How to Spend 3 Days in Nice

Travel Itinerary

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Rose Winter
Itinerary by: Rose Winter
15 days ago
Travel Writer
Starts: Fridays
Duration: 3 days

A long weekend in the French Riviera? Just what the doctor ordered! Here I have listed all the must-see sights in Nice, and a few hidden gems, to soak up the most of what Nice and the surrounding areas have to offer. Before travelling to Nice, there are some things you may want to know! 1. Sandy beaches are not common at all in the area. The beaches are still very enjoyable and the sea is still a cyan shade of blue that sparkles in the sunlight, hence the name Cote d'Azur (Blue Coast). 2. The best way to get around is by foot, bus, train or tram. Much of the main sights are within walking distance of each other. 3. Look into buying the French Riviera Pass. With 24h, 36h and 72h options, it provides free access to many landmarks and museums, as well as giving you transport for €4 on the Métropole Nice Côte d'Azur transport system. This includes the buses and the trams. Otherwise, most bus and tram journeys cost between €1.50 - €3. 4. The best time to visit for good weather is May-September, though Nice has a mild climate throughout the year. You will still find warm weather in April and October. 5. Whilst most people will speak English to tourists, the French are known to value an effort in trying to speak French first. Try to learn 'Parlez-vous Anglais?' and other simple phrases, or if in doubt, use Google translate! 6. Tipping is not a necessary custom in France, as service charge is usually added to the bill, listed as 'service compris'. However, you may still want to leave 5-10% of your bill price as a tip, especially to support local business. 7. You can find many safe left-luggage options for either your first or final day. Head to https://radicalstorage.com/luggage-storage/nice where prices start from €5 per bag for an entire day. The website shows you the closest storage points to various places in Nice. Picture by Pierre Blaché on pixabay.com

Friday

12:00 - 12:30
Nice
Nice, France
Nice is considered to be the unofficial capital of the French Riviera, with a serene and relaxed day-time aura, and a reputation of a lively nightlife. A picture of Mediterranean bliss, it has gained the title 'Nice la Belle' (Nice the Beautiful). Nice may have become popular a due to the English aristocracy looking for somewhere to escape their harsh winters, including Queen Victoria, but you will find evidence of its maritime history and its many transfers of settlement as you explore. It is a fantastic place for a weekend city-break, as the main part of the town is conveniently a 20-minute drive from the airport, at one end of the Promenade des Anglais (Walkway of the English). The centre of Nice is very easily accessible by tram, which runs alongside the Promenade des Anglais, departing from both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, costing €1.50 per journey. Nice is also accessible by train throughout mainland Europe, though do check the timetables, as France has been known to participate in regular train strikes. You should keep in mind that in any hotel you choose to stay in, you will be asked to pay a city tax in addition to your accommodation cost. This is usually between € 0.2 and € 4.0 per person, per night, depending upon the quality of your accommodation. Photograph by lecreusois on pixabay.com
Article By: Rose Winter

12:30 - 14:00
Parc de la Colline du Chateau
Castle Hill, 06300 Nice, France
The first thing you will want to do is to gather your bearings and gain a sense of where everything is. There is no better place to do this, than of course, from above! Parc de la Colline du Château is a beautiful park that towers above the entire city, giving panoramic views of Nice, from the dramatic Bay of Angels to the backdrop of the Southern Ligurian Alps. Entry to park is accessible by a very long uphill walk, and also by a free lift. The lift entrance can be found on the Promenade des Anglais, opposite the #ILoveNICE sign. At the top, you will find an impressive waterfall, and enchanting views of the Vieux Port. There are plenty of trees to catch some shade from the afternoon sunshine. This park has much to entertain children, and is dog friendly. Very importantly, there are no fees! Picture by unknown user on pixabay.com
Article By: Rose Winter

Getting there

The lift entrance can be found on the Promenade des Anglais, opposite the #ILoveNICE sign.

14:00 - 16:00
Vieux Port/Port Lympia
Port Lympia, 06300 Nice, France
Now that you have seen the city from above, you will have been enchanted by the view of the Old Port. The Vieux Port, also known as Port Lympia, was commissioned by the King of Sardinia, who once ruled over the Province of Nice. There are still ferries from Port Lympia to Sardinia each day, as well as Corsica and other parts of the Mediterranean. You can access the port easily from Parc de la Colline du Château. Simply head back down the lift, and turn left, walking around the base of the hill to find the large opening to the port. There are plenty of places to eat and drink around the port. Locals recommend Bistrot du Port, though it closes at 3pm. Once you have taken a refreshment, you may want to stroll and watch the yachts, cruise ships and shipping containers sail in and out. Alternatively, you may want to head to the home of Napoleon Bonaparte, who lived here in 1974! though you cannot enter, you can see the plaque above the door where he stayed for 9 months on the aptly named Rue Bonaparte. Picture by Grégory Roose on pixabay.com
Article By: Rose Winter

Getting there

Once you come out of the lift from the Parc de la Colline du Château, and turn left, walking around the base of the hill to find the large opening to the port.

Travel time
0 hours 20 minutes
16:00 - 17:30
Cours Saleya
Cr Saleya, 06300 Nice, France
Cours Saleya is a renowned produce market in the old town, marked by its stripy stall coverings. Here, you will find flowers, and perfectly displayed fruit and vegetables in abundance. As it is the evening, you will also find a display of craftwork and art on some stalls. Locals come here for their grocery shopping - it is always vibrant and busy. Many locals would recommend that you try Socca at the market, a type of flatbread made from chickpeas, and a delicacy in Nice. It is usually around €3 per portion. Picture by Erich Westendarp on pixabay.com
Article By: Rose Winter

Getting there

You can take Buses 33, 38 or 57 from Port Lympia to Lycée Masséna, where there is then a short walk towards the Promenade to Cours Saleya. Otherwise, it is a 14 minute walk.

Travel time
0 hours 14 minutes

Saturday

09:30 - 12:00
Baie des Anges
Prom. des Anglais, Nice, France
It's Saturday, and what better way to spend the morning than at the beach. By going in the morning, you avoid the crowds and the height of the sun. You will have ventured to small parts of the Promenade des Anglais already, which runs parallel to the 7km stretch of pebbled beach, on the Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels). As with many beaches along the French Riviera, you will find that there are public and private areas. Dotted along the beach are various beach clubs, which are private. Here, you will find that you can buy food and drink, as well as renting deckchairs, parasols and loungers. You are likely to spend around €15 for a deckchair and parasol, and up to €35 for a sunbed, and with many of the private clubs you can reserve in advance the day before. This makes a comfortable stay on a pebbled beach for the day, though if you do not wish to pay, all areas still have access to showers and a lavatory- just buy a comfortable beach mat! You may want to purchase beach shoes due to the pebbles, and do pay attention to orange flags, which will alert you to the presence of jellyfish. Picture by Vanessa Oliveira on pixabay.com
Article By: Rose Winter
Standard 15.00 - 35.00 EUR

12:00 - 12:45
Place Masséna
Pl. Massena, Nice, France
A 2-minute walk from Promenade des Anglais, on the edge of Vieux Nice, is the Place Masséna, a large black and white-tiled plaza. It is described a square but is more of a semi-circle. It is host to a water fountain, named 'Fontaine du Soleil' (The Sun Fountain), which celebrates the Greek god, Apollo. Interestingly, on their way back from war in Marseille, Greek soldiers came across Nice in 350BC, and made it their home. The name Nice derives from their original name for the city, Nikaia, after the Greek goddess of victory, Nice. Place Masséna looks very traditionally Mediterranean, as it is surrounded by terracotta buildings with large French windows, each with blue shutters. The square is lined with palm trees. Picture by Oleg Ilyushin on pixabay.com
Article By: Rose Winter

Getting there

Depending on which part of the beach you have ended up on, you can either take a short walk or take the Buses 12 or 32, and get off at the stop 'Albert 1er / Phocéens'. The bus costs 1.50 euros per journey

Travel time
0 hours 15 minutes
12:45 - 13:30
Miroir d’eau (Water Mirror)
Miroir d'eau, 06000 Nice, France
Adjacent to Place Masséna is one of the city's most popular places for children, Miroir d’eau (Water Mirror). It is a large stretch of water-filled fun, with multiple water fountains creating the illusion of a mirror in the middle of Nice. It is reminiscent of the Miroir d’eau in Bordeaux. Children, both tourists and locals, spend hours here, cooling down whilst having fun. For adults, it is a great spot for photos of the reflection of Nice against the wet black tiles. Picture by lecrusois on pixabay.com
Article By: Rose Winter

Getting there

The Miroir d’eau is directly next to Place Masséna, no more than a one minute walk!

Travel time
0 hours 1 minute
13:00 - 15:00
Garibaldi Square
Pl. Garibaldi, 06300 Nice, France
Follow the Promenade du Paillon in an inland direction, the road the runs alongside the Miroir d’eau, and after an 11-minute walk, you will reach Place Garibaldi, which locals describe as a taste of Italy in Nice, as it is still reminiscent of its original Italian origins, when it was named Piazza Vittorio. Here is great spot to finally enjoy some seafood...you are in Nice after all! Locals recommend Café de Turin, a classically Niçoise seafood restaurant, serving langoustines, prawns, salmon and more. Expect to pay anywhere between €35 and €150. Sit back, relax and enjoy people watching in this Italian square. The restaurant stays open all day until 10pm. You may also notice that some of the columns and shutters on the houses in Garibaldi Square are actually painted on, but look incredibly realistic! Picture by rolypolys on pixabay.com
Article By: Rose Winter
Standard 35.00 - 150.00 EUR

Getting there

It is an 11 minute walk from the Miroir d'eau, or you can take the L1 tram and get off at Garibaldi, which takes 3 minutes.

Travel time
0 hours 11 minutes
15:30 - 17:00
St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral
Av. Nicolas II, 06000 Nice, France
Nice may not be quite where you'd expect to find such an ornate, grandiose Russian Orthodox church. This Cathedral is far too beautiful for you not to visit it! It holds the status of being the largest Orthodox Church in Western Europe. Many of the Russian upper class came to Nice in the nineteenth century, so much so that as soon as a railway line was established, Tsar Alexander II came himself. The vast number of Russians in Nice since this time led to the building of this Cathedral. Visitors are welcome, though access will be restricted during service times, which is typically between 12pm to 2pm. Admission is free, though a guided tour can be booked online and costs €10. You can get there by using the 23 or 38 bus from Vieux-Nice or the L2 tram from the Promenade des Anglais. Be mindful of dressing requirements on your visit, as you will not be allowed in if you do not adhere to them. Your shoulders and knees should be covered, and men should avoid hats. It is also forbidden to take photographs inside. Picture by unknown user on pixabay.com
Article By: Rose Winter
Standard 0.00 - 10.00 EUR

Getting there

You can get there from Garibaldi Square by taking the L2 tram from Garibaldi / Le Château to Alsace-Lorraine. then walk southbound on the Rue Constrandt to the bus stop Gambetta / Buffa. Take Buses 8/11/23 to Parc Impérial / Gambetta and follow the signs for a 6-minute walk to the Russian Cathedral

Travel time
0 hours 23 minutes
18:00 - 20:00
Hotel Negresco
37 Prom. des Anglais, 06000 Nice, France
It's time to head back to the waterfront for a cocktail as the sun goes down. If you want to really immerse yourself in the era of Riviera opulence, then head to the luxurious Hotel Negresco. You can't miss it! Its pastel pink dome towers over the promenade. Drinks are pricey, with soft drinks starting at €6 and cocktails starting at €16, but you are paying to sit on the same terrace that Princess Grace of Monaco and Salvador Dali once sat, looking at the very same view of Baie des Anges. The terrace is a fine spot to watch Nice turn from day to night. Watch the coastline light up whilst you sip on their Royal Negresco cocktail. You can also wander through the hotel to marvel at the hotel's main hall, the Royal Salon, where the glass roof is the main attraction. Picture by Erich Westendarp on pixabay.com
Article By: Rose Winter
Standard 6.00 - 35.00 EUR

Getting there

Head back to the bus stop Parc Impérial / Gambetta and take the Bus 23 or 8, staying on for 4 stops to Gambetta / Promenade. Hotel Negresco will be visible.

Travel time
0 hours 15 minutes

Sunday

10:00 - 13:00
Villefranche-sur-Mer
06230 Villefranche-sur-Mer, France
It would be a crying shame not to visit some of the nearby towns on you long weekend in Nice. The enchanting town of Villefranche-sur-Mer is a stone's throw away from Nice, located just to the east of the city, on the other side of Mont Boron. It is very easy to get there from Nice. You have two options using public transport; - You can take the train from Nice-Ville station, 2 stops to Villefranche-sur-Mer. This takes 7 minutes and costs €3.50 for a return ticket. You will notice a great view of the bay and the colourful buildings of the old town from the station. - You can alternatively take the bus number 100 from Nice Port right to the heart of Villefranche-sur-Mer. Get off after 12 stops at La Barmassa. This journey takes 15 minutes and costs €1.50. Once you are in Villefranche-sur-Mer, take some time to stroll along the waterfront of this medieval French fishing village. It is truly charming and provides a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of Nice. You may want to bring your swimming clothes, as the pebbles here are much finer and the water is very enjoyable. Picture by Gerhard Bögner on pixabay.com
Article By: Rose Winter
Standard 1.50 - 3.50 EUR

Getting there

Recommended route: Take the train from Nice-Ville station to Villefranche-sur-Mer

Travel time
0 hours 7 minutes
13:30 - 15:30
Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild
1 Av. Ephrussi de Rothschild, 06230 Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France
Directly opposite the old town of Villefranche-sur-Mer, as you look across the bay, is a peninsula named Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. This peninsula is home to one of the some of the glitz and glamour that the French Riviera is notorious for, with many celebrities staying in the grand hotels there, whilst they sail around the coastline in lavish two and three-storied yachts. But who says you can't have a taste of the high life too? Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild is a timelessly elegant, grand villa, influenced by the Italian Renaissance. It was the winter home of Baroness Ephrussi de Rothschild in the early 20th century, daughter of the banker Alphonse de Rothschild. It overlooks the bay, and is famous for its exotic and decorative gardens, where you will find a musical water fountain. You can reach the villa from Villefranche-sur-Mer via bus 15, from the stop named Leopold II. It takes 15 minutes, and costs €1.50. You will disembark after 11 stops at La Rade. Entry to the villa and gardens is €16, and free for visitors with disabilities. Make sure you admire the many different gardens, including the Spanish, Florentine, Japanese and Rose gardens, before taking in the view of Villefranche-sur-Mer across the bay. Picture by Jean-Elie Trujillo on pixabay.com
Article By: Rose Winter
Standard 16.00 EUR
Group 11.25 EUR
Students 11.00 EUR
Kids 0.00 EUR Under 7
Seniors 0.00 EUR

Notes

Bus 15, from stop Leopold II in Villefranche-sur-Mer to La Rade.

Travel time
0 hours 15 minutes
Privacy: public
About the author

Travelling is my thing! When not in a global pandemic, I spend most of my 13 weeks of school holidays abroad, writing about the locations and sharing my discoveries on my website, Wonder Where I Wander. With an expertise in European and Mediterranean travel, I am delighted to share my itineraries with you.

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