Calanque d'En Vau
is an extremely popular destination, and it's easy to see why. Limestone cliffs soaring above a narrow spit of crystal-clear Mediterranean with perfect swimming. Despite the difficult access, it's CROWDED!
This hike is completely exposed to the sun and is unbearably hot in summer. On warm days, only do this early morning, evening, or with complete cloud cover.
It can be crazy crowded. Weekends and midday are worst. You can have the place to yourself in the early morning or sunset though.
There are two main ways to get to Calanque d'En Vau
1. This trail. Physically, this is the hardest. It's also the cheapest (free), and the best hiking option if Cassis is packed with no available parking (frequent on weekends).
2. The Cassis to Calanque d'En Vau
trail #8. This trail is much shorter (though still involves a lot of hills) but is super crowded.
For this hike, park along the highway in a large area that can hold many cars. You used to be able to drive about 1.5 miles to the Col de la Gardiole, but that part of the road was closed to cars in 2018. Start along the old road and go about half a mile to a sharp bend in the road. Large rocks are on the left bank, and if you look closely, you'll see red trail markers. Those red trail markers are you key! The trail crosses the road many times, occasionally following it for short sections. Make sure you follow the red marks!
Eventually you come to the old parking area at Col de la Gardiole. Pass straight through, and start the long descent to the beach. The canyon gets narrower at the bottom and quite beautiful, though most of this hike is on loose rock with poor views (relative this area) and isn't anything special.
Finally pop out on the spectacular beach, enjoy a picnic and a swim, and return the way you came.
This area is very popular with rock climbers, who scale the limestone cliffs all around the beach.