Visit Nice in 1 Day or 2 Days?
Still confused about visiting Nice for 1 day or 2 days? You can’t miss one of the must-see places in Nice, French Riviera.
Visiting Nice in 1 day: the must-see sites
With this itinerary, which will take you a full day, you will not miss any of the must-see sites in Nice. The map below will allow you to visualize the route on foot. If you want to enjoy the beach you will have to extend the stay 🙂
- Place Masséna: this is the starting point of this itinerary, then take the Promenade du Paillon which passes through the Albert 1er garden.
- Promenade des Anglais: head east (left when leaving the Promenade du Paillon) and enjoy the view of the sea and the beach.
- Cours Saleya: turn off under the arcades to reach Cours Saleya where the flower and food market takes place in the morning.
- Colline du Château: at the end of the Cours Saleya, return to the Prom then take the stairs that lead up to the Bellanda tower and the château. In the morning you will have the sun behind you, perfect for photos. Climb to the top of the hill for the best view of the city.
- Vieux-Nice: go back down by the “montée du château” to arrive in rue Rossetti then on the square where the cathedral is located.
- Tour Saint-François: stroll through the narrow streets of Old Nice to the Tour Saint-François, which offers a superb panorama of the Promenade du Paillon and the city.
- Place Garibaldi: at the end of Old Nice you will arrive at the emblematic square of Nice.
- Port of Nice: then go to the port and go around the basin to see the pointus, these traditional boats.
- Promenade des Anglais: return via the quai des Etats-Unis where the sculpture I Love Nice is located, then continue on the Prom’ to the Negresco.
- Russian Church: if you still have time, from Negresco you can go up Boulevard Gambetta to Saint-Nicolas Cathedral (18 min on foot).
Visiting Nice in 2 days
Two days in Nice allow you to have a good overview of the city. For the first day, resume the previous program Visit Nice in 1 day which goes around the sites not to be missed. During the second day you can share your day between beach and museums.
For those who like to walk you can explore the east of the city. Here is a nice little route to Mont Boron but which requires a minimum of physical condition because there are quite a few steps to climb (2.2 km and 30 min on foot). If you don’t feel like going on foot, you can do it by electric bike.
- Walk along the port then the reserve to the start of the coastal path. Stay on the road and take the stairs (coordinates).
- Cross the Boulevard Carnot to take the stairs opposite at the foot of the villa Beau Site. You arrive at a belvedere which offers a superb view of the port.
- Take the Boulevard du Mont-Boron until you find the stairs (contact details). A long series of walks first in town then in the forest will take you to a parking lot.
- Then follow the almost flat road to reach the fort of Mont Alban and its magnificent view of the bay of Villefranche. The park lends itself wonderfully well to a picnic, or even a siesta under the pines.
- To go back down, you can take bus no. 33 (€1.5). The stop is at the car park where you arrived. It will take you back to the top of the Promenade du Paillon near Place Garibaldi.
From left to right and from top to bottom (in Nice): the port, a view from the castle hill, the Ferris wheel, the Promenade du Paillon, a school near the business district, a house in Cours Saleya, a shopping avenue, a view from Mont-Boron. Aeris06, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
What to do in Nice when it rains
Despite our reputation as a sunny city, it can happen if you are unlucky that it rains during your stay in Nice. In this case, in a region that is mainly geared towards outdoor activities, it can be difficult to find what to do in Nice when it rains. Here are some ideas to keep you busy, hoping the rain stops soon 🙂
- Visiting one of the city’s many museums could keep you busy for a rainy weekend.
- Participate in an escape game on the following themes: The Cursed Sorcerer / Mechanization / Post Apocalypse / Le Casse de Nice.
- Go to the cinema. The city has several in the city center including a brand new IMAX 4DX complex at the Gare du Sud Liberation district (5 min by tram from Place Massena).
- Take an oenology course (2-hour course allowing you to taste 6 different wines). Reservation here.
- Create your own perfume. The region with Grasse as the world capital of perfumes has several perfumers. Book your Perfume Creation workshop.
- Go shopping. The NICETOILE shopping center on av Jean Médecin has 90 shops. In Saint Laurent du Var opposite the airport is Cap 3000 with more than 100 shops.
- To go to the ice rink. The Jean Bouin complex located to the east of the city offers a large swimming pool and an ice rink. Schedules and prices on this site.
- Go to the Casino, relax at the spa, …. in short, everything that is done indoors in other cities as well.
Visiting Nice with children
Visiting Nice in 1 day or 2 days are the same, children will be delighted to visit Nice, most of the things not to be missed take place in the fresh air outside. Here are some ideas for more specific activities to occupy your children during your stay in Nice.
- Castle Hill: in addition to its breathtaking panoramas, the Castle Park offers a large playground for children with a giant spider.
- Promenade du Paillon: the green corridor also has many games for children classified by 3 age groups, in addition to a water mirror with jets.
- Beach: a must in Nice if you come in summer, children will be delighted to enjoy the sea.
Eat an ice cream: with many ice cream parlors in the city, give your children a little break by enjoying an ice cream (see the good addresses below).
- Carnival: if you come to visit Nice in February, your children will be delighted to take part in the Carnival, one of the most beautiful in the world.
- Laser Game: this laser game located in the city center offers children up to 12 years old wild games in a futuristic setting.
Escape Game outdoor Harry Potter: this outdoor family game will transport you to the magical world of Harry Potter (from 10 years old). Reservation.
- Archery Tag: subtle mix between archery and paintball. Starting from 7 years old. Reservation.
- Parc Phoenix: this 7-hectare botanical and animal park located to the west of the city (near the airport) with play areas and a mini treetop adventure course is sure to please children.
Read also: Beautiful Cities in France | Must visit at least once in your life
Where to eat Nice specialties
You cannot visit Nice without tasting the cuisine of Nice. The specialties of Nice are numerous and for the most part known throughout the world. Unfortunately, the further you get from Nice, the more the recipes become eccentric. Here are the most famous dishes of Nice gastronomy:
- Niçoise salad: certainly the most famous dish but too many times abused by the addition of ingredients that have nothing to do with it. The real recipe contains only: mesclun, tomatoes, spring onions, heart of celery, small purple artichokes, small green peppers, long radishes, black olives from Nice, tuna in olive oil, salted anchovies, hard-boiled eggs and leaves of basil.
- Socca: culinary specialty made with chickpea flour cooked over a wood fire on large round plates. It should neither be too oily nor too dry and even in Nice few places do it really well. I recommend 2 addresses located at the port: Chez Pipo and Socca d’Or.
- Panisses: it is the same recipe as socca, but panisses are eaten in the form of large fries that are fried in oil. The advantage is that you can make them at home, unlike socca (the panisses are sold in pancakes that you cut up).
- Pissaladière: a bed of onions cooked for a long time, pissalat (dough made from sardines and salted anchovies) and olives from Nice on a bread dough. Often the pissalat is replaced by anchovies placed directly on the onions.
- Chard pie: Niçoise culinary specialty made from Swiss chard which can be sweet or savory. It is often found in its sweet form. Finely chopped chard leaves are mixed with pine nuts and raisins, and the dough is covered with icing sugar.
- Pan bagnat: our best friend in the summer to go to the beach. The pan bagnat is a Nice sandwich in a round bread soaked in olive oil and with the ingredients of the Niçoise salad. Our pan bagnat has been copied all over the world with more or less eccentric recipes… sacrilege!
- Stuffed from Nice (Farcis niçois): these are vegetables (tomatoes, zucchini, onions, peppers) that are stuffed with a meat-based stuffing (although there are vegetarian stuffed foods today). Gnocchis, ravioli, stew, …: many recipes come from elsewhere but we put them in the Niçoise sauce 🙂
Nissarde Cuisine Label
This label was created to defend and promote authentic, homemade Niçoise cuisine. It is awarded to restaurateurs who work to promote the cuisine of Nice by committing to respecting the recipes, the quality of the products and the raw materials used.
If you want to taste real Nice cuisine, I invite you to eat in a restaurant with the “Cuisine Nissarde” label, this will allow you to avoid tourist traps. In Nice there are 15 restaurants that you will find in this list. For my part, I recommend Acchiardo and Lu Fran Calin in Vieux-Nice and La Ratapignata in Nice-Nord. I have eaten there many times and have never been disappointed.
What to do around Nice
There are so many towns and villages to see around Nice that it would take more than a week to visit them all. I will therefore present the main tourist sites and especially those that are easily accessible without a car. For your trips, I advise you to use the TER. The Grasse – Cannes – Ventimiglia line passes through all the seaside villages of the Côte d’Azur. It is also an excellent solution to go to the beaches around Nice (in July August it is hell to find a parking space).
- Villefranche-sur-Mer: it is the city located right next to Nice, the SNCF station is above the beach. Villefranche is renowned for its superb harbor and its beach, as well as its citadel.
- Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat: this is one of our favorite places, the peninsula has superb beaches as well as several hiking routes. I wrote a complete article to visit Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.
- Village of Eze: it is one of the most famous and touristic villages of the Côte d’Azur, and it is true that this perched village looks proud. It is complicated to park there (an underground car park is under construction), prefer bus n°82 from Nice.
- Cap d’Ail: for swimming or hiking on the coastal path. Mala Beach in Cap d’Ail is one of the most beautiful on the Côte d’Azur (the village is nothing interesting). To get there, take the train, the SNCF station is a 15-minute walk from the beach via the coastal path.
- Monaco: the principality acclaimed by the jetset and the rich of this world attracts tourists. Monaco has many underground car parks but they are expensive during the day, again prefer the train, or the longer bus n°100 from Nice.
- Menton: the last town in the County of Nice before the Italian border, beautiful Menton is worth a visit. If you go there in February you can attend the Lemon Festival. It takes 39 minutes to get there by TER (€5.50). This blog post sums up all the things to do in Menton.
- Antibes: on the west side of the department, the town of Antibes with its fortified city and its beaches is worth a look. Cap d’Antibes offers a superb coastal path and pretty coves for swimming. The SNCF train station is a 10-minute walk from Old Antibes.
- Cannes: the city that hosts the most famous film festival in the world is also famous for its sandy beaches along the Croisette. Other than that there isn’t much. The islands of Lerins located off Cannes are splendid, to see absolutely. Count 30 to 40 min depending on the TER (7.20 €).
Sources: PinterPandai, Time Out, About France, Onedayitinerary.com, French Riviera Travel
Photo credit (main picture): Dennis Jarvis from Halifax, Canada, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons