Sitting in the heart of the French Riviera on the border of the Provence countryside, Nice enjoys its prime location. This lovely seaside town isn’t called Nice La Belle (Nice The Beautiful) without reason. Its luxury vibe perpetuated by fashionable boutiques and restaurants, elegant architecture, sun-drenched beaches and a port lined with sleek yachts creates an irresistible appeal. The town is seductive but so are its surroundings. So if you get itchy feet and curiosity gets the best of you, set out on one of the many day trips from Nice the town offers. Whether you travel by car or a bus, the options are aplenty.
So, where could you go? Well, depending on your preference, you can set out on a journey through atmospheric medieval villages, dive into compelling Impressionist art museums or posh seaside resorts and casinos.
If you are after a peek into the life of the rich and wealthy, hop on a bus or rent a car and head to the small city-state of Monaco. This little piece of land boasts quite a few unique characteristics including its own language called Monegasque, being home to the royal family of the Grimaldi dynasty, world-class ballet company, enormous casinos as well as numerous culinary specialties. You can nip into the Palais Princier (royal palace) perched on a rock overlooking the sea or stroll through the grand harbor filled with luxurious yachts.
For those hungry for some delightfully cinematic ambiance, make a tour from Nice to Cannes, a city on the Côte D’Azur most famous for its film festivals. Here, elegant palm-fringed boulevards, attractive waterfront, and swooping Belle Epoque architecture resonate with special allure. Similarly to Monaco, Cannes gives you a sneak peek into the luxury lifestyle defined by private beaches, yacht club sailing expeditions, designer boutiques, upscale restaurants, and luxury hotels. Despite the up-scale vibe the city attracts and welcomes all kinds of vacation-goers. The busiest time of the year is during the Film Festival de Cannes, a prestigious festival of arthouse cinema attended by world-class celebrities.
Eze medieval village clings to the edge of a steep, rocky cliff. Less than 20 km east of Nice, the village makes quite a dramatic first impression. A tower of an old church and ruins of a former fortress against the sky, create a compelling the contrast. The tower of its church and the ruins of the ancient fort are visible from a great distance. Here, the streets have been the same for hundreds of years and the views are simply breathtaking. The exciting thing is, this is just one of many rugged and old hilltop villages you can visit from Nice.
Another medieval hilltop town and this one is one of the oldest on the French Riviera! What’s even more interesting, this unassuming refuge is a retreat for many celebrities including American author James Baldwin or French actor Yves Montand. Overlooking the Provence countryside, Saint-Paul de Vence has been, in its time, a great inspiration to post-impressionist, surrealist and abstract artists the likes of Bonnard, Kandinsky, Chagall, Léger, and Miró.
Looking to get closer to the Alps? Well, Menton is the last “big” town before reaching the Italian border. Sitting beyond Monaco, it’s significantly less famous than Nice, Marseille, or Cannes. This means, it is considerably less crowded and offers you a pleasant day-long getaway with the Alps as your backdrop. Make sure to try the local delicacies!
Nice is a lovely place, but its beaches are pebbly and hence not the most comfortable. The town of Antibes is best known for being encircled by lovely sandy beaches. While summers can get a bit crowded, the views and atmosphere are absolutely worth it.
Fragrance lovers should most definitely pay a visit to Grasse, the perfume capital of the world. This small town is responsible for two-thirds of all the perfumes made in France! You can treat yourself to a visit to a local perfume factory and learn how the fragrances are made. Or, if you are lucky, you will be in town in August when the town comes to life with a jasmine festival. Besides its seductive smells, the town charms visitors with cobbled streets, clandestine courtyards, spectacular gardens, and lovely outdoor cafés. You might be interested to know that it’s here Edith Piaf spent the last years of her life.
Another place that is easily reached from Nice is Villefranche-sur-Mer. Once a tiny fishing village, the small town is locked between the sea and the mountains and boasts one of the deepest natural harbors on the Mediterranean coast. So, it’s bay is often peppered with large ships and yachts. Those who love deep sea diving or sailing should definitely visit as the bay offers perfect conditions.
However, if you don’t feel like getting by in an unfamiliar country on your own, there are plenty of day tours from which to choose. Whether you prefer to travel in a small or bigger group, you will find something to suit your needs. Guided tours from Nice are a particularly great option if you want to hit several different locations. They are also convenient if you want to stop in places that are not easily accessible by public transport. Browse the page to find exciting day trips from Nice!