Nestled between the glittering turquoise blue waters of the Mediterranean and the foot of the French Alps, Nice is undoubtedly one of the most popular destinations on the French Riviera. Nice is a great base to explore not just the rest of the French Riviera but also other countries, like Monaco which is only 8 miles away and Italy which is 19 miles away. This Nice travel guide covers everything you need to know about visiting Nice, including what to do in Nice, how to get around and where to eat.
Nice Travel Guide
Getting to Nice
Let’s start this Nice travel guide with how to get to Nice. If you are flying in, the airport is only a few miles away. The best way to get to and from the city to the airport in my opinion is to Uber. It cost me around 15 euros one way, which to me was worth it with luggage. Your other options are regular taxis (which are more expensive) or the T-2 tram. There is also a bus called Bus Aeroporto which comes to terminal 1.
If you are arriving by train, Nice-Ville is the main station. The station is located a few blocks from the beach.
If you are arriving by car, you may really not need the car when you are in Nice. Unless of course you are going to town hop along the Riviera by car. You may want to check out parking options before you get to Nice.
If you are arriving in Nice early and your accommodation is not ready, you can store your bag at the train station or at hotel Belle Meuniere. I stored mine at the hotel because it was a little closer to where my accommodation was than the train station. It was a pretty simple and painless process. I just showed up at the front door and they stored my bags for me. I don’t recall exactly how much it was but it was very reasonable and there is no time limit as long as you pick up by night.
How to Get Around Nice
Nice is pretty walkable in my opinion, but then again I do like to walk! If this is not your thing, Nice also has trams, buses and Uber as well. Buses and trams are covered by the same ticket. You can either get a single ticket, a day pass or a 10-ride multi-ticket.
How to Get Around the Riviera
While Nice is amazing, there’s so much to see along the Riviera that you may want to explore other places. Especially if you are staying in Nice a few days. There are lots of ways to get around the Riviera but the most popular options are trains and buses. Using the train is probably the most quickest and easiest but buses may be convenient when trains don’t go to certain places. That being said, not all buses run on Sundays so you may need to plan ahead of time if you are going to explore the Riviera on a Sunday.
Where I Ate
This Nice travel guide would not be complete without recommending some places to eat! Here are all the places I ate at.
This is one of Nice’s best resturants! In fact, it is! It has 5 star ratings across all platforms (TripAdvisor, Goggle, Facebook etc.). Peppino serves amazing Italian food with a menu that changes daily. The food was absolutely delicious and the service was amazing! The two guys who run the place are so friendly and nice. An advance booking is a must! I was able to book via their Instagram account. I simply messaged them the night before and got a table.
Being so close to Italy, there’s a lot of Italian food in Nice. After spending a lot of time in East France and West Germany, I was happy about all the Italian food in Nice. I ate at Illia Pasta the first night when I couldn’t get a table at Peppino (because I tried to walk-in without an appointment) and this restaurant didn’t disappoint. The menu is relatively small but the food was delicious and the service was great. I picked a table that looked out to the street and enjoyed my dinner while people watching.
I’ll admit I ate here because it was late night and this was one of the few places open. Chez Moi serves French cuisine and the food was decent. The liver pate was exceptionally good!
Pâtisserie Le Vanillier
Every morning, I would be woken up by the most heavenly smell from this bakery that was below my Airbnb. Definitely check it out if you are nearby. I tried a tart and an éclair and they were both amazing!
WOW! I was trying to remember if I had seem this many gelato flavors even in Italy and I couldn’t remember a single place in all the places I have visited in Italy (been to 9 cities!), with this much of a choice in gelato flavors. From fruits to florals, from alcohols to chocolates, Fenocchio has every flavor you can think of and more! They have 2 shops close by to each other in the Old Town and both are crowded any time of the day or night but the line moves fast!
Like Fenocchio, Oui Jelato also has a big line out the door. Personally I preferred Fenocchio because they had a lot more flavors. But, people seem to love this shop as well.
A lovely bar right in the heart of Old Town. The bartender made me a drink to order and even gave me samples of food. It’s open until very late so you can drop in any time after dark.
I have 3 recommendations for a place to stay in Nice. Pick a central place so that you can walk to most places, pick a place that has air conditioning and book in advance. Places fill up, especially during summer months and can be expensive if not planned ahead.
What to See and Do in Nice
Next up on this Nice travel guide is what to see and do there. This list is in no particular order..
Walk up or down Promenade de Anglais
Nice’s one mile sea front promenade is enjoyable to stroll along any time of day. But, my favorite time was right after dinner. Sit and people watch or walk from one end to the other with gelato in hand!
This hotel, built in 1913 is one of the most famous landmark’s in Nice. Its pink dome is easy to spot for miles. Hotel Negresco is one of Nice’s finest hotels and is a little hard to get into if you are not staying there. Unless you drop in for a drink, provided you are dressed up to the mark.
This villa was built for Jean-Andre Massena, a military commander of the Napoleonic area. You can tour the house to see the lavish décor. The gardens has a monument to the 86 people who died in the 2016 attack on Promenade des Anglais.
Cours Saleya Market
This location has been Nice’s main market square since the middle ages. Today, the market is a mix of colors, smells and sounds. The flower market has been in operation since the 19th century.
You can find some of the best views of Nice up on Castle Hill. There used to be a fort here back in the day but all you will see now are stunning views of the port, the sea and the city of Nice.
Explore Vieux Nice (Old Town)
With it’s narrow streets and colorful facades, the Old Town of Nice was probably one of my favorite places to walk around in Nice, day or night.
The Chagall museum houses the world’s largest collection of Marc Chagall’s work. It’s said you may enjoy this museum even if you are not a fan of modern art in general.
There are a few other museums in Nice that may be worth checking out if you love museums. They are:
- Matisse Museum – houses works from artist Henri Matisse
- Modern and Contemporary Art Museum
- Fine Arts Museum
- Archaeological Museum
Take a Boat Ride
One of the best ways to see Nice and the other surrounding towns is from the water. Trans Côte d’Azur offers a 1 hour boat tour that goes all the way to the coast of Cap-Ferrat. You can book online, call or book in-person. Which ever method you choose, do it ahead of time as they fill up fast!
Check out the website HERE.
Nice’s Russian Orthodox church is claimed by some to be the finest outside Russia! It’s a little away from the rest of the attractions so you may need to plan it in. I went early one morning and it wasn’t opened yet but the outside looked very grand!
Fontaine du Soleil
Fontaine du Soleil is one of the most popular landmarks in the city of Nice. This fountain features a statue of Apollo, who symbolizes the sun, along with bronze statues that represent planets. The road leading from this fountain is full of shops and is more on the modern side of the city.
Relax on the Beach
The calm blue waters of the French Riviera is unbelievably inviting any time of the day or night! But, the beach itself is VERY rocky. Water shoes are an essential if you are planning on taking a dip. July and August are supposed to be jelly fish season so ask around before you take a dip.
Visit the Other Towns
As I mentioned before, the Riviera has a lot to offer and Nice is only a fraction of this. You can easily visit the following places along the Riviera from Nice. You could even town hop and cover a few places a day.
Click HERE or below to read a detailed post about the best 8 towns to visit on the French Riviera!
Here are some options if you like the idea of taking a walking tour of Nice.
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Read my post about visiting Monaco HERE or below!