A One-Day Itinerary for Nice: The Best Things to See and Do


France is a stunning European country that has always been on all travellers’ radar. There are a lot of amazing cities and natural landscapes that can make people fall in love with it. A coastal city that no one can forget about no matter how hard they try is Nice. It is full of culture, French flair, gorgeous squares and fun things to do.

Panorama of Nice from Castle Hill, Cote d'Azur, France

Nice is one of Europe’s hidden gems and an enchanting destination with a rich history, great gastronomy and a blend of chic urban vibes and classic French Riviera charm.

Thankfully for us, it’s relatively easy to reach Nice from various parts of the world. The city is served by the Nice Côte d’Azur Airport, which is France’s third busiest airport, offering numerous international flights. From the airport, the city center is a short ride away by taxi, rental car, or public transportation.

View of the rooftops in the old town of Nice, French Riviera, France

It’s also worth noting that once you’re in Nice, the city is quite pedestrian-friendly, and public transportation, including trams and buses, are efficient and affordable. Also, remember that Nice can get quite crowded during the peak summer season, so booking accommodation and transportation in advance is highly recommended.

How to reach Nice?

By Port

The Port of Nice welcomes travellers from nearby Mediterranean destinations, such as Corsica and Sardinia. And who wouldn’t love a Mediterranean cruise in the summer?

By Car

Planning a road trip? A tour of France is also a fun holiday plan. The road network in France in general and in Nice in particular is excellent for road trips. If you are interested in exploring different territories but don’t want to be the one driving, you can reach Nice by bus.

By Plane

The Nice Côte d’Azur Airport receives international tourists who are thrilled to get to know Nice. It is only 7 kilometres away from the city centre, making it a convenient way to reach the beautiful city.

By Train

If you’re already in Europe, consider taking a train ride, which offers scenic views of the countryside and coastline. The city’s train station, Gare de Nice-Ville, is well-connected to the rest of France and other European cities.

How to hire a car at Nice Airport?

Another reason why so many people choose to arrive in Nice by plane is because they can effortlessly pick up an excellent hire car at the airport and go exploring the city right away. There are several reliable car hire companies that can provide you with the ideal vehicle for you as they have got a great variety of cars to choose from.

Where to hire a car at Nice Airport?

You can save money and time by checking out the Nice airport car hire options on Holiday Cars. There you will find a wide variety of affordable hire cars that you can pick up at the Nice Airport on a suitable time. You can be sure that you have found the best vehicle for you as you can compare prices and get much information about each car. Booking is simple and completely safe. And in case you need to cancel or modify your booking, it is totally free to do so for up to 48 hours before pickup. With Holiday Cars, there is nothing to stress over.

The Old Side of Town in Nice, France

Photo by Robin Ooode

Best Things to See and Do in One Day in Nice

Old Town (Vieille Ville)

One of the things that you must do in Nice is to wander around the Old Town. You will be impressed by the quaint atmosphere and the energy of the place, with its narrow winding streets, colorful buildings, and vibrant markets.

Don’t forget to stop at Cours Saleya, a famous open-air market known for flowers, fresh produce, and local specialties. Also make time to  browse the local shops, visit the Nice Cathedral and try some of the city’s delicacies, such as socca and pan bagnat. In the evening, dine at a local restaurant in Old Town and try Nice’s culinary specialities like Salade Niçoise and Ratatouille.

Castle Hill

If you want to see a panoramic view of this beautiful place, you should climb up the Castle Hill, or Colline du Château as it is known in French. The hill provides stunning views of the city and the Bay of Angels. Though the castle itself is no longer there, the park is beautiful. Think lush gardens and waterfalls. The scenery is very romantic and the view of the Ligurian Sea is definitely worth the hike —and the hype!

aerial photo of promenade des anglais in nice from Castle hill, Nice, France

Photo by Arno Smit

Promenade des Anglais

If you’re visiting Nice in the summer, then plan some time off to enjoy the beach. There are several private and public options along the Promenade des Anglais, which stretches along the Mediterranean coast. Some of the most popular ones are Opera Plage, the oldest beach club in Nice, established in 1889; Blue Beach, a family-friendly private beach; Castel Plage, located at the end of the Promenade near the Colline du Château; and Beau Rivage, a trendy private beach club with cool, modern feel and a stylish restaurant.

The famous Hotel Negresco which overlooks the beach and the Promenade des Anglais in Nice

Photo by Nick Page

Art and culture

Art lovers will find plenty of opportunities to admire beautiful paintings and stunning architecture in Nice. Visit the Musée Matisse, which houses a collection of works by the artist Henri Matisse, who lived in Nice for much of his life, or the Musée Marc Chagall, dedicated to the work of artist Marc Chagall. Place Massena is a great spot for a leisurely stroll and to admire the distinctive checkerboard patterned pavement and the red and pink Italian-style buildings that surround it.

Want to know more? You can find out about top things to do on a long weekend in Nice and the best towns to visit nearby, here on my blog!

A Long Weekend Away in Nice and Côte D’Azur

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