Nestled in southern France on the Mediterranean Sea, Marseille is famously known as France’s sunniest city. On average, it gets over 2,900 hours a year of rays—making it an ideal destination for beachgoers and water sports enthusiasts alike. While they don’t enjoy the acclaim of French Riviera favorites like Saint-Tropez or Nice, the best beaches in Marseille offer numerous ways to enjoy the sand, sea, and sun. Whether you dream of gentle swims in warm, easy waves; lying under a parasol and diving into a good book; or sailing, snorkeling, or diving, there’s plenty of ways to make the most of your time here.
The Best Beaches In Marseille
PLAGE DE l’ESTAQUE
In the 16th arrondissement where Cézanne used to lovingly paint the coastline, there are three beaches on this stretch of the Côte Bleue. The Plage de Sable de La Lave is the easiest to reach if walking is tricky. It’s sandy, just like its neighbour, La Plage de la Batterie, west of the port.
The latter is protected, so is best for young families. The third is La Plage du Fortin, which has pebbles, so is less busy. These beaches are shallow and it’s a common pastime to see families hanging out at sundown in large groups cooking and chatting.
PLAGE DES CATALANS
This is the beach for volleyball, home to international competitions, and most likely the Olympics in 2024. It has small beach huts, a first-aid post, a wide range of snack bars and kiosks and there’s a lovely view over the Islands of Frioul. There are sun loungers to hire next to the snack bars on the terrace. A good choice for people watching and to please all the family.
With miles of coastline disappearing beyond the horizon, the long Prado beach was developed in 1970 with the aim of lending practical use to a little-used and little-frequented area. Prado beach has become an important attraction for tourists, who visit this location every year attracted by the particularity of the place. The Prado Park beaches have in fact been artificially obtained from the sea as a result of the construction of the city’s subway network, and attract almost 4 million curious visitors every year. With its 3 1/2 kilometres, Prado beach is the largest in all of Marseille – made up of a series of smaller beaches and each equipped with a unique identity. There is something for all tastes, in short.
At the Prado, you can not only spend a spectacular beach day of sun, blue sea, surfing and windsurfing, but you can also enjoy the beauties of the natural park equipped with gardens, benches, dining areas, play parks with children’s rides and a skateboarding area. This way, all family members can enjoy their favourite activity.
POINTE ROUGE BEACH
The beach of Pointe Rouge is located in the east of the city of Marseille and is one of the largest in its area. While not having the luxuriness of a tropical coast, such as a transparent sea plunging itself into the reef or coconut palms that shade you, Pointe Rouge is a perfect location to relax and have fun in company.
Despite being wider than Catalan beach, this small stretch of coastline tends to be very crowded – especially during the summer. When the mistral wind rises, the beach is less crowded and usually welcomes many surfers who can’t wait to dive into the water to try to tame the perfect wave.
SAINTE CROIX BEACH
Sainte Croix beach is a little piece of heaven near Martigue, a few kilometres west of Marseille. It is a beautiful, sandy location surrounded by rocks, where bathing is a real pleasure. Not as many people come here as Catalan beach for example, and although it is a very small cove, the spectacle that awaits you is superb. The sand, white and well maintained, is soft on contact and offers a perfect bedding to rest on during long days at the beach. You can stroll along the whole stretch and enjoy the sea breeze, or explore the surroundings with small hikes and, of course, take a stroll to some of the local restaurants.
Sainte Croix beach is also known by the name of Saulce Beach and is used in off-season times for filming a popular French television show, “Camping Paradis”.