Nice is one of the most well-known cities on France’s Côte d’Azur. This beautiful city is located 16 km (10 miles) from the closest point on the Italian border. Nice is sheltered by hills to the north and enjoys a beautiful coastal location on the Bay of Angels (Baie des Anges).
Nice is worth visiting for its stunning beaches along the French Riviera, its rich history and delicious cuisine. Nice also has an amazingly mild climate with hot summers and mild winters. Nice is also surrounded by mountains, making it the perfect destination for many outdoor activities.
We have compiled a list of 21 reasons why Nice is worth visiting to help you make your mind up about this popular destination. Our list will also help you to plan your stay in Nice as it contains some of the best places to visit and things to do in Nice.
Is Nice Worth Visiting? 21 Reasons Why You Should Visit Nice
1. Stroll Along La Promenade des Anglais
The Promenade des Anglais is the most famous seafront promenade in France with palm trees, sea and sun! All of the most famous hotels face the promenade and have private beaches for their residents.
La Promenade des Anglais is very long 7 km (4.3 miles) and is the perfect place to walk and admire the sea and the glamorous hotels.
Nice’s promenade is similar to Miami’s Ocean Drive if you are familiar with this US city. If not, you might want to read our article about 21 Reasons to Visit Miami.
Nice locals love to wander along the promenade and, even though I don’t live here, I also enjoy doing this when I visit.
I’m actually from Lyon, the capital of French gastronomy. For more information about Lyon in France, you can also check out our article about 21 Reasons to Visit Lyon.
2. Browse the Stalls of Nice Market
In every town in France, the local market is the best place to get a taste for local products from local producers. Here, you will discover exactly what the locals eat.
Nice Market is full of colour and fabulous aromas with plenty of local, fresh produce. Don’t be shy, ask the vendors if you don’t recognise something and want to find out more. They will be pleased to share their knowledge with you and will probably offer you a sample to taste.
3. Climb the Coline du Château for the View of La Baie des Anges
If you are looking for the best panoramic view of Nice, the best place to go is the Coline du Château. There are two possibilities to get there: climb the steps or use the lift. If you decide to visit the Coline du Château, you need to check the timetable before you head off because the lift stops working at 6pm and it is closed in wintertime.
If you want a good alternative to the Coline du Chateau, head to Mont Boron (see number 17). From here, you can enjoy a view of the Baie des Anges and the Coline du Château. In fact, Mont Boron is much higher than the Coline du Château.
It’s easy to get to Mont Boron by bus. Take bus number 14 and get out at the end of the line, then walk along the Chemin de Bellevue.
4. Discover Local Food Specialties
For me, the best thing about travelling is to take your time and enjoy the country and culture. Stopping for food and drink is an excellent opportunity to rest and take time to sit and enjoy local specialties. It is tiring to walk all day when you visit a city. Your body needs energy and some rest, otherwise you will not enjoy your day.
Whilst in Nice, try out some of these delicious dishes:
Socca is like a crêpe, but it is made from chickpea flour and is a healthy solution for a snack.
I love Pan Bagnat. Pan Bagnat is the perfect sandwich made with egg, tuna, anchovies and vegetables.
Salade Niçoise is the ideal salad for a hot summer’s day and contains French beans, potatoes, anchovies, boiled eggs and black olives. Although this salad is now famous in a lot of countries around the world, Nice is the best place to enjoy it.
La Daube Niçoise
In France every region has its stew. In the north, it is the Carbonade but in Nice it is La Daube Niçoise which is slow cooked beef with vegetable and spices. This dish is perfect for a cosy evening.
5. Walk Along Le Sentier du Littoral
Le Sentier du Littoral is a coastal path which runs from from Nice to Villefranche (4 km, 2.48 miles). This walk is also known as ‘le chemin de douaniers’.
If you want to walk from Nice to Villefranche, you will need a half-day (3 to 4 hours). This walk offers very nice sea views. It is better to do this walk in the morning when the sun isn’t too strong but don’t forget your water bottle.
6. Relax in Rooftop Bars
After a long day, it is always good to relax with a glass of wine. To carry on your experience of visiting Nice, you could opt for one of Nice’s rooftop bars with a great view over the city of Nice or the Mediterranean Sea.
Le Meridien is a hotel on the Promenade des Anglais. The bar is situated on the 10th floor of the hotel and gives you a great view of the sea. This bar can often be busy, so it is advisable to make a reservation in advance. If you aren’t lucky with a reservation, you could try Calade.
Calade at Radisson Blu Hotel will give you the same view of the Mediterranean Sea as Le Meridien but from a lower floor – the 8th floor instead of the 10th.
Farago is the rooftop bar of the AC Hotel Nice. From here, you will enjoy a 360-degree view of Nice. There is a mix of comfy spaces and dining tables.
7. Enjoy a Range of Water Sports
Nice is situated along the Mediterranean Sea. As you can imagine, the water sports on offer here are endless. You can enjoy diving, paddle boarding, kayaking and parasailing to name a few.
For me, the best experience is jet skiing. Don’t forget your sun cream because water and sun it is the perfect cocktail for sun burn.
8. Explore Old Nice
La Vieille Ville de Nice (Old Nice) is the perfect place to wander in the early afternoon. The narrow streets give you some shade to protect from the sun. It is also nice to discover small galleries of local artists and restaurants.
Old Nice is located below Castle Hill. In this area, you will discover historical places like churches and squares like Esplanade Georges Pompidou. It’s nice to walk without a plan and make discoveries for yourself.
However, to get the most out of your time in this area of Nice and learn from an expert, you may prefer to take a guided tour. Don’t forget to stop to taste some local food.
9. Wander Around Nice Harbour
Nice harbour is also a great place to wander. If you like yachts like me, you won’t be disappointed.
Nice Harbour is the meeting point for all boats travelling along the Mediterranean Sea. It is from here that sailboats start and end their journeys. The harbour is close to the old town, so it is a good idea to head towards the harbour when you are in the old town.
10. Discover the Russian Orthodox Cathedral
The Russian Orthodox Cathedral is a good surprise when you visit Nice. The Cathedral was built in the 20th century for Aleksandr II Tsarevich Nicolai who died in Nice.
Visiting this cathedral is a unique experience as there aren’t a lot of Orthodox churches in France. The Cathedral is unusual and magnificent at the same time. Be aware that you need to cover your head and arms to be able to visit the Cathedral, and no photos or videos are permitted inside.
11. Visit the Mar Chagall Museum
The Mar Chagall Museum is mostly dedicated to the artist Mar Chagall. Mar Chagall is famous for his work inspired by religion. The museum is free for all visitors on the 1st Sunday of each month and is also free to visit for EU members under the age of 26.
12. Tour the Massena Museum
You will notice the Massena Museum when you walk along the promenade as this museum is the most beautiful villa along the Promenade des Anglais. The museum is located next to the Negresco Hotel.
Inside the Massena Museum, you will find artefact and artworks, many of which relate to Napoleon. The first area is full of antique furnishings which belonged to the Massena family. The museum has beautiful gardens too which make for a very pleasant walk.
13. Unwind at Phoenix Parc
Phoenix Park in Nice is the best park in the city. The botanical garden and zoo are a great place to find refuge for few hours of peace.
One of the best things about the park is that the entrance fee is just 5.20 Euros and there is free entry for children under 12. Phoenix Park is open from 09:30 to 19:30 during the summer and until 18:00 in the wintertime. You can reach the park by bus (12, 9, 200, 217, 400, 500 and 720) and by tram (Line 2).
14. Soak up the Sun on Nice Beaches
As well as offering many water sports, Nice also boasts some fabulous beaches. There are plenty of different beaches in Nice but a lot of them are private.
The best public beach is La Reserve. I love this beach as it is used by the locals. The beach is small and there aren’t any places to eat. If you want a public beach with showers and snacks, you can travel a little bit further to Coco Beach.
If you prefer more a beach with more facilities, you need to opt for a private beach like Castel Plage which is one of the best. The Castel Plage is safe to swim and has a clean beach with good food and generally good service.
15. Enjoy the Views from Cimiez Monastery
The Cimiez Monastery is in the Cimiez area of Nice. The Franciscan monks still live in this monastery today. The beauty of the monastery is the paintings from the 15th century. Don’t miss the gardens where you will enjoy great views of Nice.
16. Visit Cap Ferrat
Cap Ferrat is a peninsula next to Nice and is considered to be the perfect place for a break.
The cheapest way to visit Cap Ferrat is to use public transport from Nice. You have the choice of two buses (81 and 100) and a one-way ticket costs 1.5 Euros.
If you stay on the 81 bus until the last stop, you will be in centre of Saint Jean. From the town of Saint Jean, you can walk a loop of 35 minutes along the magnificent coastline of the French Riviera.
17. Walk to Mont Boron
Mont Boron is the highest point in Nice. From here, you will enjoy spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea.
The best option is to reach Mont Boron is to walk because you will walk along a scenic path which allows you some perfect photo opportunities. There are plenty of beautiful villas and one of them belongs to Elton John. If you don’t want to walk, you can use public transport and take bus 33 from Nice city centre.
Locals love to go to Mont Boron to have a family picnic. At the top, there is a wooded park and a fort. Although the fort is closed, it is well preserved so it’s worth going to see the outside.
18. Enjoy Nice with Children
Nice is located on the sea front, so there are many beach activities to do with your kids. All kids love to play with water and waves. Be aware that in some areas of Nice, sea currents can be strong so take care of your children. There are also private, kid-friendly beaches, like Neptune or Ruhl.
For nature-loving kids, Park Phoenix is a good choice as it has a zoo. As mentioned above, the entrance to this park is also free for kids under 12.
To introduce your children to some musical culture, you can take them to the Opera. The Opera in Nice has a Sunday family musical matinée once a month.
For active kids, you could consider visiting Canyon Forest which is a tree climbing theme park located in Villeneuve Loubet. This is a good day trip from Nice for all the family.
19. Shop for Authentic Products in Nice
In Nice, you can shop in the Galeries Lafayette which is a small version of the famous store in Paris.
If you want local products, you can go to Alziari where you will find olives and other olive products like tapenades. Alziari has two shops in Nice but make sure to go to the one in Boulevard de la Madeleine where you will be able to see the last olive oil mill in Nice.
If olives aren’t to your taste, you can try La Maison Auer which is a shop selling chocolate and dried fruit. This shop has more than 200 years of history.
20. Enjoy Nice Nightlife
The French Riviera is known for its famous parties. In Nice, you will find plenty of clubs where you can drink and dance all night. For example, you could try the High Club which is the largest club in Nice and where many music acts perform.
21. Take a Day Trip from Nice
If you are looking for day trips from Nice, the city is situated very close to Monaco. So, if you have one spare day, you could use it to visit Monaco.
In Monaco, you can enjoy the Casino Monte-Carlo, the Marine Museum, the residence of the Prince of Monaco or the Saint Nicholas Cathedral. However, you can also go to Monaco and just wander along the harbour to see the magnificent yachts and luxury cars.
If you are willing to travel a little bit further away from Nice, you can visit Menton. If you are visiting the French Riviera around February and March, you must go to the Lemon Festival in Menton (La Féte du Citron).
This festival was created in 1933 simply to promote the lemon but is now a major event and the festival is very well known worldwide. For more information, check the website.
Where is Nice?
Nice is located in the South of France and is situated between the open countryside and scents of the region of Provence and the Mediterranean Sea. Nice is a city along the French Riviera which is also known as the Côte d’Azur. Nice is also close to Monaco and Italy.
Is Nice Worth Visiting?
Yes, Nice is worth a visit. The sun, sea and food make Nice a perfect place to visit for few days. Nice also has an interesting cultural heritage and is fun for little ones and grown-ups. Nice is the perfect place to stop off for a few days when visiting the Côte d’Azur.
For more information about Nice, you can visit the city’s tourist centre.
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