Like a lot of places, you can get a bus tour round the city. Its great for getting your bearings, and figuring out what you want to see more of. Usual hop on - hop off format. About 90 minutes in total. Its a "day" ticket, so you could go round more than once. E17 per person. Leaves from Vieux Port every hour.
We opted for the 3 day pass, which cost 10 €/person (2007). And since a single ticket costs 1,70 €, it takes only 6 rides until you got your money's worth. With this pass you can take all buses and metros, unlimited times! Plus it is so convenient, because you can hop on and off buses, do not have to care to get your tickets, find coins that will go into the vending machines etc.
We used the buses a lot and were very satisfied with the service! Buses run frequently, they were usually on time and brought us to all the places we wanted to see! What I really liked a lot were the bus stations: you not only have the timetables there, but also a little map of the bus route, which makes an orientation so much easier!
There are only two metro lines in Marseille - the red and the blue one. They meet at two stations: Gare St. Charles (the train station) and Castellane. A single ticket costs 1,70 € (2007) and you have to validate it before you get to the train.
The trains and the stations are clean and never too crowded, so that is a nice means of transport!
The central train station is called Gare Saint Charles. From here you can take trains to all places in France, including a TGV to Paris, which lasts about 3 hours!
Saint Charles also has two metro stops - both the blue and the red line stop here.
Behind the trainstation is the gare routier, the bus station for long distance buses. From November 2006 on you will find the shuttle buses to the airport right there at the gare routier.
"César" is a little ferry boat that crosses the Vieux Port. The boat ride only takes 3 - 4 minutes and is both fun and convenient! The old ferry has first started to operate in 1880, but has been renovated in 2006.
You can catch this ferry right across the street from the city hall at the Old Port.
Ferry services run all day until 7 p.m. In 2007 a single ticket cost 50 cent, a return ticket 80 cent (and the "captain" is also the cashier!!!)
Marseille airport is halfway between Marseille and Aix-en-Provence. There are 4 terminals/halls and the budget airline terminal is hall 4 - still pretty much under construction! It is called mp2
There is a shuttle bus service to both Marseille and to Aix.
The shuttle bus to Marseille leaves every 20 minutes and costs 8,50 € (2007) one way.
It is a direct bus from the airport to the Marseille central trainstation/bus station. It takes around 30 minutes to get from MP2 to Marseille (of course depending on the traffic).
marseille-marignane is the airport(marseille-provence);many buses do the shuttle marignane/marseille-st-charles railway station.......Marseille-saint-charles is the main railway station;but there are also direct buses to aix-en-provence,avignon,toulon,nice,briançon.
the subway is very useful,but you can use buses all over the city. But many strikes very often!!
Close to St Charles for many destinations, coaches offer a good way to join the airport (in 25 minutes, 8.50 EUR) or Aix-en-Provence (in 25 minutes, 4.30 EUR).
I have not tried other destinations.
A Taxi to the airport from St Charles costs 38 EUR and is hardly quicker.
The train is a good way to reach other cities (ex: Cassis-Toulon, Paris). The TGV connects Marseille to Paris every hour, in about 3 hours travelling.
Buying a ticket at the desk requests patience (long queues). Automatic machines are available.
Station St Charles is close to coach and car Rental agencies and has a left-luggage office (4.50, 6 or 8 EUR, according to size, up to 72 hours).
In 1970, my grand father, a retired station master, offered my brothers an electrical train with the same engine !! (67002, if I remember well)
Hiring a car is rather expensive (Example: 80 euro for one day for the smallest car, 250 km included + petrol and 0.30 cent per additional km). Most car rental agencies are situated near St Charles, a common arrival by train or coach (from the Airport, for instance).
Traffic is heavy! Motorbike is a preferred way to drive in the city.
Due to hills, riding a bicycle does not seem appropriate.
The Metro in Marseille has 2 lines and is a quick way to travel. It starts from 5 am but stops at 9 pm (Fri, Sat and Sun till 0h30)!
Buses are often rapid thanks to their reserved lane. They pass frequently until 9 pm, and a night shift of buses with similar lines (number often prepended by 5) pass much less frequently later.
A ticket for 1 hour ("Solo", 1.60EUR) or 1 Day ("1 jour", 4.50EUR) allows for any transport by metro or bus with changes.
As you fly in to Marseille you get a wonderful view of the layout of the city and surrounding areas. The airport is situated on an isthmus of land as you can see here in the photo, taken from the cockpit.
It is 25kms North West of Marseille, and a very busy airport, being the gateway to Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, and the Mediterranean.
Marseille Provence Airport,
BP 7 Aéroport,
13727 Marignane Cédex,
Marseille has many connections with the whole Mediterranean. Ferries to Algiers and several Algerian harbors and to Tunis are almost daily but several other destinations can be reached from Marseille : the Balearics, Corsica, Sardinia, Crete, etc…
There are many bus lines and the network is dense enough to reach easily any place in the city. Of course, as it has to cope with the traffic jams, it is not as fast as the metro but it is its perfect complement. It is possible to get a day pass (4 €uros) for bus and metro.