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Tips on what to do in Marseille

How to get to Marseille

We chose to go to Marseille because it’s by the sea and easily accessible by train. From Brussels you can take the high speed train (TGV or Thalys) without any transfers. It took 5 hours and 45 minutes to get to our destination. Every seat has a retractable table and there is WiFi and plenty of legroom on board. On top of that, you get some gorgeous views from your train window. We paid €263 per person for the tickets there and back. Bear in mind that we went in July (peak season), and booked our tickets only one month in advance. Airplane tickets were a bit cheaper, but the difference wasn’t that great. Traveling by train is of course more sustainable, and I find it a stress-free experience. Bring a book, download some series on your smartphone, and you’ll be at your destination before you know it.

Watch my travel vlog or scroll down for all the addresses and practical information.

Where to eat (as a vegetarian)

Right in the middle of the touristic center Vieux Port it wasn’t that easy to find restaurants with plenty of vegetarian options. Once you get to the hip neighborhoods, there are however a plethora of veggie options available.

Here are some of the restaurants where I enjoyed a budget friendly vegetarian meal:

  • La Ferme (Vieux Port): situated on a very cozy square, not a lot of vegetarian options, but only €20 for a three-course-meal
  • Yamato (Notre Dame du Mont): they have veggie sushi!
  • Un Mexicain à Marseille (Notre Dame du Mont): I ate a veggie burrito
  • L’atelier (Notre Dame du Mont, Cours Saint Julien): the texture of the veggie burger here is on point!
  • Tako-San (Le Panier): lunch, I tried the vegetarian takoyaki with cheese
  • Le Comptoir aux Huiles (Le Panier): I had a salad with artichoke  
  • Ditalante (Îles du Frioul): I was so excited when I saw that they had veggie paella!

I wanted to eat vegan for breakfast and lunch, but it was harder to find vegan food without planning ahead. Afterwards I found out about an app called HappyCow, that you can use to find vegan restaurants anywhere. So for vegans I recommend using an app like that.

Where to shop

I was going to save some addresses for you, but really… Just walk around in Le Panier or the streets around Cours Saint Julien and you’ll come across a lot of nice shops.

  • Le Panier: crafts, fashion and art
  • Cours Saint Julien (Notre Dame du Mont): vintage shops, fashion
  • Rue Longue de Capucins: spices from around the world, baskets and (bohemian) decor

What to do

Sightseeing

  • Notre Dame de la Garde
  • Cathédrale de la Major de Marseille
  • Vieux Port

Swimming

Feel like going for a swim? Instead of going to the busy beaches near the center of Marseille, go to one of the many calanques (rocky inlets) that are a bit more remote. We went to Plage de la Pointe de Figuerolles.

Take the train from Saint Charles to Niolon (final destination is Miramas, Niolon is the third stop and it takes about 25 minutes). Use Google Maps to walk from the train station to Plage de la Pointe de Figuerolles. It’s a half-an-hour walk and it’s not an easy one (you’ll have to do some climbing), so I don’t recommend this for kids.

Hiking: Parc National des Calanques

I think it’s safe to say this was my favorite activity in Marseille. Take the bus B1 from Rond Point du Prado to Luminy Faculté. Get off at Luminy Pn des Calanque (it takes about 20 minutes).

Check out the stunning view from the Belvedère and head on down to the Plage Sauvage de Morgiou. Don’t forget good walking shoes and your swim suits!

Îles du Frioul

Take the ferry boat from Vieux Port to Frioul. You can walk around on the islands (they are connected by a bridge), spot birds and go for a refreshing swim in one of the calanques. There are returning boats after sundown, so you can enjoy a romantic sunset. It does get quite cold in the evening, so be prepared and bring a sweater.

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