Looking along across the water at Nice, France

10 reasons to visit Nice in the Cote d'Azur

Camila Neves

Contributing writer

Planning a trip to Nice? Here are our top picks...

Stay: Hotel La Villa Nice Promenade

Walking tour: Old Nice and Castle Hill

Experience: Molinard perfume workshop

Food tour: Local specialities and wine tasting

Day trip: Monaco and Eze

A popular holiday destination, Nice is a bustling city on the chic French Riviera. It’s famous for its great climate, stunning views and art and culture.

However, while Nice boasts gorgeous beaches, delicious food, and plenty of fun things to do, it also has a reputation for being busy, touristy and a bit expensive.

While Nice is busier than many of the smaller towns (it is a city after all), it’s definitely still worth visiting. Here are just a few reasons why.

View of Nice's port of Chateau Hill

1. Nice has a wonderful Mediterranean climate

Looking for a year-round destination? Nice has more than 300 days of sunshine a year, so you can bask in the warm weather and enjoy some much-needed rest and relaxation.

Yes, summers can be hot, but that’s a great reason to spend the day on the beach and take advantage of the warm, summer evenings. And, with mild, relatively dry winters, Nice is the perfect place to get away from the cold and enjoy the Mediterranean climate no matter when you choose to visit.

A plate of local foods from Nice

2. The local cuisine is excellent

 From French bistros to seafood restaurants and beyond, there is something for everyone when it comes to eating out in Nice. The food in Nice is renowned across France, so you can expect to find dishes made with fresh ingredients like olive oil, anchovies, and herbs.

Some popular spots include Chez René Socca (for traditional Niçoise cuisine), Les Pêcheurs (seafood), Bistrot d'Antoine (meats and italian cuisine) and more.

Make sure to try a salad niçoise, pissaladiere, socca and tourte de blettes – the most beloved dishes in Nice.

Looking down at the coast from Eze, a town on the French Riviera

3. You can explore the French Riviera from Nice

The French Riviera is known for its stunning coastline, exorbitant wealth and hilltop villages, and it’s worth getting out of the city to see the area for yourself. Luckily, Nice provides a great base for exploring other nearby towns and cities along the French Riviera.

You can take a day trip to Cannes or Monaco where you can enjoy luxurious shopping, exciting nightlife, and stunning views. Or travel to villages like Èze and Saint Paul de Vence, where you can explore charming, cobbled streets and magnificent cliff-top views. 

If you are short on time, many tours from Nice provide you with the opportunity to see several places in one day.

People walking down the street in San Remo, Italy, on a sunny day

4. You can do a day trip to Italy

Fancy some authentic pasta and a peek of Northern Italy? While there are many stunning places to visit in Provence itself, Nice is also well positioned for day trips to Italy. 

Nice is only an hour away from the Italian border, so you can get a taste of Italy by visiting nearby towns like Ventimiglia or San Remo (my favourite!). It’s about an hour’s drive from Nice to San Remo.

You can also take a train to Ventimiglia and then head on to San Remo from there. Expect the journey to take around an hour and a half each way. Or, do an organised day trip to some of the gems of the Italian Rivera.

Colourful buildings in the old town of Nice, France

5. Nice has a beautiful old town

The old town of Nice is a charming area full of history and culture. The colorful, winding narrow streets and alleys capture the romantic spirit of the French Riviera.

Walk past the tall, tenement houses which line narrow streets full of stonework and vibrant murals. Restaurants, shops, art galleries are in the bottom of the buildings and spill out onto the street.

Peek into shops selling fresh flowers, Provencal spices and hand-made jewellery. Stroll down cobblestone promenades to find artisan bakers selling fresh baguettes or little cafes that are perfect for snacks and coffee.

Enjoy the heartwarming atmosphere along with tempting local foods and crafts and don't forget to try the gelato at Fenoccios!

A sculpture at the entrance of the Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain de Nice

6. You can admire many impressive works of art in Nice

Visitors to Nice can find an array of impressive art museums throughout the city, all displaying the work of famous artists.

Famed artworks by French painters such as Matisse and March Chagall can be found at the Musée Matisse and Musée Marc Chagall.

The Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain de Nice (MAMAC) is also a must-see for modern art fans, with works by Andy Warhol and other famed contemporary artists featured.

And if you're looking for something truly unique, visit La Villa Arson for some exciting experimental artwork created by local students and international guests.

No matter what type of art you enjoy most, a visit to any one of these amazing establishments promises to make your stay in Nice even more memorable.

Restaurants and bars in the historic district of Nice

7. Nice has exciting nightlife

When the sun goes down, Nice comes alive with a vibrant nightlife – easily the best on the Cote d’Azur.

Although there aren't that many actual clubs in Nice, there are several bars and pubs where you can have a great time. You'll find everything from quiet wine bars to chic cocktail lounges and lively pubs, so you can enjoy the perfect evening out.

Or for a night dancing, head to the High Club where you’ll find good DJs playing every weekend. There’s multiple dance spaces and bars and if you want a table, you’ll need to book one in advance.

People walking down Avenue Jean Médecin, a main shopping street in Nice

8. Nice is great if you like shopping

If you enjoy shopping, Nice is the perfect place to spend some time. Not only can you find local shops, but you can also visit luxury stores, smaller boutiques and markets.

 Avenue Jean Medicin is a great place to go shopping in Nice, with plenty of boutiques and markets selling everything from clothes and accessories to souvenirs.

For handmade, local products (which make great gifts), wander around the Cours Saleya in Nice’s old town. Stop by Place Massena for some luxury brands or browse through Rue de la Liberte which offers more affordable options.

 People walking along the Promenade des Anglais past a sculpture of the famous blue chair (artist Sabine Geraudie)

9. The Promenade des Anglais has astounding views

Promenade des Anglais is a beautiful boardwalk along the Mediterranean Sea and one of the most iconic roads in France. It’s the place that features in most photos of Nice and the famous Nice Carnival is held.

The boardwalk was initially the idea of a couple of English aristocrats (hence the name) in the 18th Century who wanted to walk around the coast and built a seaside promenade so they could do so. Many of the hotels around the Promenade des Anglais, including the Westminster and the West End, still have English today.

The Promenade des Anglais stretches for 7km from the airport all around the Baie des Anges to Castle Hill. Go for a walk and enjoy views of the blue waters stretching out to the horizon, and maybe stop at one of the bars, restaurants or beach clubs that line the road.

If you want a break, stop and relax on one of the blue chairs to truly feel like you’re experiencing Nice.

People sitting and chatting on benches on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France

10. Nice has some of the friendliest locals in France

If you are looking to practice your French or want to have the opportunity to chat with friendly locals, Nice is a good place to visit.

 Here (and in the South of France in general), people are open, friendly, and curious to talk to people from different places. Of course, knowing a little French goes a long way!

Just a heads up to those from North America – customer service is not nearly as responsive as you may expect at home.

Looking down at Old Nice and the sea from Castle Hill
Know before you go

Useful information about Nice

How many days should I spend in Nice?

We suggest at least 5-7 days so you can really experience the culture and attractions of the city and also go on a few day trips.

Saying that, there is enough to keep you busy for over a week. And if you have only one day in Nice you’ll still get a taste of the city… and who knows, you may come back for longer next time!

Where should I stay in Nice?

Nice has a wide range of accommodation options available, ranging from budget hostels to luxury hotels with sea views.

Usually, I recommend staying near the Promenade (the area surrounding the Negresco is great), in Old Nice or even at the Old Port.

Some great hotels to choose from include Hotel La Villa Nice Victor Hugo, Hotel Vendôme, and Hotel La Villa Nice Promenade.

What is the best way to get around Nice?

The best way to get around Nice is by walking. The city is not that large, and most tourist attractions are located close to each other. Also, Nice is so gorgeous that walking around feels like a treat!

To go to the airport or to further places around town, the tram system is affordable and works really well.

That’s a wrap! I hope this guide inspires you to give Nice a chance. It is definitely one of my favourite places on earth and I would recommend it to anyone.

For more inspiration, you can see these quotes about the French Riviera.

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Camila Neves

Author - Camila Neves

Camila Neves is a travel blogger based in Nice, a beautiful city in the heart of the French Riviera. She dedicates most of her time to exploring this beautiful region and writing about it on her blog, Explore the Riviera.

Last Updated 28 November 2023

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