Your Ultimate Nice Travel Guide: Insider Tips for Exploring Nice

Last Updated on June 17, 2024 by April Nicole

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Visiting Nice was an unforgettable experience that I eagerly want to share, especially for those planning their first trip to this vibrant city. Found on the French Riviera, Nice offers a blend of urban excitement and serene beach vibes, making it a unique destination.

During my stay, I explored everything from the bustling markets and charming old town to the serene pebble beaches that define its coastline.

The city’s relaxed atmosphere combined with its rich cultural heritage made every day an adventure. Whether you’re a food lover, a history enthusiast, or just in need of some sun and sea, my experiences can guide you through the best that Nice has to offer.

If you’re planning some Nice travel, here’s all you need to know below.

Nice Quick Guide

Getting To Nice

Airport – The nearest major international airport is in Nice, 27 KM away. Book your plane ticket here.

Train – Nice-Ville station connects to the towns of Cannes, Èze & Monaco as well as areas of Provence. Book your train tickets here.

Private Driver – Hire a professional driver for your sightseeing tours along the French riviera and Monaco. Book your driver here.

Nearby French Riviera Cities to Explore
Top Tours From Nice

If you are in a hurry, here’s a summary of my Nice travel guide:

A Brief History of Nice

Nice, with its strategic location on the French Riviera, has a rich and varied history. Originally settled by the Greeks around 350 BC, who named it Nikaia after the goddess of victory, the city later became a prized jewel for various powers. It was controlled by the Romans and then by the counts of Provence during the Middle Ages, becoming a part of the Duchy of Savoy in the 14th century.

Nice’s proximity to Italy has heavily influenced its culture and architecture, evident in the Italian-style old buildings and cuisine. In 1860, following the Treaty of Turin, Nice was annexed by France as part of a deal to support Sardinia in its unification efforts. This diverse historical background has shaped Nice into the vibrant and culturally rich city it is today.

It recently became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2021 and sees thousands of visitors yearly.

Best Time to Visit Nice, France

The best time to visit Nice, France, is from May through October. During these months, you’ll enjoy warm weather perfect for exploring the beaches and vibrant streets of the city. June to August are the busiest, offering bustling nightlife and lively festivals.

However, for a more relaxed experience with fewer crowds, consider visiting in May or September. The weather is still delightful, and you’ll find more affordable accommodations, giving you a wonderful balance of comfort and accessibility.

Weather in Nice

Nice boasts a Mediterranean climate, ensuring mild winters and hot summers, making it a perfect destination year-round. Winter temperatures average around 10°C, while summer can see highs of 27°C. Spring and autumn are particularly pleasant, offering a comfortable climate with fewer crowds.

Whether you’re strolling along the Promenade des Anglais or exploring the quaint streets of the Old Town, Nice’s weather rarely disappoints, providing over 300 sunny days a year. Ideal for those seeking both cultural experiences and beach relaxation, Nice’s climate caters to every traveler’s needs.

Average Temperature in Nice (°F) Year Round

Average High (°F)545459636877828277686356
Average Low (°F)414145505764686863575043

Nice Travel Guide: Transportation Options

Nice is well-connected to the rest of Europe and the world, making it easily accessible by various modes of transportation.

By Plane:

  • Nice Côte d’Azur Airport (NCE) is the main gateway, situated just 6 km southwest of the city. It serves as a hub for both domestic and international flights, connecting Nice directly to major cities worldwide – book you plane ticket to Nice with Skyscanner or Hopper.

By Train:

  • Nice-Ville Station is the main railway station, located centrally in Nice. It’s well-connected to the rest of France and Europe, with high-speed TGV services from Paris taking about 6 hours – book your train ticket with Trainline or Rail Europe.

By Bus:

  • Long-distance buses arrive at and depart from the main bus terminal in Nice, connecting to other French cities and European destinations – book your bus ticket with Omio or Busbud.

By Car:

  • Nice is well-connected by the French motorway network, making it an excellent choice for those preferring to drive. From Paris, take the A6 and A7 through Lyon and then A8 directly to Nice, a journey of about 9 hours – book a car rental with Discover Cars or AutoEurope.

Getting Around Nice, France

Nice offers a variety of convenient transportation options to explore its scenic beauty and cultural highlights:

  • Tramway: Efficient and eco-friendly, Nice’s tram system covers key areas, including the airport and downtown. Download the Nice Ticket app and just buy a ticket as needed there.
  • Buses: A comprehensive network that connects the entire city and neighboring towns.
  • Bicycles: With numerous bike rental services like Vélo Bleu, cycling is a great way to enjoy the seaside paths.
  • Walking: Most tourist attractions are walkable, especially around the historic Old Town.

What to See and Do in Nice

Historical Attractions

Old Town (Vieille Ville)

Exploring the Old Town of Nice is like stepping back in time. I particularly enjoy wandering through the narrow streets of Vieille Ville because every corner offers something different, from quaint shops to local eateries. My favorite spot is the Cours Saleya market. The vibrant displays of fresh produce and flowers always make me feel more connected to the local culture and lifestyle.

Another highlight for me is the Palais Lascaris, where the collection of ancient musical instruments and the detailed Baroque interiors really stand out. It’s a unique museum that doesn’t get as crowded as others, which makes the visit more relaxed and personal.

Outdoor café scene in the Old Town of Nice, with red-checkered tablecloths and a backdrop of charming pastel-colored buildings and the Baroque façade of the Cathedral Sainte-Réparate. A picturesque spot that captures the essence of Nice's vibrant dining culture, perfect for a travel guide.
Narrow, sloping streets in the Vieille Ville (Old Town) of Nice, with a blend of colorful facades, green shutters, and historical charm under a soft blue sky. A perfect visual for a Nice travel guide, capturing the essence of the city's rich history and picturesque urban scenery.

Walk down Promenade des Anglais

Walking along the Promenade des Anglais always uplifts my mood. The wide pathway, lined with palm trees against the backdrop of the sea, makes for a perfect morning or evening stroll. I find cycling here especially enjoyable because of the smooth pavement and scenic views.

Another reason I like visiting this place is the Hotel Negresco, an architectural beauty that captures the luxurious spirit of Nice. Just sitting at one of the beachfront cafés and watching people and waves has become one of my must-do activities every time I visit.

The iconic Hotel Negresco, a symbol of Belle Époque elegance, seen from the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, framed by lush palm trees under a clear blue sky. This landmark hotel is a must-feature destination for any Nice travel guide, representing the luxury and historical grandeur of the French Riviera.

Castle Hill (Colline du Château)

Castle Hill is my go-to for the best views of Nice. I prefer taking the lift up and then walking down the stairs to fully enjoy the scenery. The park at the top is peaceful, and the waterfall adds a nice touch to the serene environment. If you only have one day in Nice, I definitely recommend visiting Castle Hill.

I always make sure to visit at sunset because the sky and the city light up in colors that are truly spectacular. The panoramic view from Castle Hill makes me appreciate the beauty of Nice every time, and it’s a great spot for taking photos that capture the essence of the city.

Panoramic view from Castle Hill overlooking the terracotta rooftops of Nice's old town, the famous Promenade des Anglais, and the stunning azure waters of the Bay of Angels, framed by lush green foliage. An essential highlight for any Nice travel guide, showcasing the city's picturesque blend of urban and natural beauty.
A majestic waterfall cascading down the rocky face of Colline du Château in Nice, surrounded by verdant foliage under a bright blue sky. A refreshing sight to feature in a Nice travel guide, highlighting the natural beauty within the urban landscape of the city.

Visit the Cimiez Hill district

Cimiez Hill is another must-visit area in Nice, rich in both history and tranquility. This residential neighborhood is not only home to the Matisse Museum and the ruins of a Roman city but also offers lush parks, such as the Monastery Garden, which provides a serene escape from the bustling city center.

During my visit, I enjoyed strolling through the olive groves and visiting the Franciscan monastery with its fascinating museum and stunning gardens. The panoramic views of Nice from Cimiez are breathtaking and offer a perfect backdrop for a leisurely afternoon. This district is a treasure trove of cultural and historical experiences, making it a top recommendation for any history enthusiast visiting Nice.

St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral

One of the essential things to do in Nice is to visit the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral. This cathedral, the largest of its kind outside Russia, stands out with its colorful onion domes and ornate decoration, making it a striking architectural landmark in Nice.

During my visit, I admired its stunning exterior and intricate details, but unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to explore the interior. The cathedral’s interior, as I’ve heard, is beautifully adorned with icons and murals that reflect the rich history and religious significance of the Russian Orthodox tradition. I recommend planning ample time to fully appreciate both the exterior and interior beauty of this unique site.

Museums and Cultural Sites

Matisse Museum

Visiting the Matisse Museum is always a highlight for me. Located in the Villa des Arènes, a 17th-century Genoese villa in the neighborhood of Cimiez, this museum houses one of the world’s largest collections of Henri Matisse’s works.

I appreciate how the museum presents Matisse’s artistic evolution—from his early paintings to his famous cut-outs. It’s fascinating to see his use of color and form evolve right before my eyes. The serene gardens surrounding the villa also provide a perfect setting to reflect on his art.

The Matisse Museum in Nice, a radiant red ochre building with classic French windows and a terracotta roof, standing majestically under a blue sky. Its striking facade is a focal point in a Nice travel guide, inviting visitors to explore the artistic treasures within.
Henri Matisse's bold and colorful painting, featuring a regal female figure adorned with a ruff collar and a striking headdress, displayed in an ornate gold frame. An artistic highlight for any Nice travel guide, this piece from the Matisse Museum showcases the artist's distinctive use of form and color.

Marc Chagall National Museum

The Marc Chagall National Museum is another gem in Nice that I often recommend. Dedicated primarily to Chagall’s works inspired by biblical themes, the museum offers a profound spiritual and artistic experience. I am particularly drawn to the series of paintings depicting scenes from the Old Testament, displayed in a large, luminous room designed by the artist himself.

The use of color and the emotional depth in these paintings make every visit memorable. The museum’s calm atmosphere allows for a personal connection with the artworks, making each visit special. nice travel guide

Elegant wrought-iron gates open to a grand, vintage villa in Nice, flanked by tall palm trees against a clear blue sky. This image encapsulates the architectural beauty and historical residences that add to the charm of Nice, perfect for a travel guide exploring the city's hidden gems.
Abstract painting by Marc Chagall, featuring vibrant colors and whimsical figures, on display at the Marc Chagall National Museum in Nice. A must-see for art enthusiasts and a cultural gem to highlight in a Nice travel guide, offering insight into the artist's unique style and symbolism.

Modern and Contemporary Art Museum (MAMAC)

The Modern and Contemporary Art Museum, or MAMAC, appeals to my interest in more recent artistic movements. Situated near Nice’s central square, Place Garibaldi, MAMAC showcases a wealth of post-1950s art across four floors.

I enjoy exploring the diverse range of artworks from European New Realism to American Pop Art. The rooftop of the museum offers not just another splendid view of Nice but also features sculptures that provoke thought and invite interaction. This blend of indoor and outdoor experiences makes MAMAC a standout destination for me.

The Modern and Contemporary Art Museum (MAMAC) in Nice, a striking example of modern architecture with its clean lines and minimalist facade, under the Mediterranean sun. A pivotal point of interest for contemporary art lovers in a Nice travel guide, showcasing innovative art in the heart of the city.
A compelling exhibit at the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum in Nice featuring a vertically compressed red car sculpture. This thought-provoking piece challenges viewers and makes for a striking image in a Nice travel guide, highlighting the city's engagement with contemporary art.

Outdoor Activities


The beaches in Nice are a major attraction, offering both public access and exclusive beach clubs. I often spend time at both types of beaches, but the beach clubs in Nice provide a particularly luxurious experience with amenities like sunbeds, umbrellas, and on-site dining. These clubs are perfect for days when I want a bit more comfort and service. nice travel guide

The public beaches remain my favorite for a more laid-back vibe, where I can simply bring a towel and soak up the Mediterranean sun. The pebbly nature of these beaches might be surprising at first, but the crystal-clear blue waters are truly inviting. For those interested in water sports, options like jet skiing and parasailing are available, adding an adventurous element to any beach day.

A vibrant seaside atmosphere at one of the beach clubs in Nice, with a row of neatly arranged blue and white umbrellas providing shade to white sun loungers. The brilliant blue ocean stretches out in the background, meeting the clear sky on the horizon. A quaint 'Neptune Plage' sign adds a touch of charm to the scene, while a solitary figure stands on a pier overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, embodying the relaxed and luxurious spirit of Nice's shoreline retreats.
The bustling public beach of Nice, lined with blue and white striped umbrellas and sun loungers, as beachgoers enjoy the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea. A quintessential summer scene for a Nice travel guide, highlighting the city's lively beach culture against a backdrop of blue skies.

Nice Carnival

A highlight of visiting Nice in the winter is experiencing the Nice Carnival, one of the world’s largest and most famous carnivals. This vibrant event takes place in February and is a spectacular display of creativity and tradition. During my visit, the lively atmosphere was palpable, with colorful parades featuring elaborate floats, costumed dancers, and giant papier-mâché figures.

The city buzzes with excitement as locals and tourists alike gather to watch the parades and participate in the festive events. The Battle of Flowers, where beautifully decorated floats covered in fresh flowers parade down the Promenade des Anglais, is a particular treat. Attending the Nice Carnival offers a unique way to experience the rich cultural fabric of Nice during the winter season, filled with music, dance, and joyous celebrations.

Aerial view of the Nice Carnival procession along the Promenade des Anglais, with whimsical floats including a chef figure and oversized desserts, throngs of people, and the azure Mediterranean Sea in the background.

Parc Phoenix

Parc Phoenix, located near the Nice Côte d’Azur Airport, is another great outdoor destination. This park serves as a tranquil getaway from the urban pace, featuring a vast greenhouse with a wide variety of tropical plants and birds. It’s almost like visiting a mini botanical garden and zoo.

The park is especially family-friendly, offering ample space for children to play and explore safely. I enjoy taking leisurely strolls along its well-maintained paths, surrounded by nature’s beauty.

Lush terraced gardens in Parc Phoenix, Nice, with neatly trimmed hedges, vibrant flower beds, and a variety of trees under a clear blue sky. This peaceful setting is ideal for a feature in a Nice travel guide, highlighting the city's dedication to green spaces and natural beauty.
A serene cascade in Parc Phoenix, Nice, flows amid lush greenery, creating a tranquil retreat in the city. This natural spectacle adds a touch of peacefulness to a Nice travel guide, inviting visitors to enjoy a moment of calm within the vibrant city life.

Outdoor Markets

I love visiting the outdoor markets in Nice, with the Cours Saleya market in the Old Town being the standout. It’s a bustling hub where locals and tourists alike can browse through stalls selling fresh produce, artisan crafts, and typical Niçois specialties. nice travel guide

These markets are not just shopping venues; they’re vibrant cultural experiences. The energy here, combined with the aromas of fresh flowers and local spices, captures the essence of Nice’s lively spirit.

Casual outdoor dining and bustling street life on Cours Saleya in Nice, with pedestrians walking among the shaded market stalls and terraces. A scene that captures the lively urban rhythm for a Nice travel guide, highlighting the city's vibrant street culture and alfresco lifestyle.
Bustling atmosphere at Cours Saleya market in Nice, with vendors and shoppers under striped awnings, engaging in the vibrant local shopping scene. This market is a must-visit for those exploring Nice, offering an authentic taste of the local culture and cuisine, ideal for inclusion in a Nice travel guide.

Walk Around Place Masséna

Exploring Place Masséna is a must when visiting Nice. This central square is the heart of the city, characterized by its distinctive checkerboard flooring, striking red Italian-style buildings, and the iconic Fontaine du Soleil featuring a statue of Apollo. Walking around here, you can feel the pulse of the city through its street performers, bustling cafes, and seasonal decorations.

During the winter holidays, Place Masséna transforms into a festive wonderland with the Christmas market in Nice. This market is a highlight for visitors and locals alike, featuring quaint stalls selling handcrafted goods, warm seasonal treats, and colorful decorations. The vibrant atmosphere, combined with festive lights and music, makes it a magical experience, perfect for family outings or romantic evenings.

A cyclist pauses on the reflective surface of the Miroir d'eau fountain at Place Masséna in Nice, with the city's hills in the distance and people enjoying the water features. A must-visit attraction for a Nice travel guide, showing a slice of daily life in this dynamic city.
Place Masséna, the vibrant heart of Nice, with the modern tramway gliding past the iconic checkered pavement and striking stone sculptures atop poles. This bustling square is a key highlight for any Nice travel guide, illustrating the city's fusion of historic charm and contemporary living.

Take a Photo at the #ILoveNice Sign

Don’t miss the opportunity to take a photo at the iconic “#ILoveNice” sign, located prominently on the Promenade des Anglais. This popular spot offers a fun way to capture your visit to Nice, with the beautiful backdrop of the beach and azure sea. It’s a perfect memory-making spot, especially at sunset when the lighting is just right.

A visitor poses beside the red and white 'I love NICE' sign installation along the Promenade des Anglais, with a clear blue sky and the calm sea in the background. Perfect visual for a Nice travel guide, capturing the city's vibrant coastal charm.

Food and Drink

Local Cuisine

The cuisine in Nice is a flavorful reflection of its Mediterranean location, incorporating fresh seafood, vibrant vegetables, and aromatic herbs. A dish I always seek out is the Niçoise salad, a perfect blend of crisp greens, ripe tomatoes, anchovies, and olives, topped with hard-boiled eggs and tuna.

Another local favorite I enjoy is socca, a simple yet delicious chickpea pancake that is crispy on the outside and soft inside, often enjoyed hot right from the market stands. For a more hearty option, ratatouille, a stew of summer vegetables, encapsulates the essence of Niçois cuisine with its rich flavors and comforting texture.

When it comes to French cuisine, you can never have enough. Here are the must eat Cuisine Niçoise in Nice, France.
A smiling vendor stands beside a large, round griddle with a freshly cooked socca over an open flame at a market stall in Nice. Behind her, the market bustles with activity under striped awnings, with a blackboard advertising food and drink specials.

Wine Tasting

Exploring local vineyards and wine shops for tastings is another activity I cherish. The region around Nice is known for its rosé and light red wines, which reflect the terroir of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. Local wine shops often host tasting sessions, allowing you to sample a variety of wines accompanied by expert explanations. nice travel guide

Additionally, you can take a day tour from Nice to visit these vineyards, which often includes guided tours and tastings directly at the production sites. These excursions offer a deeper understanding of the wine-making process and are a delightful way to experience the rural charm just outside the city.

A chilled glass of rosé wine on a table at a cozy outdoor café in Nice, with a basket of fresh bread in the background, inviting a taste of the local lifestyle. An image that evokes the relaxed dining experience in Nice, perfect for a travel guide highlighting the region's culinary delights.

Day Trips from Nice

Nice’s central location on the French Riviera makes it an ideal base for exploring the surrounding towns and attractions. Here are some popular day trips from Nice to consider during your stay:


A day trip to Monaco, one of the world’s smallest and most glamorous countries, is always on my list. Just a 30-minute train ride from Nice, Monaco offers a fascinating blend of luxury, history, and architecture. The Monte Carlo Casino, with its opulent décor and rich history, is a must-visit.


Another wonderful destination is Antibes, which can be reached within an hour by train from Nice. Antibes charms with its historic old town and vibrant marina. The Picasso Museum, located in the Château Grimaldi, is particularly compelling for art lovers. nice travel guide


Menton, often referred to as the “Pearl of France,” is another delightful day trip option located about 40 minutes by train from Nice. This charming town is known for its mild microclimate and beautiful gardens like the Serre de la Madone or the Maria Serena Garden.

Best Places to Stay in Nice, France

When visiting Nice, choosing the right hotel can enhance your experience. Here are three excellent options, each offering a unique ambiance:

  • Hotel Negresco: A landmark on the Promenade des Anglais, Hotel Negresco is known for its lavish décor and historic art collections. It provides luxurious accommodations and a true taste of French elegance.
  • Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Méditerranée: This hotel is celebrated for its stunning sea views and art deco style. Its central location makes it ideal for exploring both the beachfront and city attractions.
  • La Villa Nice Victor Hugo: For a more boutique experience, this charming hotel on Boulevard Victor Hugo offers stylish rooms at a more moderate price point. It’s a short walk from the beach and vibrant city center.

Nice Travel Guide: Practical Tips

Here are some practical tips to keep in mind when planning your Nice France travel guide adventure:

Money: The official currency in France is the Euro (EUR). ATMs are widely available, and credit cards are accepted at most establishments.

Language: French is the official language in Nice, but English is spoken in most tourist areas. Learning a few basic French phrases can go a long way in making connections with locals.

Safety: Like any major city, Nice has its share of petty crime. Keep your valuables secure and be aware of your surroundings, particularly in crowded areas.

Transportation: Nice is a walkable city, but public transportation is also available. The tramway system is efficient and affordable, with a single ticket costing €1.50. Taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber are also available.

Etiquette: French culture places a high value on politeness and respect. When greeting someone, it’s customary to use their title and last name (Monsieur/Madame), and to shake hands. It’s also considered impolite to eat or drink while walking in public.

Tours in Nice

If you’re captivated by the charm of Nice and eager to explore its scenic streets and vibrant culture on foot, here are several enticing tour options to consider.

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