Calanques, Cassis, France



Calanque d’en Vau hike, Cassis, France

The Calanques are steep white cliffs jutting out of the Mediterranean Sea in finger like inlets. We started our hike near the seaside town of Cassis, at the Presqu’il where a large parking lot charged 8 EU for day parking. There was some street parking along the way but none that was available when we were there.

Walking along the Calanques

Walking along the Calanques

Calanque d'en Vau from above

Calanque d'en Vau from above

At the beach at Calanque d'en Vau, Cassis, France

At the beach at Calanque d'en Vau, Cassis, France


We saw two small beaches in the Calanques, Calanque du Pin and Calanque d’en Vau. Both require some walking to the beach on somewhat slippery rock. Calanque d’en Vau is double the distance of Calanque du Pin and requires a climb down, (then up), a slippery, almost vertical wall. There was a pathway, with footholes, toeholes and handholes, so it was manageable.  Both beaches were busy, and so were the hikes there. I was surprised at how many people there were, given the long'ish hike (6 miles rt) and the not-that-easy climb down.  But amazingly, people were carrying all their beach amenities with them (sometimes a tent, sometimes a cooler) all the way down, in their swim suits and hiking shoes on their feet. The first beach, Calanque du Pin, had more young kids and their families. Bring lots of water. There was no potable water along the trail nor did we see any at the beach. We ventured off to one of the quieter trails to check out the view of the Calanques from above.

Near the bottom of the "wall", climbing up from Calanque d'en Vau, Cassis, France

Near the bottom of the "wall", climbing up from Calanque d'en Vau

The trail leading to Calanque du PIn

The trail leading to Calanque du Pin


The Calanques may be closed in the summer months of July and August due to risk of wildfires. There are boat cruises you could take if you do visit when the Calanques are closed.  I heard that the seaside town of Cassis nearby is a nice place to explore after a hike, but we were in a hurry to check in to our next airbnb.


Practical Information (as of June 2018):

Features: blue green Mediterranean Sea juxtaposed against greyish spires of limestone cliffs

Our hike: 6 mile, 1000 ft gain, very slippery, rocky terrain, some almost vertical, somewhat slippery rock sections

Parking fee: 8EU at Presqu’ile

Entrance fee: free


Warning:  All listed adventures come with inherent risks. The information provided is based on personal experience which may or may not be typical. The safety of these adventures are dependent on a variety of factors including but not limited to: terrain, weather, wildlife, hiker skill level, human error, preparation and other foreseen and unforeseen circumstances. As such, we do not assume any liability for the accuracy and completeness of the information provided.  We will not be held responsible for any harm, injury, and/or loss that may result. Your personal preparation and judgement on the safety of each adventure is required at all times. Please use your own discretion and always be safe.

Current rating: 5


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