Nice is located on the French Riviera at the South-eastern coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea. Nestled beside the French Alps, to the east of Marseille and close to the border with Italy, Nice makes for an attractive destination for travellers thanks to its UNESCO heritage status, warm Mediterranean climate, delicious cuisine, stunning beaches and historical architecture.
A day trip to the microstate of Monaco is highly recommended, which is only 13 kilometres away. Stopping over in Nice for a few days is a great way to unwind and enjoy the local cuisine and the beautiful surroundings. If it’s part of a larger trip, perhaps it could also involve a trip to the Alps. In this guide we provide a three day itinerary for this amazing city.
On the first day, we recommend staying within the city limits, exploring the city along its main promenade, either by foot, bicycle or skates, while enjoying some local cuisine. On day two, we suggest taking a train to nearby Monaco, while on day three we recommend the beach, some water sports and yet more delicious food.
Day 1: Explore The City
Nice is a unique and beautiful city with many things to do, see and eat. After a delicious Mediterranean breakfast, such as poached eggs Caprese, we recommend finding your bearings within the city limits. In total, Nice has a population of almost 1 million, so it’s not a small city, but it’s fairly easy to navigate by foot, bicycle or metro. Nice is known as being a beautiful city, attracting many famous painters, writers and artists over the years thanks to the quality of the light and the architecture, so you’re sure to have a pleasurable time.
Walk, Cycle Or Skate The Promenade Des Anglais
One of the first things you’ll notice when arriving in Nice is the palm-tree-lined promenade along the Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels). It’s called Promenade des Anglais and is perhaps the most iconic street in the whole of Nice, being 7km in length and stretching from the castle headland all the way to the airport. It’s the perfect way to explore the city for first time visitors while getting some exercise and enjoying a stunning view of the Mediterranean on one side and the historical architecture on the other. There’s also a dedicated cycle and skate lane, so if you’re feeling more active, you could always rent a bike or some roller skates.
Where To Eat In Nice
For lunch, why not tuck into some delicious French street food at Taste Niçoise. They offer a wide range of freshly-prepared dishes, including pissaladière (caramelized onion and anchovy tart), socca (chickpea-flour pancakes), tourte de blettes (chard, raisin and pine nut pie). Another popular eatery is Lou Balico, which is in front of the MAMAC museum. It’s a great place to enjoy the local delicacy pan bagnat, which is a kind of round bagel with anchovies, tuna, olives, hard-boiled egg, fresh vegetables and olive oil.
Where To Stay In Nice
- $$$ – Hôtel Nice Azur Riviera, a four-star hotel, provides air-conditioned rooms, a buffet breakfast, and all the luxuries to make for a comfortable stay just 1.5km from Plage Beau Rivage.
- $$ – 26 Nice Pairoliere is a holiday rental apartment in the middle of the Old Town, just ten minutes walk from the beach and the city centre and a five minute walk to the famous Cours Saleya Market.
- $ – Hostel Meyerbeer Beach is a budget hostel best-suited for backpackers or those on a tighter budget. It offers dorms, single and double rooms, among other options, and is less than 200 feet from the main beach and the Promenade Des Anglais.
Day 2: Take a Day Trip To Monaco
Travel time: Monaco is only about 30 minutes (30 km) from Nice city centre by car or train. It makes for an easy-to-reach destination on the train since there are regular trains running throughout the day.
Monaco, or Monte Carlo, is the second smallest country in the world and is known as a popular tourist destination and the site of the Grand Prix. It is more expensive than other cities, but you can still spend the day there without going over budget. If you’re staying over, we’ve also included some options for accommodation too.
Visit Monaco’s Old Town: Le Rocher (Monaco Ville)
There’s plenty to do in Monaco, from visiting the beach, the harbour, the museums or the Jardin Exotique. As a starting point, we especially recommend the Old Town, otherwise known as Le Rocher (“the rock” in French). The Old Town contains a vast array of 18th Century buildings, many of them unchanged over the years, as well as labyrinthine streets, cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops.
Where To Eat In Monaco
Monaco is full of amazing places to eat, ranging from luxury restaurants to bakeries, cafes and street food stalls. Among some of the best include the Peruvian restaurant Coya Monte Carlo, which offers a wide range of Latin American food and drink, including ceviche, seafood, sashimi, Pisco and cocktails, as well as a terrace with a sea view. One of the best places to enjoy affordable and delicious pasta is Maison des Pâtes Monaco, which also offers vegetarian options and a wide range of Italian, Mediterranean and European cuisine.
Where To Stay In Monaco
- $$$ – Floating Retreat (Airbnb): Airbnb has plenty to offer, from luxury apartments to cheaper options. If you’re looking for something special, more towards the high-end, why not stay on a boat in the main harbour? The Floating Retreat is beautifully-restored boat ideal for couples or small groups.
- $$ – Riviera Marriott Hotel La Porte De Monaco is a four-star hotel next to the Monegasque border. It’s a great mid-range option, two hundred yards from the beach and with sea views.
- $ – Forum Hotel is actually a three-star backpacker hostel, ideal for those looking more towards the budget options. Bear in mind that it still is Monaco, so it may be more expensive than other destinations in Europe.
Or alternatively, remain in Nice, and simply travel back to the city in the evening.
Day 3: Enjoy The Beach & Some Nice Cuisine
Nice is especially known for its many beaches, especially along the Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels). Most of its pebble beaches are along this stretch, which includes twenty public beaches and fifteen private beaches, offering plenty of cafes, restaurants along the bay, as well as sun beds and parasols for rental.
Find The Perfect Beach
Many of the private beaches will only be open April to October, but the public ones will be year-round. If you’re visiting in the summer, be prepared for crowds, and of course, don’t forget your sun lotion. Nice is a great spot to enjoy a day at the beach, and the clean, turquoise waters of the Mediterranean are ideal for swimming and water sports. The private beaches are typically affiliated with private resorts, while some the best public beaches include Beau Rivage, Voilier and Lenval.
Where To Eat Near Baie des Anges
There are lots of eateries from which to choose in the Bay of Angels area. Vivo is a French restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner on Promenade de la Plage with an excellent sea view. It offer seafood, salads and vegetarian options and is among the more expensive places, but the food is delicious. Another popular choice is La Cucina Nice, which close to the main promenade, but a little further back on Rue Commandant Raffalli. It offers Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, including vegan and vegetarian options. It’s a cosy, family-run restaurant with lots of charm.
Nice: A Beautiful City With A Lot To Offer
Nice is a beautiful city with a warm and welcoming vibe, especially in the summer months when there’s plenty of sunshine. It has a lot to offer, including well-maintained beaches, crystal-clear waters, a varied, healthy and delicious cuisine and a rich heritage. It also makes for an excellent base for those wishing to explore the Alps or northern Italy.