Nice Travel Guide

Nice Travel Guide

A tourist destination since the Roman era, the many charms and attractions of Nice are world-renowned and this iconic French Riviera city continues to attract swarms of visitors with its blend of fashionable modernity and ancient significance:

Many people visit Nice to bask on its shingle beaches and spend the summer days strolling the famous Promenade des Anglais, which lines five miles (8km) of the seafront. The plenitude of good restaurants, bars and shops near the beach provide sustenance and entertainment out of the sun. However, Nice is a year-round destination and the appeal of its picturesque Old Town, Vieille Ville, and its historical attractions, delight tourists in all seasons. There are many world-class museums and art galleries to be explored and lovely parks and gardens to relax in.

The Nice Carnival is the French Riviera's main winter event and the popular festival provides days of fun and entertainment, celebrating cultural diversity and ensuring that February and March are great months to visit.

Best time to visit Nice

Nice has a typically Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters. Summer is the peak tourist season in Nice and the beaches can get crowded, as with most of the sought after Cote d'Azure region. However, it is a year-round destination and its many attractions ensure that there is plenty to do out of season. In fact, many prefer to avoid the summer months when the city can get a bit full. Read more on Nice's Climate and Weather.

What to see in Nice

-Stroll in the vast botanical gardens of the Phoenix Parc Floral de Nice.

-Explore the popular Marc Chagall Museum.

-Enter the unusual St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral.

-See what the Musee des Beaux-Arts Jules Cheret has to offer.

What to do in Nice

-Take an excursion to the picturesque town of Antibes and visit their Picasso Museum.

-Shop at the colourful Cours Saleya Food and Flower Market.

-Wander on the beautiful Castle Hill and see what remains of the Chateau de Nice.

-Visit the Musee Matisse and learn how the artist produced his work.

Beyond Nice

Nice is a great base from which to explore the wonders of the Cote d'Azure region with its famous beaches, glamorous resorts and medieval charm. The uber fashionable centres of St Tropez and Cannes are within reach and picturesque medieval villages like Biot and Eze are also nearby. Nice has a very good transport system and it is easy to travel out of the city.

Getting there

Nice Côte d'Azur Airport is situated four miles (6km) west of the city. Buses leave regularly from the airport for hundreds of destinations between Marseilles and Genoa, and a bus goes into Nice every 20 to 30 minutes. Flights to Nice Côte d'Azur Airport come from destinations all over Europe and it is a popular and pleasant airport. Get more information on Nice Côte d'Azur Airport.

Did you know?

-Nice became part of France in 1860 and was formerly Italian.

-Nice is the second largest French city on the Mediterranean coast; the largest is Marseille.

-The area in which Nice is situated is believed to have hosted one of the oldest human settlements in Europe.

Nice port © Nice Convention and Visitors Bureau/Nice & You

With an international airport and the fast train from Paris, Nice is the first experience of the renowned Côte d'Azur for many tourists. The city was established by the Greeks and named for Nike, goddess of victory, but the Romans started the tourism industry here when they popularised their mineral baths on Cimiez. British and Russian aristocrats favoured Nice in the 19th century, but today it is more of a commercial centre and is not as fashionable as its smaller neighbouring resorts, such as Cannes or St Tropez. Nice still has excellent connections, but these are in the mode of transport options rather than the pedigree of its visitors.

In spite of modernization, Nice retains its medieval heritage in the atmospheric Vieille Ville (old town), with its closely packed red-tiled roofs and narrow winding streets packed with shops, bars and fabulous restaurants. Next door, the famous Cours Saleya flower and food market has scores of stands, from large, professionally displayed wares to folding tables set up by family farmers with their produce directly from the farm. Separating the Cours Saleya from the sea is a strip of low buildings. Once the repository for the fishermen's catch, they have given way largely to popular seafood restaurants, while the other side of the Cours Saleya is lined by terrace cafés in lovely old buildings.

Nice's shingle beaches occasionally disappoint visitors anticipating a classic, white sand beach holiday, but this does not mean the beaches stay empty; during summer the bright blue sea, sunshine and beautiful surroundings draw thousands of holidaymakers to this French Riviera city. The Promenade des Anglais lines the shingle beaches for about five miles (8km) and has been a favourite for leisurely strolls since Victorian times.

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