Nice is one of the main entry points to the Côte d’Azur and there are plenty of flights available throughout Europe and further afield, including New York, London, Dublin, Copenhagen, Dubai, Istanbul, Amsterdam and many more. I would recommend a morning flight to maximise your time in France.
It is the largest city in the region with an abundance of things to do. Thanks to its well-connected train line, you can do the majority of your day trips by train, and if you really don’t want to hire a car, you can take the bus to the harder to get to places such as St Paul de Vence.
Nice has a beautiful old town, famous promenade, an incredible restaurant scene and is great for shopping.
There are hotels to suit all types of traveller and budgets and from here you can embark on some wonderful day trips to places such as Menton, Monaco, Antibes and many more. There is so much to do so I thought I would put together this Nice travel guide to give you a helping hand when planning a trip here!
Where to stay
Hotel Le Negresco
Opulent and eccentric, Le Negresco never fails to surprise, in the best way. Each of the 128 suites are completely unique, so you never know what your room will look like until you arrive (that is unless you request a certain room!).
Each floor has its own theme with corresponding period furniture and artwork, with over 6,000 pieces of art spread across the hotel from contemporary art to masterpieces and abstract sculptures.
Guests may feel they are sleeping in a hotel or a slice of history and the exceptional location on the Promenade des Anglais will leave you pinching yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming.
Hôtel Rossetti, Nice
Hotel Rossetti is a residence in the heart of Nice’s old town. It offers an authentic French experience, located in a historic building but providing all the modern amenities the current day traveller needs.
Prices start from €90 and even the most basic rooms include free WiFi, a comfy double bed, flat-screen TV, a fridge, safe and a private bathroom with free toiletries and a hairdryer.
Hotel Villa Les Cygnes
A warm welcome in a peaceful haven, Hotel Villa Les Cygnes is a no fuss guesthouse that boasts some of the best accommodation reviews in Nice.
It is located just a short walk from the Promenade des Anglais and despite being in a fairly residential area, remains close to supermarkets, bars and restaurants.
Guest rooms are basic but clean, comfortable and all offer a balcony as well as air con, mini fridge, Wi-Fi, ensuite bathroom and hairdryer. Breakfast is served each morning in the picturesque gardens, the best way to start any day!
Le Saint Paul
Stay in luxury at the 5* ‘Le Saint Paul’, a Relais & Chateau hotel with an epic view thanks to its location within Saint-Paul-de-Vence, an ancient hilltop town on the outskirts of Nice. Dating back to the 16th century, guests can enjoy light and airy bedrooms, a sumptuous restaurant, and a beautiful terrace overlooking the village’s cobbled streets.
The hotel is adult only but guests are more than welcome to bring their cats or small dogs!
Le Domaine Du Mas De Pierre Hotel Resort & Spa
A resort in the heart of a Mediterranean garden, La Domaine Du Mas is a new 5* hotel with 76 rooms and suites that have been completely renovated in 2021.
Don’t let the word ‘resort’ put you off. The hotel is comprised of a handful of authentic ‘bastides’ (country homes) and is located a stone’s throw from the ramparts of St Paul de Vence, there is a complimentary shuttle into the village for guests.
The hotel is very family friendly, offering a kids club and 3 swimming pools. The main pool is heated year round at 28 degrees so you can take a dip even in December and January when the summer tourists are long gone.
Where to eat
Where better to go fine dining than in France, the fine dining capital of the world. Restaurant JAN is a 24 seater Michelin starred restaurant in the up and coming bohemian port area of Nice.
Expect a seasonal tasting menu of French dishes inspired by the Head Chef’s South-African heritage. There is no à la carte menu, instead there is a tasting menu so visitors can experience the full spectrum of flavours on offer.
An iconic restaurant with a breathtaking view, Le Plongeoir is particularly special at sunset. Mediterranean food is the backbone of the menu, making the most of the French Riviera’s fresh, seasonal and quality produce.
Enjoy a great dinner comprising a variety of delicious small plates at Le Lavomatique, a restaurant situated in an old laundromat!
The restaurant is run by brothers Hugo and Grégoire Loubert and requires a booking before arrival. There are different dining sittings each evening and my recommendation is to ask for a seat at the bar/open kitchen so you can watch the chefs at work.
Things to do
A must inclusion into any Nice travel guide, the vibrant, colourful town of Menton is situated on the on the French/Italian. Visitors aren’t surprised to discover this rainbow gem has switched between French and Italian ownership multiple times before.
The best time to see the colour of the town is in the late morning when the sun hits along the seafront. Take a stroll along the pier and watch the town glow in all its colourful glory!
Alternatively, sunset is perfect for exploring in cooler temperatures and the beachfront comes alive with beach bars and restaurants. It’s a great place to watch people take a dip in the sea.
Hop on an electric bike and tour the vineyards of Nice, your guide will tell you more about the area along the way. You will stop at a family-owned winery where you can learn more about wine-making methods as well as sampling some of the delicious wines yourself.
If you feel like you may get peckish throughout the day you can book a picnic amongst the vineyard at an extra cost.
Walking food tour and wine tasting
Sample the region’s rich gastronomic heritage on this fun and delicious walking food tour through the picturesque historic centre of Nice. This small group tour is limited to just 10 people so is a great opportunity to socialise and make new friends!
Ville-France-Sur-Mer is a must visit when holidaying in the French Riviera. This colourful town is not too dissimilar to Menton but is located right next to Nice, on its eastern side.
Cobbled stairways make way to colourfully painted houses, and when visiting through the summer months is in full bloom with vibrant potted plants outside each of the houses.
Trains from Nice Ville take just 9 minutes to reach Villefranche, at a cost of €1.90 per way. The easiest way to book your train tickets is through the Trainline app here. If possible, visit on a Wednesday or a Saturday to make the most of the farmers market that is held in Jardin Francois Binon, selling incredible fresh fruit, veg, flowers and oils, as well as a number of handmade artisanal products.
The town benefits from its own beaches, sandier than most along this stretch of coastline. Plage des Marinieres is the main beach, excellent for swimming and bathing thanks to is crystal clear waters.
Nice to St Tropez Ferry
Want to visit St Tropez but not keen on driving in France? Unfortunately you cannot simply get a train to St Tropez from Nice, but this glitzy coastal town is well worth a visit! The ferry cruise is a great alternative to driving on French roads, taking 2.5 hours each way, leaving you with a full day to explore.
Saint-Tropez is the epitome of the chic, laidback French Riviera that the magazines are constantly selling to us. For decades this small town perfectly placed on the Côte d’Azur has been bringing in A-listers and those seeking ultra luxury and glamour. This is reflected by what you see in the town, the Chanel Chateau, a stunning Dior Restaurant, super yachts galore and all the ultra-luxurious designer stores you could possibly think of.
St Tropez is a town in which many want to be seen in, but behind this glamorous facade is a beautiful historic old town, with colourful winding alleyways, some of the best restaurants in the south of France, and a great place to spend a day sightseeing and people watching.
Just 20 minutes from Nice is Saint-Paul-de-Vence, a beautiful hilltop town that takes you straight back into the Middle Ages. I stayed here for one night rather than in Nice itself and had no regrets.
The village is popular with tourists so I recommend staying here, it has a bustling restaurant scene with plenty of places to eat at night but staying here means you can wake up early the next day and enjoy the streets all to yourself.
There are just 300 residents living in this perched village, but despite this small number of locals, the village has been occupied since 400 BC. Outside of the villages walls are 3,500 more residents, living amongst beautiful gardens, country houses and a woodland of cypress trees.
Spend the day in Monaco
It wouldn’t be a Nice travel guide without an introduction to this incredible city-state. Just 22 minutes direct on the train from Nice, Monaco is one of the most popular day trips for any visitor to Nice.
Monaco is like a bubble, it is where the super rich come to play. But you don’t need millions in the bank to enjoy it, just observing it all is a great day out! It’s not uncommon to spot some of the world’s most expensive cars driving along the streets, the shops often have no price tags and the resort of Monte Carlo hosts some incredible world events.
Make sure you head up to Le Rocher, home to the Monaco Royal Family and also home to some gorgeous cobbled streets to take a stroll in and enjoy its historical attractions.
Monte Carlo is where you will find the glitz and the glamour, overlooking a glistening bay filled with incredible yachst and is the most superb place to watch the passer bys (and perhaps spot an A-list celebrity or two).
Train bookings in Europe: Trainline
Car hire: RentalCars
Hotel bookings: Booking.com
Airport transfers: Kiwi taxis
Book trips and attractions: Getyourguide
Holiday home rentals: Vrbo