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The Calanque de Saména, in Marseille, is the gateway to the Calanques National Park. Located within the city limits, it offers, however, very nice views and atmosphere. Its underwater relief, featuring cracks, caves and drop-offs, is heaven for critters. Small octopus, starfish, prawns and rockfish, among dozens of other species, can be spotted at this location.

Calanque de Saména, Marseille
Calanque de Saména, Marseille.

How to get to Calanque de Saména snorkeling spot?

The Calanque de Saména is located in the 8th arrondissement of Marseille, at the eastern fringes of the city. From the city center, head towards the beaches. Just after Plage de Pointe Rouge, take the small road that goes towards Callelongue and Les Goudes for about 3 km, then turn right on Boulevard de la Calanque de Saména.

Octopus at Calanque de Saména
Small octopus are a common sighting at this location.

There are a few parking spaces along the road and next to Les Tamaris restaurant. You can also park in the roadside car park located a bit further on the main road, where there is a “Saména” sign.

The Calanque is also accessible by public transport: the nearest bust stop is “Saména” (location here), which is about a 300m walk from the snorkeling spot.

Stairs lead down to the small beach nestled in the Calanque.

Calanque de Saména snorkeling map, Marseille

Water entrance for snorkeling Calanque de Saména

Water entrance is from a pebble beach.

Calanque de Saména snorkeling exploration tips

The Calanque de Saména is quite small, a hundred meters long at most. If the sea conditions allow, you can swim out and explore the rocky shore extending on the right and left sides of the Calanque.

Starfish at Calanque de Saména
A spiny starfish, quite rare in the Mediterranean shallows.

Between 3 and 15 meters deep (10 to 30 ft), the relief features cracks, small caves and rock walls on which tomato anemones, red starfish, and, in the deepest parts, yellow gorgonians live.

While looking in the small cavities and cracks, you may encounter small common octopuses, prawns, scorpionfish, forkbeard, wrasse, and cardinalfish.

Sea anemones at Calanque de Saména
Many sea anemones live on the Calanque rocky walls.

Overall, the Calanque de Saména is home to beautiful flora, with an interesting diversity of fauna, especially if you enjoy spotting and photographing small creatures. Due to fishing, allowed in the area, there are indeed few fish in the open water.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

Les Tamaris restaurant overlooks the Calanque.

 

  • Level required Intermediate
  • Protected areaParc National des Calanques
  • Maximum depth50ft/15m
  • Water entranceFrom a small pebble beach
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyYes

MAP Spot

These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.

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.