20 Fun Things to Do in Marseille | 2024 (with Photos)

Andreas Rukovski

Andreas Rukovski - Travel Writer

Published: June 30, 2023

Hey there! I'm Andreas, a travel enthusiast who had an amazing time exploring Marseille in 2024. Below, I'm excited to share my top recommendations for fun activities and sights to see in this vibrant city. Plan ahead and make the most of your trip to Marseille - I hope you have a fantastic time!

Fun Things to Do in Marseille, France

Marseille is a colorful city on the southern coast of France that boasts a rich history, stunning architecture, and stunning natural landscapes.

In this article, we'll take you through some of the top Marseille attractions, so you can make the most of your time in this beautiful and historic city.

From Fort Saint Jean and the Virgin Mary statue at the Notre Dame de la Garde Cathedral to the Vieux Port (old port) scenic natural harbor, there are many beautiful things to do in Marseille.

So, read on to start planning your trip to Marseille.

Most Recommended Thing to Do

Notre-Dame de la Garde

Top Choice Hotel

Radisson Blu Hotel Marseille Vieux Port

Our Top Choice Restaurant

La Table de Nans

Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife

Bar Le Trolley

Best Time to Visit

Summer for sun, culture, and vibrant Mediterranean atmosphere.

Average Temperature

Marseille's average temperature is pleasant and Mediterranean.

Transportation Options

Buses, trams, metros, bikes for transportation in Marseille.

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)


My Top Recommendation

During your visit to Marseille, make sure to wander through the vibrant streets of the Vieux Port, where you can indulge in fresh seafood at the local outdoor market while enjoying the picturesque view of the colorful fishing boats.

It is also worth exploring the historic neighborhood of Le Panier, known for its narrow cobbled streets adorned with vibrant street art, charming boutiques, and cozy cafés where you can savor a delicious cup of coffee while immersing yourself in the bohemian atmosphere the area has to offer.

What You'll Need to Bring

  1. Passport

  2. Travel insurance

  3. Currency (Euros)

  4. Comfortable walking shoes

  5. Lightweight clothing for warm weather

  6. Sunscreen

  7. Hat

  8. Travel adapter

  9. Mobile phone and charger

  10. Maps or navigation app

  11. Your passport and travel insurance are essential for identification and protection.

  12. It is important to have local currency (Euros) for convenience.

  13. Marseille is a city best explored on foot, so comfortable walking shoes are a must.

  14. Pack lightweight clothing suitable for the warm Mediterranean climate.

  15. Protect your skin from the sun by bringing sunscreen and a hat.

  16. Don't forget a travel adapter to charge your electronic devices.

  17. Bring your mobile phone and charger to stay connected during your trip.

  18. Maps or a navigation app will come in handy for exploring the city.

What Not to Miss

  1. Old Port
  2. Marseille Cathedral
  3. Calanques National Park
  4. Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde
  5. Le Panier neighborhood
  6. MuCEM (Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations)
  7. Château d'If
  8. The Corniche
  9. Vieille Charité
  10. Palais Longchamp

What to Avoid

  1. Scams and Pickpocketing
  2. Walking alone in less crowded areas at night
  3. Overpaying for tourist traps and souvenirs
  4. Ignoring local customs and etiquette
  5. Using unlicensed taxi services
  6. Leaving valuables unattended in public areas
  7. Being overly loud and disrespectful in public spaces
  8. Going to isolated or poorly lit areas after dark
  9. Drinking tap water without checking its quality
  10. Disrespecting religious or cultural sites

1. Climb the Steps to Notre Dame de la Garde

Notre Dame de la Garde

The Notre Dame de la Garde cathedral, located in the heart of Marseille, is the tallest building in the city and a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Marseille.

This stunning cathedral was built in the 19th century and boasts a beautiful mix of Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles.

Visitors to the Notre Dame de la Garde cathedral can marvel at the intricate carvings and stained-glass windows, and climb up to the bell tower for breathtaking views of the city.

A large Virgin Mary sits atop the bell tower keeping watch over the sailors and the port city. Arrive early to beat the rush of tourists as Notre Dame de la Garde is Marseille's most famous attraction.

If you don't want to walk the steep uphill to the cathedral, you can catch the tourist train up to see the views. You will be met by the serene Virgin Mary statue and one of the most striking cathedrals you have ever seen.

2. Walk the Charming Streets of Le Panier

Le Panier

Le Panier is a historic neighborhood in Marseille, France, located in the heart of the city's old town. It is the oldest district of the city, known for its narrow streets, colorful buildings, and charming atmosphere.

The historic old town was once a thriving center of commerce and home to many artists, writers, and intellectuals.

Today, Le Panier is a popular destination for tourists who want to experience Marseille's rich cultural heritage and explore the city's historic architecture.

It is home to many galleries showcasing the work of local artists and artisans. Visitors can browse through the many boutiques and markets, sampling artisanal food products, and other locally made goods.

3. Go Hiking in Parc National des Calanques

Parc National des Calanques

A very good day trip to Marseille is Calanques National Park. It is Europe's only national park located near urban zones and is primarily inland and maritime.

This park is home to a series of spectacular rocky inlets, or calanques, that are carved into the limestone cliffs along the Mediterranean coast.

The park is also home to eagles, falcons, and wild boars.

Whether you're looking for a challenging hike or a relaxing day on the beach, Parc National des Calanques is an unforgettable destination.

If you enjoy playing football, hiking, and biking, you will love the national park.

4. Explore the Palais Longchamp

Palais Longchamp

The Palais Longchamp is a majestic monument in the heart of Marseille. This stunning palace was built in the 19th century to commemorate the construction of the Canal de Marseille, which brings water from the Durance River to Marseille.

It features a beautiful blend of Baroque, Neoclassical, and Renaissance styles. The parks surrounding the palace are home to an observatory, a French garden, a small waterfall, and several rides and playgrounds.

The Palais Longchamp also houses two of Marseille's most important museums, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Natural History Museum.

Hot Tip: A Marseille City Pass lets you ride local public transport for free and gives you free access to Marseille's museums – the Marine Museum, Natual History Museum, Fine Arts Museum, Palais Longchamp, and more.

5. Try the Best Couscous in Marseille at Les Saveurs Du Vieux Port

Couscous in Marseille at Les Saveurs Du Vieux Port

Marseille boasts over 300 dining venues offering North African cuisine. Couscous is a traditional North African dish that has become a staple of Marseille's culinary scene, and the vendors at Les Saveurs Du Vieux Port are some of the best in the business.

Visitors to Vieux Port can choose from a variety of couscous dishes, each with its own unique blend of spices, vegetables, and meats. Explore the culinary heritage and witness the influence of North Africa on French culture.

If you want to stock up on fresh ingredients for a picnic or dinner party, Les Saveurs Du Vieux Port is a fantastic destination that offers a true taste of Marseille's culinary delights.

Eating local dishes that have influenced the French region is one of the most fulfilling things to do in Marseille. Anyone visiting Marseille has to be interested in good cuisine.

6. Step Inside the Stunning Abbaye Saint-Victor

Abbaye Saint-Victor

Abbaye Saint-Victor is a historic abbey located in Marseille that is steeped in centuries of rich history and culture. This stunning monument dates back to the 5th century and has played a central role in the development of Marseille over the centuries.

Visitors can explore the many chapels and crypts that are scattered throughout the abbey, marveling at the intricate carvings, paintings, and sculptures that adorn the walls.

The abbey is also home to a museum that showcases the history and cultural significance of Saint-Victor, making it an excellent destination for anyone interested in the art and history of Marseille.

If you want to immerse yourself in the fascinating history of Marseille, Abbaye Saint-Victor is a must-visit destination.

7. Explore Le Cours Julien

Le Cours Julien

Le Cours Julien is a vibrant neighborhood in Marseille, known for its lively atmosphere, colorful street art, and eclectic mix of shops, cafes, food trucks, and bars.

This bohemian quarter is a popular destination for young people and artists, who come to enjoy the many cultural events that take place here throughout the year.

Visitors can wander the many alleys of the neighborhood, browsing the vintage clothing stores, artisanal boutiques, art galleries, and bookshops that line the streets.

The area also boasts numerous cafes, restaurants, and bars, making it a great destination for a night out on the town. On a sunny day, exploring this vibrant neighborhood is one of the best things to do in Marseille.

8. Catch the Stunning Sea Views from Fort Saint-Jean

Fort Saint-Jean

Fort Saint-Jean is a historic fortress dating back to the 17th century. It was built by Louis XIV to fortify the area and defend Marseille from invaders.

It was used for political prisoners during the French Revolution, and later was a staging point for new French Foreign Legion recruits.

Visitors to Fort Saint-Jean can explore the many galleries, ramparts, and towers that make up the fortress. The fort is located at the entrance of Marseille's Old Port, making it a strategic location that has played a pivotal role in the city's history.

Visitors can also enjoy stunning views of the harbor from the ramparts of Fort Saint-Jean, making it a great destination for photography enthusiasts. The fort is also home to the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations.

9. Visit Chateau d'If

Chateau d'If

Chateau d'If is a famous fortress on the island of If, just off the coast of Marseille. It was built in 1524 to defend Marseille from invaders.

This iconic monument has captured the imagination of visitors for centuries, thanks in part to its association with the classic novel, "The Count of Monte Cristo" by Alexandre Dumas.

Visitors can take a short boat ride to the island to explore the fortress, which dates back to the 16th century. The castle was once used as a prison for political and religious prisoners.

Today, visitors can explore the many chambers, galleries, and towers that make up the fortress. Learning about its fascinating history and enjoying stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea is one of the nicest things to do in Marseille.

10. Visit Cathédrale La Major

Cathédrale La Major

The Cathédrale La Major, also known as the Marseille Cathedral, is a stunning Roman Catholic cathedral.

Built in the 19th century, the cathedral is an impressive example of neo-Byzantine architecture and is one of the largest cathedrals in France, with a capacity of over 3,000 people.

The cathedral's impressive façade is made of green and white marble, with a towering central dome that reaches a height of over 200 feet. The interior boasts colorful mosaics, intricate carvings, and beautiful stained glass windows.

The Cathédrale de La Major is an important cultural landmark in Marseille and one of the popular tourist attractions. Its central location makes it an ideal starting point for exploring the city.

11. Relax at Parc Borély

Parc Borély

Louis Borély, a wealthy local merchant commissioned the construction of a grand country house in 1768. His ambition was to create a residence of unparalleled size and magnificence, and the result was the stunning Borély Park that we know today.

Classified nationally as “one of the most remarkable gardens in France”, the park is composed of three different gardens - an English Garden, a French garden, and a horse racing track connected by a botanical garden.

The park is home to several historic buildings, including the Château Borély, a beautiful 18th-century mansion that now houses the Museum of Decorative Arts, Fashion, and Ceramics.

For art lovers, this is one of the nicest things to do in Marseille.

12. Go to a Show at Dock des Suds

Dock des Suds

Dock des Suds is a cultural complex and events venue with several large halls and outdoor spaces. If you are visiting Marseille, check before you go to see what's on at the venue.

The complex is known for hosting some of the best concerts and music festivals in Marseille, featuring a diverse range of genres, from world music to electronic dance music, and everything in between.

Whether you're a music lover or just looking for a fun night out, the venue is sure to have something to suit your taste. Dock des Suds is also a great place to experience Marseille's rich cultural diversity.

Visitors can attend traditional music and dance performances, sample exotic foods, and learn about the different cultures that make up Marseille's vibrant social fabric.

If you're looking for fun things to do in Marseille, this is it.

13. Visit Musée d'Histoire de Marseille

Musée d'Histoire de Marseille

Marseille History Museum is the largest urban history museum in France and ****offers visitors an in-depth look at the city's history, from its origins as a Greek colony to its role as a major Mediterranean port city.

Located at the The Canal de Marseille near the Durance River, the museum is huge and you could easily ****spend half a day exploring it.

The Musée d'Histoire de Marseille features over 15,000 objects and uses the latest technology to bring the city's history to life.

The museum features exhibits of the city's diverse cultural influences, including the Greek, Roman, and North African cultures that have left their mark on Marseille over the centuries.

Visitors can learn about the city's traditional crafts and trades, such as ceramics and soap-making, as well as its more recent cultural movements, such as the vibrant street art scene in this historic city.

14. Take a Stroll at the Old Port

The Vieux Port, or Old Port, is a historic natural harbor that has been used for the last 2400 years and has been an important hub for trade and commerce since ancient times.

Today it is surrounded by colorful buildings, cafes, and restaurants, and is home to numerous fishing boats and pleasure boats. It is a bustling hub of activity, with fishermen selling fresh fish and local restaurants serving up delicious bouillabaisse and other traditional seafood dishes.

The area is home to numerous markets, street performers, and festivals, which take place throughout the year. Visitors can sample fresh seafood at the nearby fish market, browse the stalls selling local crafts and souvenirs, or simply soak up the lively atmosphere.

15. Visit the Musée des Civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée (MuCEM)

Musée des Civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée

In 2013, Marseille was named a European Capital of Culture and the Musée des Civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée was opened as part of its inauguration.

MuCEM is a popular museum dedicated to the study and celebration of Mediterranean culture and history and is a must-visit for history buffs and anyone interested in the region's diverse heritage.

It is housed in a striking modern building designed by architect Rudy Ricciotti, which is itself a work of art, and offers visitors stunning views of the sea and the city.

The museum regularly hosts exhibitions featuring contemporary artists from around the world and showcases the work of emerging artists from the Mediterranean region.

16. Check out Vieille Charité

Vieille Charité

The Vieille Charité in Marseille was originally built as an almshouse for the poor but has since been transformed into a vibrant cultural center and museum.

This hip area exudes a Bohemian vibe and is home to three levels of art galleries, showcasing a variety of styles and media.

Visitors can also admire the colorful street art and explore the boutiques that line the area. This is one of the more popular things to do in Marseille on a warm day.

Whether you're looking to immerse yourself in the local culture or indulge in some retail therapy at the art market, the Vieille Charité is the perfect destination to experience the creative energy of Marseille.

17. Grab a Drink at La Friche

La Friche

La Friche is a creative cultural center located in the heart of Marseille, France. The center is housed in a former tobacco factory that has been transformed into a vibrant hub for contemporary art and culture.

It hosts a wide range of cultural events, including art exhibitions, music concerts, theater performances, film screenings, and pop-up art galleries displaying experimental art from local creators.

La Friche is also a hub for artists, creatives, and cultural organizations in Marseille, and visitors can engage with the community through workshops, talks, and other interactive events.

There is an impressive rooftop terrace, which offers panoramic views of the city and the Mediterranean Sea. It is a popular spot for visitors to relax, take in the views, and enjoy local beers or a snack from the on-site café.

18. Go Shopping at Les Terrasses du Port

Centre commercial Les Terrasses du Port

Les Terrasses du Port is a three-level shopping mall with a chic food court on the ground floor. It boasts over 190 stores, a range of high-end fashion brands, as well as popular retailers and local boutiques.

Les Terrasses du Port is also a great place to enjoy a meal or a drink with friends or family. The center features a variety of restaurants and cafes, from fast-casual eateries to upscale dining establishments, serving cuisine from around the world.

The center boasts a large outdoor terrace with panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea, making it a popular spot for visitors to relax and take in the scenery. This is one of the most relaxing things to do in Marseille.

19. Enjoy the Coastline on a Boat Tour

Boat Tour

Going on a boat tour in Marseille is an experience like no other. With its stunning coastline and crystal-clear waters, Marseille is one of the best places to visit in France for anyone who loves being on the water.

As you glide along the coastline of the Mediterranean city, you will be able to admire its architecture and landmarks from a unique vantage point.

Marseille is renowned for its picturesque coastline and hidden coves, and boat trips can be a perfect way to experience them all. You can soak up the sun and enjoy the stunning scenery as you cruise along the Mediterranean Sea.

You can listen to a knowledgeable guide who will provide fascinating insights into the city's past, the historic old port, the Count Monte Cristo story, and more. A boat trip is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and should be on your list of Marseille attractions.

20. Visit the Iconic Cité Radieuse

Cité Radieuse**](https://www.marseille-tourisme.com/en/discover-marseille/culture-heritage/discover-the-sites-and-monuments-in-marseille/cite-radieuse-of-le-corbusier)

CitéRadieuse is a unique architectural masterpiece designed by the renowned Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognizing its cultural and historical significance. It is one of only 17 Le Corbusier buildings worldwide to receive this prestigious status.

Cité Radieuse was designed as a self-contained vertical village, featuring apartments, shops, a hotel, and communal spaces. It was meant to be a model for modern urban living and remains a fascinating example of Le Corbusier's design philosophy.

It is off the beaten track and provides a unique glimpse into the city's architectural history. It is not just a building but a cultural icon. It has inspired artists, writers, and architects for decades and continues to be a source of inspiration and fascination for many.

Although that concludes our list of the most fun things to do in Marseille, this list is by no means exhaustive.

With great connecting international flights through Marseille Provence Airport, you have every reason to book flights today.

Let's also explore some frequently asked questions related to fun things to do in Marseille, France.

Is Marseille worth visiting?

Yes, Marseille is worth visiting. There are so many fun things to do in Marseille old town and beyond, you will have a great time.

Some of the highlights of Marseille include the historic Old Port, the Le Panier district, the Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica, the fort, built by Louis XIV, ****and the impressive MuCEM museum.

Marseille is also a great base for exploring the coastline of the Mediterranean, including the nearby Calanques National Park and the picturesque fishing village of Cassis.

Are 2 days enough for Marseille?

With so many things to do in Marseille, two days will be enough to see the highlights if you make a packed schedule.

During a two-day trip to Marseille, some of the must-see attractions include the Old Port (Vieux-Port), the historic district of Le Panier, the Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica, the MuCEM museum, Cathedrale de la Major**,** and the Calanques National Park.

Is Marseille tourist friendly?

Marseille old town is a tourist-friendly destination. The Old Port and the historic district of Le Panier are considered to be the most tourist-friendly areas in the city.

Marseille also has its share of crime and other safety concerns, so keep your valuables secure, and avoid walking alone in deserted areas at night.

Summing Up: 20 Fun Things to Do in Marseille, France

Marseille is a lively port city that has something to offer for everyone.

From hiking in the Calanques and exploring the Old Port to boat tours and markets displaying a unique blend of African and French culture, there are plenty of fun things to do in Marseille.

Whether you are traveling with friends, family, or alone, Marseille is sure to provide you with an unforgettable experience that you will cherish for years to come.

So plan your trip to Southern France and get ready to explore all the hidden gems Marseille has to offer.