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Les Calanques - Kayak or Boat?

Sep 11th, 2019, 08:38 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 7
Les Calanques - Kayak or Boat?

Hi everyone.
I've looked for others' comments on this, but didn't find much. My wife and I are heading to Provence next week and are trying to fit in a trip to the Calanques. We will be staying in Marseille near the old port our first day/night, before heading to Aix. The question is whether to do a boat ride or to kayak. I've read comments on Tripadvisor about boats too large to get close or see over the shoulders of other travelers. We've also read about some nice boats too.
We thought of taking a boat from Marseille as opposed to driving to La Ciotat or Cassis, but we could if it's worth it.
Kayaking sounds fun, and I could swim for a bit (my wife does not swim, but has kayaked and is not afraid of the water.)
Any thoughts or insights?

Thanks!
jefegold is offline  
Sep 12th, 2019, 07:30 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,971
Wouldn't it depend how many you want to see, and how well?
The calanques stretch over about 10 miles; I think our ride on the cruiser was about 3 hours, seeing 7 of them. The boat didn't really linger long at each, and it seemed to take about 15 minutes between each at top (cruiser) speed. On the way back, the boat was full speed, memory says it took about a half hour back to Cassis from the furthest west calanque.

Unless you can kayak a good 30 miles an hour, I'd think you could kayak one calanque in the time a boat could do seven.
By the way, to this neophyte calanquer, each one seemed to have a different character.
tomboy is offline  
Sep 12th, 2019, 09:39 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I was in Marseille this past July, staying in the old port area, and did a half day boat trip to the Calanques. It was great. There is a kiosk right on the corner of the port that sells the boat trips. In July there were about three per day. There was a choice of 3 hour (that's what I did) or a shorter one. The boat was full but no problems seeing (maybe unless you were seated right in the middle and didn't want to stand up/move to the side - plenty of room to walk around). It got up very close, right there with the kayaks. The advantage to the boat is that it covered far, far more area than you could do in a kayak even if you were out all day. On a separate day I took the bus to Cassis and hiked around there.
isabel is offline  
Sep 12th, 2019, 11:03 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
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I agree with the above comments. Last July we stayed near the old port area but drove to Cassis to take the 7-8 Calanques tour. Felt sorry for those in kayaks. Hard work! And difficult to see enough of the Calanques to really appreciate their variety and the fjord-like inlets, etc. Short boat ride to Chateau d’If also worth it.
billandcindy is offline  
Sep 12th, 2019, 03:00 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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You're welcome.
tomboy is offline  
Sep 12th, 2019, 05:07 PM
  #6  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Another vote for "it depends on what you want." I'm glad I saw a variety of calenques. And I would hate to get out there on a kayak on find my energy failing against the currents. YMMV.

As for the boat to Chateau dÍf -- I don't regret it, but I certainly didn't think it a highlight of my time in Marseille, which IMO, offers a wide array of delights. JMO.

Originally Posted by tomboy View Post
You're welcome.
???
kja is offline  
Sep 12th, 2019, 06:32 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,430
During a past cruise, we docked for a day in Marseilles and took a small boat tour to the Calanques. The tour stopped in a few different areas where we were able to swim into a grotto. bleuevasion.com is the tour company. DH and I took our teenaged boys and it was by far a highlight of our cruise vacation.
RobertaL is offline  
Sep 12th, 2019, 08:37 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1,320
Skip them, disappointed, pedestrian scenery.
tom_mn is online now  
Sep 13th, 2019, 10:57 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,815
I didn't do a kayak so can't comment on that, but did do a small boat cruise. They are tall cliffs, I don't even comprehend what it would mean to complain about not getting close enough or not being able to see them over someone's head. ??? I don't remember any boat out there doing that being that big anyway, I thought there was mainly one company or so running those tours from the beach area and the boat was fairly small as I recall. It's a tall cliff that is white with some vegetation on it here and there, what's to see. Maybe there are some boats you get from elsewhere, I don't know, I just went there by train and then you end up at the main port/beach area.

I thkn this is the main boat company at the port doing that, you can see photos and decide for yourself
https://www.lavisitedescalanques.com/nos-bateaux

I'm pretty sure I only did the 3 calanque one, I can't imagine how they are that different.
Christina is offline  
Sep 13th, 2019, 07:03 PM
  #10  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Originally Posted by Christina View Post
II'm pretty sure I only did the 3 calanque one, I can't imagine how they are that different.
One of the things that most surprised me on my visit to 7 calenques is just how different they actually are!
kja is offline  
Sep 14th, 2019, 04:48 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Agreed!
tomboy is offline  

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