Bars with cocktails on the terrace, hot beaches with glittering turquoise seas, vibrant street life, and also Provençal specialities… If this is how you imagine Nice in France, you are right. The city surely offers its visitors the best of city life filled with cultural and historical wonders. The beating heart of the French Riviera with a history dating back to the Roman era is so much more than the getaway to France. With a rich history and a dash of Riviera glamour, the city is undoubtedly one of the top destinations in France. Whether you are visiting to see the sights of the city or to enjoy a beach retreat, you won’t leave disappointed! Here are the best things to do in Nice in France in 3 days.
TOP 16 THINGS TO DO IN NICE IN FRANCE
1.Walk along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice
Start your day strolling along the palm tree-lined Promenade des Anglais. Curving along the Bay of Angels from the Nice airport, the Oceanside promenade is, without doubt, an iconic symbol of Nice.
The promenade dating back to the 18th century won its name from the wealthy English community who flocked to Nice to spend their holidays during the wintertime.
Two hundred years later, the idyllic stretch of coastal walkway is a sight you cannot miss in Nice. The world-famous promenade has absolutely everything to offer its visitors. With stunning views of the azure coastline and luxurious cafes, the boardwalk is packed with people taking a stroll. More active souls can hire a Segway or cycle along the promenade to explore the 7 km (5 miles) long glorious coastline.
During the summer months, stroll along the coast early in the morning before the promenade comes alive
2.Visit one of the beaches in Nice
Nothing helps you to escape everyday stress better than spending a relaxing day on the beach. Luckily, Nice has plenty of public and private beaches to choose from.
A picture-perfect coast with the legendary blue chairs attracts thousands of travellers every year. However, anyone who is familiar with the city will know that the breeze-cooled beaches in Nice are pebbly. In fact, it is worth noting that all beaches consist of pebbles, and the water gets deep very quickly.
GOOD TO KNOW:
The public beaches in Nice often don’t have any restroom facilities. Those who would like to take advantage of lounge chairs, umbrellas, and also change rooms need to splash out some cash in one of the private beaches. Alternatively, visitors can use one of many public beaches, as many locals do.
Nearby Villefranche Sur Mer is certainly the place to go for beach lovers who look for a family-friendly beach. A sleepy coastal town located just east of Nice is an excellent alternative for those looking for a sandy beach. Not to mention the waters are shallower. Although because of the close proximity to Nice, the beach can get quite busy during the summer months.
3.Wander through the Vieille Ville
No trip to Nice would be complete without visiting the old town of Vielle Ville. The oldest part of the city is a twisting maze of cobblestone streets with a Mediterranean feel. Walkthrough the narrow honeycomb streets in the heart of Nice and relax in one of the charming cafes.
The Old Town situated between the Quai des Etats Unis and Place Massena is today one of the most popular places to visit in Nice. While you are walking through the streets, get lost on purpose to see the best of Nice’s historic streets with a strong Italian feel.
4.Visit Russian Orthodox Cathedral Nice
Nice is so much more than the getaway to the French Riviera – it is a cultural crossroad with a rich history. However, only a few visitors realize that Nice is home to the largest Eastern Orthodox Cathedral in Western Europe. Off the beaten track, Cathedral with the onion-shaped domes and colourful exterior is certainly an unexpected sight to see in Nice in France.
The majestic St Nicolas Cathedral dominating the skyline of Nice is definitely the unmissable thing to see in Nice, France.
Built by the last Tsar of Russia for the religious needs of the city’s growing population, the cathedral is a unique gem. The most important religious building outside Russia with ornate façades of the exterior is the best-kept secret of Nice.
GOOD TO KNOW:
No photography is allowed inside. The Cathedral is open daily from 9 am to 6 pm (closed on Sunday morning for its regular services). Admission to the cathedral is free.
5.Enjoy the views from Castle Hill (Colline du Chateau)
There are countless places for epic views, but some of the best vistas can be seen from Castle Hill. Take a leisurely walk up to Castle Hill, once an active military citadel.
Built at the top of a hill, the most popular park with stunning views overlooking the Bay of Angels is a must-see when in Nice. Even though most of the castle has crumbled away, the park with several lookouts has something for everyone. The highest point in the city also offers a unique view of Nice.
Don’t forget to visit the man-man waterfall and the Castle Cemetery with almost 3,000 tombs.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Castle Hill is free to visit. The park is open from sunrise to sunset and is an ideal place for a picnic. The park can be accessed via steps, road, or an elevator (for free). It is good to mention that an elevator runs up the hill from spring through autumn.
6.Enjoy a drink in a beach bar and watch the world go by
As the sun sets, make your way to the vibrant beachfront bars on the famous Promenade des Anglais. A wide variety of bars with uninterrupted sea views of the Mediterranean are perfect for watching the sun go down. No matter what time of the year you come, you will have a great time; the seafront location makes it an excellent spot for sundown cocktails.
7.Sample Niçois Specialties
When it comes to food in Nice, there are great restaurants and bars to choose from. The city may be known for its namesake salad, but there are plenty of other local specialities. Explore what the “cuisine Niçoise” has to offer and try a street food Socca (a crispy chickpea pancake) or the famous vegetable stew of Ratatouille.
8.Shop at the Cours Saleya Market
Head down to the Cours Saleya market for an authentic experience and shop at one of Nice’s most famous markets. The market with colourful stalls situated in the heart of the Old Town runs every day, except on Monday. Learn more about the local Niçoise products selling everything from the regional delicacies to the exotic flowers and vegetables.
Visit the famous market with shaded stalls early in the morning. Also, keep in mind that the fruit and vegetable market finishes around lunchtime. The flower market sells the plants and bouquets until later in the afternoon, though.
9.Go to Nice Cathedral
Nice’s Cathedral is a historical landmark which many visitors can easily miss. A Roman Catholic cathedral decorated with four statues of saints is located in the heart of the old town. An impressive basilica with the Italian Baroque style is one of the most important things to see in Nice.
10.Stroll along Nice’s historic port
Close to the old town is another of Nice’s most important areas. Port Lympia, with stunning Venetian coloured buildings, is one of the city’s treasures overlooked by many visitors, though.
The port with a lighthouse can be found only a few minutes on foot from the main tourist attractions. The key infrastructural hub of Nice with historical heritage is located on the east side of the Bay of Angels. Easily accessible port with some bars and bistros is one of the main harbours of the entire French Riviera and a sight not to be missed when in Nice, France.
11.Take a ferry from Nice to Saint Tropez
When it comes to things to do in Nice, there is no shortage of options to choose from. However, if you would like to explore more of the French Riviera, you will find many choices. Aside from the day trips to the nearby places, consider a day trip to legendary Saint Tropez.
Take a round-trip ferry from the yacht-filled old port of Nice to glamorous Saint-Tropez. A 2.5 hours ride with the stunning views of Côte d’Azur is a must for everyone visiting Nice in summer. After arrival in Saint Tropez, the visitors can spend a half-day exploring the unique town with the charm of Provence.
READ MORE ABOUT SAINT TROPEZ:
12.Place Massena in Nice in France
Arguably Nice’s most famous and most popular square, Place Massena, shouldn’t be missed when in Nice, France. The square situated between the new and the old town is a popular place for both tourists and locals alike. The city’s main square with an impressive fountain and the statue of Apollo is lined with palm trees and stone pines. Place Massena with the red neoclassical buildings in the Italian style and checkerboard ground is very impressive.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Place Massena is a popular place for public events. The carnival parade in February, concerts, and other traditional celebrations are held here.
Just a short walk away, the shopping street Avenue Jean Médecin can be found. With the seafront to the south, restaurants and shop s just off the square, Place Massena is an unmissable sight.
13.Take the Nice coastal walk
What is a better way to enjoy the beautiful coast of the French Riviera than doing the coastal walk? Take the Nice coastal walk from Nice to the nearby town of Villefranche Sur Mer. A pleasant coastal walk with dramatic views of the Côte d’Azur is a great way how to spend a day in Nice, France.
Regardless of whether you would like to do the whole walk from Coco Beach to Villefranche, suitable footwear is recommended. Coco beach in Nice can be found on the opposite side of the port from the Old town.
Those who would like to do only the second part of the walk to the neighbouring town can take bus number 100 from Nice and get off at the “English Hospital” stop.
14.Visit Nice museums in France
Culture is in Nice’s genes, and there is no surprise that the city is home to a large number of museums and art galleries. With an abundance of museums throughout Nice, here is our list of the best museums.
- Musée Matisse:
- Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain
- Palais Lascaris
- and also Musée Masséna
Musée Matisse Nice
See masterful work by Matisse, one of France’s most famous artists. The museum displays one of the world’s biggest collection of his work, including drawings, oil paintings, tapestries, and sculptures.
Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain
If you are a lover of modern and contemporary artwork, make sure you don’t miss the Museum of Contemporary and Modern Art. The museum houses collections from top pop art and new realism artists, such as Andy Warhol, Arman, or Yves Klein.
Palais Lascaris Nice
The Palais Lascaris, located in the old town, is an architectural delight. A 17th-century building is an example of civil baroque architecture. A musical instrument museum is devoted to the art and music of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Musée Masséna Nice
The Museum of Art and History of the Massena Palace, located on the Promenade des Anglais, is an architectural jewel. The museum dedicated to the history of the Riviera is one of the most famous museums in Nice.
15.Take a stroll at the Mont Boron
If you are thinking about spending a day away from the hustle and bustle of Nice, consider visiting the Mont Boron. A hilltop forest, with picnic areas, fresh air, and hiking trails, overlooks the old port of Nice and bay of Villefranche Sur Mer.
Eleven km (7 miles) of marked trails (ranging from easy to more strenuous) offer an active escape with rewarding views. Don’t forget to check out the ruins of a military fort – the Mount Alban Fort. The park is a popular escape for the locals and tourists alike.
Mont Boron hill can be reached by number 14 from Square Daudet or No.33 bus from the city centre. Although visiting the park is one of the best things to do in Nice in France, you won’t find any restaurants here. Public restrooms also cannot be found here, which is something to consider if you plan to spend more time here.
16.Attend the Nice Carnival
You may have heard that Nice holds one of the largest carnivals in the world. The carnival dating back to the middle ages is a more family-friendly version of Rio’s Carnival and is the highlight of French Riviera’s winter season. The celebration takes place every year for two weeks in late February and early March.
With a different theme chosen every year, the Nice Carnival attracts millions of visitors every year. Those who visit the famous carnival will enjoy the parade with not only the monumental floats but also the famous “flower battle” on the Promenade des Anglais.
Top Things to do in Nice France for a day
- walk along the Promenade des Anglais
- soak up the sun on one of the Nice beaches
- and also explore the streets of the Old town
- enjoy a drink in a beach bar
- visit Nice Cathedral
- shop at the Cours Saleya Market
- climb Castle Hill
- sample Niçois Specialties
Top Things to do in Nice France in 3 days
- walk along the famous Promenade des Anglais
- soak up the sun on one of the Nice beaches
- explore the streets of the Old Nice town
- and also enjoy a drink in a beach bar
- visit some museums in Nice
- climb Castle Hill at the end of the day
- uncover the beauty of Nice Russian Orthodox Cathedral
- shop at the Cours Saleya Flower Market
- explore beautiful Place Massena
- besides, take a coastal hike from Nice to Villefranche Sur Mer
- visit Nice Cathedral
- take a stroll at the Mont Boron
- attend the famous Nice Carnival
- also, stroll along the Port Lympia in Nice
- sample Niçois Specialties
- last, but not least, take a ferry to St Tropez from the port of Nice
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this article about Nice, please save it to Pinterest 🙂
Have you been to Nice in France? Did we miss anything? Please let us know in the comments below.
YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY: