Nice, France: Often regarded as the most beautiful city on the French Riviera, it boasts gorgeous beaches, a glistening ocean, and charming old-town architecture. Adventurers can enjoy the Mediterranean’s stunning hiking trails, bike routes, and water sports. For leisure, stroll around the streets, discover hidden coves, or have a leisurely meal on a beach restaurant terrace. One of the most popular cities in France, Nice has plenty to offer every type of visitor. Savor all the best activities in Nice, France!
Things to do in Nice, France
Nestled between the glistening blue Mediterranean Sea and the majestic Alps mountains, Nice enjoys an ideal location. It’s also conveniently located near the Italian border, so you may stop by for a day to satisfy your pizza craving! Enjoy your afternoons hiking hilltop views, evenings in coastal restaurants and cafés, and mornings exploring humming food markets.
Climb Castle Hill
Colline du Chateau, also known as Castle Hill, is one of the best places to visit in Nice, France. The city is split into the port and the old town by the tall hill that dominates it. The original defense walls, the cathedral, and other historic structures are still visible even though the castle was demolished in 1706. Abundant flowers and greenery surround an artificial waterfall (Cascade Dijon). Because of this, it’s a great spot to unwind and take in the breathtaking views of Nice.
Depending on your enthusiasm, you can walk to the top of the hill. Alternatively, you can ride the old-fashioned elevator incorporated into the rock to reach the summit. You may visit Castle Hill’s observation deck for free!
Were you aware? Castle Hill fires a cannon every day at 1:00 PM. According to legend, it was a signal for his wife, a former British military man named Sir Thomas Coventry-More, to return for lunch. It has been a tradition for more than 150 years!
Russian Orthodox Cathedral
One of Nice’s most unique structures has to be the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral! You won’t miss the remarkable Russian design of this magnificent cathedral on Avenue Nicolas II as you stroll down the characteristically French lanes, where you will find colorful shutters and stone cottages. It’s regarded as one of the most striking Russian Orthodox churches outside of Russia.
In the 1800s, Russian nobility traveled to Nice to meet French aristocracy and avoid the harsh Russian winters. The magnificent, majestic cathedral was one of many churches constructed here as the Russian community grew. The Russian community still uses the structure, which was completed in 1912. It’s now publically accessible and highly recommended for anyone looking to experience a little bit of Russia in France!
Photographs of the magnificent exterior, elaborate carvings, gold plating, and lovely green towers are welcome. Nevertheless, taking pictures inside is prohibited.
Opening times: Every day from 9-6. Shut during the hours 12-2 (9.30-5.30 in the winter months).
Old Nice (Vieux Nice)
The city’s squares, churches, and fascinating heritage are all found in Old Nice. Feel as though you’ve traveled back in time as you stroll through the colorful, winding streets with pastel hues. Small eateries and lovely squares with the sound of live music resonating may be found around every turn. Situated below Castle Hill, Old Nice is an ideal starting point for exploring from Place Massena or nearby.
Nice’s main square is called Place Massena. Between the old and new towns is a huge square with checkerboard pavement that leads to a retail strip and lots of excellent eateries. Also, Place Massena is the ideal place to begin a walk through Nice’s historic district.
Relax on one of Nice’s Beaches
Nice’s stunning beaches have made it famous worldwide. The pebbled beach sections aren’t sandy, but they have gorgeous, clear blue water ideal for a cool dip in the summer. Walk down the Promenade des Anglais, which hugs the city’s coastline. Despite appearing to be one long beach, it’s split up into thirty separate beaches! There are both public and private beaches. This means that to access the exclusive beaches, you might have to purchase lunch at one of the restaurants. The following are a few of Nice’s top beaches:
Plage Beau Rivage
In addition to being the most significant private beach on the French Riviera, Plage Beau Rivage is located in Nice. After a morning of sightseeing, head down to this location, just below the old town, and have lunch at the beach restaurant. Afterward, get a parasol and a sunbed, sit back, unwind, and take in Nice’s natural beauty.
La Reserve lies close to the port area, east of the town. It’s modest, so arrive early to get a position amid the rocks despite its seclusion from the bustling parts of the central city. Notable features include the vintage diving boards right off the coast and excellent snorkeling.
La Reserve Beach and Coco Beach are located directly beyond the port. There are rocks in this lovely little cove where you can spread your towel out and enjoy the sun. This location is ideal for escaping the bustle of the city because it is a little more remote than the others.
A day trip to Menton
Menton is a stunning town that is located close to the Italian border to the east of Nice. Beautifully colored mansions, avenues lined with palm trees, lush gardens, and streets in the Italian style are the result of the distinct blending of the French and Italian cultures. Menton‘s nickname, “The Pearl of France,” makes sense. Take photos, eat excellent Italian food, and spend a day exploring the streets. Remember to have some gelato!
Menton is among the sunniest places in France due to its distinct microclimate. This indicates that it’s an excellent location for lemon cultivation. Check out Menton’s annual lemon festival if you’re traveling around the end of February; it’s a well-known event on the French Riviera.
Read more about all the best things to do in Menton!
Not only is Villefranche-sur-Mer a stunning town, but it’s also well-known for its stunning bay, which contrasts with the typical stone beaches of the French Riviera. This makes it well-liked by tourists and residents of Nice for a day at the beach, especially considering that it’s just a 20-minute bus trip away. Arrive early, swim in the brilliant sea, enjoy the gorgeous restaurants and ice cream shops, and watch the sailboats.
Explore the quaint ancient town of Villefranche-sur-Mer, which stretches downward to the water after enjoying the beach. Situated between the glamorous towns of Nice and Monaco, this old village maintains its charming atmosphere, making it one of the few on the coast.
Read more about Villefranche-sur-Mer
You’ll spend much time strolling around the old town and beaches in Nice, as the city is highly walkable. It is worthwhile to rent a car to have more freedom and to visit other locations along the stunning French Riviera. Nonetheless, reliable bus routes travel between the towns, and certain trains travel from Nice to Italy.
Where to Stay in Nice, France
Nice offers a wide variety of excellent lodging alternatives, whether you stay by the beach or in one of the charming townhouses in the city center. It’s also a fantastic starting point for visiting all the other quaint French Riviera seaside towns and villages.
Best Places to Eat in Nice
In Nice, there’s no shortage of exquisite restaurants! Its proximity to the Italian border means that the food is a fusion of French and Italian, and there are enough ice cream parlors to last a lifetime.
- KOKO GREEN Vegan & Raw food
- Daki-Daïa Restaurant
- AZZURRO Artisan Glacier
- La Cucina
- Restaurant Chez Papa
Best Time to Visit Nice, France
Nice, France, is famous for having over 300 days of sunshine! Because of this, any time of the year is an excellent time to visit.
Although the sea might be a little colder in the spring and autumn months, these shoulder seasons are a great time to visit to enjoy the more relaxed and peaceful side of Nice.