italy 25-14  ITA

spain-162428_640  ESP

Short visit of Marseille. What to do and see in 1 day or cruise day

Short visit of Marseille

The beautiful city in the South of France is also renowned for being a first-rate cruise port. It is no coincidence that large cruise lines such as Costa Cruises, MSC or Royal Caribbean have always focused heavily on Marseille.

In this city, docking takes place very far from the center. So you must necessarily resort to means of transport. The various companies provide their own shuttles to the center; it goes from around 11€ for Costa Cruises, to 17€ for MSC, per person. Despite the high price, we would like to recommend the use of these buses, because they will allow you to take advantage of the little time you have available to visit the city. Outside the terminal, alternatively, there are the inevitable taxis, whose prices vary from €10 to €25 depending on the number of guests and the arrival area.

Short visit of Marseille

Anyone wishing to minimize the economic outlay and use public transport, keep in mind that you have to walk for about 2 km to the port area where you will find the “Littoral Gourret” public bus stop. The bus is number 35 and the ticket can be bought on board. It will take, with the latter method, over 30 minutes to reach the center!

Considering the “dead” times between docking, disembarking and moving around the city, the actual time available is reduced to about 5 hours: actually too little time to visit the city. The team will help you discover the greatest possible beauties in the shortest possible time, proposing two alternative itineraries.


Vieux Port, Fort St. Jean, Palais du Pharo and the Cathedral.

Marseille Vieux Port

Start your tour with a stop at the marvelous Sainte Marie Majeure de Marseille Cathedral, an impressive church built in 1896 and considered a national monument. The view of its silhouette from Quai de la Tourette is beautiful. A neo-Byzantine style church with dimensions comparable to those of Saint Peter in Rome.

Continuing, in the direction of the Vieux Port, along Quai du Port briefly, Fort St. Jean stands out, a fascinating Fort located at the beginning of the port which at the time of the Crusades was used to transport troops to the Holy Land. Do not miss the Tour of Roy René and the Tour du Fanal, which formerly served as a lighthouse. From the Fort you can enjoy a wonderful view of the city. On the opposite side you can see Fort St. Nicolas, another citadel located at the entrance to the port. The external promenade of St. Jean with the “Garden of Migrations” is beautiful.

Parc du Pharo Marseille

Walk along Quai Du Rive Neuve to reach your new destination: the Palais and the Parc du Pharo, in Allée Dr Paul Louis Simond, a splendid and historic 19th century palace, built at the behest of Napoleon III for Queen Eugénie, and today a center for congresses and events. The peaceful park offers a spectacular view of the Old Port and the city. The gardens are open every day from 07 to 21.

All the attractions are concentrated in a radius of a few kilometers. If you still have time available, you could give it a try, and go up to the beautiful Byzantine-style Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde (nicknamed La Bonne Mère), located on a 149 meters high hill, from which you can admire the panorama of the whole city. The basilica can be reached directly by bus, or after a nice walk to the top of the hill: give up if you are not the athletic type! Alternatively, stay in the Vieux Port area before returning to the ship: you can relax sitting at one of the tables of the many bars in the area, perhaps sipping a nice glass of French wine and breathing in the sea air.


Vieux Port and Chateu d’If

Reach the Port Vieux; from here, numerous excursions are organized every day leading to the famous Chateau D’If, an ancient fortress built on a small island in the bay of Marseille.

Chateu d'If France

Photo ©, François Schwarz

This is a former prison, made famous by the writer Alexandre Dumas for having set the Count of Monte Cristo here, and has now become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city. The return ticket for the boat trip with “Le Bateau Frioul If” costs €11.10 per person. Upon arrival, you must purchase the entrance ticket to the Castle. Ferries depart every hour on average; Discounts are available for groups. More info from here.

Once you return to the Old Port, decide how to spend the little time you have left, consulting the previous itinerary: you are spoiled for choice!

Other options to consider include a visit to the Le Panier district, once a disreputable place in a state of absolute abandonment, which was subsequently redeveloped. Today, among the various places, workshops of artists, painters and potters you can admire a real mix of different traditions and cultures.

PLEASE NOTE: all the information contained in this short tour guide to Marseille is for indicative purposes only. Therefore, you are always invited to plan your excursion taking into account the limited time available. We are not responsible for any repercussions on your cruise.

Leave a comment

The City



Map of the port

Share the post