You can't visit Cassis without touring the calanques, the fjord-like finger bays that probe the rocky coastline. Either take a sightseeing cruise or hike across the cliff tops, clambering down the steep sides to these barely accessible retreats. Or you can combine the two, going in by boat and hiking back; make arrangements at the port. The calanque closest to Cassis is the least attractive: Port Miou was a stone quarry until 1982, when the calanques became protected sites. Now it's an active leisure and fishing port. Calanque Port Pin is prettier, with wind-twisted pines growing at angles from the white-rock cliffs. But it's the third calanque that's the showstopper: the Calanque En Vau is a castaway's dream, with a tiny beach at its root and jagged cliffs looming overhead. The series of massive cliffs and calanques stretches all the way to Marseille.
Icard Maritime. Note that boats make round-trips several times a day to the Calanques de Cassis from
Marseille's Quai de la Fraternité (Quai des Belges). Tours are organized by various firms, including Icard Maritime, with a three-hour round-trip costing around €26. 1 quai Marcel Pagnol, Marseille, 13007. visite-des-calanques.com.
Cassis, 13260, France