Nice is the largest city on the French Riviera and an absolutely beautiful European destination for your next vacation. This is a place that has inspired many artists, attracted many celebrities and attracted food lovers from all over the world. Nice is glamorous, artistic, culturally rich and has a perfect climate. So if you’re looking for the ideal Mediterranean getaway, consider a trip to Cote d’Azur and add these best things to do in Nice to your itinerary!
Let’s be honest here… the main reason people visit Nice is because of the amazing beaches! Therefore, it would be a shame not to spend a fair amount of time relaxing on the beach, people watching. Even if you have been to many other beaches elsewhere in the past, there is something undeniably special about sitting by the blue of the Mediterranean Sea and enjoying the sun of the French Riviera. There are public and private beaches in Nice, but keep in mind that private ones will cost you quite a bit of money to get in. Public beaches are a cheaper option, but they do not have many amenities. But essentially, there’s a beach here for every travel style and plenty of luxury options if you’re willing to pay for them.
Old Town (Vieille Ville)
Vieille Ville is a charming walking neighborhood in Nice that has a mix of touristy parts and more authentic options. Many people like to take a walk around this area in the morning to see the local market and avoid the crowds. There are beaches nearby and many lovely bars and restaurants for a drink or a bite to eat.
This is the main square of the city that has a convenient central location near the promenade, Avenue Jean Médecin for shopping and nearby gardens. This is an iconic place to take some photos and admire the statues and fountains. It looks and feels different at different times of the day, and you can walk around the square to experience those changes at any time for free.
Marc Chagall Museum
Marc Chagall is famous for his surreal and colorful works of art, and the Nice museum celebrating his work is designed with beautiful architecture and stained glass windows. He was a painter of Old Testament subjects, and inside the museum you will find a room with twelve large paintings, a second room with five compositions and audio guides in several languages. If you visit on the first Sunday of each month, admission is free for citizens of EU member states under the age of 26. Guided tours are also available here.
Promenade des Anglais (English Promenade)
The Promenade des Anglais is a wonderful place to take a walk and get some exercise with stunning views of the beach. Many of Nice’s main attractions can be accessed from this walkway, so it’s fun to make a few stops along your walk. There are some local rental shops along the way if you want to rent a bike or a Segway to explore Nice on two wheels. This is a popular tourist spot, so you may want to save your meals and shop for another part of the city where prices are not so inflated. Best hotels are located here, but you can book a room in any of them using something like Karta.
Cours Saleya Market
While in the Vieille Ville area, be sure to stop by the Cours Saleya market. This market sells fruits, vegetables, and flowers in the mornings, as well as antiques on Mondays. It gets very crowded with tourists and locals, so it’s best to arrive as soon as possible after the market opens, around 6 a.m. Many of the vendors require cash in small bills, especially if you are buying goods, so make sure you have some on hand. This is also a lovely place to visit one of the neighboring cafes to have a coffee, eat a croissant and watch the shoppers pass by. The market lasts until around 5:30 p.m. on many days. Colline du Chateau (Castle Hill)
Another essential thing to do in Nice is to climb the steps of the Colline du Chateau to see the incredible views from the top. After climbing hundreds of steps, you will be rewarded with a beautiful park that is perfect for picnics and playing with children. It is free to visit the park from sunrise to sunset, and you can also take an elevator or drive along the highway if you are not in the mood or in a position to climb stairs.
Matisse is a famous and familiar artist who is celebrated in this small museum in Nice. Inside, you can explore the artists’ drawings and sculptures, as well as the personal artifacts he owned. The museum is located on the hill of Cimiez and near the Franciscan monastery. It has been receiving visitors since 1963 in this place where Matisse lived between 1918 and 1954. A list of the artworks shown can be found here on the museum’s website if you are curious to know more about them before your visit.