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Calanques in Provence

Highlights

  • Convenient travel logistics
  • Unique mountain and coastal environments
  • Stunning Mediterranean views
  • Sea-side hiking with beautiful weather
  • Fantastic hotels and amazing French cooking
  • Day cruise on a private boat

Description

If a mix of adventure, coastal scenery, mountain views, warm weather, comfortable accommodations, and fantastic French cooking sounds appealing, then this trip is for you! We explore the edge of the French Alps, a brilliant white-limestone mountain range on the Mediterranean Sea tucked between Marseille and the quaint harbor of Cassis. Enjoy coastal hikes by day, wonderful Mediterranean lodging at night, amazing French cuisine, and on the final day a day cruise on the Mediterranean!
With cicadas providing our theme music, and bone-white limestone cliffs that drop directly into the intense blue sea as our setting, we will embark each day on exciting and invigorating hikes. Over 40 species of protected or endangered plants make this tour unique, as well as the area's fauna: the largest lizzard in Europe, the Boneli Eagle, and the Red-legged Partridge are only a few of our hiking neighbors. With Marcel Pagnol's (a famous French novelist) literature echoing around us, we will hike above famous rock climbing routes, as the warmth of the sun enhances the amazing mix of sea breeze scents with those of mountain pines. Each evening we'll return to one of two fantastic hotels, both in wonderful locations. We'll dine on exquisite French cuisine, enjoy evening walks, and rest up for the next day's adventure. Welcome to the Calanques National Park!
Give us a call at 888-966-TREK (8735) to learn more or start planning your trip today!
Click here to ask us a question about this trip, or request a reservation today. You can also call us at 888-966-TREK.

This trip is officially operated by Wildland International, a partner company of Wildland Trekking.
Click here to read more about Wildland International.
 

Photos of this Trip

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

On this Alps hiking tour you will need to arrive at the Marseille Airport no later than 3 P.M. A Wildland reprsentative will meet you to transfer to our 4-star hotel where we will stay for 3 nights. This evening we will meet for a gourmet dinner and orientation meeting to discuss the specifics of the next seven days, answer any questions you have, and allow the group time to become acquainted with each other.


Day 2

Hiking Mileage: 6 mi (9.5 km)
Elevation Gain: 1400 ft (426 m)
Elevation Loss: 1400 ft (426 m)
Trekking Duration: 5 hours


After our first wonderful French breakfast, we start hiking towards the gorgeous Chateau Pastre (Pastre Castle), which is nowadays a Faience pottery museum. Along a small canal, we head up towards the Selle saddle through the Trois-Gancets Valley, where we hike through a vegetation tunnel made of Mediterranean trees. We reach the "Dead Man Plateau" where we discover a classic Calanque limestone plateau formation called Lapies, where the rock has been sculpted by weather into an amazing rock maze. After crossing the plateau, we hike down in the Dead Man Valley to the Voire Fountain (named after its owner) under a stunning rock alcove. We then head back towards Pointe Rouge (the Red Point), which is one of the most scenic parts of Marseille.

You'll have a couple hours of down time before we meet for a much deserved dinner near the coast.


Day 3

Hiking Mileage: 7 mi (11.5 km)
Elevation Gain: 2000 ft (610 m)
Elevation Loss: 2000 ft (610 m)
Trekking Duration: 6 hours


Today we start our hike from La Madrague. This neighborhood stretches along the sea at the base of the Marseilleveyre mountain. A tiny harbor shelters a few small fishing and sailing boats. Our hike takes us to the top of Marseilleveyre Summit (432 m - 1417 ft), the tallest summit of the Western Calanques, through Roland's Cave, a unique and adventurous route. The summit offers some of the best views of the region, over stunning coastline, the city of Marseille, and neighboring summits. On a clear day, we can spot regionally famous mountains such as the Mont Ventoux, located about sixty miles away. After a wonderful picnic lunch and time to soak up the majesty of these views, we'll head down towards the sea, through the Galinette Saddle, and around Goudes Rock to access Callelongue and the small fishing village of 'l'anse des Goudes'.

We'll return to our hotel, wash up and have some time to relax before meeting for another amazing French dinner.


Day 4

Hiking Mileage: 6.5 mi (10.5 km)
Elevation Gain: 1600 ft (488 m)
Elevation Loss: 1000 ft (305 m)
Trekking Duration: 5 hours


As most Europeans do every morning after breakfast, we start today's adventure with a city bus ride, but our ride's scenery is far, far above average! Our destination is the Goudes, and to get there we ride along a white, rocky shoreline on a narrow road with amazing views. The Goudes is a small, iconic French fishing village with wonderful, quaint shops and restaurants.

We will hike all day today along the coast, through the Calanques of La Mounine, Marseilleveyre, Podestat, Cortiou and Sormiou. We'll earn views of several well-known islands and rock formations, one of which became famous when Jacques Cousteau discovered a ship wreck near it dating back to 300 BC (amazingly, when the ship wreck was excavated they found ancient pottery still containing wine!) Each of the calanques (or mini fjord) is a new discovery with stunning views, unique vegetation and spectacular rock features. We'll enjoy a picnic lunch somewhere along today's hike and eventually hike out through the Col des Baumettes, a little side valley.

Tonight we move to a different hotel in Cassis, where we'll spend the next four nights.


Day 5

Hiking Mileage: 10 mi (16 km)
Elevation Gain: 2500 ft (762 m)
Elevation Loss: 2500 ft (762 m)
Trekking Duration: 7 hours


This morning, one more ride on the city bus takes us to Luminy, one of the local universities, where we start our hike across the Puget Range. Our trail gradually takes us through pine forests, above the Morgiou Calanque and to the Candelle Saddle. Here one of the largest panoramas over the Calanques opens up in front of us with the Mediterranean costal landscape displayed in a symphony of whites, blues and greens. We hike the trail of the Chaudronniers to another saddle "Col de l'Oule", which overlooks the 'En Vau' Calanques. This calanque is for many the most stunning one of all, with soaring high cliffs that drop straight into the deep blue Mediterranean Sea. At the end of the day we return to Cassis, one of the prettiest villages on the coast, with it's colorful houses soaking up the warmth of the sun.


Day 6

Hiking Mileage: 8 mi (12.5 km)
Elevation Gain: 1600 ft (488 m)
Elevation Loss: 1600 ft (488 m)
Trekking Duration: 5 hours


After another savory French breakfast we start hiking from Cassis and hike up towards the 'Pas de la Colle' (saddle). We traverse ridges through the Soubeyranes Cliffs and the Cap Canaille 400 meters (1300ft) above the sea. Here another stunning 360 degree panorama awaits us. More views over the Calanques but also of the Cassis and La Ciotat villages will take your breath away. We'll sit down for a tasty lunch with these spectacular views as our backdrop. After lunch we head down towards La Ciotat though the 'Big Head' summit and the Chapelle de Sainte-Croix. La Ciotat is an authentic beach town, with four miles of sandy beaches, two spectacular Calanques, and multiple small sheltered bays. We'll get on a city bus back to Cassis for a showers and another fantastic dinner. Please note that this hike is sometimes done in the other direction for logistical reasons.


Day 7

Today we spend the day on a small private boat for an approximate 8-hour mini-cruise. After gazing down on the sea all week we finish with a wonderful sight-seeing tour of the Calanque from the water. We access the deepest of the Port Pin and En Vau Calanques, where the vibrant turquoise sea is crystal clear and surrounded by dramatic white limestone cliffs. We'll enjoy lunch on the boat and return to our hotel for one last celebratory dinner on the coast.

Please note: this boat trip can only happen when the sea is calm, so it we may have to arrange it on a different day of the trip. If the boat tour isn't possible, we will substitute it with another spectacular day of hiking (we do not offer partial refunds in this situation).


Day 8

This morning we enjoy a relaxing breakfast, check out of our rooms and depart for the airport. Please schedule your flight no earlier than 2 P.M.


Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however occasionally trips are subject to itinerary changes based on a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to: extreme weather, political or bureacratic obstacles, earthquakes, fires, flooding and more.

Trip Details

What's Included

  • A detailed trip packet that takes the guesswork out of your travel, training, packing, and preparing for the trip
  • Access to our Adventure Consultant team 7 days a week
  • Transportation for the duration of the tour starting on Day 1 and ending on the day you depart
  • 3- and 4-star lodging (double occupancy or single supplement) for the duration of the tour
  • Use of a day pack and trekking poles
  • All meals from dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on the last day
  • Professional, knowledgeable, certified Alps hiking guides (U.S.-based guides)
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!

What's Not Included

  • Transportation to Marseille, France
  • Beverages and personal expenses
  • Trip insurance that includes medical coverage and at least $200,000 in evacuation and repatriation coverage (strongly encouraged)
  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-15% of trip cost)
See the Packing Lists page for more information.


Meals: What To Expect

This Alps hiking tour features a combination of in-town meals and meals prepared by your guide. Most lunches and some breakfasts are prepared on the trail by your guides.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables. In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We can often accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee, and in some countries may be more difficult to accommodate than others. Please inquire with us for more information about the specific trip you're interested in.


Gear We Provide

We provide all group gear which includes the following:
  • Backpacks
  • Trekking poles
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Satellite phone


What Gear To Bring

We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are two 1-liter water bottles per person and basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.


What Clothes to Bring

Please refer to the trip packet for a recommended clothing list (we email you a detailed trip packet when you inquire and when you register). All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots (reliable brands include Montrail, Lowa, Merrell, Vasque, and Salomon), rain gear, and non-cotton and cotton clothing layers. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

NOTE: See the Packing Lists page for more detailed information on what clothes and gear to bring on your hiking tour. The trip packet you receive when you contact us will have the most accurate clothing and gear list for the tour you're interested in.

Trip Logistics

How do I Register?

Ready to hike? Simply click here and complete the form to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you're ready to register we'll email you a link to a registration profile. You'll have 48 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit ($500).

Feel free to call us for more info - we're here 7 days a week!


Where Do We Meet?

We will meet you at Marseille Airport on Day 1 and transport you to the first night's hotel (included), where we'll conduct an orientation meeting at 5:00 PM (your flight needs to arrive before 3PM). Your guide will be in contact approximately 4 weeks before your trip to coordinate your rendezvous and answer any last-minute questions you have.


Safety Considerations

Your safety is our top priority. This trek is led by professional hiking guides (U.S.-based) along with additional support staff. All of our guides are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT's, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. We've developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and all tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-888-966-TREK (8735) for more information.

In the interest of your safety, it's important to refer to the Center for Disease Control website for up-to-date recommendations on immunizations before your trip.


Guides

Your tour will be led by trained, experienced professionals (U.S.-based, click here to learn more) with solid guiding backgrounds, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.


Group Size and Age Restrictions

The standard group size on this hiking tour is 10 guests and 2-3 guides, with a minimum of 4 guests and 1 guide. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 888-966-TREK (8735) and we'll answer all your questions.

Age restrictions are as follows:
  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 5 and older to join private tours, with final approval and specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis


Weather in the Alps

The location of the Alps and their tremendous elevation variations, lead to significant and sometimes unpredictable temperatures and weather patterns, both in different ranges and in a particular range itself. Due to the Alps' location in central Europe, they are influenced by moist air off the Atlantic, cold polar air from northern Europe, fluctuating air masses; and warm Mediterranean air flows northward.

Due to these extraordinary forces acting on the Alps' weather, we recommend following our clothing list closely, as guests are best served by being prepared for a broad range of possible temperatures and weather conditions.

The average temperatures and precipitation in Alps are:

Average Alps Temperatures (Fahrenheit)
Month Hi Low Wet Days
May 45° F 55° F 6 days
June 50° F 61° F 6 days
July 55° F 66° F 5 days
August 54° F 66° F 5 days
September 50° F 61° F 6 days