Harbor

Opera is right in the middle of the action, situated on the business end of the port and encompassing the famous Vieux Port area. It’s where the concentration of tourists is highest, and with good reason. It’s here you can watch the boats, both functional and luxury, go to and fro, and play ‘that boat’s mine’ to your heart’s content. There are a range of fantastic dining options right around the port area, and a number of stunning squares just back from the harbour too. Wander up side streets and you never know where you’ll pop out! There are bars and clubs for when day becomes night, ranging from wine bars to Irish pubs, and everything in between.

Recommended Hotel: Grand Hotel Beauvau

Saint Victor is that trifecta of travelling dreams. It’s right in the middle, sitting directly next to Opera; it’s cheaper than it’s fancier neighbour, not being as well known keeps the prices down; and it has the most iconic monuments of the city in its boundaries. Score!

It’s on the port, as far as Fort St Nicholas, and stretches back as far as Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde. You’ll find squares for wining and dining here too, lined with pretty planter boxes and accessible by grand stone staircases. If you hit your timings right, a bar or two may be hosting musicians to serenade you while you eat. Hot top: if you eat at the cheaper place a few doors down, you’ll still be awash with music, for half the price!

Recommended Hotel: Hotel C2

Notre Dame du Mont is the place to be in Marseille for an evening out. 

The artistic atmosphere and Bohemian vibe of this neighbourhood had it in the running for coolest, but it’s selection of bars and restaurants gained it its crown as best in Marseille for nightlife. There is street art every which way you turn in Notre Dame du Mont, and particularly in the Cours Julien sub-section. This stretched out square is home to the hipster hallmarks of tattoo parlours, independent bookstores and coffee roasters. And the lanes running off the square are colourful with graffiti and murals by local legends and youths alike.

Recommended Hotel: Music Hotel

Top 7 Experiences You MUST Have In Marseille
  1. Old Port

Marseille’s massive rectangular port has been trading for 2,600 years, and is more of a whole district than a single sight. On three sides are quays with broad promenades enclosed mostly 18th-century former warehouses. It seems like almost every one of these has a cafe, fish restaurant or bar on its ground floor, with outdoor seating so you can see life in this enchanting city unfold as you nurse a pastis.

basilique notre-dame de la garde

Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde

  1. Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde

It’s hard to miss this monument rising above the skyline to the south of the Old Port. It’s a 19th-century neo-Byzantine church 150 metres above the water, with a large golden statue of the Virgin and Child at the top of its tower to watch over Marseille’s maritime communities.

There had been religious sanctuaries and watch towers on La Garde for many centuries, and the basilica incorporated the lower levels of a renaissance fort that also included a chapel. 

  1. Calanques National Park

Marseille’s southern and eastern suburbs brush up against an area of exceptional natural beauty. The Calanques are craggy white limestone cliffs and creeks reaching gargantuan heights and descending sharply to the sea. You can experience these rocky wonders by land or sea. If you’re going to hike it then you’ll need an intrepid spirit, as the GR 98 from Marseille to Cassis takes around 11 hours and leads you into some tough country.

  1. Musée d’Histoire de Marseille

It can be difficult to get your head around Marseille’s 26 centuries of history, but this first-rate museum near the Old Port will help. Because of the huge time-span that the attraction deals with, it’s the largest urban history museum in France. For history geeks it means half a day spent inspecting amphorae, ceramics, architectural fragments, the remains of ancient ships, mosaics, sarcophagi and much more.

  1. La Corniche

Weaving down the coast for several kilometres from the Old Port, La Corniche is one long balcony next to the Mediterranean, going past beaches and quirky little neighbourhoods.



You can drive it, but it’s just as rewarding to walk for the sea air and outstanding vistas of the Frioul Archipelago and the towers of the Château d’If in the bay.

  1. Le Panier

This part of Marseille, just north of the Old Port, has been inhabited since 600 BC and was the site of the Greek colony of Massalia. As the city evolved it became the place where Marseille’s waves of immigrants settled, and even today there’s a large Maghreb and Corsican population.

It’s a district with ochre-coloured walls, stone stairways and long, corridor-like streets emerging on sun-drenched squares.

  1. MuCEM

Inaugurated in 2013, MuCEM is a cutting edge museum that regenerated a portion of Marseille’s waterfront next to the 17th-century Fort de Saint-Jean.

The architecture is breathtaking, but what’s inside is actually quite difficult to sum up: It’s a kind of overview of Mediterranean culture and civilisation, incorporating art, photography exhibitions and historic artefacts.

Marseille Travel Tips Video

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By : Mark Ford Date : January 2, 2020 Category : Marseille Travel Tips Travel Tips Comments :

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