The city of Nice, with its balmy Mediterranean climate and stunning surroundings, provides the perfect base for day trips to explore the French Riviera.
Due to its privileged location, Nice offers easy access to some of the most beautiful sites in France. From picturesque coastal towns to stunning beaches and plenty of outdoor activities, there’s a lot to see around the area.
Here are six of the most outstanding day trips from Nice that you won’t want to miss:
Best day trips from Nice
1. For luxury and high-end restaurants: Monaco
The tiny principality of Monaco is one of the most exclusive and sought-after destinations in the world. Bordered by France, Monaco is a landlocked enclave on the French Riviera.
Despite its small size, Monaco is home to more than 38,000 residents and boasts some of the most luxurious hotels and casinos in Europe. The city-state has been ruled by the Grimaldi dynasty since 1160 and is today an important financial center.
Monaco is well known for its Formula 1 race track, as well as its prestigious Monte Carlo casino. The Principality is also a famous place for sailing in Europe and a top yachting destination.
2. For outdoor activities: Èze
Èze is a picturesque medieval hill town located on the French Riviera, between Nice and Monaco. With its winding cobblestone streets, stunning vistas of the Mediterranean coast, and quaint village atmosphere, it’s no wonder that Èze has become one of the most popular day trips from Nice.
The town’s most popular attraction is the Jardin Exotique (Exotic Garden) which offers stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea and Monaco. You can also explore the cobblestone streets, take in some unique local art, or enjoy a leisurely stroll through the fragrant gardens that surround the village.
3. For a taste of Italy in the south of France: Menton
Menton is the last French stop before crossing into Italy. This quaint Mediterranean fishing village offers breathtaking views of the sea and a glimpse into Italian culture without ever having to leave France.
This charming town is renowned for its annual Lemon Festival, as well as its array of outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming, or sunbathing on one of Menton’s many beaches. If you’re looking to try some local specialties, make sure to check out some of Menton’s seafood restaurants and bistros.
4. For beachgoers: Villefranche-sur-mer
Villefranche-sur-mer is a stunning coastal village located right next to Nice. The town is renowned for its secluded beach and crystal clear waters, which attract way fewer tourists than the ones in Nice.
During the day, visitors can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, or sunbathing on one of Villefranche’s pebbly beaches.
5. For cinema lovers: Cannes
Cannes is a glamorous city that’s best known for hosting the annual Cannes Film Festival. Although it’s mostly associated with glitz and glamour, there’s much more to this vibrant city than just the red carpet.
Take some time out from relaxing on the beach for a stroll around the Old Town, where you can explore art galleries and quirky boutiques. And of course, no visit to Cannes would be complete without visiting Palais des Festivals et des Congrès (the Festival Palace), which hosts the iconic Cannes Film Festival every year.
6. For a beautiful old town: Antibes
Antibes is a delightful old town that dates back to Ancient Greek times. Here you can stroll through the narrow cobblestone streets of the Old Town, browse local art galleries and boutiques, or simply soak up some sun in one of the many parks.
The Old Town boasts some stunning architecture, such as the impressive Grimaldi Castle (where the Picasso Museum is now located)
and medieval ramparts. After exploring the historic district, why not take a boat ride along the coast to explore some of Antibe’s beautiful beaches?
Where to stay in Nice
Some of the best hotels in Nice include the Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal, the InterContinental Carlton Cannes, and the Le Negresco. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious experience or are on a budget, there is something to suit every taste and budget in Nice.
So why not take a few days out of your holiday to explore some of these wonderful
How many days should you spend on the French Riviera?
As many as you can! Nice is the capital of Alpes-Maritimes département, Provence–Alpes–Côte-d’Azur région, southeastern France and there is a lot to see in this beautiful area. Hence I recommend planning for at least a week to make sure you have enough time to enjoy everything it has to offer.
If you don’t have a lot of time on your hand, then I highly recommend booking one of these tours from Nice to see a couple of places on the same day.
French Riviera 10- Day itinerary
- Day 1: Arrive in Nice and spend at least one full day exploring the city.
- Day 2: Go to Monaco for a day of sightseeing and shopping.
- Day 3: Hike the Nietzsche Path to Èze for stunning views of the Mediterranean coast and picturesque cobblestone streets.
- Day 4: Take a day trip to Menton, the last stop before Italy, to experience Italian culture without leaving France.
- Day 5: Head to Villefranche-sur-mer for some beach fun or try your hand at snorkeling or swimming in its crystal clear waters.
- day 6: Spend a day in Cannes watching films at the famous Festival Palace or enjoying a stroll along the La Croisette promenade.
- Day 7: Explore Antibes and its beautiful old town, or take a boat tour to the nearby beaches.
- Day 8: Spend a relaxing day at Nice.
- Day 9:Take a guided boat tour of the French Riviera coastline or visit the Chagal Museum in Nice.
- Day 10: Still in Nice, climb to the top of Castle Hill for a final goodbye. Depart with lasting memories of your trip!
Conclusion: 6 Best day trips from Nice, France
That’s a wrap! I hope this article has given you some great ideas for your next French Riviera getaway.
With its unique culture, stunning scenery, and rich history, it’s no wonder that the French Riviera has become one of Europe’s top tourist destinations.
From strolling the charming streets of Antibes to spending a day at Cannes’ iconic Festival Palace, there’s truly something here for everyone.
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.