Where the locals vacation: 11 of Marseille
Beaches of Marseille

Where the locals vacation: 11 of Marseille's best beaches

Marseille, like Greece, has everything. It has its own Notre Dame, its own Nice, albeit a small one, the Blue Coast, which is as beautiful as the Cote d’Azur, and a huge number of beaches.

Sandy and pebbly, gentle and rocky — Marseille’s beaches surprise with their variety and delight with their accessibility, geographical and financial. And if you have already explored all the attractions of Marseille, going to the beach is always a good idea.

The main thing about the beaches of Marseille:

  1. Overwhelmingly, the beaches in Marseille are municipal and free.
  2. The most famous and popular: Plage des Catalans and Prado are located within the city limits, within walking distance of the Old Port. They have well-developed infrastructure for comfortable recreation, active or relaxed. They are equipped with free changing cabins, fresh water showers and public toilets.
  3. Every organized beach in Marseille is surrounded by cafes and bars that rent out sunbeds and umbrellas for 5—16 € per set, depending on the season and the status of the establishment. Some promoted coastal restaurants give their name to the beach. For example, «le Petit Nice».
  4. Introverts appreciate the rocky beaches of Malmousque, Endoume and Estaque bays. The water is cleaner and there are no big, noisy crowds.
  5. Marseille’s longest chain of beaches stretches southward from the city center. It starts with Plage des Catalans and ends with Les Goudes.
Map of Marseille beaches

Plage des Catalans (Plage des Catalans)

The Catalans sandy beach is not the biggest and cleanest in Marseille, but it is the closest to the center, a 15-minute walk from the Old Port. It’s ideal for spontaneous swimming and refreshing while strolling around the city. But it is not suitable for those looking for secluded relaxation: it is not quiet and peaceful.

The audience is very diverse. Children make noise before lunch and young people in the afternoon. Evening picnics, towels on the sand, volleyball battles — this is all about Catalan beach.

Catalan Beach in Marseille
Catalan Beach in Marseille
Plagedes Catalans (Catalan beaches)
Plagedes Catalans (Catalan beaches)

Beach of the restaurant Le petit pavillon

Connoisseurs of a refined vacation should go further from Catalan beach, along the sea along the promenade with a long bench to the restaurant «Le petit pavillon». It has a private beach.

Half day — 15 €
  • A full day is 20 €, a half day in the morning or afternoon is 15 €.
  • The price includes a sun lounger, separate entrance to the sea, shower, changing cabins.
  • A full day with food and drink is 35 €.

This is the best option for those who like comfort and do not want to lie on the sand on a towel in a crowd of multilingual strangers. The restaurant is famous for its Mediterranean cuisine and delicious seafood.

Vallon des Auffes.

Further along is an atmospheric cove with an aqueduct — Vallon des Auffes — a former fishing village. Today it has a rocky beach and a small swimming pool where children usually splash. The advantage of this place is that it is protected from the wind. It’s also a good place to go paddle boarding and then have lunch at one of the local fish restaurants.

The beach in Marseille Valon des Oeuf.
The beach in Marseille Valon des Oeuf.
Vallon des Auffes Cove
Vallon des Auffes Cove

Malmousque Beach (Malmousque)

Malmusk Bay used to be the village of the same name. A fishing harbor with a beautiful view and a labyrinth of narrow streets where you can experience the atmosphere of the old town have been preserved from the past. Today it is the 7th arrondissement of Marseille on the shores of a rocky beach with clear water, a stone’s throw from the city center.

The place is frequented, so to get your own piece of rock suitable for setting up an umbrella or fishing rod, you have to come early.

It’s free

In summer on Sundays on Malmusk beach (on a concrete platform overlooking the sea) there are collective yoga (starting at 11:00) and Pilates classes (starting at 10:30). The price of participation is 5 € per person. Mat rental — 1—2 €.

Malmusk Bay
Malmusk Bay

Le Petit Nice» beach (le Petit Nice)

An iconic spot in Malmusk Bay is the beach of le Petit Nice near the expensive restaurant of the same name. There are two locations: the small pebble beach under the yellow house (see photo) and the rocks under the restaurant-hotel «Le Petit Nice Passedat».

It’s free
Due to the difficult descent to the sea, both beaches are not suitable for vacationers with small children and the elderly.
Le Petit Nice beach
Le Petit Nice beach
Le Petit Nice beach
Le Petit Nice beach
Le Petit Nice beach
Le Petit Nice beach

Plage du Prophète (Plage du Prophète)

It is one of the oldest beaches in Marseille. It is located between the bay of Malmusk and the municipal beach of Prado. You can reach Profet on foot (30 minutes from the Old Port) or by bus number 83, which runs every 10—15 minutes.

Plage du Prophète has a well-developed free infrastructure, 2 beach volleyball courts and is characterized by a gentle entrance to the sea. There are several «puddles» near the local breakwaters where the little ones like to splash.

This beach is not characterized by clean and transparent water, which does not prevent it from being popular among tourists and the local population.

Open 24 hours a day.

Profet beach in Marseille
Profet beach in Marseille

Plages du Prado.

The Prado (emphasis on the last syllable) is Marseille’s largest public beach, located on Boulevard John Kennedy (formerly Corniche) next to the seaside Borely Park.

This 3.5 km of landscaped coastline is the largest and most famous beach in Marseille, a favorite destination for locals. The Prado is more frequented by families with children in the morning and young people in the afternoon. But since the beach is large, you can always find a place to sit. Local sporting events are often held on the volleyball and soccer courts. There is a pier from which you can jump into the sea. The beach is windy and favored by surfers.

Prado Beach was paved in the 70s from sand obtained during the construction of the subway. The beach surface is a mixture of sand and small pebbles.

It’s free

Lifeguards are on duty on the beach until 19:00. There is a medical center and free changing rooms, lockers, showers, toilets.

How to get there: take bus no. 19 from the metro to the Prado stop or bus no. 83 from the Old Port

Prado Beach in Marseille
Prado Beach in Marseille

Plage de la Pointe Rouge (Plage de la Pointe Rouge)

Just behind the Prado beach in the Pointe Rouge harbor is the longest sandy beach in Marseille. It is well-equipped, protected from the wind and surrounded by many bars, cafes and restaurants. It is a popular choice for water sports enthusiasts and families with children: the entrance to the sea is quite gentle and therefore ideal for children.

Pointe Rouge beach in Marseille
Pointe Rouge beach in Marseille

L’Abricôtié beach (L’Abricôtié)

Further south towards Les Goudes, just after Pointe Rouge, there is a charming little beach called Abricotier, with fine sand and a beautiful view of the azure blue.

The beach is suitable for families with children and for lovers of silence, who will find a secluded corner in the shade of local rocks, protecting from the scorching sun.

In the photo you see the Abricôtié restaurant of the same name. In 2019 this restaurant is no more, it moved. But the beach remains. The landmark is now Le Cabanon de Paulette.

Apricotier beach, Marseille
Apricotier beach, Marseille

Plages de Corbière and L’Estaque (Plages de Corbière — L’Estaque)

In the bay L’Estaque, located north of the Old Port, the Corbière beaches are worthy of attention, specifically the ensemble of Plage de la Lave, Plage de la Batterie (both sandy) and Plage du Fortin (pebble). They are part of Marseille’s Blue Coast — the analog of the Côte d’Azur, but not so famous.

The beaches of Corbières and Lestac are spacious and clean, even in the high summer season. Both have great views of Marseille’s old port and viaducts. And these beaches are not as crowded, although they are easily accessible by bus number 535 and the sea streetcar from the Old Port.

Beaches in L
Beaches in L’Estaque Bay

The material uses photos by Maria Barybina.