Alyssa has been writing about exciting travel topics for Trips to Discover since 2013. After living the big city life in Chicago, Washington, DC, and Atlanta, Alyssa sold the bulk of her possessions and became a digital nomad, living full-time in her camper and working from wherever she could find an outlet and an internet connection for her laptop.
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Nice is the largest city in the French Riviera and an absolutely beautiful European destination for your next vacation. This is a place that has inspired many artists, drawn in many celebrities, and attracted foodies from all over the world. Nice is glamorous, artistic, culturally rich, and has a perfect climate. So, if you’re looking for the ideal Mediterranean getaway, consider a trip to Nice and add these 10 things to your itinerary!
Let’s be honest here…the main reason that people visit Nice is for the amazing beaches! So, it would be a shame not to spend a good amount of time relaxing on the beach, people-watching. Even if you’ve been to plenty of other beaches elsewhere in the past, there’s something undeniably special about sitting along the blue Mediterranean Sea and basking in the sun of the French Riviera. There are both public and private beaches in Nice, but be aware that the private ones will cost a pretty penny to enter. The public beaches are a more budget-friendly option, but they don’t come with much in the way of amenities. But essentially, there’s a beach for every travel style here and plenty of luxury options if you’re willing to pay for them.
Vieille Ville is a lovely neighborhood in Nice to walk around that has a mix of touristy parts and more authentic options. Many people like to take a stroll through this area in the morning to check out the local market and beat some of the crowds. There are beaches nearby and lots of charming bars and restaurants to pop into for a drink or bite to eat.
This is the city’s main square that has a convenient central location near the seafront, Avenue Jean Médecin for shopping, and nearby gardens. This is an iconic spot to snap a few photos and admire the statues and fountains. It looks and feels different at different times of day, and you can walk through the square to experience those changes at any time for free.
Marc Chagall is famous for surreal and colorful artwork, and the Nice museum that celebrates his work is designed with beautiful architecture and stained-glass windows. He was a painter of Old Testament themes, and inside the museum you’ll find a room with twelve large paintings, a second room with five compositions, and audio guides in multiple languages. If you visit on the first Sunday of each month, admission is free for EU member state citizens under age 26. Guided tours are available here too.
The Promenade des Anglais is a wonderful place to go for a walk and get some exercise with stunning beachfront views. Lots of Nice’s top attractions are accessible from this walkway, so it’s fun to make a few stops along your stroll. There are some local rental shops along the way if you want to rent a bike or Segway to explore Nice on two wheels. This is a popular tourist spot, so you may want to save your dining and shopping for another part of the city where prices aren’t so inflated.
While you’re in the Vieille Ville area, make sure to stop by the Cours Saleya Market. This market sells fruits, vegetables, and flowers in the mornings, as well as antiques on Mondays. It gets very crowded with both tourists and locals, so your best bet is to arrive as early as possible after the market opens – around 6am. Quite a few of the vendors require cash in small bills, especially if you are buying produce, so make sure to have some on-hand. This is also a lovely place to visit one of the neighboring cafes to sip some coffee, munch on a croissant, and watch the shoppers go by. The market lasts until about 5:30pm on many days.
Another essential thing to do in Nice is to climb the steps of the Colline du Chateau to see the amazing views from the top. After climbing hundreds of stairs, you’ll be rewarded with a lovely park that’s perfect for picnics and kids’ play time. It’s free to visit the park from sunrise to sunset, and you can also take a lift or drive along the road if you’re not in the mood or condition for stair-climbing.
Matisse is a famous and familiar artist that is celebrated in this small Nice museum. Inside, you can explore the artists’ drawings and sculptures, as well as personal artifacts that he owned. The museum is located on the hill of Cimiez and near the Franciscan monastery. It has been welcoming visitors since 1963 to this place where Matisse lived between 1918 and 1954. You can find a listing of the works of art displayed here on the museum’s website if you’re curious to learn more about them in advance of your visit.
This cathedral dates back to the early 20th century and was built to serve the growing Russian population in Nice back then. There is no admission fee to enter the cathedral, but donations are accepted. When you go inside, you’ll see a huge collection of decorative and historic icons, woodworking, and goldsmithing. In the summer, for example, the cathedral is generally open from 9am to 7pm. But since this is an active place of worship, entrance can be limited due to performances and events.
Another great museum to visit in Nice is this modern and contemporary art museum, which features many local artists and their works. There are over 1,300 works of art here to see, including exhibits that highlight the role of Nice in groundbreaking art movements. Not only is the artwork inside nice to look at, but the building’s architecture itself is stunning, and there are some wonderful views of the city you can see from the rooftop.