The beautiful Côte D’azur in the South of France is a popular European holiday destination, but it is also a fantastic for a long weekend away. Flights from the UK and Europe into Nice can be particularly cheap out of the height of the summer months, so visiting in May, June or September is perfect if you want to avoid the crowds, but still want amazing weather.
Nice airport is conveniently located very close to the city centre and the old town, so it’s super easy to get an uber or bus to your accommodation in Nice. I would recommend staying in or close to the old town (Vieille Ville) as this is central to everything you will want to cover in Nice. There are loads of great apartments available on Airbnb, I would recommend browsing on there for your accommodation.
Things to do
- Cycle Promenade des Anglais
Promenade des Anglais is approximately 7km long and stretches from the old town (Vieille Ville) to the airport. Whether you want to walk, run or cycle it is up to you, but there are designated cycles lanes in Nice which make cycling the Promenade very safe and easy. You can rent the city’s velo vlue (blue bikes) for €1/day which makes getting around the city super easy and fun. As you cycle Promenade des Anglais, keep an eye out for several landmarks including Hotel Negresco and the art-deco Palais de la Méditerranée famous for its theatre and casino.
- Walk Vieille Ville, the Castle of Nice & the Port
Nice has many amazing landmarks from Nice Castle and the Port of Nice to the old town, there is so much to see within a close proximity. Vieille Ville is a quintessential old town with narrow cobblestone streets, pastel coloured buildings and shops that sell everything from locally made textiles and soaps, to fresh bread and mouth-watering gelatos. From the old town, you can make your way up to the top of the Castle of Nice which offers the most scenic and serene views of the city in its gorgeous park and open spaces. Look out for Cascade du Casteu (the man-made waterfall), as you make your way up to the top. On a clear day, you will be able to see the whole of the Promenade des Anglais, as well as the gorgeous homes set up in hills further inland. Local musicians usually play the guitar or sing at the top of the hill which makes this a truly tranquil spot to soak up the views. The Port of Nice is just on the other side of the hill and is a stunning port to stroll with many seafood restaurants beside it.
- Day trip to Monaco
If you’ve flown all the way to the Cote D’azur, it would be rude not to pop over the boarder to Monaco. Trains run frequently from Gare de Nice Ville train station directly to Monaco, the tickets are exceptionally cheap and the journey time is about 30 minutes. (If you are thinking about hiring a car, there really is no need. All of the beautiful coastal towns along the Cote D’azur and Monaco are accessible via trains). Once in Monaco, be sure to walk around the Port Hercule, before making your way up to Monaco’s famous landmarks, the Casino de Monte-Carlo, Place du Casino (the gorgeous plaza in front of the casino), the Casino gardens and Café de Paris which overlooks all three. The Casino Gardens and the Japanese Garden which is a little further up the coast are great places to stroll pre-or post lunch. If you really want the best views in town take an uber or the local bus departing from the tourism office to Tête de Chien. You can also get to Tête de Chien from Nice by taking the train to Cap-d’Ail (which is one stop before Monaco). It’s best to do Tête de Chien first thing in the morning, or late in the afternoon – the views will seriously not disappoint (you can thank me later).
- Day trip to Éze, Cap-d’Ail and other coastal villages
Like Monaco, there are so many breathtakingly beautiful small coastal towns and villages which are worth exploring between Nice and Monaco. From Gare de Nice Ville train station, take the same train line to Éze. As soon as you arrive in Éze you’ll notice you are a few hundred feet from the stunning glistening cove and crystal clear waters. But before heading to Papaya beach to relax, make sure you visit the top of Éze village. For those of you who are adventurous and love a good trek and hillside climb, there is a dusty path that goes up the cliff which takes about 45 minutes to walk. If you’re not feeling up for it, wait for a bus going to Éze just outside of the train station. Once at the top, you won’t know where to start. There are a few boutique stores selling gorgeous French perfumes, clothes and souvenirs but as you enter Château Eza and Eglise d’Eze (Éze church), you will realise there is so much to explore on the mountain top.
If you’re foodie like me, and want to go for lunch or dinner at one of the dreamiest venues you could possibly imagine, then book a table at the restaurant La Chèvre d’or which is part of the Chevre d’or hotel complex. Be warned, the food is expensive, €25 will get you a margarita pizza or a salad, but it is 100% worth it for the views and the experience. After lunch, walk through the cobbled narrow streets of the village before visiting The Exotic Garden. There is a small fee per person to enter the garden, but again, the views will take your breath away. I would have never of thought that I would be in a vibrant tropical garden filled with cactuses in a serene little village on the Côte D’azur.
If you fancying exploring another mesmerising little coastal town, take the train or bus to Cap-d’Ail. Like Éze, Cap-d’Ail has a lot to offer including charming beach walks across the aqua coloured seas and secluded beaches. If laying on a beach for a long time isn’t for you, head to Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild which is located in between Nice and Éze. If you are a lover of quintessential French gardens and design, then this renaissance style seaside villa will make your jaw drop. The beautifully maintained gardens and interiors will make you feel like you are in a French Riviera film. The place is ideal to visit late in the afternoon/ into the evening as all of the water fountain lights are turned on and the place is transformed into a dream-like fairy tale.
Nice: 5 Day Itinerary
Start your day with exploring the beautiful Vieille Ville (the old town in Nice) filled with beautiful boutique stores, boulangeries, cafes and gelato shops. As you make your way to the promenade, be sure to stop off at the well-known Cours Saleya where you will be able to buy beautiful flowers and delicious fresh fruit and local produce. After you have eaten your way through the old town, rent a bike for €1/day from one of the city’s velo vlue (blue bike) racks; there are around 175 docking stations in the city which makes it perfect to cycle Promenade des Anglais to the Port of Nice and in and around the city. For dinner, head to Le Hussard a lively, outdoor rooftop restaurant situated in the heart of the old town.
Wake up to the fresh and enticing smells of croissants and pain au chocolats from nearby boulangeries. Spend the day lazing under the glistening sunshine on Nice’s gorgeous pebbled beach. You will be astounded at the crystal-clear waters. For dinner, head to the popular Movida restaurant and watch the sunset from their outdoor terraces whilst eating their delicious mix of Mediterranean, European and Spanish food. If you fancy drinks and a dance later in the evening, go to Waka Bar (which is beside Movida), it is one of the most liveliest bars in the old town and plays great songs all night. If you fancy something more chilled, head to Farago on the Roof (at the Marriot Hotel) for vibey sunset vibes.
Start your day with fresh croissants and pain au chocolats from a local boulangerie before taking the train from Nice train station to Monaco. Walk the beautiful Port Hercule, before making your way up the hill to the Casino de Monte-Carlo. Make sure you explore all of Monaco’s famous Formula 1 turns including the Casino Square, Fairmont and Massenet. If you fancy strolling a bit further, make your way to Monaco’s Japanese Garden, a small beautiful oasis with Mediterranean touches which will give you the ultimate zen vibes. For lunch, visit Café de Paris which overlooks Place du Casino and the Casino which is a gorgeous spot to relax, recoup and people watch. After lunch, take a stroll through The Casino Gardens which will make you feel completely immersed in tropical goodness. For the best panoramic views of Monaco, end your day with a climb to Tete de Chien, La Turbie for breath-taking sunset views across Monaco.
Take the Renfre train from Nice’s main train station to the beautiful costal village of Éze. Walk up the dusty cliff side to the peak of the hill where you will find Éze village which comprises of Eglise d’Eze (a Catholic church), Chevre d’or (a phenomenal hotel with a Michelin starred restaurant) and The Exotic Garden. From small artisanal shops embedded in and under the rocks, to intimate walkways (think, Santorini style) and breath taking views, this quaint little village perched on the top of the hill will leave you wandering endlessly for hours. Head to the stunning Papaya beach for rest and relaxation for the rest of the afternoon. If you fancy venturing further, Cap-d’Ail is another beautiful costal town worth exploring.
For dinner, visit Papayou in one of the beautiful side streets in Nice old town, they serve the most delicious French and Asian dishes – it will be a culinary experience that you wont forget.
Start the day with breakfast at Tire Bouchon Café located in Nice’s Vielle Ville, they serve everything from delicious French omelettes, to Nordic inspired bagels and pancakes, what more could you want? After, take a stroll up the windy streets to the top of the Castle Hill where you will be amazed by stunning panoramic city and ocean views overlooking Nice; look out for their man-made waterfall en route too. On your descent, check out the ‘I love Nice’ sign with views of the Promenade des Anglais in the background. Finish your trip with a relaxing afternoon at Castel Plage (a beach bar and restaurant) situated at the end of the beach adjacent to Castle Hill.