20 Best Things To Do In Nice, France

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Nice has a lot to offer its visitors, from its Italian, Baroque, and Roman architecture-filled streets to the gentle rolling waves of its beaches. This is a city where varied culinary delicacies meet a natural joie de vivre, and natural parks converge with historical monuments.

This stunning town resembles a pastel painting, surrounded by serene blue waters. Whether you visit in Summer or winter, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Nice, from exploring the treasures of its distinct neighborhoods to marveling at its impressive collection of Matisse or Chagall paintings.

Nice Card – City Pass

The city of Nice has created a city pass called the French Riviera Pass to allow its visitors to ‘visit more and spend less.’ It permits travelers to participate in various things to do in Nice and visit the city’s most famous sights free of charge.

Nice’s city pass also offers the option of free transportation through unlimited tram and bus rides in its Metropolitan area.

For convenient transportation, you can also get a 1 or 2-day pass for Hop On Hop Off bus that brings you to the major attractions and sites.

Most Popular Thing To Do in Nice

Take a Stroll Along the Promenade Des Anglais 

The Promenade des Anglais (The Stroll of the English) was built in the 19th century when English nobles turned Nice into their favorite winter getaway. Back then, the coast wasn’t uniform, so the English funded the construction of a seaside promenade.

Today, walking along this 7 kilometers stretch of palm trees lining the sea is one of the best things to do in Nice. Many events are held within it, like the Nice Carnival. It is great for a walk, run, or bike ride, even if nothing is scheduled.

After your stroll, you can enjoy some traditional french snacks or drink at one of the many bars and restaurants lining its opposite side.

Local Things To Do in Nice

Take in the Different Aromas of the Marché Aux Fleurs Cours Saleya

The Saleya square is bordered by bright yellow palaces and hosts a flower market every week from Tuesday to Saturday. Visitors will experience a sea of fragrances belonging to regional flowers of mimosas, dahlias, and lavenders, with unbeatable pricing for floral compositions.

This has been a Nice popular attraction since the 19th century, and we recommend checking it out even if flowers aren’t your thing. The market extends to selling food, gourmet specialties, antiques, and artworks. Many restaurants adjoin the streets, and the square is known for remaining lively all day long as it’s a popular nightlife spot.

The National Council of Culinary Arts classifies this market in France as one of the country’s ‘exceptional markets.’

Take a Stroll on This Little-Known Coastal Path

Le Sentier du Littoral is a 5 km coastal path extending from the Jardin Félix Rainaud in Nice to the Villefranche-sur-Mer bay and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat peninsula. It is a hidden gem in Nice and offers some of the most beautiful landscapes of the city, merging olive trees and scot pines with the sea.

Make sure to equip yourself with good sports shoes as you’ll go through a series of climbs through stairs carved into the rocks. Dedicate a half day or more: Villefranche-sur-Mer and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat have plenty to offer.

Enjoy the Tree Shades at Parc De La Colline Du Château

Parc De La Colline du Chateau is where Nice locals like to go for a stroll, as the density of trees in the area provides some much-needed shade during summer.

This is a beautiful place to visit in Nice. It covers 19.3 hectares of gardens, trees, and rock vegetation and a waterfall with water sourced from the Vésubie river.

‘Colline du chateau’ translates to ‘Castle Hill,’ but you’ll only find castle remains as Louis XIV destroyed the original building in 1706.

Eat Your Way Through a Mix of French, Italian, and Mediterranean Delicacies

Gastronomy is an integral part of France and Nice is no exception. There are many local French culinary specialties, the most popular of which is the salade niçoise consisting of a variety of green vegetables with tuna, anchovies, and tomatoes.

There is more to taste, though, as Nice’s position between Provence, Italy, and the Meditteranean has dramatically influenced the diversity of its food. So, if you’re thinking about what to do in Nice, look no further than a food-tasting experience.

Here are some specialties we think you have to try: socca (chickpea-flour pancakes), tourte de blettes (pine nut, chard and raisin, and pie), pissaladière (Anchovy and caramelized onion tart), and the round-shaped pan bagnat sandwich.

You can also do this with a food and gourmet tour if you want more insights into the best places to eat at.

Outdoor Things To Do In Nice

Go Hiking in the Parc Du Mont Boron

The Mont Boron hill demarcates the city from Villefranche-sur-Mer and offers visitors the chance to experience a sea of sights and things to do in Nice, France.

At the foot of the mountain, you’ll find the prehistoric cave of Grotte du Lazaret, home to the remains of lynxes, woolly mammoths, and humans dating from 4000 years ago.

As you climb Mont Boron, the space changes into a luscious picnic spot full of olive and pine trees. This hill also has over 11km of scenic marked hiking trails.

Marvel at the Beauty of the Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate De Nice

The Sainte-Réparate cathedral was built on the grounds of an 11th-century chapel. As religious needs grew, the building expanded during the 16th and 17th centuries through several stages that saw its reorientation towards the east and a change of floor plan into a Latin cross structure.

Fans of architecture will note a slight difference with its facade: its Rococo-Ligurian style was conceived in the 19th century to cover the old one.

Although it might be as popular as some of the iconic landmarks in France, visiting the cathedral is one of the most popular things to do in Nice.

Contemplate the Out-of-Place Architecture of the Cathédrale Saint-Nicolas

During the late 19th century, Nice became one of the residences of the imperial family of Russia.

As prominent Russian figures followed, the necessity for proper Orthodox worship became apparent. This need led to the construction of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Nicholas in 1912, now classified as a Historic Monument.

The location isn’t random either: it was erected to commemorate the place where the son of the then-Tsar died of meningitis. If you’re searching for what to see in Nice that might be peculiar, make sure to visit this monument as it whimsically contrasts with the surrounding palm trees.

Find a Private or Public Spot To Lay Your Towel On

If you’re lucky enough to visit Nice during the warmer months, you’ll find nothing more pleasant than taking a dip in its serene greenish-blue waters. There are over 40 public and private beaches in Nice to pick from, and the most famous beach stretch in Nice is La Réserve, made of a succession of small narrow coves.

Regardless of which one you visit, some of the best things to do in Nice are watersports-related, so make sure you try your hand at scuba diving, jet skiing, canoeing, parasailing, or paddleboarding.

Best Day Trips From Nice

Discover the Rest of the French Riviera

The French Riviera is known for its plentiful charms and beauty, stretching over 880km of yacht-filled harbors, hilltop villages, and cinematic landscapes. Thanks to an efficient transportation system linking most of its towns, visitors can explore a good portion of what the region offers.

We recommend dedicating at least a half-day outside of Nice during your trip. While there are many cities you can choose from for a day trip from Nice, here are a few suggestions that take 30 minutes from the center by train: the medieval village of Antibes, the glamourous city of Cannes, or the historical area of Cap Ferrat.

> Check Tours To French Riviera

Marvel at the Mediterranean on a Boat Trip

Boat cruising is a very popular activity on the french riviera since all of its fragments can be reached via waterways in a maximum of 2 to 3 hours. Many tours with different boats, packages, and price-range offer boat trips in Nice, each suitable for a wide range of budgets.

Activities include experiences like discovering sea caves, snorkeling, admiring the sunset, or cruising to any of the cities and islands of the french riviera.

If you’re looking for something different from things to do in Nice, you can cruise all the way to Saint-Tropez and have lunch there before returning.

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Cheap and Free Things To Do In Nice

Explore the Promenade Du Paillon and All Its Squares

The Promenade Du Paillon comprises a vast 12-hectare green corridor in the city’s heart. It is punctuated by a multitude of spaces and structures for children to play in, such as climbing frames, wooden sea creatures, and swings.

The promenade was laid out as a botanical park home to 1600 trees and over 50,000 perennials from different continents.

You’ll find some of the best things to do in Nice along its stretch with places to visit, such as the water mirror near Place Masséna, the Place Garibaldi, the Place Rossetti, and the Place Saint-François.

Explore the Cimiez Hill Neighborhood

Cimiez is one of the only districts in Nice that still contains remnants of Roman history, as the area is built on the old town of Cemenelum.

It is a primarily residential neighborhood that tourists don’t usually frequent due to its non-central position. This makes it a hidden gem in Nice, as it has plenty of noteworthy sites to visit.

The archaeological remains of the roman arena are a must-see, as well as the Musée Matisse, dedicated to the painter who spent years of his life in Nice.

The garden of the 16th-century Cimiez Monastery is also worth checking out, as it offers panoramic views of Nice and the Mediterranean.

Take in the Best Panoramic Views of Nice at the Tour Bellanda

The Bellanda tower was a defense tower during France’s medieval age. It was destroyed during the reign of Loui XIV and consequently rebuilt in 1825 to serve as an open-sided gallery depicting greek motifs through its mosaics.

Today, the tower is a popular place to visit in Nice that boasts the city’s most beautiful views, offering non-ending panoramas of the iconic Bair des Anges.

It is accessible via elevator, but we recommend adventurous visitors to use the stairs:  as you climb, Nice’s landscape will slowly emerge before your eyes.

Things To Do In Nice At Night

Have Dinner or Drinks at the Century-Old Hotel Negresco 

The Hotel Negresco has been the go-to hotel of the rich and famous for over a century. It served as the holiday home to guests such as the Beatles or Picasso.

This hotel is referred to by many as a hotel-museum since it encloses works by renowned painters like Dalí and Moretti, sculptures by Niki de Saint-Phalle, and a glass dome designed by Gustave Eiffel.

While staying at the Negresco might not be within your budget, visitors can still experience the iconic atmosphere of the building, which is designated a National Historic Monument.

If you’re wondering what to do in Nice on an evening, consider dining at their double Michelin-starred restaurant or having a cocktail at their bar – try their signature creation, the ‘Royal Negresco.’

Take a Step Back in Time at the Vieille Ville

Although Nice was never part of Italy, it joined its territory to the House of Savoy, a Kingdom influenced by Italy. This explains the Italian aspects of the city that you can sometimes feel through street design and building architecture.

One of the best things to do in Nice is to visit the Old town neighborhood, which is a testimony to that difference through its yellow and Sardinian red buildings and Baroque churches.

This district offers plenty to see and taste, from fresh pasta to sweet confections. It is also the city’s number one going-out spot, with narrow streets serving as the home to pubs, bars, cafes, restaurants, and nightclubs.

>Check Walking Tours In Old Town

Relax at the Port

Visiting the Old port is one of the best things to do in Nice. It showcases the Mediterranean aspect of the city through its traditional fishing boats and offers charming views of the surrounding sea and landmarks.

We recommend coming here to enjoy a cafe or have lunch, as the port’s square streets are lined with restaurants and cafes with outdoor seating.

Nearby points of interest include the ‘Île de Beauté’ (Isle of Beauty) square, the Notre-Dame du Port church, and Bonaparte street.

Best Museums To Visit In Nice

Discover a Variety of Art at the Musée d’Art Moderne Et d’Art Contemporain

Art is certainly one of the things that France is famous for. The MAMAC’s art collection recollects the art world’s history from the 1950s to the present day, from European new realism to American pop and assemblage art.

Its collection spams 1300 works by 300 artists, notably those of Yves Klein, displayed in a permanent room housing the largest of his collection in Europe. The museum offers alternating exhibitions throughout the year, focusing on specific significant artists during each period.

Enter the World of Marc Chagall’s Artistry at the Marc Chagall Museum

The Marc Chagall museum’s permanent public collection contains the painter’s most extensive set of works, and visiting it is one of the best things to do in Nice. It focuses on his most important biblical works, which constitute 17 paintings on Old Testament themes and Biblical Messages.

These are supplemented by 400 pieces of various secular or religious inspirations put to canvas in gouaches, pastels, and wash drawings. This museum is immensely popular and accessible to visitors unfamiliar with the painter’s works, as it provides in-depth audio guides in different languages.

Explore Nice Through Art at the Musée Masséna

Housed in a gorgeous seaside villa on the Promenade des Anglais, the Massena Museum offers its visitor a recollection of the history of the French Riviera through art focused on the Belle Époque period.

Works revolve around graphic arts, furniture, and historical objects of that history, with an emphasis given on Nice’s involvement. You’ll find classical pieces such as Napoleon’s death mask and Josephine’s mother-of-pearl tiara.

A section of the museum’s gardens is dedicated to the 14th of July 2016 victims of the attack on the Promenade des Anglais.

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Where To Stay In Nice

Nice is France’s 5th largest city and is one of the most visited spots on the French Riviera. As such, the town offers plenty of accommodations to choose from, and travelers of a wide variety of budgets should be able to find something that aligns with their budget.

Since there are lots of things to do in Nice, France, travelers should consider sticking to a central neighborhood if they want to be in the heart of the action.

Budget Accommodation In Nice

Hostel Meyerbeer Beach: Located in one of the best areas to explore the city, this hostel is a couple of minutes away from the beach, various transportation options, and things to do in Nice.

It serves as a great place to meet other travelers for those traveling alone thanks to its common areas, which include a board game and video game space, as well as a cafe.

Hostel OZZ & Bar By Happyculture: Housed in a renovated art design building, this accommodation is a 15-minute walk from the beach and the Promenade des Anglais. Guests enjoy its friendly and warm atmosphere and the possibility of having breakfast on the outdoor terrace.

There’s also a bar on-site, and although it closes on Fridays and Saturdays, there are plenty of similar establishments to check out nearby.

Mid Range Accommodation In Nice

Aparthotel Ammi Vieux Nice: For those looking for more of a local experience, we suggest staying at this lovely and comfortable apartment hotel. It is centrally located within 600 meters of the beach and connected to various tram and bus stops.

Guests can enjoy hotel amenities and services such as continental breakfasts, accommodating staff, and the privacy of living in individual apartments.

Arome Hotel: This lovely small hotel is composed of a baroque-style interior and provides cozy rooms for its guests. It is centrally located, a mere 3-minute walk from the Promenade des Anglais and other various Nice France places to visit.

Guests enjoy the wonderful staff made up of Nice-locals able to provide advice and suggestions for their trip.

Luxury Accommodation In Nice

Hotel de France: This accommodation is located in the Carré d’Or (golden square) district, a few minutes’ walk from the Negresco hotel and Promenade des Anglais.

Although it is right in the middle of city life next to various restaurants, bars, and pubs, guests can still enjoy a peaceful and quiet night thanks to the robust soundproofing of their rooms.

Palais Saleya Boutique hôtel: This luxurious hotel in Nice is housed in an 18th-century building next to many restaurants and bars. It is centrally located in the Old Town and provides spacious modern apartments to its guests.

The hotel’s superb staff will make your stay remarkable and offers plenty of advice regarding things to do in Nice France. 

Discovering Things To Do In Nice

As you stroll by the Meditteranean or Nice’s tree-filled avenues, you’ll notice the city’s landscapes changing from one neighborhood to the next, sometimes punctuated by 19th-century mansions, other times by Baroque architecture and religious buildings.

The best way to enjoy Nice is by foot, so make sure to equip yourself with a comfortable pair of shoes and head to its streets, promenades, and hiking trails. Grab a hearty French breakfast and get exploring.

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Book Your Flight

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Booking.com is my usual platform for finding accommodation options as they have one of the largest selections. Hostelworld is great for booking hostels. For more private or long term accommodation, Airbnb is my go-to platform.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is important for to protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances. I usually look at a few insurance companies depending on my travel needs.
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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.

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