Nice is a wonderful French Riviera city, and a popular destination for couples, honeymooners and sun-worshipers. It is a large city, though, and it can be tough mastering it. Find out all the basics of a Nice vacation, including what to do, what to see, where to stay, great day-trips and how to get around.
Getting There & Getting Around
Nice is well-served by the Nice-Cote d'Azur airport just west of the city. Search for the lowest airfare
There are numerous shuttle buses and local bus services to Nice and other Riviera cities, as well as overpriced taxis, to take you into the city when you arrive. If you are traveling by rail, Nice has three rail stations but you will probably arrive in the main terminal at Nice Ville. Book a France Rail PassThis will put you a few blocks north of the coastline.
The primary public transit within the city is SunBus, which has dozens of bus routes. You can obtain a system map and a brochure listing timetables at the tourism office on the Promenade des Anglais, or at the main bus station in the Place Massena. There are also regional buses to nearby cities, and most stop at the Gare Routiere just north of Place Massena. There are rail connections to most neighboring cities as well, with the most frequent stops at the Nice Ville station. You can rent a car, but check first to see if your hotel has parking and what the cost is. It can be quite difficult, if not impossible, to park a car in Nice. It is also quite common for locals to tap there way into a spot. And there are so many simple ways to get around with public transport.
Top Nice Attractions
There are countless things to see and do in this city, whether in the heart of town (Nice Centre) or in the hills (les collines). Here are some of my personal favorites:
- The Cours Selaya Flower Market is a must-see. This is also one of the main neighborhoods for dining, with several cafés lining the outdoor market. If you want seafood, this is the spot to hit. There are also several souvenir shops, gourmet shops and other boutiques here.
- Vieux Nice (or Old Nice) is right next to the market. Wander these narrow streets and discover great shopping, dining and some of the city's most happening bars. This is also a great destination after-hours, but go with a group. Old Nice is filled with dark alleys, and lone wanderers can become a target.
- Nice Cimiez, about a 15-minute bus ride from Nice Centre up into the hills, has a small concentration of museums and attractions. The Musée Matisse contains a wonderful collection of the great local artist's work. The archeology museum next door is semi-interesting indoors, but what is more fascinating is the ruins of the Roman amphitheatre, public baths and paved streets.
- The Promenade des Anglais is something anyone visiting Nice is sure to see. Even though they are outrageously overpriced, hit one of the seaside private beach/restaurants at least once during your visit. Rent a chaise lounge a few feet from the shore, and let waiters (usually unbearably slow and inattentive) bring you lunch and drinks.
- The Pedestrian Zone (zone pietonne) is a bit of a tourist trap, but there's a good reason. This is a lovely area for a stroll, as cars are forbidden except for the early morning hours (and the rogues who scoot through here anyway during other times). The shops here are on the tacky-tee-shirt scale in most cases, although there are several great clothing store chains and nice shops like the gourmet boutique Ducs de Gascony. This is the ideal spot to sip a café au lait and watch the world go by.
- Find out more with Top 10 Attractions in Nice
- There are countless hotels in Nice, and an unusually high number of four-star accomodations. There is one hotel, however, that is one of my favorites in the world, and I consistently recommend it to friends and family visiting Nice. The Hotel Windsor is a short walk to the beach and the pedestrian zone, and a slightly longer walk to the Cours Selaya and old town. The rooms are reasonably-priced, and the staff is the most helpful around. The rooms also have their own personality, most decorated by artists and unique murals. Be sure to request a room with a balcony. Find the best rate!
- The Hotel Negresco is probably Nice's most famous hotel. Almost any photo of the Nice shoreline will be punctuated by the hotel's Art Deco facade. A National Historic Monument, this seafront hotel is the epitome of Nicois elegance. Find the best rate!
- Search for other hotels and compare hotel room booking rates
- Compare car rental rates
There are several great towns and cities near Nice, usually just a few minutes away. Here are some of the best stops worth a day-trip: