The resort town of Nice Cote D’azur is a captivating destination that offers a wealth of attractions to discover. Consider this your Nice travel guide as we explore the allure of this picturesque location on the Côte-d’Azur coastline.
Nice, France beckons travelers with its irresistible blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and luxurious experiences. A Nice vacation offers a wealth of possibilities that cater to every traveler’s desires.
Nice, located on the French Riviera, is a renowned coastal paradise boasting breathtaking beaches, azure waters, and an exquisite Mediterranean climate, making it an ideal destination for relaxation and rejuvenation.
This French Riviera destination is a must-visit for any traveler seeking a taste of the Mediterranean’s attraction.
My Nice city guide highlights activities for your itinerary to make the most of your time in this coastal region. We will delve into the best things to do in Nice and provide Nice travel trips to enhance the overall travel experience.
Planning your perfect escape to the South of France? To truly experience the charms of the French Riviera, make sure to include Nice in your travel itinerary. Plan your trip to Nice today as it promises to be an unforgettable journey through hidden gems and iconic landmarks.
Table of Contents
History Of Nice
Nestled along the picturesque Ligurian coast, Nice’s history is as captivating as its scenery. The city’s origins trace back a staggering 400,000 years.
The settlement we recognize today as Nice was established around 350 BCE by the Greeks. Greek colonists from Phocaea established the city and named it Níkaia, after the Greek goddess of victory, Nike.
Its prime coastal location transformed it into a bustling port city and trading hub during the Middle Ages.
The city’s architecture is a testament to its unique blend of Italian and French influences. The pastel-hued buildings evoke the Italian Riviera’s charm, yet the designs remain quintessentially French.
The result of this rich history is a city with a unique blend of influences, from ancient Greek heritage to Italian nuances, giving it a distinctive character that enchants visitors.
Nice UNESCO World Heritage Site
Nice is a destination that recently secured a position as a UNESCO World Heritage site. This prestigious classification pays homage to the city and highlights its global significance where remarkable architecture, enchanting scenery, and a vibrant urban legacy are ready for you to discover.
3 Key Takeaways
- Maximize your experience: Nice offers a variety of attractions and activities, from exploring its culinary delights to experiencing its vibrant nightlife. Make the most of your trip by immersing yourself in the local culture and indulging in the city’s gastronomic offerings.
- Exploring the French Riviera: Nice serves as an excellent base for day trips to nearby destinations along the French Riviera. Take advantage of these opportunities to visit charming towns, picturesque beaches, and historic landmarks, further enriching your travel experience.
- Convenient travel options: Getting to Nice is easy, with various transportation options available. Whether you prefer flying, driving, or taking the train, you can choose the most suitable mode of transportation to reach this captivating city and begin your exploration of the French Riviera.
How to Get to Nice
Getting to Nice is a seamless experience, with convenient transportation options available. Nice is a beautiful city located on the French Riviera, whether you prefer air travel or train journeys, reaching Nice is both efficient and comfortable.
As you embark on your trip to Nice, it is important to plan your travel arrangements in advance. With multiple transportation options at your disposal, getting to Nice is a hassle-free affair.
This guide will provide you with all the essential information you need to make your journey to Nice a memorable one.
Arriving at Nice Cote d’Azur Airport is an experience in itself, presenting an opportunity to witness breathtaking views of the mediterranean.
Numerous airlines offer direct flights to Nice from major cities around the world, making it convenient for international travelers.
Flying into Nice is an efficient way to reach the city center, hop onto the No 2 tram from Terminals 1 and 2, which offers a cost-effective and convenient transportation option.
Or you can take a brief 15-minute taxi ride with fares averaging around EUR40 for a comfortable journey.
The train network in Nice is extensive, allowing travelers to reach the city from different regions of France and Europe.
The city’s main train station, Nice-Ville, serves as a major transportation hub, facilitating seamless travel for both domestic and international visitors.
High-speed trains such as the TGV from Paris, Lyon, Marseille, and other major cities in France regularly operate to and from Nice, providing convenient access for those who prefer a scenic rail journey.
Travelers visiting Nice by car will likely utilize the A8 autoroute (highway), which connects the city with Italian and Spanish cities. Look for clear signage indicating “Nice Centre” or “Promenade des Anglais” as you approach the city, ensuring a smooth arrival.
Numerous reputable bus companies, including Eurolines and Ouibus, offer services to Nice. Most buses conveniently stop near the bustling Place Massena, a central location that provides easy access to the city’s attractions and amenities.
Getting Around Nice | Transportation Guide
Exploring Nice is both accessible and economical, thanks to its efficient public transport system. Learn about the best ways to navigate the city and access its attractions, ensuring a seamless and convenient journey.
Buses and trams serve as the backbone of public transportation in Nice, providing efficient connectivity throughout the city and neighboring areas.
These modes of transport are not only reliable but also affordable, with single fares priced at approximately 1.50 euro for both buses and trams.
For added convenience and savings, consider purchasing a package of 10 tickets for just 10 euro.
While taxis offer a convenient means of transportation, it’s important to note that they can be relatively expensive compared to other options. If you opt for a taxi ride within the city, anticipate a minimum fare of around EUR20.
To ensure a smooth experience, it’s advisable to negotiate the fare with the driver before embarking on your journey.
For those seeking to explore the region at their own pace, renting a car is a fantastic option. The scenic beauty of Nice and its surrounding areas can be best appreciated when driving along the coast or through the idyllic landscapes of Provence.
Reputable rental agencies such as Enterprise, Hertz, and Europcar offer a range of vehicles,
Keep in mind that traffic on the A8 autoroute can be congested, particularly during peak travel times.
Best Time To Visit Nice, France
When planning your visit to Nice, timing plays a crucial role. So plan your trip to Nice according to your preferences and the local calendar.
The ideal times to explore this coastal gem are during the off-season or shoulder seasons. To enjoy the best weather and avoid excessive crowds, consider visiting in May, early June or late September/October.
These periods promise warm hospitality, fewer crowds, and potentially more affordable accommodation. You’ll be greeted by pleasant weather, allowing you to explore comfortably without the summer crowds.
For those seeking the quintessential Nice experience, the summer months of June, July, and August mark the peak travel season. June to August brings warm temperatures and bustling crowds.
The city’s population swells dramatically during the summer, making it advisable to avoid the hotter and more crowded months.
However, while these months offer the prime opportunity to revel in the city’s vibrant ambiance, it’s worth considering that venturing outside of this period grants you the privilege of exploring with fewer crowds, allowing for a more intimate connection with the city’s charm.
Safety and Practical Tips
While Nice is generally safe, exercise common travel precautions. Guard against pickpocketing, especially in crowded areas, and keep your valuables secure.
Avoid signing petitions from strangers, as they may be distractions for theft. Purchase comprehensive travel insurance to ensure peace of mind during your journey.
Where to Stay in Nice | Accommodation Options
Selecting the perfect accommodation in Nice largely depends on your preferences and travel plans. For travelers who appreciate the finer things in life, Nice offers a selection of premier luxury accommodations.
However the city of Nice also offers a blend of affordability and quality, each promising a distinct experience.
If you arrive by train, staying near the Gare de Nice-Ville offers convenience and accessibility. On the other hand, if you’re flying in, consider accommodations closer to the seaside for ease of access.
When it comes to finding a place to stay in Nice, there are several accommodation options available. Here are three points to consider:
- Luxurious Hotels: Nice offers a range of upscale hotels that provide impeccable service, breathtaking views, and world-class amenities. These hotels are perfect for those seeking a luxurious and indulgent experience.
- Cozy Bed and Breakfasts: For a more intimate and charming stay, consider booking a cozy bed and breakfast in Nice. These accommodations offer a personal touch, with comfortable rooms and homemade breakfast options.
- Apartments and Villas: Another popular option in Nice is renting an apartment or villa. This provides a home-away-from-home experience, with the convenience of a fully equipped kitchen and the ability to live like a local.
In addition to these options, there are also unique details to be considered, such as the proximity of accommodations to popular attractions, the availability of beachfront properties, and the variety of architectural styles that can be found throughout the city.
A true historical fact about the accommodation options in Nice is that the city has long been a sought-after destination for travelers seeking both luxury and relaxation. From the Belle Époque era to the present day, the accommodation offerings in Nice have continued to evolve and impress visitors from around the world.
Nice Travel Guide | Must-See Attractions
Nice, France offers a plethora of must-see attractions to captivate every traveler’s heart.
Begin your journey with taking in the spectacular mediterranean views, immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the streets of Nice and indulge in the flavors of the renowned Niçoise cuisine.
Nice’s cultural diversity offers a unique experience whether you’re seeking culture, vibrant nightlife, sun-soaked beaches, or a blend of all three. My Nice Travel Guide will navigate you through places to visit and things to do that define Nice Côte d’Azur.
Embark on a memorable journey through Nice’s must-see attractions, immersing yourself in its timeless allure and cultural treasures.
Delve into the vibrant tapestry of this coastal paradise, as I unveil the top sights that make Nice an irresistible coastal destination.
Top Attractions in Nice
- The Promenade des Anglais
- Old Town (Vieux Nice)
- Castle Hill (Colline du Château)
- Place Massena
- Cours Saleya Market
- MAMAC Nice
- Musée Matisse
- Marc Chagall National Museum
- Musée Masséna
- Beaches of Nice
- Port Lympia
- Avenue Jean Médecin
- Cimiez Hill District
- Russian Orthodox Cathedral
1. Promenade des Anglais – Seaside Splendor
Promenade des Anglais, stretches along the azure waters of the Mediterranean, offering a scenic backdrop for leisurely strolls and picturesque sunsets.
Undoubtedly the heart of Nice, the Promenade des Anglais is an iconic promenade that has been a favorite for visitors since its inception in the 1820s. Named after the affluent English expats who generously contributed to its creation, this paved promenade is a must-visit landmark.
Framed by swaying palms and picturesque pergolas, your choices are endless when it comes to beachside restaurants tempting your taste buds.
The Promenade des Anglais stands as an emblem of Nice’s identity with its glistening sea, vibrant sky, and the coastal elements that truly define the experience.
2. Vieux Nice – Step Back in History
A highlight of any visit to Nice is the opportunity to get lost in the labyrinthine alleyways of Vieux Nice, the city’s historic old town.
Old Town Nice (Vieille Ville) is an immersive experience full of pastel-facade buildings, charming boutiques, and bustling markets awaiting your exploration.
Centuries-old buildings exude a unique and timeless ambiance. Dating back to the 1700s, these cobblestone streets provide a window into the city’s rich history, and provide an authentic charm of local life.
3. La Colline du Château (Castle Hill) – Panoramic Vistas
Ascend Castle Hill to soak in panoramic vistas of Nice and its surroundings. Discover remnants of ancient history and lush gardens in this elevated oasis.
Rising 300ft above the city, the Castle of Nice offers a breathtaking vista of the cityscape.
Whether you opt for an elevator ride or a leisurely scenic hike, the vistas remains one of my cherished memories of Nice.
4. Place Masséna – Epicenter of Vibrance
As you embark on your journey through Nice, a visit to Place Masséna stands as an absolute must-visit destination. The magnificent square welcomes you with its stunning architectural marvels adorned in vibrant hues.
The intricate checkered floor tiles that grace the square offer a visual symphony that dances beneath your feet. This central square serves as a lively gathering spot for both locals and visitors.
While in the vicinity, be sure to pay homage to Fontaine du Soleil, a beautiful water fountain centered around the sculpture of Apollo. It features a striking sculpture of the Greek god Apollo riding his chariot and surrounded by other mythical figures, epitomizing the melding of art and beauty in the heart of Nice.
5. Cours Saleya Market – A Fragrant Delight
Indulge your senses in the bustling Cours Saleya Market, where vibrant stalls offer an array of fresh flowers, regional produce, and local specialties.
In the heart of Nice explore the market’s aisles, lined with cafes and shops, and witness the harmonious blend of local culture and tradition.
As the week unfolds, the market transforms, welcoming visitors to explore fragrant blooms, fresh produce, and delightful flea market finds.
Immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of this bustling outdoor market – the essence of Provençal tradition is palpable here.
Museums – Artistic Journeys & Cultural Treasures
Delve into the rich cultural heritage of Nice by visiting its world-class museums where masterpieces come to life in curated exhibitions.
The region has long been hailed as a haven for art lovers, and within its bounds, a constellation of museums and foundations are dedicated to nurturing this artistic spirit.
For connoisseurs of art and culture, delve into the artistic realm with Nice being a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts.
Explore the following art museums to immerse yourself in the world of creativity and inspiration:
6. MAMAC Nice
One must visit The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art to immerse themselves in contemporary art and discover a vibrant collection of modern masterpieces.
MAMAC houses over 1,300 works, from sculptures to installations including showcasing the works of prominent artists like César, Arman, and Yves Klein.
7. Musée Matisse
Musée Matisse is an homage to the artistic legacy of Henri Matisse. Matisse found inspiration in Nice, leaving behind an enduring legacy.
The Matisse Museum showcases some of his most celebrated works, including “The Sheaf,” “Nu bleu,” and “Sorrow of the King.”
This museum showcases his mastery across various mediums, including mesmerizing oil paintings that evoke emotion and beauty.
For art enthusiasts, a visit to the Musée Matisse is a must.
8. Marc Chagall National Museum
Musée National Marc Chagall brings the dreamlike and often surreal works of Belarusian painter Marc Chagall to life.
As you wander through this museum, you’ll find yourself immersed in a world of artistic expression and surreal artistry, igniting thought and sparking inspiration.
9. Musée Masséna
The Musée Masséna offers a lavish insight into the opulent history of Nice. The museum’s grandeur and intricate architecture provide a backdrop to a collection that reflects both the aristocratic elegance of the past and the vibrant cultural tapestry of the present.
10. Nice Beaches – Beachside Bliss
A Nice itinerary would not be complete without indulging in the pleasures of its pristine beaches. Nice’s beaches offer moments of relaxation, soaking up the sun and enjoying the Mediterranean breeze.
The beaches of Nice are a destination in their own right, with the vibrant atmosphere and clear waters being undeniably alluring.
However, did you know that Nice beaches consist of pebbly shores as opposed to white smooth sand. So if you are looking for comfortable modern conveniences, the many beach clubs in Nice allow you to rent a lounge chair for a day with prices ranging from 25 euros.
But the charm of Nice is also in the free experiences. You can also enjoy the sunny beaches at no cost, instead of paying for Nice beach clubs.
11. Nice Port – A Harbor of Elegance
Port Lympia offers a captivating blend of maritime charm and opulence, creating a picturesque scene that seamlessly merges the humble elegance of wooden fishing boats with the grandeur of lavish mega yachts.
As you stroll along the waterfront promenade, you’ll find yourself immersed in a vibrant maritime ambiance.
Port Lympia offers a serene escape with the backdrop of the azure waters of Nice.
12. Avenue Jean Médecin – Chic Boutiques & Culinary Delights
Avenue Jean Médecin in Nice, France, offers a plethora of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. As one of the city’s main thoroughfares, this bustling avenue is known for its vibrant atmosphere, shops, restaurants, and cultural experiences.
You can indulge in shopping at a variety of boutiques, including well-known brands and local shops.
Cafés and eateries line the street, providing opportunities to savor delicious French cuisine and relax with a coffee or a meal.
For those interested in art and culture, the avenue is within walking distance of several museums, galleries, and theaters, making it a hub for cultural exploration.
And as you stroll down the avenue, you’ll also have the chance to appreciate the architectural beauty and charm of the city.
13. Cimiez Hill District – A Tranquil Retreat
Cimiez Hill District in Nice, France, is a charming and historic neighborhood that offers a blend of cultural richness, natural beauty, and a touch of elegance.
Nestled on a gentle hill overlooking the city, Cimiez boasts a tranquil atmosphere that is complemented by its lush gardens, grand villas, and historic sites.
One of the main attractions in Cimiez is the Matisse Museum, dedicated to the works of the renowned artist Henri Matisse. The museum is also housed in a beautiful Genoese-style villa surrounded by gardens, providing a serene and artistic experience.
Adjacent to the museum is the Cimiez Monastery and Gardens, which offers a serene retreat from the bustling city below.
For those interested in Roman history, Cimiez is home to the Roman ruins of Cemenelum. This archaeological site features ancient thermal baths, an amphitheater, and a museum that showcases artifacts from the Roman era, offering a fascinating journey back in time.
Overall, Cimiez Hill District is a harmonious blend of art, history, and natural beauty. Visitors can explore its museums, gardens, and historical sites while enjoying panoramic views of Nice and the Mediterranean coastline.
14. Russian Orthodox Cathedral – Spiritual Legacy
The Russian Orthodox Cathedral is a captivating architectural gem that stands as a symbol of cultural diversity and spiritual significance.
Situated amidst the picturesque surroundings of the French Riviera, this cathedral is a testament to the strong Russian presence in the region and offers a unique glimpse into the Orthodox Christian heritage.
Visitors to the Russian Orthodox Cathedral can marvel at its stunning interior, adorned with ornate iconography, frescoes, and religious artifacts that reflect the intricate artistry of Orthodox tradition.
Whether for spiritual reflection, cultural exploration, or simply appreciating the architectural marvel, a visit to the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Nice promises a meaningful and enriching experience.
Day Trips from Nice
As your journey through Nice continues, venture beyond the city limits to discover the natural beauty of the French Riviera.
Take a day trip to the nearby town of Eze, perched high on a hilltop and boasting breathtaking panoramic views. Or explore the glamorous resort town of Cannes, famous for its annual film festival and luxurious beaches.
Embarking on day trips from the captivating city of Nice allows travelers to uncover hidden gems along the French Riviera.
Discover the region’s enchanting landscapes, historical sites, and picturesque towns just a short drive away. Here are five must-visit destinations:
1. Eze Village
Perched high above the Mediterranean Sea, Eze Village offers a charming medieval atmosphere with breathtaking views. Wander through its narrow cobblestone streets and visit the Jardin Exotique for a unique botanical experience.
Delve into the rich maritime history of Antibes, home to the renowned Picasso Museum and the imposing Fort Carré. Stroll along the vibrant marina and explore the charming old town’s quaint shops and bustling markets.
Immerse yourself in artistic heritage in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, a picturesque village adored by artists and art lovers alike. Explore its winding streets lined with art galleries, boutiques, and centuries-old stone houses.
Experience the glitz and glamor of the renowned Cannes Film Festival in this glamorous beachfront city. Discover its luxurious shopping boulevards, stroll along the iconic Croisette promenade, and relax on the sandy beaches.
Indulge in a taste of luxury in the elegant Principality of Monaco. Marvel at the grandeur of the Monte Carlo Casino, explore the Prince’s Palace, and witness the changing of the guard. Don’t miss the chance to be dazzled by the famous F1 Grand Prix circuit.
Uncover the essence of the French Riviera with these day trips from Nice, offering a glimpse into the region’s diverse cultural heritage and natural beauty.
TRAVEL TIP: When exploring these day trip destinations, consider renting a car or hiring a driver to ensure a seamless and stress-free journey.
The French Riviera’s captivating charms have been unveiled in this comprehensive Nice Travel Guide. Discover the beauty and allure of Nice cote d’azur, an iconic french destination.
Explore the city’s iconic attractions, immerse yourself in local culture, and savor the flavors of French cuisine.
I’ve curated Nice travel tips within this guide so that you can make the most of the places to visit in Nice.
As you plan your trip to Nice, this coastal vacation promises an experience full with stunning vistas, captivating museums, and charming streets.
Nice stands as a testament to the allure of the French Riviera, blending history and Mediterranean beauty.
Immerse yourself in the best things to do in Nice and experience the wonders of the French Riviera.
5 Facts About Nice Côte d’Azur
- Nice, France is located in the famous French Riviera region, also known as the Côte d’Azur.
- Nice is a popular summer vacation destination, attracting millions of visitors each year.
- The Promenade des Anglais is a famous seaside walkway in Nice, named after the English tourists who used to frequent the city.
- Nice has a vibrant old town, Vieille Ville, with Italian-influenced architecture and charming shops and restaurants.
- Nice is home to several notable museums, including the Musée Matisse and the Marc Chagall National Museum.
Frequently Asked Questions
It is recommended to spend at least 2-3 days in Nice to explore the main sights and get a taste of the city’s charm. However, if you have more time, you can easily extend your stay and discover more of the French Riviera.
Nice is known for its iconic attractions such as the:
Promenade des Anglais
Colline du Chateau with its stunning views
Cours Saleya Market for fresh produce
Vieille Ville (Old Town) with its charming architecture, and
Place Massena with its vibrant atmosphere
Other notable landmarks include Lascaris Palace, Nice Museums like MAMAC and Musée Matisse, and the beautiful beaches.
Compared to other cities in Europe, Nice can be slightly expensive, especially during the high season in June, July, and August. However, there are budget accommodations, mid-range hotels, and affordable dining options available. It is advisable to plan your budget accordingly and make reservations in advance.
Before traveling to Nice, it is essential to know that the currency used is Euro, and French is the primary language spoken. The high season for visitation is during the summer months, but you can consider visiting during other times for fewer crowds.
Additionally, it is recommended to book flights to Paris and then take a train or budget flight to Nice for cost-effective travel options.
Yes, Nice is a walkable city, particularly in the central areas such as the Old Town and Promenade des Anglais. Most of the main attractions, shops, and restaurants are within walking distance, making it convenient to explore on foot.
However, public transportation options such as buses and trams are also available for longer distances or if you prefer not to walk.
Yes, you can easily do a day trip to Monaco from Nice. Monaco is located only about 20 kilometers away from Nice, and there are convenient train and bus connections that can take you there in under an hour.
You can explore Monaco’s glamorous casinos, stunning architecture, and picturesque harbor, all in a day.
The best area to stay in Nice depends on your preferences. The Promenade des Anglais is a popular choice due to its proximity to the beach and beautiful sea views.
Old Town (Vieille Ville) offers a charming atmosphere with narrow streets, boutiques, and cafes. The Liberation district is more local and residential, providing an authentic experience.
Yes, you can definitely swim in Nice, France. The city boasts a beautiful Mediterranean coastline with several public and private beaches along the Promenade des Anglais.
The beaches are equipped with facilities for swimming, sunbathing, and water activities during the warmer months.
There are areas where you often encounter pebbles or rocks, especially closer to the water’s edge. It’s a good idea to bring water shoes or sandals with you if you’re planning to walk on the rocky parts of the beach or enter the water, as they can provide added comfort and protection for your feet.
Additionally, some beach clubs and private beach areas may have smoother surfaces with fewer rocks, so you can choose where to relax based on your preferences.
Yes, you can still swim in the ocean in Nice in October. The sea temperature remains relatively warm during early October, making it possible to enjoy a swim.
However, keep in mind that the water may become cooler as the month progresses, so it’s advisable to check the local weather and sea conditions.
Nice and Paris offer different experiences and depend on personal preferences. Nice is known for its Mediterranean charm, stunning sea views, and relaxed atmosphere.
Paris, on the other hand, is renowned for its historical landmarks, art, culture, and bustling urban life. Both cities have their unique appeal and can offer delightful experiences.