If you visit one place around the Marseille area, make sure it’s “une calanque”. A calanque is a geographical feature that can be described as “a steep-walled inlet, cove or bay that is developed in limestone, dolomite or other carbonate strata and found along the Mediterranean coast” – thanks Wiki. In non-geological terms, these natural phenomena usually consist of small stony beaches with crystal blue water, surrounded by white cliffs and other rock formations. We chose to visit la calanque de Sugiton, which is about an hours walk down a relatively easy path from the University of Aix-Marseille.
My first impressions were that I was entering some kind of biblical scene – I found myself on this deserted path surrounded only be white craggy rocks and a couple of cypress trees. But as you descend down the mountain and towards the sea, you encounter a spectacular view of the bay and the “calanque” with its (quite literally) azure waters. Once we made it down to the beach, we saw a couple of boats approaching but none of them stopped to drop off their passengers. We found out that although these cruises are rather publicised and quite expensive, they don’t let their passengers set foot on the land or take a dip in the ocean to really explore the area. On the other hand, our bus ride to the university only cost a couple of euros and we got to spend the whole day hiking and swimming to our heart’s content. But be warned – the water is rather cold!