The Best Beach In France For Those With An Adventurous Side

Settled between Cassis and Marseille along the south of France's coastline, Calanques National Park is a nature enthusiast's and adventurer's dreamscape. Along with its incredible hiking trails and rock climbing faces, Calanques National Park also boasts hidden, turquoise swimming coves with lounge-worthy pebble beaches.

Per the park's website, "calanques" actually translates to a small, rocky cove surrounded by sheer cliffs. And there's not a better description for Calanques National Park. Hidden by these sheer cliffs, there are a few swimming coves with beaches worth exploring in the park, but the most dramatic and naturally stunning is probably Calanque d'En Vau.

Completely surrounded by white limestone cliffs, Calanque d'En Vau features an inlet of crystal-clear, turquoise water that's ideal for snorkeling, swimming, and kayaking. The contrast of the emerald-blue Mediterranean water against the surrounding white cliffs creates an almost dreamlike setting. However, to experience Calanque d'En Vau, you'll need to do a little venturing.

Hike, kayak, or boat to access Calanque d'En Vau

The tourism board of Marseille notes that most calanques aren't accessible by motorized vehicle, and car access to the park itself is determined by crowds and time of year. More often than not, parking is incredibly limited, and during the height of Europe's summer tourist season, cars are prohibited throughout most of the park.

While public transportation can get you to the park's entrance and private boat tours may be available, hiking is the most popular way to explore the park. If you plan on visiting the beaches, then you'll need to hike down into the coves regardless.

According to All Trails, the most popular hiking path to Calanque d'En Vau is a moderately challenging hike. However, per the park's website, hiking trails may also be closed due to visitor numbers and high fire risks. When this is the case, you could still kayak from a nearby area to visit Calanque d'En Vau. For open-to-adventure visitors, this may be a welcomed change of plans.

Don't forget to relax and take in the scenery

There are two ways to think of Calanque d'En Vau for the adventuring traveler. You have both the adventure of getting there, whether hiking, boating, or kayaking (or all three), and the adventure of exploring the area upon arrival.

Per Summit Post, the climbing area of Calanque d'En Vau is the highlight of many mountain climbers who visit Calanques National Park. With its sheer limestone cliffs and panoramic views, Calanque d'En Vau offers routes appropriate for both novice and experienced climbers. While the climbing area is typically open year-round, certain routes may be restricted in the summer due to fire risk.

While the adventure of exploring Calanque d'En Vau is one thing; let's not forget the surreal natural beauty of the beach itself. After an afternoon of hiking, rock climbing, or kayaking, take some time to simply relax on the beach, or take a refreshing dip in the inviting waters.

After all, a little relaxation will help you recharge. With no overnight camping allowed within the park, your in-and-out adventure of visiting Calanques National Park is only half-complete.