Nice, the largest city on the French Riviera, is also one of the most charming.
Located between the Mediterranean Sea and the famous Maritime Alps, Nice offers a unique combination of urban convenience and natural beauty and it’s no wonder why it is one of France’s most popular tourist destinations.
The thing about Nice, however, is that as amazing as it is, prices have really gone up in the last years and during summer months it can get way too crowded. So is Nice really worth visiting?
As a Nice local and fellow traveler I can tell you: I think it is, 100%. However, that will depend, of course, on your preferences and what you are looking for.
In this guide, you will find all the best reasons to visit Nice on your next trip to France.
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Is Nice, France worth visiting?
Yes, Nice is definitely worth visiting.
Nice has a long and colorful history that dates back to 350 BC when the Greeks from nearby Marseille established a trading post at the site of modern-day Nice. They named it “Nikaia” after Nike, the goddess of victory.
Over the centuries, Nice went through a series of rulers including the Roman Empire, Italy, and France. This multicultural history makes Nice a truly fascinating place to visit.
Its rich culture adds to this incredible atmosphere that has kept people coming back for years.
Also, the city has lots of wonderful sights and attractions, such as the Promenade des Anglais, a beautiful waterfront promenade lined with luxurious resorts and restaurants, and the Old Town (Vieux Nice) full of cobbled streets and Baroque architecture. Book a Walking Tour of Old Nice and Castle Hill here.
Nice also boasts an array of amazing gastronomical delights that range from local produce to gourmet cuisine and the city’s Mediterranean climate ensures plenty of sunshine for most of the year, making it a great place to relax and soak up some vitamin D.
In short, Nice is an incredibly beautiful city full of history and culture, which makes it definitely worth visiting.
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How to get to Nice
Traveling to Nice is easy, with multiple options available depending on your preferred mode of transport.
The Nice Airport (NCE) is the busiest airport in the region and serves as an entry point for most travelers.
Airlines from all around Europe, as well as some intercontinental flights, make their way here. There are regular trams that travel from Airport Nice Cote d’Azur (NCE) to the city center and nearest train stations, making it easy to get to your destination quickly and comfortably.
The TGV train is a great option if you’re looking for an environmentally-friendly mode of transport.
The journey takes about 6 hours from Paris but can take longer depending on which stops you make along the way.
Driving yourself is of course, also an option. However, it can take up to 8 hours depending on your starting point. Be prepared for tolls, as some motorways require payment, and for a lot of traffic if you visit during the high season.
10 Reasons to visit Nice, France
Here are, without further ado, the reasons that make Nice such a special destination.
1- Promenade des Anglais
There are few things in life as nice as a lovely walk on the Promenade des Anglais on a sunny day – which is basically every day here on the French Riviera.
The promenade is perhaps the most iconic landmark in Nice and walking along it you will find plenty of restaurants, cafés, and boutiques.
Enjoy the lovely atmosphere, take pictures of the Mediterranean Sea and just enjoy the sun.
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2- Vieux Nice
The old town of Nice is very charming and exploring it is one of the best things to do in Nice.
Walk around the narrow cobblestone streets, explore its typical Provencal houses, and find interesting shops with souvenirs that you can take home as a remembrance of your trip.
This area is full of interesting places, such as the lively Cours Saleya market, the Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate, and the Marché aux Fleurs (flower market)
Since Nice is located on the French Riviera, it comes as no surprise that it has some gorgeous beaches.
You should know, however, that the beaches at Nice are rocky and for finding sandy beaches, you will be better off at Villefranche-sur-mer or Cannes.
Alternatively, you can get some good water shoes. Although the beach along the promenade is the most popular one in Nice, Coco Beach is definitely my favorite.
4- Nice is a fantastic winter destination
Nice is obviously a great place to visit in summer, but what a lot of people don’t know is that it’s also a great destination in winter.
The weather is mild and still warm enough to enjoy the sun – and you won’t find large crowds like during the high season.
Plus, there are plenty of things to do besides the normal activities, such as visiting the Christmas market or skiing in the nearby Alps.
5- It’s a stone’s throw away from Italy and Monaco
Ever imagined visiting three different countries on the same day? Well, this is possible when you are in Nice.
The city is located very close to the Italian border, so it’s easy to take a day trip and explore the nearby cities.
Likewise, Monaco is only 30 minutes away by train- making it a perfect destination for a day of luxury and glamour.
6- Fresh seafood
Nice has a very rich gastronomy, and its seafood is particularly noteworthy.
The region is well-known for its delicious dishes, such as the famous bouillabaisse (fish stew) and grilled sardines which you can find in many of the city’s restaurants
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7- Lovely boutique hotels
In a destination as charming as Nice, it is no surprise that you can find some beautiful boutique hotels.
These little gems feel like a home away from home, and they are perfect for those who want to enjoy a more intimate experience. Check the prices for boutique hotels in Nice here.
8- Admire architecture from La Belle Epoque
Nice is home to some beautiful buildings from the La Belle Epoque period, such as the Théâtre de la Photographie et de l’Image and the Musée Massena.
Take a tour to admire these grandiose constructions and learn more about this era in history.
9- It is not as expensive as you would think
Some believe that Nice is an expensive destination, but this is not entirely true. There are plenty of budget options available – from accommodation to places to eat and activities to do.
You can easily enjoy a memorable holiday without breaking the bank, especially if you visit during the off-season.
10- The Carnival of Nice
The Carnival of Nice is one of the best-known and most popular events in France.
Every February, the city turns into a vibrant party with elaborate parades, fireworks shows, art exhibitions, and music.
11- Restaurants on the beach
Nice is the perfect destination to combine sightseeing, sunbathing, and gastronomy.
There are several restaurants on the beach with stunning views, offering delicious dishes made with locally sourced ingredients, like Le Galet, Blue Beach, and Cocoon Beach.
11- The views from Castle Hill
The views from Castle Hill are simply breathtaking! This is one of the best spots in Nice to take photos and watch the sun go down.
12- Nice has a beautiful port
The Port of Nice, located in the Baie des Anges, has been a major port for many centuries. and is now one of the trendiest neighborhoods in town.
On top of that, there are many great restaurants by the water’s edge where you can enjoy fresh seafood dishes while admiring the stunning scenery of this wonderful place.
13- Friendly locals
When I moved to Nice, I was pleasantly surprised by the friendliness of the locals.
Despite its large size, Nice still retains a small-town feel and it’s easy to get to know people quickly.
14- Perfect weather all year-round
Nice enjoys a perfect Mediterranean climate all year round, with plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures.
This makes it the perfect choice for sun-seekers looking to escape the cold European winter!
15- It’s the perfect base for so many incredible day trips
Nice is an ideal location for exploring the South of France.
It’s within easy reach of some stunning locations, such as Chateau de Cremat, Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, Cannes, Menton, and Monaco (just an hour away), as well as picturesque hilltop villages like St Paul de Vence and Eze.
Where to stay in Nice
If you’re looking for the perfect place to stay during your visit to Nice, here are some great recommendations:
• Hotel La Perouse is a luxurious 5-star hotel located in the old city center, offering stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea.
• Hotel Ozz By Happyculture is ideal for travelers looking for a laid-back atmosphere.
• Hotel Le Negresco is a historical landmark located in the heart of town. It has been offering guests comfort and luxury since 1913!
• Hotel Amour Nice is a mid-range option that offers both beautiful rooms and a great location.
Best tours to take in Nice
There are plenty of great tours to take in Nice to make your stay even more special– here are some of the best:
- From Nice: French Riviera in One Day
- Nice: Gorges of Verdon and Fields of Lavender Tour
- Nice: 1-Hour Sightseeing Cruise to Villefranche Bay
- From Nice: Saint-Tropez and Port Grimaud Day Tour
- Nice: Provence Village Tour with Wine and Produce Tasting
Fun facts about Nice
Now that you know why Nice is worth visiting, here are some fun facts about the city:
- The city is nicknamed “La Belle” or “The Beautiful” because of its stunning natural beauty.
- Nice is the fifth-largest city in France.
- Nice’s old city center has been listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site since 2018.
- The Musée Matisse, located in Cimiez, holds one of the world’s largest collections of the artist’s work.
- The Carnival of Nice is known as one of the biggest events in France and draws over a million visitors each year.
Best time to visit Nice
Nice enjoys wonderful weather all year round.
However, if you are looking for the best time to visit this stunning city, we recommend spring and autumn.
Spring (March-May) is an excellent time to visit Nice – temperatures are mild and pleasant and the days are long, allowing you to truly explore the city and its surroundings and swim in the ocean.
During this time of year, you can witness the vibrant colors of the blooming flowers around town and see the city coming alive as the temperatures rise.
What’s more, the spring months in Nice also offer plenty of cultural experiences – from art exhibitions to concerts and festivals.
Autumn and winter are other great times to visit Nice – not only do you get to enjoy lower hotel prices but also fewer crowds so that you can soak up all that this charming city has to offer without feeling overwhelmed.
The weather during this time of year is still warm enough for beach trips, as well as day, trips up into the nearby medieval villages.
If you’re looking for a more lively experience though, then summer (June-August) should be at the top of your list.
How to get around Nice
Nice is a very walkable city – most attractions can be reached within walking distance.
The best way to get around Nice is by foot or bicycle, but public transportation options like buses and trams are also available.
If you plan on staying in Nice for more than a few days, it’s worth considering buying an all-day ticket which gives you access to unlimited travel across the city – this will save both time and money.
Travel tips for Nice, France
Lastly, here are some travel tips to make your trip to Nice even more memorable:
- Make sure to bring water shoes if you plan on going to the beach.
- Pack a light jacket as the weather in Nice can change quickly and temperatures can drop considerably during the evenings.
- Take time to enjoy some of Nice’s signature dishes such as salade niçoise, socca (a type of chickpea pancake), or farcis (stuffed vegetables).
- Book hotels and restaurants in advance, especially during the summer
Conclusion: Is Nice worth visiting?
So there you have it – 15 reasons why Nice, France is worth visiting. Whether you’re looking for a beach holiday, culture, or gastronomy, you can find it all in this beautiful city.
Oh! And if you are visiting the South of France soon, follow my Instagram for more hidden gems and travel tips. Happy travels!
Oh! And if you are visiting the South of France soon, follow my Instagram for more hidden gems and travel tips. Happy travels!