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Visit Nice: The Cultural Capital of the Côte d’Azur

visit nice

An El Dorado for those looking for relaxation, sandy beaches and culture with many tourist sites: Nice! Also known as Nissa la bella, this city on the French Riviera promises a colourful mix of attractions that magically attract over five million tourists annually. People who want to enjoy an unforgettable experience in the South of France.

 

With more than 300 days of sunshine a year, Nice and its Baie des Anges, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of France. Temperatures are generally warmer than in the rest of Europe. However, we’re not entirely immune to a rainy day or two. But all-in-all, Nice is an ideal vacation spot all year round!

 

Free Visit of Nice

 

Discover Nice with a local guide during a Walking Tour around Vieux Nice. History, culture, and magnificent views are waiting for you!

 

Enjoy free tours of Nice with Riviera Bar Crawls & Tours

Take advantage of our local and knowledgeable guides! Their anecdotes and information on the most touristic sites will help you make the absolute most of your visit to the Culture Capital of Nice.

 

The adventure begins at Place Masséna, or more specifically, from Nice’s famous Fountain of the Sun. Your guide will welcome you and prepare you for an exciting journey through time and history during your guided tour of Nice.

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Next, its towards the Opera of Nice, where you can’t help but marvel at the impressive Belle Époque architecture of this magnificent structure. And still fully functional for anyone who may like to check out one of its regular performances. From there, it’s on to the enchanting Old Town, a must-see district when you visit Nice. You will discover an authentic side of French culture, its atmosphere, and most importantly, the Cours Saleya flower market!

 

Take the time to stroll and have a look around before leaving for the Ponchettes art gallery, then to Place Rosseti where you will find the Sainte Réparate Cathedral. And also the best ice-cream parlor in all on Nice.

 

Day or night, the local guides of Riviera Bar Crawl & Tours will help you discover their wonderful city. To find out more, feel free to ask your guide about the different Tours and Activities we offer in Nice.

 

  • How long does it take to visit Nice on foot?

Allow between 2 hrs and 2.5 hrs to follow our free tours of Nice.

 

  • How much does it cost?

Yes, it really is FREE! But nothing prevents you from giving a small tip to your local guide.

 

How to visit Nice?

To get around, here is everything you need to know about the means of transport to visit the city of Nice during your stay.

 

  1. With a free Walking Tour

As we have said, this is the best way to discover the Old Town and enjoy the unique atmosphere of the different districts and tourist sites of Nice. Whether its during the day or on a Night Tour, the city is full of mesmerising attractions and fascinating tales.

 

  1. By Bike

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Travel for miles along the Baie des Anges, cross the tourist centre at your own pace, and admire the views and heritage treasures of Nice: the “Green City” of the Mediterranean.

 

With its 125 km of cycle paths, the Nice Côte d’Azur metropolis opens the way to discovery and wonder. Getting around by bike in Nice is child’s play! And Vélo Bleu rental service is the most accessible and convenient option around! With its super low prices, you can’t go wrong.

 

  1. With Beer Bike

An unusual visit awaits you by taking a Beer Bike. Discover the city in an exciting way (with plenty of  beer and wine to keep you motivated)!

 

  1. By scooter

Discover the city of Nice and the Promenade des Anglais with an electric scooter and get around easily while enjoying your freedom of movement.

 

  1. By New Generation Tramway

Then there’s probably the most efficient mode of transport in Nice: the tramway. It’s a comfortable way to travel, and the new generation of tramway offers a network of 22 stops, connecting the extremities of the city and the city centre. As well as the places not to be missed for your visits such as Avenue Jean Médecin and Place Masséna. More recently the new tramway line Nice Ouest was inaugurated. It connects the airport of Nice Côte d’Azur to Port Lympia.

 

What to visit in Nice in one day?

The real jewel of the French Riviera, Nice is an extraordinary place to visit. The sparkling turquoise sea, a micro-climate that allows 2,694 hours of sunshine per year and a hint of old-fashioned glamour make this city a unique place.

 

During your stay here it is the right time to discover Franco-Italian cuisine, visit some of the greatest masterpieces of modern art and fully enjoy the Mediterranean lifestyle.

 

One day itinerary in Nice:

  1. Start your day at the Cours Saleya Flower Market

Brave the crowds and visit this most famous market in the early hours of the morning. The Cours Saleya market sells fresh fruit and vegetables, local specialities such as Socca, and many other exciting bits. The market opens from Monday to Sunday come rain, hail or shine. However, on Mondays, the place turns into a flea market selling second-hand trinkets, vintage jewellery and clothes.

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  1. Stroll through the Old Town (Le Vieux Nice)

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After finishing with the Cours Saleya market, you will be ready to start your walking tour of Old Nice. Follow your intuition and explore the cobbled streets, admire the colourful Italian-style architecture and the charming 17th-century squares. Don’t miss the Palais de Justice or the baroque Cathedral of Sainte Réparate on the Rossetti square.

 

  1. Explore the area around the main square – Place Masséna and the Promenade du Paillon

Very close to the Old Town, you will find something completely different. This is the vast area around Place Masséna. With its great views of the main shopping avenue and Nice’s Open Sky Art Museum, it’s a treat for locals and tourists alike. And speaking of treats, you have to take a stroll through the beautiful gardens of the Promenade du Paillon. It’s the perfect spot to relax in the glorious Mediterranean sunshine or even have a picnic with friends.

 

  1. Take a lunch break

When it’s time to take a lunch break, luckily you won’t have to go far. The pedestrian area near Place Masséna is lined with restaurants, pizzerias and taverns. You’re practically spoiled for choice!

 

  1. Spend the afternoon at the beach

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The French Riviera, as its name suggests, offers numerous coastal beaches on a warm sea with incredible shades of blue. Don’t be surprised when you find yourself at a loss for words at how beautiful the coastline is here. In fact, it’s not uncommon for tourists to spend their entire afternoon at the beach. Even for us locals we find it hard to leave!

 

  1. Visit one of Nice’s famous museums

If you do not visit Nice during the summer months, you will still have plenty of free time in the afternoons. The Marc Chagall National Museum and the Matisse Museum both house large collections from both of these remarkable modern painters. On the other hand, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art is located near the city centre, so it is an excellent option for those who are only spending a day in Nice.

 

  1. Climb to the top of La Colline du Château (Castle Hill)

To enjoy the spectacular panoramic views of the city, we recommend going up to Castle Hill. In case you wish to avoid the stairs, it is possible to access the site using an elevator, which you can easily find near the main stairs.

 

  1. Spend an evening at the Promenade des Anglais

You have probably already crossed the Promenade des Anglais several times during the day, but at night it turns into something completely different.

 

Enjoy the Promenade in the evening while admiring the surrounding Belle Époque architecture. You can also visit the charming hotel “Le Negresco”, the famous 5-star hotel in Nice, listed as a historical monument. Along the seafront promenade you can choose one of the private beaches and enjoy an intimate atmosphere with the sound of the waves in the background. During the summer season some of the beaches even offer salsa evenings!

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What to visit in Nice during your stay?

There is a reason why the English and Russian aristocrats flocked here in the 18th century (so much so that Nice’s main seaside boulevard is now known as the Promenade des Anglais). And that reason is the dreamy atmosphere, the unique ambience, and quiet simply the beauty of the place.

 

So, are you ready to discover all the things to do and see in Nice?

 

  • What to visit in Nice with your family?

If you are on holiday with children in Nice, you should definitely visit the Parc Carole de Roumanie on the Avenue de Fabron. As well as the Parc Castel-des-Deux-rois on Mont Boron.

 

In the park on Avenue de Fabron, young visitors can enjoy the playgrounds, water games and a miniature golf course; while on Mont Boron, giant chess and little trains also invite you to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the park.

 

Families with slightly older children should certainly also visit the adventure maze, four kilometres away in Villeneuve-Loubet, with its animations, and the pixie wood.

 

Close to Nice you will also find Europe’s largest marine park “Marineland” along with the Aquasplash water park. So get your swimsuits ready and dive right into the fun and excitement!

 

  • What to visit in Old Nice?

Tours of the Old Town on historical and architectural themes are offered by the Nice Tourist Office. However, you will make the most of the city by opting for a private tour, defined and set up according to your tastes and needs by the Riviera Bar Crawl & Tours team.

 

The visit of the city in the evening is particularly beautiful. If you wish, you can also take part in guided tours in various languages, or city tours with multiple stops and trips on small tourist trains.

 

Not to be missed in Old Nice:

  • The Place Garibaldi
  • MAMAC and National Theatre of Nice
  • Place Rosetti and Cathedral of Sainte-Réparate
  • Masséna Square
  • The Avenue Jean Médecin and its shopping 7 days a week
  • The Promenade des Anglais
  • The Nice Opera
  • The Lascaris Palace

 

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In addition, there are mini-visits and beautiful walks through Old Nice, which are a special experience. During these walks, the guides of Riviera Bar Crawl & Tours will lead you to the city’s hidden gems. Perfect to learn more about the city of Nice, far away from the usual tourist attractions.

 

What to visit in Italy near Nice?

Nice is located in the south-east of France, 24 km from the Italian border. When you are on holiday here, you should definitely make day trips to Italy for a truly unique experience!

 

The Italian region of Liguria: the Italian Riviera

Italy is divided into 20 regions. The area just across the French-Italian border is called Liguria. The capital the Liguria region is the breathtaking city of Genoa.

 

Liguria is divided between the French border to the west, the Mediterranean Sea to the south, and the mountains of the Alps and Apennines to the east and north. It stretches from the city of Ventimiglia in the west all the way to La Spezia in the east.

 

The region of Liguria itself is divided into four provinces: Imperia, Savona, Genoa and La Spezia. In this region you will find the famous and luxurious city of Portofino, and the popular Cinque Terre area.

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  • Easy day trip from Nice to Ventimiglia

Ventimiglia is the first train stop in Italy, and it is a very easy day trip from France. The train drops you off in the city centre. Then, head straight to the station gates via Via della Repubblica to start exploring Ventimiglia and its famous Friday market.

 

  • Day trip to Bordighera from Nice

Bordighera, Italy, is the next city along the Ligurian coast, and is the southernmost city on the Italian Riviera. Due to its location at the foot of the Alps in Capo Sant’Ampelio, it has its own microclimate and enjoys warmer winters. It is also a place where the famous painter Claude Monet spent several months in the 1800s.

 

Bordighera has a modern section of town, near the sea, and an old town near the hills. Once again, the train drops you off in the centre of the modern city and you leave directly via Al Mercato to start exploring the place.

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It’s a beautiful green city with many beautiful palm trees and well-kept gardens. You can feel that this city has a great history with its many villas and palaces.

 

  • A day trip to Dolceacqua

Dolceaqua is one of the most beautiful villages of Liguria with about 2,000 inhabitants. It is between Ventimiglia and Vallecrosia, just north on the motorway. By car it will take about 15-20 minutes depending on the traffic. You can also take the local bus from Ventimiglia.

 

The first thing you see when you encounter the village is the impressive Castello di Dolceacqua, a fortress dating back to the 1100s. Then it’s up to you to discover the many charms of the town.

 

What to visit around Nice?

As thrilling and breathtaking as Nice is, it is by no means the only unmissable destination along the French Riviera. For example, just east of Nice you have the world-famous Principality of Monaco. Known for being a playground to the rich and famous, you simply can’t afford to miss out on its wondering atmosphere and attraction. To the west of Nice, you’ll find the city of Cannes. Home to the most prestigious Film Festival in the world, this city welcomes some of the most famous names on television to its streets.

 

In addition, there are many other lesser known towns and places to visit in the region that are well worth the detour. For example, Beaulieu-sur-Mer, Villefranche-sur-Mer, Cagnes-sur-Mer, Antibes, and Grasse. All of which are well worth the visit!

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Stroll along the picturesque Coastal Paths:

  1. The Great Corniche

Nice lies on three picturesque coastal roads, which are certainly among the most beautiful scenic roads in the world.

 

The ancient Roman road between Nice and Menton, the Grande Corniche, at 500 metres altitude with its narrow hairpin bends, is almost legendary. It leads you to small villages and high cliffs, and it also offers a fantastic view of the sparkling azure blue sea with its snow-white yachts.

 

Other notable stopovers include that of Col d’Èze, La Turbie and Roquebrunne.

 

  1. The Basse Corniche

At sea level is the N98 or Basse Corniche, which is about 30 kilometres long. At sea level it passes along some of the most beautiful seaside resorts on the French Riviera.  The Basse Corniche is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful roads in France, but also one of the busiest in summer.

 

Time spent in the car is rewarded with a fantastic view of luxurious houses, tropical gardens, old fishing villages and ports. The Chapel of St. Peter and the Savoy Citadel of St. Elme are also very beautiful.

 

  1. The Middle Corniche

Located between the Grande Corniche and the Basse Corniche, this picturesque route has many curves and tunnels with a magnificent view of the fashionable neighbouring seaside resorts, beautiful villas and of course the sea.

 

Along the road to Menton are the Col de Villefranche and Èze Village with their narrow streets, quarry stone houses, and the remarkable Exotic Gardens. You will also discover Menton with its beautiful gardens and the pretty beach along the promenade.

 

Monaco and Monte Carlo

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The beautiful Principality of Monaco is the second smallest independent state in the world (after the Vatican). However, despite its small size, it combines many tourist sites within its borders. The city-state is about 20 kilometres from Nice and is easily accessible by train or car via the picturesque coastal roads (the 3 Corniches). From its Monte-Carlo Casino to the Prince’s Palace, there’s plenty of wonderful sights and attractions to keep you occupied for the day.

 

Digne-les-Bains

Digne-les-Bains, the French capital of lavender on the river Bléone. This spa town with five different thermal springs not only offers clean and stimulating air, it is also a protected and sunny place, with excellent opportunities to take beautiful pictures.

 

Every first weekend in August there is also the “Corso de Lavande”, a five-day lavender festival with a parade, markets, music, and fireworks.

 

The Mercantour National Park

About 90 kilometres north-east of Nice is one of the most remote and unspoilt valleys in Europe: the Mercantour National Park. The park has many well-developed hiking trails, and is well suited for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, or for observing many rare species.

 

The oldest mountain observatory in Europe, and the first to be operated continuously, is located about eight kilometers from Nice on Mont Gros. The observatory has a fascinating architecture and is integrated in a magnificent 40-hectare natural park. If you wish, you can hike there, watch the paragliders leave, and above all, also enjoy a breathtaking view of Nice and the Baie des Anges.

 

Winter sports close to Nice

If you’re thinking of a vacation on the French Riviera, you’re not necessarily thinking of a skiing holiday. But just an hour’s drive from Nice, there are snowy areas and beautiful winter scenery, with ski lifts, downhill slopes, and cross-country ski trails.

 

The famous winter sports resort of Valberg-Beuil is the closest to Nice, while Isola 2000 is about 75 kilometres away, and Auron is 95 kilometres away.

 

There is also an ice rink in Nice in the Palais des Sports Jean Bouin.

 

When to visit Nice?

The hottest months are July and August whereas the coldest month is January. The average annual temperature is 16°C, with an average humidity of just over 70%.

 

The best months to visit Nice are May, September and October, as it is often very hot in Nice in the middle of summer. But even in mild winters you can easily spend pleasant days in the Provencal city.

 

How long does it take to visit Nice?

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A visit of 4 or 5 days will give you a good overview of Nice and its region, even a weekend in Nice is enough to really take in the city.

 

With postcard-perched villages, year-round sunshine, and the sparkling Mediterranean Sea, Nice and the French Riviera are a corner of paradise in the south of France.  Give yourself 2 or 3 days to visit Nice, and another 2 days to discover the seaside and tourist resorts of the French Riviera, the medieval cities perched on the hills, the modern metropolises, and take trips to the countryside, all from Nice!

 

Unusual visits of Nice:

  • Mount Boron

The hill of Mont Boron separates Nice from Villefranche-sur-Mer. Here there are beautiful villas, one of which belongs to Elton John. At the top of the hill stands the monumental Fort du Mont Alban. All-in-all, it’s the perfect spot for family walks and picnics.

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The Mont Boron in Nice culminates at almost 200 m above sea level and allows you to see the Old Port of Nice and the city from a completely new angle. On the other hand, you can also see the whole village of Villefranche-sur-Mer, and the Cap-Ferrat peninsula. The exceptional views make it well worth the trip!

 

  • The Mont Chauve: A Circuit in the Middle of Nature

This tour starts in Aspremont, one of the famous “perched villages” of the French Riviera, and climbs up to Mont Chauve at 853m to give spectacular views of the Baie des Anges and the hills surrounding Nice.

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Although not extremely difficult, the trail follows all kinds of terrain; from rocky paths to open plateaus full of wild flowers and butterflies.

 

  • The Gairaut Waterfall

A picturesque waterfall and a chalet with a breathtaking view of the city. The Gairaut Waterfall was built in the 19th century next to a wooden alpine chalet to celebrate the completion of the Vésubie canal.

 

Inspired by the Austrian landscape, the waterfall was built in 1883 when spas were in vogue. They created a rustic artificial rock face and a wide waterfall that also served a functional purpose: to oxygenate the water before distributing it to the city.

 

While the surroundings are somewhat artificial, with caves and ponds, the view of the city of Nice is spectacular and really worth the detour.

 

  • The Estienne d’Orves Natural Park

The natural park of Estienne d’Orves is located on the Saint-Philippe hill. Its 15 hectares are located on the former grounds of Château Miramar, near the centre of Nice.

 

There is a path that will lead you to every corner of the park, which has more than 500 ancient olive trees, as well as oaks and pines. There are also historical buildings in the park, such as Villa Sorguebelle at the entrance, Villa Bellevue, the former mansion of the Count d’Estienne d’Orves covered with trompe l’oeil friezes, or Villa Vicina, which was the Count’s painting studio.

 

From the top, there is a magnificent view over the city and the Mediterranean Sea on the Bay of Angels. There is also a children’s park, making it an ideal place to escape for a walk or a lunch with a view.

 

  • The Observatory of Nice

Designed by Gustave Eiffel, the architect of the famous Parisian Tower and the Casino de Monte Carlo, the Observatory of the Côte d’Azur opened its doors in 1878 and is still an active astronomy laboratory.

 

Resembling a Greek temple, adorned with Ionic columns and topped by a dome weighing over 90 tons, covering what was once the world’s largest telescope, the observatory is built on a floating platform that originally allowed the telescope to be easily maneuvered.

 

Specialities from Nice

Nice is a paradise for connoisseurs and lovers of Mediterranean cuisine, with many fine restaurants. Nice is also the city in France that has most developed its own local cuisine.

 

When you visit Nice, you should definitely visit one of the restaurants. There you will find the authentic “Cuisine Nissarde” with specialities such as Socca or Pissaladière.

 

Also think about choosing a Gourmet Guided Tour of Nice to discover the local specialties:

 

  1. The Socca

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Socca is a popular specialty in Nice and is often enjoyed as an apetiser with a glass of rosé. In local kitchens, this classic dish is the perfect snack at any time of the day.

 

  1. The Niçoise Salad

Salade Niçoise is a salad composed of tuna, green beans, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, onions, capers and potatoes. Nothing beats the freshly produced ingredients that are added to this delicious Mediterranean dish.

 

  1. Pissaladière

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Pissaladière is a traditional recipe from Nice in the south of France. It consists of a thick pizza dough, usually topped with caramelized onions, black olives and anchovies.

 

  1. Les Petits Farcis

Also known as “Lu Farçum” in the local dialect, this is one of the best Provençal dishes. They are the perfect family meal that can be served cold or hot, and everyone loves to eat them.

 

This small stuffed dish is best prepared in summer when the vegetables are harvested, when sun-ripened tomatoes, round courgettes and thin aubergines start to appear at farmers’ markets.

 

  1. The Daube Niçoise or “Doba a la Nissarda”.

Great when you need a hearty meal, the Daube Niçoise offers deliciously slow-cooked beef. The beef is cooked for several hours in red wine with onion, carrots and herbs. This tender beef dish is most often served with pasta.

 

  1. The Ratatouille

Did you know that Ratatouille is originally from Nice? The ingredients may vary but it is a mixture of herbs and vegetables such as bay leaves, thyme, marjoram, onion, garlic, carrot, tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini. Ratatouille is often served as a side dish.

 

  1. Pistou Soup

Pistou soup is like a Provençal version of minestrone. It is a hearty vegetable soup made with dried beans, and summer vegetables such as zucchini and tomato.

 

  1. Niçoises Olives

Olives are a large part of Mediterranean cuisine. You can’t miss all the fresh olives, olive oil, and olive bread on the French Riviera.

 

  1. Swiss Chard Pie

There are two types of this delicious pie, sweet and savoury. The first one is surprising, and leaves the guests skeptical every time the ingredients are explained to them: chard and sugar!

 

  1. Zucchini Flower Fritters

The yellow zucchini flower is a must in the Niçoise cuisine. The zucchini flower is served in two ways: breaded and fried to make a kind of flower fritter, or stuffed flowers when the large flower is stuffed with meat and spices, then cooked.

 

BONUS: Rosé Wine

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You can’t visit Nice in summer without tasting the rosé wine. A rosé in the afternoon is a must during your stay! It is a classic accompaniment to every summer meal in Nice. Moreover, it is not necessary to spend too much money to obtain a quality product.

 

  • The label “Cuisine Nissarde”

Nice is just as famous for its tourist attractions as it is for its delicious cuisine. It is a traditional Mediterranean cuisine, rich in vegetables, flavours and aromas.

 

The “Cuisine Nissarde” quality label is awarded to restaurants that work to improve and maintain the cuisine of Nice, and that undertake to guarantee the recipes, the quality of the products and raw materials used, the quality of the welcome and the information provided to customers, in addition to complying with health and safety regulations.

 

  • Try a restaurant specialising in Nice specialties during your visit to the city

The restaurant Acchiardo is very famous for its delicious typical Nice cuisine. The locals love it because it is a family-owned restaurant, created by the family’s great great-grandmother.

 

Acchiardo is part of the life of the neighborhood, full of history and authenticity. Moreover, the family (parents and son) and the staff are always attentive and very friendly. If you come to Nice and wish to experience an authentic Niçoise meal cooked with olive oil, in an authentic place full of history, this is the place for you.

 

Moreover, it is perfectly located in the heart of the old town, with its narrow streets and beautifully coloured 16th century buildings, only a 5 minute walk from the sea.

 

Contact and Booking Details:

So what are you waiting for? Visit Nice and experience one of the most memorable vacations of your life! If you have any queries or wish to make a booking, please feel free to contact us via our email: info@rivierabarcrawl.com. Or, if you’re looking for more information about the great attractions we have here on the Riviera, check out our many articles via our website!