Your Ultimate Nice Travel Guide 2023
Welcome to Nice, France! Home to the turquoise blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea, this stunning city is the perfect destination for travelers looking to explore the beauty of France. With its colorful markets, amazing architecture, and vibrant culture, Nice is the perfect place to soak in the beauty and history of this incredible country. This complete guide to exploring Nice will provide you with all the tips and information you need to make your trip the best it can be. From discovering the city’s attractions and museums to sampling its delicious cuisine, this guide will help you make the most of your time in Nice.
Top 5 Things To See And Do In Nice
- Promenade Des Anglais: One of the most famous attractions of Nice, Promenade des Anglais is a 7-kilometer long seafront promenade lined with palm trees, flowers, and luxurious hotels. You can take a leisurely stroll, enjoy a bike ride, or relax on the pebble beaches while soaking in the beautiful Mediterranean views.
- Vieux Nice (Old Town): A charming labyrinth of narrow streets and alleyways, Vieux Nice is the heart of the city and is brimming with colorful buildings, vibrant cafes, and quirky boutiques. Visit the Cours Saleya flower market, Place Rossetti, and the Cathedrale Sainte-Reparate for an authentic experience of Nice.
- Musee Matisse: Located on the hill of Cimiez, Musee Matisse is a must-visit for art lovers. It houses a collection of works by the famous French artist Henri Matisse, including paintings, drawings, and sculptures. The museum itself is a beautiful example of 17th-century Genoese architecture.
- Castle Hill: Climb to the top of Castle Hill and be rewarded with panoramic views of the city and the sea. The hill is home to a beautiful park with waterfalls, a children’s play area, and an artificial lake. You can take a leisurely stroll up the hill or opt for the more challenging climb up the steps.
- Nice Carnival: If you happen to be in Nice in February, don’t miss the world-famous Nice Carnival. The colorful parade features vibrant floats, flower-covered cars, and costumed dancers. It’s a lively and joyous event that attracts locals and tourists alike.
Where To Stay In Nice
- Vieux Nice: If you want to stay in the heart of the action, Vieux Nice is the perfect spot. This charming historic neighborhood is known for its winding cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and lively outdoor markets. You’ll find plenty of cafes, bars, and restaurants here, as well as easy access to the beach and other attractions.
- Carré d’Or: Located just east of Vieux Nice, Carré d’Or is known for its upscale shopping and dining options. This is a great choice if you’re looking for a more high-end experience, as the neighborhood is home to many luxury hotels and boutique shops.
- Cimiez: If you want to stay in a more residential area, Cimiez is a great choice. Located on a hill just north of the city center, this neighborhood offers stunning views of Nice and the surrounding hills. It’s also home to several museums and parks, including the Matisse Museum and the beautiful Cimiez Gardens.
- Port De Nice: As its name suggests, this neighborhood is located around the city’s port. Here, you’ll find a mix of old and new, with traditional fisherman’s houses next to modern apartment buildings and trendy restaurants. It’s a great spot to stay if you’re interested in boat tours or water sports.
- Promenade Des Anglais: If you’re looking for a beachfront location, the Promenade des Anglais is hard to beat. This long, wide boulevard stretches along the coast, offering stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. You’ll find plenty of hotels and restaurants here, as well as easy access to the beach.
Top Nice Hotels
- Hotel Negresco: This 5-star luxury hotel is a landmark of Nice, located on the famous Promenade des Anglais. The hotel features lavish, themed rooms and suites, as well as a rooftop restaurant with stunning sea views.
- Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Méditerranée: This upscale hotel is situated right on the beachfront, offering guests easy access to the sea. The hotel boasts elegant rooms and suites, as well as a casino, spa, and rooftop terrace.
- Hotel Beau Rivage: Located in the heart of Old Town, Hotel Beau Rivage offers guests easy access to Nice’s historic sights and bustling markets. The hotel features charming, individually decorated rooms and a cozy garden terrace.
- Hotel Aston La Scala: This sleek, modern hotel is located in the city center, just steps away from Nice’s main shopping district. The hotel boasts chic rooms and suites, as well as a rooftop pool and terrace with panoramic views.
- Hotel La Perouse: Situated on a hillside overlooking the Bay of Angels, Hotel La Perouse offers guests stunning sea views and a peaceful retreat from the city’s hustle and bustle. The hotel features comfortable rooms and suites, as well as a pool and terrace with breathtaking views.
Where To Eat In Nice
One of the most exciting things about traveling to Nice is getting to indulge in the local cuisine. From traditional French dishes to exotic international flavors, there is no shortage of delicious food options to try. Here are the top 5 places to eat in Nice that you shouldn’t miss:
- Le Bistrot d’Antoine: Located in the heart of the Old Town, Le Bistrot d’Antoine is a must-visit for foodies. The menu is based on seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients, and the atmosphere is cozy and inviting. Don’t miss their signature dish, the pan-fried gambas with spicy guacamole.
- Le Comptoir du Marché: For a true taste of traditional French cuisine, head to Le Comptoir du Marché. This charming bistro serves up classic dishes like beef tartare, bouillabaisse, and ratatouille. Make sure to save room for dessert – their crème brûlée is a crowd-pleaser.
- Chez Pipo: No trip to Nice would be complete without trying socca, a local specialty made from chickpea flour. Chez Pipo is one of the most popular places in town to sample this delicious snack. The restaurant is simple and unpretentious, but the socca is crispy, flavorful, and addictive.
- La Voglia: If you’re in the mood for Italian food, La Voglia is the place to go. This chic restaurant specializes in homemade pasta and wood-fired pizza. The portions are generous, and the ingredients are fresh and flavorful. Be sure to try their truffle pasta – it’s worth the splurge.
- Le Plongeoir: For a memorable dining experience with a view, head to Le Plongeoir. This stunning restaurant is situated on a cliff above the Mediterranean, and you’ll need to take a private elevator down to access it. The menu is upscale and inventive, with dishes like sea bass ceviche and caramelized pork belly. Prices are on the higher side, but the view and ambiance make it worth it.
No matter where you choose to eat in Nice, be prepared to indulge in delicious food and unforgettable dining experiences. Bon appétit!
How To Get Around Nice
Getting around Nice is easy and convenient, with several options available. Here are some of the most popular methods of transportation in the city:
- Walking: Nice is a compact city, so walking is an excellent way to explore the town’s main attractions, such as the Old Town, the Promenade des Anglais, and the Castle Hill.
- Tram: Nice has two tram lines that run through the city, connecting the airport with the Old Town, and the northern part of Nice with the eastern part of the city. The trams run frequently, and tickets can be purchased at ticket machines.
- Bus: Buses in Nice operate 24 hours a day, covering the entire city, including the outskirts. Bus tickets can be purchased from ticket machines or bus drivers, and they can be used on both trams and buses.
- Bicycle: Nice has an extensive bike-sharing system called Vélo Bleu, where users can rent bikes for a few hours or a day. Bicycles can be picked up from and returned to any of the bike stations throughout the city.
- Taxi: Taxis are available in Nice, but they can be quite expensive. It is advisable to check the price before getting in the taxi, especially if you are traveling to the airport.
- Car Rental: Car rental services are available in Nice, but it can be quite challenging to find parking spaces, especially in the city center.
Overall, getting around Nice is relatively easy and convenient, with several options available to visitors. It is advisable to use a combination of transportation methods depending on where you want to go and how far you need to travel.
One of the main draws of Nice is its beautiful weather year-round. The city experiences a Mediterranean climate, which means mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers.
- Spring: Spring in Nice is characterized by cool temperatures, occasional rainfall, and a gradual warming up towards the end of the season. Average temperatures range from 11°C to 17°C (52°F to 63°F) in March, 14°C to 20°C (57°F to 68°F) in April, and 17°C to 23°C (63°F to 73°F) in May. It’s a great time to explore the city before the summer crowds arrive.
- Summer: Summer is peak season in Nice, with hot, sunny weather and clear blue skies. Temperatures average between 23°C to 26°C (73°F to 79°F) in June, 26°C to 29°C (79°F to 84°F) in July, and 26°C to 27°C (79°F to 81°F) in August. The city can get crowded, so be sure to book your accommodations and activities well in advance.
- Fall: Fall in Nice is mild, with comfortable temperatures and fewer crowds than the summer months. September still offers warm weather with average temperatures ranging from 21°C to 25°C (70°F to 77°F). In October and November, temperatures begin to cool with averages ranging from 17°C to 21°C (63°F to 70°F) and 13°C to 16°C (55°F to 61°F), respectively.
- Winter: Winter in Nice is mild compared to many other destinations in Europe, but still cooler than the rest of the year. Average temperatures range from 10°C to 13°C (50°F to 55°F) in December, January, and February. It may rain frequently during this time, but you can still enjoy exploring the city without the crowds.
No matter when you visit Nice, the weather is likely to be pleasant and enjoyable, making it a perfect destination year-round.
Best Time To Visit Nice
When planning a trip to Nice, it’s important to consider the best time of year to visit in order to fully experience all that the city has to offer. The peak tourist season in Nice runs from June to August, which is also the warmest time of year. However, if you’re looking for a more peaceful and budget-friendly vacation, it may be best to visit during the off-season.
The best time to visit Nice is between April and June or September and October. During these months, the weather is mild, with temperatures ranging from 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit (15-24 degrees Celsius). This makes it perfect for outdoor activities like sightseeing and hiking. It’s also a great time to visit the many museums and art galleries in the city, as the crowds are smaller.
If you’re a beach lover, the best time to visit Nice is between June and September. This is when the Mediterranean Sea is warm enough to swim in, and the beaches are packed with locals and tourists alike. However, keep in mind that this is also the most expensive time to visit and accommodations can be hard to come by.
Winter in Nice is mild, with temperatures rarely dropping below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius). This makes it a great time to visit if you’re looking to save money on accommodations and want to experience a quieter, more local vibe. Plus, the Christmas markets and festivals in the city are not to be missed. Ultimately, the best time to visit Nice depends on your personal preferences and travel budget. But no matter what time of year you go, you’re sure to fall in love with the charming city of Nice.
How To Stay Safe In Nice
When traveling to a new destination, safety should always be a top priority. Here are some tips on how to stay safe while exploring the beautiful city of Nice:
- Be Aware Of Your Surroundings: As with any major city, it’s important to keep your wits about you and stay alert. Avoid walking alone at night, and be mindful of your belongings when in crowded areas.
- Avoid Tourist Scams: Tourist scams are unfortunately common in popular destinations like Nice. Be wary of people offering you unsolicited help or trying to sell you overpriced goods. Stick to reputable tour companies and always research before booking any excursions.
- Keep Your Valuables Safe: Make sure to keep your passport, credit cards, and other valuables in a secure location while traveling. Consider using a money belt or hidden pocket to keep your belongings safe.
- Use Caution On Public Transportation: While public transportation is generally safe in Nice, be cautious when using buses or trains at night. Stick to well-lit areas and keep an eye on your belongings.
- Stay Informed About Current Events: Stay up to date on any current events or travel advisories in the area. Follow local news sources and register with your embassy or consulate in case of an emergency.
By following these simple tips, you can help ensure a safe and enjoyable trip to the stunning city of Nice.
Nice Customs and Etiquette
If you want to fit in and make a good impression with the locals in Nice, it’s important to be aware of their customs and etiquette. Here are some things to keep in mind during your trip:
- Greetings: The French are known for their politeness, and a simple “Bonjour” (hello) or “Bonsoir” (good evening) can go a long way. Don’t forget to add “Monsieur” or “Madame” when addressing someone.
- Dress Code: The people of Nice take pride in their appearance and tend to dress elegantly, even for casual occasions. Make sure to pack clothing that is stylish and put-together, and avoid anything too revealing or sloppy.
- Table Manners: Dining is a serious affair in Nice, and there are certain etiquette rules that must be followed. Always wait to be seated by the host, and keep your hands visible on the table at all times. Additionally, it’s considered impolite to start eating before everyone has been served.
- Public Behavior: Niceness are generally reserved and avoid loud or boisterous behavior in public. Don’t be surprised if you see people kissing each other on the cheek as a form of greeting – it’s a common practice in France.
- Tipping: It’s customary to leave a small tip (around 10%) at restaurants and cafes in Nice. However, this is not mandatory and it’s up to your discretion.
By following these simple rules of customs and etiquette, you’ll be able to fully immerse yourself in the culture of Nice and enjoy a more authentic experience.
Other Things To Know About Nice
When planning your trip to Nice, there are some other important things to keep in mind aside from the main tourist attractions and travel logistics. Understanding the local country, currency, language, and time zone can help make your trip run more smoothly and prevent any unnecessary confusion or stress. Here’s what you need to know:
Nice is located in the southeastern region of France, along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. France is a diverse and culturally rich country known for its cuisine, fashion, and iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower. As a member of the European Union, France has its own laws, regulations, and customs that may differ from other countries.
The currency used in Nice and throughout France is the Euro (EUR). ATMs can be found throughout the city and major credit cards are generally accepted, but it’s always a good idea to carry some cash with you in case of any emergencies or small purchases.
French is the official language of Nice and is spoken by most of the locals. However, many people in the tourist industry and service sectors speak English and other languages, so you should be able to communicate without too much difficulty. It’s always helpful to learn a few basic French phrases to show your respect and appreciation for the local culture.
Nice is located in the Central European Time Zone (CET) and observes Daylight Saving Time from late March to late October. This means that Nice is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+1) during the standard time period, and two hours ahead (GMT+2) during Daylight Saving Time. Be sure to adjust your schedule accordingly if you’re arriving from a different time zone.
Nice Travel Costs
When planning a trip to Nice, it’s important to keep your budget in mind. Here’s a breakdown of some common costs you can expect during your stay:
- Accommodation: Nice has a range of accommodation options, from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious hotels. A basic hostel dorm bed can cost around €20-30 per night, while mid-range hotels start at around €70-100 per night. If you’re looking for a more upscale experience, be prepared to spend upwards of €150 per night.
- Food and Drink: Dining out in Nice can be pricey, especially in touristy areas. A budget meal at a local cafe can cost around €10-15, while a three-course dinner at a mid-range restaurant can run you €25-40. Wine and beer are also relatively expensive, with a glass of wine starting at around €5 and a beer at €6.
- Transportation: The easiest and most convenient way to get around Nice is by tram or bus. A single ticket costs €1.50, while a 10-ticket pass costs €10. Taxis and Uber are also available, but can be expensive.
- Activities: There are plenty of free things to do in Nice, such as strolling along the Promenade des Anglais or exploring the Old Town. If you’re looking for guided tours or museum visits, be prepared to spend around €10-20 per person.
Overall, you can expect to spend around €50-100 per day on a moderate budget in Nice. However, costs can vary depending on your travel style and the time of year you visit. Keep these costs in mind when planning your trip and budget accordingly.
Finding Affordable Flights To Nice
As with any travel destination, finding affordable flights to Nice is crucial to making your trip more budget-friendly. Luckily, there are a few tips and tricks to help you find the best deals on flights to this stunning French city.
- Use Flight Search Engines: There are plenty of flight search engines that allow you to compare prices across different airlines and travel dates. Some popular options include Skyscanner, Kayak, and Google Flights.
- Be Flexible With Your Travel Dates: Flights to Nice tend to be more expensive during peak travel season (typically May-September), so if you’re able to be flexible with your travel dates, you may be able to find cheaper options. Flying on weekdays and avoiding major holidays can also save you money.
- Consider Budget Airlines: Several budget airlines, such as EasyJet and Ryanair, offer flights to Nice from various European cities. While these airlines may not have all the amenities of a major carrier, they can often offer significantly cheaper fares.
- Sign Up For Airline Newsletters And Alerts: Many airlines, like Air France, offer special deals and discounts to subscribers of their email newsletters or mobile alerts. Keep an eye out for these promotions and book quickly to take advantage of the savings.
- Book In Advance: Generally, the earlier you book your flight to Nice, the better the chance you have of snagging a good deal. Keep an eye on prices and book when you see a price you’re comfortable with.
With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to finding affordable flights to Nice. Don’t let airfare costs deter you from experiencing the beauty of this stunning French city.
Backpacking Nice Suggested Budgets
If you’re looking for an affordable way to explore Nice, backpacking is a great option. Here are some suggested budgets for backpacking in Nice:
If you’re a budget backpacker, you can expect to spend around €30-€50 per day on accommodation, food, and activities. Hostels are your best option for accommodation, and you can find affordable options in the Old Town area. You can also save money by cooking your own meals or grabbing cheap street food, and by taking advantage of free activities like hiking or exploring the city’s many public parks.
If you’re willing to spend a bit more, you can enjoy a more comfortable backpacking experience in Nice. Plan to spend around €60-€80 per day on accommodation, food, and activities. This budget will allow you to stay in nicer hostels or budget hotels, dine at mid-range restaurants, and enjoy paid activities like museum visits or day trips to nearby towns.
If you’re a backpacker who wants to splurge a bit, you can still do so in Nice without breaking the bank. Plan to spend around €100-€150 per day on accommodation, food, and activities. With this budget, you can stay in high-end hostels or budget hotels, dine at fancy restaurants, and enjoy premium activities like boat tours or spa treatments.
No matter your budget, backpacking in Nice is a great way to experience all that this beautiful city has to offer.
Nice Money Saving Tips
While Nice is undoubtedly a beautiful city, it can also be quite expensive. Here are some money-saving tips that can help you enjoy the city on a budget:
- Take Public Transport: Public transportation in Nice is efficient and relatively cheap. You can get around the city by bus or tram, and the cost of a single journey is only 1.50 euros.
- Eat Out At Lunch: Many restaurants in Nice offer set menus at lunchtime, which can be a great way to try local cuisine at a reasonable price.
- Use A Travel Pass: If you plan to visit several attractions in the city, consider getting a city pass. This pass allows you to access museums and galleries for a discounted price, and also includes unlimited public transport.
- Stay In A Hostel Or Airbnb: Hotels in Nice can be expensive, especially during peak season. Consider staying in a hostel or Airbnb instead, which can be significantly cheaper.
- Shop At Local Markets: Nice is known for its excellent markets, where you can find fresh produce and local specialties at reasonable prices. Shopping at markets can also be a great way to experience local culture.
- Avoid Eating And Drinking In Tourist Areas: Eating and drinking in tourist areas can be expensive, as prices are often inflated. Try to eat and drink where the locals do, as this can be a great way to find affordable and authentic cuisine.
- Explore On Foot: Nice is a walkable city, and exploring on foot can be a great way to see the sights without spending money on transport.
By following these money-saving tips, you can enjoy all that Nice has to offer without breaking the bank.
What To Pack For Nice
When packing for Nice, it’s important to keep in mind the climate and the activities you have planned. Here are some essential items to consider:
- Sunscreen: With an average of 300 days of sunshine per year, Nice can be quite hot. Make sure to pack sunscreen with a high SPF to protect your skin.
- Comfortable Shoes: Nice is a great city for walking, so be sure to bring comfortable shoes that can handle the cobblestone streets.
- Lightweight Clothing: To stay comfortable in the heat, pack lightweight clothing such as shorts, skirts, and breathable fabrics like cotton or linen in your luggage.
- Swimsuit: Nice is home to several beautiful beaches, so be sure to pack a swimsuit to enjoy the Mediterranean Sea.
- Scarf Or Shawl: It’s always a good idea to have a scarf or shawl on hand for when the sea breeze gets chilly.
- Daypack Or Tote Bag: With so many sights to see and things to do in Nice, a daypack or tote bag is useful for carrying your essentials such as water, sunscreen, and a map.
- Camera: With stunning architecture, scenic views, and beautiful beaches, Nice is a photographer’s dream. Be sure to pack your camera to capture all the amazing sights.
- French Phrasebook: While many locals speak English, it’s always helpful to know some basic French phrases to communicate with locals and immerse yourself in the culture.
By packing these essentials, you’ll be prepared for all that Nice has to offer. Bon voyage!
Can You Drink Tap Water In Nice?
When it comes to drinking water in Nice, you’ll be pleased to know that the tap water is perfectly safe to drink. The city has a modern water system that ensures the water is of high quality and free from harmful contaminants. You can find water fountains in the city center where you can fill up your bottle with refreshing tap water.
Drinking tap water is not only environmentally friendly, but it can also save you a lot of money. You won’t need to spend money on bottled water, and you can easily stay hydrated throughout your travels.
However, if you’re not used to the taste of the tap water, you may prefer to drink bottled water. It’s readily available in most grocery stores and convenience shops. It’s also important to note that some restaurants may automatically serve bottled water, so be sure to ask for tap water if you prefer it. Overall, drinking tap water in Nice is a safe and convenient option, so feel free to fill up your water bottle and stay hydrated while exploring this beautiful city.
Other Things To See And Do In Nice
If you’re still hungry for more adventures, Nice offers plenty of other attractions and activities to explore. Here are some more things to see and do in Nice:
- Promenade Des Anglais: Take a leisurely stroll along this famous palm tree-lined promenade that stretches along the Mediterranean coastline. Admire the stunning sea views, watch the yachts and sailboats go by, and soak up the vibrant atmosphere.
- Musée Matisse: Art lovers will enjoy visiting this museum dedicated to the works of French artist Henri Matisse, who spent much of his life in Nice. The museum showcases an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, and drawings by Matisse.
- Cannes: You can take a day trip to Cannes. From the bustling Promenade de la Croisette, which is lined with luxury boutiques and restaurants, to the iconic Cannes Film Festival, there is something for everyone in Cannes.
- Parc De La Colline Du Château: This hilltop park offers panoramic views of the city, sea, and surrounding hills. Take a scenic hike up to the park, where you’ll find gardens, waterfalls, and a historic castle ruin.
- Vieille Ville (Old Town): Lose yourself in the narrow, winding streets of Nice’s charming Old Town, which is full of colorful buildings, quaint cafes, and local shops selling souvenirs and handmade goods.
- Musée National Marc Chagall: Another must-visit museum in Nice is the Marc Chagall Museum, which houses the largest collection of Chagall’s works in the world. The museum features paintings, sculptures, and stained glass windows that showcase the artist’s signature dreamlike style.
- Boat Tour: Take a boat tour along the coast of Nice to see the city from a different perspective. You can choose from a variety of boat tours, including sunset cruises, dolphin watching tours, and even a champagne brunch boat trip.
- Nice Carnival: If you happen to be in Nice in February, don’t miss the famous Nice Carnival, one of the largest carnivals in the world. The event features elaborate floats, colorful costumes, and lively parades that attract visitors from all over the globe.
- Beaches: With over 7 kilometers of beaches, Nice is a great destination for beach lovers. Some of the most popular beaches include Plage Beau Rivage, Plage de la Réserve, and Plage du Ruhl.
Whether you’re into art, nature, or simply soaking up the local culture, Nice has something for everyone. Make sure to add some of these activities and attractions to your itinerary for an unforgettable trip to this beautiful French city.
The Bottom Line
Nice, France is a breathtaking city filled with history, culture, and charm. With stunning beaches, magnificent architecture, and delicious cuisine, there’s something for everyone in this enchanting destination. From exploring the famous Promenade des Anglais to enjoying a leisurely stroll through the charming Old Town, Nice offers a variety of experiences that will leave you wanting more.
When planning your trip to Nice, be sure to consider the best time to visit and the appropriate customs and etiquette to follow. Additionally, there are many budget-friendly options for accommodation, food, and transportation, making this a great destination for travelers on a budget. Overall, Nice is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to France. So pack your bags, book your flight, and get ready to explore all the beauty and excitement that Nice has to offer. Bon voyage!