With its deep and narrow shape, Calanque d’En Vau is one of the the most famous (and busiest) creeks in the Eastern Marseille region. Its turquoise waters framed by white cliffs and pine trees are picture perfect. It is also a pleasant place to snorkel, even if it is far from being one of the very best in the region. Most importantly, plan your trip on a calm day (when visitors are not too numerous) if you really want to enjoy snorkeling here.

How to get there

Calanque d’En Vau is close to Cassis. From this small town, follow the “presqu’île” direction until you arrive in Port Miou creek. The path leading to Calanque d’En Vau starts here. The starting point is not indicated and may be difficult to find, don’t hesitate to use a GPS application to find it (the exact GPS position can be found here). You will have to walk for about 2 hours to get to the spot. Parking around Port Miou creek can be extremely difficult. If you’re driving, we advise you to stop at the Gorguettes parking. It is located a little further from the path but it is free. During summer and weekends, you can also take the shuttle to reach the path and avoid parking trouble (1.6€/person round trip, one trip every 20 minutes until 8pm).

Neptune grass meadows at Calanque d'En Vau

Walking to Calanque d’En Vau requires good physic condition. The last part is particularly steep and rough. Wear good shoes and bring lots of water.

Your visit has to be prepared: access to the creek is only authorized from 6am to 11pm, and can sometimes be totally forbidden if fire hazard is high.

Water entrance

A buoy line sets the limit to the swimmable area. Enter the water wherever you like from the pebbles beach.

Calanque d'En Vau snorkeling map, Calanques National Park

Exploration

The snorkeling area encompasses the whole swimming area. Don’t go beyond the buoy line: numerous boats usually moor and sail on the creek entrance.

Sea anemones at Calanque d'En Vau

Right after entering the water, the seabed drops quickly over the first dozen meters before steadying around 4-6 m. It is first covered with coarse sand and pebbles, then progressively with posidonia (4-8m). Fish species (bream, sargo…) are generally wild here and you will have trouble getting close to them because of the water depth. Keeping close to the cliffs closing the creek will allow you to spot also juvenile fishes. Photographers will love these special hours when a part of the creek is sheltered from sunlight, casting underwater shadows amongst rays of light.

View of Calanque d'En Vau

The small beach is overcrowded during weekends and summer months. Too many swimmers in the water can alter visibility on the shallow areas. Move further from the shore to enjoy clearer waters, but be very careful: kayaks, swimmers and people jumping from the sea cliffs into the water can still disturb your experience at any time.

Restaurants and accommodation

Calanque d’En Vau is a wild area: you will find no restaurant nor accommodation options on site. Bring lots of water and something to eat: you will need it to get back up to the parking lot after your time spent in the water.

Species you may spot while snorkeling Calanque d’En Vau
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME ABUNDANCE FISHBASE WIKIPEDIA
Thicklip grey mullet Chelon labrosus  
Common two-banded seabream Diplodus vulgaris  
Saddled seabream Oblada melanura  
Salema porgy Sarpa salpa  
Snakelocks anemone Anemonia sulcata  
Neptune grass Posidonia oceanica  

 

  • Level required Beginner
  • Protected areaParc National des Calanques
  • Maximum depth20ft/7m
  • Water entranceEasy, from a sandy beach
  • Potential DangersUsual precautions
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyNo
  • Public toilets & showersNo

MAP Spot

This reference identification guide includes all the 860 marine fish species that may be encountered while snorkeling in coastal Western Europe and the Mediterranean.

These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.