How to spend one day in Nice? This beautiful city in Cote d’Azur has something to offer, and due to its Mediterranean climate with mild winter, it attracts tourists all year round. So whether it is for a relaxing holiday or an adventure, this is an ideal destination on the French Riviera.
Nice is a perfect base to visit this region, but if you only have one day, it is certainly enough time to see most of the city’s highlights.
Fairly to say, Nice wasn’t on my to-do list, but when planning my trip to Monaco, it looks like I can’t avoid the place. And I’m so glad I could visit this lovely city because it was truly worth it.
How do you get to Nice, France
You can fly to Nice from any airport in Europe and the rest of the world. Start with Skyscanner or Momondo by checking flights. I was lucky and able to purchase a return ticket to Nice for 66 euros with EasyJet Airlines from Brussels. European visitors can opt to go by car or take the fast train.
France is one of the best European countries to endure long trips. There are many beautiful places to visit on the way, especially on the French Riviera.
Going by fast train to Nice is another option, but the train ticket can be more expensive than flights if not booked in advance.
How to get from the Airport to Nice City
Nice is the third busiest airport in France and the gateway to Monaco and Cannes. The city center lies 7 kilometers and you have different options: taxis, buses, and tram. Be aware that the cab is expensive. My flight back home happens on May 1, and I didn’t know it could affect the service with trams and buses. So the only way I could take it is the uber taxi, which costs 30 euros for a short ride.
The tram and bus cost only 1.50 euros, and it goes right to the city center. Check the location of your hotel. Maybe you need to interchange at Jean Medecin. The tram and buses can be found outside at T1 and T2. You have to use the vending machine for tram tickets. And for buses, you can purchase them from the driver or at the vending machine. A credit card or cash can be used to buy the tickets.
Is one day enough in Nice?
One day is enough to discover most of the highlights, but to be fair, I will add more time and visit some nearby places on the French Riviera. I spent three nights in Nice and made a day trip to Monaco and Menton, which was my purpose for this trip. However, if you change your mind and go for a little longer, read my blog post about Monaco and Menton.
As mentioned earlier in this blog, most travelers base themselves in Nice and go for day trips. There are beautiful villages to visit, which you could do if you have some time. Nice is the hub for transportation the in the Cote d’Azur. However, if you don’t have the luxury of spending more days, your one day in Nice could be well spent.
How to spend one day in Nice, France
Whether you’d like to spend on the beach or go to historical sights can be done together in one day. It also depends on the month of your visit. I visited Nice in May, and it was already so hot, which was an ideal temperature for the beach. Morning is the best time to explore the city as it is still quiet and easy to take pictures without or—at least fewer people in the background. The afternoon is perfect for spending on the beach as the weather gets too hot. So here’s how I spent my one day in Nice.
I started my morning by taking the tram from Jean Medecin – Port Lympia is the end tram station and the main port of Nice. Some visitors skip this area, which is a shame because this is part of the highlights and is just a 20-minute walk from the old town.
The main port of Nice is littered with cute fishing boats and luxury yachts. A picturesque harbor surrounded by colorful buildings and mountains rising in the distance makes the place attractive.
The Old town
The old town is a cozy maze of narrow streets with so much to discover! It has a characteristic with collections of houses and buildings that dates back hundreds of years. In addition, you will find everything here, from regional products to some boutiques, fashion stores, and art galleries. You will also find many cafes and restaurants with regional dishes.
The Castle hill
From the old town, you will find the stairs to the hillside. The castle no longer exists; only the tower remains. But there are a few things to discover, like the waterfalls, the cathedral ruins, and of course, the whole area gives you a breathtaking view of Nice, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Alpes Maritimes. The effort to go uphill was worth it.
Tip: You can choose to take the stairs or the elevator. The elevator is located on (Quai Rauba Capeu). The staircases are a way to go, and a look up behind during the climb for some inspirational view.
A stroll at Promenade
This capital city of Cote d’Azur is known for its beautiful climate and beaches, therefore receiving numbers of visitors all year round. But there’s more to it. The promenade is eye-catching! It’s one of the things to do that you can’t miss in Nice. It’s seven kilometers long. Suppose your time is crammed, not necessarily to do the entire track. Take the short walk, or if you want to have a picture of the Nice sign (I love Nice) can be found along the promenade. In addition, a walk can be worthwhile as it delivers stunning views over the Mediterranean Sea and the prestigious buildings of Nice.
Place Messina is located between the old and new town of Nice. This gigantic main square is one of the city’s liveliest squares, surrounded by beautiful red-colored neoclassical buildings in the Italian style, as well as lots of lovely shops and restaurants. It is also often the place for the city’s cultural events. And from here, it is easy to discover other highlights of Nice.
Shopping in Nice
If you love shopping, you don’t need to look too far because you will find significant retail chain stores on the main shopping street Avenue Jean Medecin. And if you’re not satisfied with what you found here. Walk to large shopping centers in Galeries Lafayette Masena and Nice Etoile. A very modern and clean shopping center in the middle of the city with a diverse selection of shops, an excellent location for severe shopping or recreational browsing.
The beaches in Nice
Nice has long stretched beaches. However, do not expect powdery sand on the public shore, instead is a pebble and pretty much the same as the other beaches in Cote d’Azur. But on the other hand, private beaches have sand and supply the necessary items for a particular purpose, such as restaurants, showers, changing rooms, a swimming pool, and other facilities. But it’s not entirely free. You are supposed to pay the price of food, drinks, and loungers. For the easiest way to enjoy the beach, you can take space at Promenade des Anglais near the city center and accessible to everyone without cost.
How to get around the city center
Nice is compact, and walking is the best way to explore the city. If walking is not your best practice – the public transport in Nice is very cheap at 1.50 euros gives you a 74-minute trip to connect by bus and tram. And you don’t have to worry if you don’t speak French because each stop is indicated and announced in English. Most local people in Nice can speak English; if you ask for something, like a direction, they’ll help you. Taxis and uber are also available, but they are more expensive. So for whatever reason you need them, trams and buses are the cheapest way around.
Where to stay in Nice
Nice is a well-known destination on the Cote d’Azur, with accommodations spreading throughout the city. You have choices from budget hostels to luxurious resorts.
However, don’t wait until the last minute to book if you want an affordable room. After booking my flight, I also secured my accommodation for the best price. I pay only one hundred euros for three nights at this proper place: Residence Pearl studio. However, the reviews and ratings weren’t so appealing on Booking.com, but it was adequate for the price. The central location was a perfect base for exploring the city. Whichever area you choose is not a big deal as you have the cheapest public transport around the city.