Nice is one of those places that is just as beautiful in person as it is in the pictures; the city is gorgeous and colorful. It was definitely a place on my bucket list, but not that high up (not sure why because after being there it should have been in the top 5!). I traveled to Nice just by accident almost – I had a work trip scheduled to Paris (that was planned about a month before I left) and I thought that my husband should come over and we should extend it. We were toying with the idea of perhaps meeting in Milan or London, but Nice seemed like an obvious choice since I was already in France. There are also tons of places around Nice so there are lots of options.
Getting There and Staying There
Nice has its own airport, and the flights within France are dirt cheap. I flew from Bordeaux to Nice for 80 Euros. For accommodations, the obvious choice is an Airbnb because I always find them to be so much cheaper than a hotel or bed and breakfast. We were right in this case – our Airbnb was only $100 a night. When booking an Airbnb I would suggest staying in Old Town – tons to do and see and a convenient metro ride to anywhere else. Also if you stay near the bus line its a bonus – the bus can take you all over the French Riviera. If you are in between Cannes and Nice, Nice is much cheaper than Cannes plus its only a 25 Euro ride to the airport vs. an 80 Euro ride to Cannes.
Free Things to Do
- Walk along the promenade – the promenade extends along the coast and all the way around into the port. The views are spectacular, and the people watching is even better. There are plenty of places to sit and have a bottle of wine.
- Walk to the Nice Port – like I mentioned, the Nice Port is on the other side of Nice, and its probably a 7-minute walk along the promenade. The views of the mountains and the harbor are amazing. Perfect photo ops!
- Beach in Villefrance – VilleFranche is the next town over from Nice, and its quieter, smaller, and more pleasant if you want to visit the beach. Although it is crowded, the rocks are small (in comparison, Nice has LARGE stones and its super uncomfortable. I lasted about 10 minutes before I got annoyed.)
Cheap Things to Do
- Take the bus to nearby towns – The bus is less than 3 Euro and will take you to Eze, Monaco, and VilleFranche. Although it stops frequently, make sure you sit on the right side on the way into those towns so you can enjoy the views.
- Drink 2.30 Euro Vin du var – We learned that local (unregulated) wine can be purchased by filling up an empty liter bottle for only 2.30 Euro. You have a choice of red, rose, or white but I suggest the red because it doesn’t have any sulfites. You can find it along the tiny wandering streets of Nice.
- Buy your groceries & snacks at the farmer’s market – A little tip is that the one in the plaza near the coast is the tourist trap, and the real one is over by the train station. It is much cheaper and where the locals go – but you can find vegetables, cheeses, seafood, and the like.
- Meander through the narrow alleys of Old Town – you can grab arancini, a macaron, or quiche for less than 5 Euros.
Worth the Splurge
- Food tour – we booked this food tour and spent the morning through lunch tasting all kinds of local dishes, visiting the farmer’s market, and even eating at someone’s restaurant in the middle of the alleyway. The tour is fantastic way to meet other people as well as taste the local dishes.
- Train to San Remo – the beginning of the Italian Riviera is close to Nice (I had no idea) and with a quick 1.5 hour train ride and you can be in the coastal town of San Remo. Italy is still my favorite country so I knew I wanted to go. The infamous marktets are on Tuesday and Saturday but our schedule, unfortunately, did not allow for it. I have a whole separate post on San Remo that you can find here.
Nice is so worth the trip, and I can’t wait to go back!