Calanque d’En-Vau -France

When talking about the creeks of Marseille, the first image that comes to my mind is the fabulous calanque of En-Vau, near Cassis: it is reputed to be the prettiest and most impressive of all.

Nestled in the cliffs, azure blue, intense blue, then turquoise blue: a marvel for the eyes!

The water is clear and calls for swimming … and here we really believe in paradise. The paradise for tourists, certainly, but paradise anyway! It is not easy to access but it is very busy. Every summer, thousands of tourists come and, what is certain that you will not be the only ones enjoying the beauty of the landscape!

Here is a summary of the different routes to get there, the obstacles you will encounter and things to know.

I had a lot of difficulties to decide on the good course to get there because the information that I could find on different sites information sometimes seemed contradictory or not detailed enough.

Some sites recommended a departure from Cassis by borrowing the GR98-51, others from the pass of Gardiole.

 

First of all, I think it all depends on your motivation/fitness and what you are looking for. Several paths lead to the calanque of En-Vau, some are more complicated than others with a nice view, others are simpler but offer no view, you see what you prefer.

 

I’m not a great walker I must say … I can be pretty athletic and swim 1:30 per day, the hill was never my strong and I’m quickly breathless when the coast is a little too steep. My first goal was to arrive at the cove with less effort! Here are the two options you will have:

 

1 – The easiest way to access (the last long and the least complicated) is to take the path from the car park of the pass of Gardiole.

Attention, this car park is closed from June 1st during all the summer (until September 30th) to avoid the risks of fires. This parking can also be completed quickly. Better to return in the morning before 11:00 to be sure to find more places.

A day at the calanque of En-Vau in Marseille: access and routes

When talking about the creeks of Marseille, the first image that comes to my mind is the fabulous calanque of En-Vau, near Cassis: it is reputed to be the prettiest and most impressive of all.

Nestled in the cliffs, its colors go from azure blue, intense blue, then turquoise blue: a marvel for the eyes!

The water is clear and calls for swimming … and arrived there we really believe in paradise. The paradise for tourists, certainly, but paradise anyway! It is not easy to access but it is very busy. Every summer, thousands of tourists come and, what is certain is that you will not be the only ones enjoying the beauty of the landscape!

Here is a summary of the different routes to get there, the obstacles you will encounter and things to know.

creeks in vau

coves in vau marseille beach access tip 3

I had a lot of difficulties to decide on the good course to get there because the information that I could find on different sites information sometimes seemed contradictory or not detailed enough.

Some sites recommended a departure from Cassis by borrowing the GR98-51, others from the pass of Gardiole.

First of all, I think it all depends on your motivation/fitness and what you are looking for. Several paths lead to the calanque of En-Vau, some are more complicated than others with a nice view, others are simpler but offer no view, you see what you prefer.

I’m not a great walker I must say … I can be pretty athletic and swim 1:30 per day, the hill was never my strong and I’m quickly breathless when the coast is a little too steep . My first goal was to arrive at the cove with less effort! Here are the two options you will have:

 

1 – The easiest way to access (the least long and the least complicated) is to take the path from the car park of the pass of Gardiole.

Attention, this car park is closed from June 1st during all the summer (until September 30th) to avoid the risks of fires. This parking can also be complete quickly. Better to return in the morning before 11:00 to be sure to find more places.

calanque en vau access gardiole randonnee

From the parking Gardiole, take the path starting with a green gate. At the first bifurcation, stay on your right then continue down to the creek.

This path is simple and pleasant (shaded, among the pines). The path is well signposted and presents no difficulty.

Disadvantage: We arrive directly at the beach of the creek without seeing the cove from above, which can be a little disappointing because the view of the cove from above is breathtaking.

That said, the beach is equally spectacular, and once arrived a real spectacle is offered to us by discovering this beach worthy of paradise islands!

You can spend the day at the beach before going back up and start the most difficult part.

Time required for this route: 55 minutes to get off, 1h20 for the lift: 9 km round trip.

Plan breaks, hats, sunscreen and 2 liters of water per person.

From the cove of Port Miou, take the route of the GR98-51 (marked in Red and White) to reach Port-Pin.

Then, from the cove of Port pin, continue on the trail of the GR98-51 marked in Red and white which becomes a little more difficult with a very uneven to descend very stony. At the bottom, follow the red path that goes down to the calanque d’en vau.

Time needed: 1h15 to go, 1h15 to return ..

Namely: there is a black line that takes a path with a better view, but it is more difficult and dangerous, it is the old GR98-51.

2 quite different paths so that both have different advantages and disadvantages!

From my side, I took the easiest way from the pass of the Gardiole for the descent (option 1 therefore), and still enjoyed the view by taking a different path untagged for the return.

Arrival at the beach, I was disappointed not to have a view and saw people taking an unmarked path to the left of the creek. After making inquiries I discovered that there was a “path” that led directly to the viewpoint of the calanque of En-Vau. A group of people explained to me that they were going to borrow it and I decided to follow them. A slight euphemism … in fact, I realized after I began to follow them that it was simply climbing the mountain with your bare hands to the top. To know that after twenty meters it is impossible to reverse.

More choice than to continue climbing on the rocks (sometimes not slippery but with enough catch) to the summit. A way that I would never have taken if I had known before what it was!

But finally I managed to do it, and the satisfaction of arriving at the top alive and being able to admire the view was worth it!

After this trip, most of the climb had been completed and a wide flat path (marked in blue) led to the Gardiole car park in 45 minutes.

To know that I do not advise at all to take this path because it is very dangerous, so unless you have a guide, be keen hiking or to be equipped, prefer another way!

3- Other alternatives: rent a kayak at the cove of Port-Miou and go to the calanque of En-Vau by paddling!

You can also visit the creeks by boat but the boats do not stop on the beaches … a bit too bad.