Everything You Need to Know
Visiting the French Riviera? This Nice Travel Guide has everything you need to know before venturing through this gorgeous destination. Nice, France is an absolute treat, with year-round sunshine, coastal beaches, and historic culture. Just a short flight from Paris, France, Nice attracts many travelers — though that once that wasn’t the case. Back in the 1920’s, Nice’s infrastructure was falling apart. It wasn’t until the 50s and 60s that tourism began to increase across this magical destination, after more investment was made in building up the city.
Today, Nice is one of the largest cities in France, with an estimated population of over 940,000. Additionally, it isthe capital of the Alpes-Maritimes department on the French Riviera. Known for it’s Mediterranean climate, blue coastal waters, and vibrant cultural streets, Nice offers much to see and do. Below, we break down some of our top recommendations including where to stay, what to do, best restaurants, bars and more. Please enjoy and share our Nice Travel Blog with family & friends!
It is polite to greet everyone you encounter with a friendly bonjour upon arrival, and an au revoir when leaving.
When To Visit
The best time to visit Nice is in September to October, or from mid-March to April.
Similar to many European hot spots, Nice is generally safe but also deals with its fair share of pickpockets.
Travelers can enter France for up to 90 days without a visa. If you plan to stay longer, you must obtain the proper visa from one of the French consulates in America prior to departure. For more information concerning entry and exit requirements for France, visit the U.S. State Department’s website. The taxi drivers in Nice are a bit notorious for taking advantage of tourists. If you must take a taxi, negotiate the fare before getting inside and make sure the driver has his or her fare rates displayed (a requirement). If you decide to take a taxi from the airport to the center of Nice, expect to pay a flat rate of 32 euros (around $39). Driving is not recommended as traffic can be frustrating and parking is limited.
What To Expect
Like many French cities, Nice is equipped with a reliable and convenient public transportation system. Buses serve all major tourist attractions as well as the Nice-Ville train station and the Nice Côte d’Azur International Airport (NCE). Ride-hailing services, such as Uber, are also a popular option because they are much cheaper and more convenient than traditional taxis. The Nice airport is just 6km from the centre of the city, making it a stress-free, straightforward process to get to your accommodations.
Best Time to Visit
Cimiez is a neighborhood packed with history. It is an old Roman outpost and was actually Queen Victoria’s farite vacation destination. For centuries, many historic aristocrats and noblemen travelled to this area to enjoy peace, quiet, and paradise on the south coast of France. This is our top recommendation for where to stay in Nice for families.
Located east of Old Town, Le Port straddles both sides of the city’s iconic and charming marina. While it’s known as a fun destination for the ‘cool’ boat crowd, it is actually has something to offer everyone – from an afternoon stroll to a night on the town.
Jean-Médecin is Nice’s New Town neighborhood. Home to grand avenues and tree-lined streets, this downtown neighborhood is renowned for its high-end boutique and street shops, as well as it’s world-class museums, top-notch restaurants, and cute cafes.
Old Town, or “Vieux Nice”, is the heart of Nice. A dense labyrinth of cobblestone streets, this is where you’ll find colorful buildings, charming shops, quaint cafes and historic landmarks. This is our top recommendation for where to stay in Nice for first-timers.
Gambetta is a small neighborhood on the west side of Nice. Stretching from the train station down to the shores of the Mediterranean, this lively and vibrant borough is where you’ll find a variety of great restaurants, pristine beaches, and plenty of things to do in Nice.
Things To Do
Take a Day Trip
If you fancy a change of scenary, you are in luck! In just under 30 minutes you can reach the lovely resort town of Antibe, Eze, or even Monaco. With all of these locations just under a 30 minute drive, it is easy to explore new parts of the South of France or even a new country. You can get there by train or by Uber! We recommend not driving, as parking can be a pain in these areas.
Looking for some of the best seafood in Nice? You’ve found it with Peixes, which means fish in Portuguese. The menu is mostly raw: ceviche, tartar, etc., along with some hot dishes like octopus, gnocchi, seasonal vegetables, stuffed cod, smoked fish & more.
This is a meat-lovers heaven – vegetarians should venture elsewhere. Large quantities of braised lamb, roasted pork, rotisserie chicken, veal, and roast beef are served with your choice of potatoes or ratatouille. Be warned, they may run out of chicken – but not to fear, the lamb is tender and juicy.
This Michelin star restaurant hits it out of the park. Chef Jan brings his South African touch to French cuisine to create a tasting adventure of flavors. The whole experience was top notch, including the ambiance, service, and of course, the food and drinks.
An upscale, candle-lit outfit with vaulted ceilings, offering classic cuisine & an organic wine list. In the kitchen, the chef creates contemporary dishes which make the most of local flavors. His dishes are as lavish and tasty as they come. Estate wines; friendly atmosphere.
This laid-back, local pizza joint is a great spot for late night munchies (or drunchies) or a delicious dinner. Centered on the corner of Old Town streets, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy thin crust pizza while people watching.
For a relaxed bistro feeling, this is the spot to be. With a mix between Mediterranean & Italian, you’ll find favorites like paella & pizza. Bonus points for this restaurant include great location and a bustling terrace.
Established in 1991, this is a classic spot that blends French clientele with a London pub feel. With live musc almost every night, it is a great place to start off your night! You can expect great pints and good times with English-speaking tourists and expats, as well as local students and young professionals.
Trendy cocktail bar at the port of Nice. The bar is open year-round and offers a retro atmosphere, friendly bar staff, and great patio seating overlooking the harbor. Here, the cocktail is elevated by meticulous bartenders.
This laid-back nightclub offers two floors and two terraces, DJs and live bands, colorful cocktails, and a variety of tasty tapas. Head up to the 2nd-floor terrace, overlooking the Promenade des Anglais, and enjoy one of the delicious cocktails. It’s a great spot to enjoy the sunset and start your evening of partying with drinks and DJs
The Bulldog Pub, also known by its original name, the “Pub Pompeii”, organizes live rock concerts every night, in their bar with rock-themed décor. It’s a must-see bar in the old town, where all generations meet for drinks and dancing in close quarters.
Modern and trendy lounge vibes, right in the heart of Nice. Both a stylish indoor lounge and a beautiful outdoor terrace, where you can indulge in breathtaking views over the city rooftops and the magnificent Notre Dame Basilica.
With year-round sunshine, beach front views and a city full of life, Nice, France is a must on your next European vacation. One of the best parts of this city? It’s close vicinity to several other France destinations. In fact, you could easily post up in Nice for months and explore endless cities nearby. If you are planning an entire French Riviera trip, be sure to check out our Cannes Travel Guide, Eze Day Trip Guide & Monaco Travel Guide for additional recommendations on these neighboring spots. If there is one take away that we hope you get from our Nice Travel Guide, it’s that this city should be high up on your travel bucket list! Thanks for reading and please share!