The Capital of the French Riviera, Nice is a beautiful and compact city that is mostly overlooked by travelers. The city receives 365 days of sunshine, is encompassed by the blue Mediterranean Sea, and features striking architecture from the art deco times, breathtaking scenery and the old lackluster port region, transforming into a cool restaurant and bar area.
Nice is a city for people of all ages and budgets. From pebbled beaches to its colorful Old Town, to many museums unfolding history, Nice will entertain you to the core.
Photo: Paul Rysz
What to see and do in Nice
Experience a breath of fresh air at the Promenade des Anglais, which is a favorite place among tourists who simply relax by the shore or indulge in many activities. It is a place to stroll, jog, run, bike or simply lay down on its cabanas and blue chairs while gazing at the mysterious depths of the horizon. You can spend your whole day wandering along here.
Delve into the past with the museums of the city. Musee de Paleontologie Humaine de Terra Amata shows you life on the French Riviera dating back to 400,000 years through a variety of artifacts. Musee des Beaux-Arts is another must-visit site, as it is a house of a Ukrainian princess and many treasures to explore.
Walk around the Old Town (Vieux Nice) as it can easily be explored on foot because of constricted alleyways and streets, fringed with pastel-colored architecture. The town has some of the beautiful sites like the cours Saleya, home to some of the excellent bars and restaurants, and the popular flower market. Also, a visit to the Cathedrale de Sainte Reparate and a drink on a terrace will complete your visit to the old town.
Visit the public beaches for a nice swim or just to get the olive skin, as you lay down on the beach. However, Nice beaches are not sandy and all of them have flat stones, which may get painful to lay and walk. Carry a pillow or something cushiony to sit in comfort. For sandy beaches, head to Antibes or Villefranche-sur-Mer. If you want visit private beaches, then visit Castle Plage, which offers waiter service, comfy loungers, and a small restaurant. If you love water sports and like to add a tinge of excitement to your trip, head to Blue Beach, which offers water sports like parasailing.
Groove at the nightclubs in Nice Port, home of some of the best and chic nightclubs, or enjoy organic or biodynamic wine, the trend coming from Paris, at La Part des Anges that keeps wine bottles from France’s best wine producers. Some of the other must-visit wine bars include Resto Wine Notes, La Cave de I’Origine, and the well-recognized and time-honored Cave de la Tour.
Where to Stay
There are plenty of cheap hotels in Nice that are close to the airport to and the city center, as well as many attractions. Check out Hi Hotel Eco Spa and Beach, which offers a private beach and rooftop pool. From cathedral to museums to opera and other attractions, this hotel provides easy access, and you can reach most of them within 20 minutes. For rates as low as $85 per night, Villa Rivoli is a great choice.