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Best Things to do in Nice, France

Best Things to do in Nice, France

Nice is a fantastic choice for all those looking for an idyllic retreat to the French Riviera. If you are looking for inspiration for your next trip to Nice, look no further, read on, we've got you covered!

Walk along Nice's world-class promenade and discover some of its top historical sites

Nice is home to a world-class Promenade, known as 'The Promanade des Anglais' that stretches for nearly four kilometres from the seafront to the Place Masséna. It's a great place to take a walk, sit, people-watch or go for a jog. There are plenty of bars and restaurants along the way, making it ideal for an afternoon out with friends.

One of the must see sites for all you history buffs’ is The Basilica of Saint Jean Cap Ferrat which is perched atop a hill overlooking Nice with magnificent views across the Mediterranean. The basilica is a popular pilgrimage destination for Catholics, and is home to an impressive cathedral and ornate royal tombs.

Another not to be missed historical hotspot is the Nice Cathedral. Known as The Cathedral of Notre Dame de Nice, the cathedral is a stunning example of Gothic architecture and a popular tourist destination. The interior is adorned with intricate stained glass windows, marble columns and tremendous murals depicting religious scenes from the Bible.

Villa Jovis, once owned by Emperor Augustus of Rome himself, is one of the most famous luxury residences in all of Europe. Today, visitors can explore the fascinating gardens and palatial villa, soaking in the Mediterranean views from it’s landscaped grounds.

If all that isn't enough for you, then take a wander around Old Town Nice. A charming pedestrian-only district full of boutique stores and restaurants. Old Town Nice is only minutes from the beachfront, a must-do while staying in Nice.

Plenty of accommodation options ranging from private villas to budget hostels

For those looking for the full authentic French experience, rent out one of Nice's traditionally styled villas and palazzos along the French Riviera, and take in breathtaking views of far-reaching vineyards and rolling hills along the idyllic Cote d'Azur, the perfect countryside escape. With price per night averaging €80, it's certainly something to consider.

Of course, a range of amazing hotels are available, fully equipped with pools, spas and dining ranging from around €50-€100 on average.

For those on a budget, there are several cheap and cheerful hostels such as the HI-Nice youth hostel, which is located in Old Town and costs €24 for a bed in a dormitory or €28 for a single occupancy ‘suite’.

With artisan creators and high-end boutiques alike, Nice is the shopping capital of the world

Nice has some of the world's best shopping, there's no need to go anywhere else, they have it all. The city is home to a large number of high-end fashion stores as well as some great artisan boutiques. For something more unique and special, head to one of the many art galleries that line the streets of Nice. These galleries typically sell paintings and sculptures at prices above €100 but deals can be found on occasion.

Fine dining galore

If you're looking for a hearty meal then head to one of Nice's many restaurants, such as Le Lido on the seafront or La Coupole in the heart of Old Town. Alternatively, stop by one of Nice's markets where you can purchase fresh produce and local cheeses. As you can imagine, in Nice, prices vary drastically depending on the restaurant, though on average expect to spend about €20 per person.

Try out several aqua sports in the azure waters of the Bay of Angels

Snorkelling and diving in Nice is a popular activity, with crystal blue waters and plenty of available dive sites perfect for both beginners and experienced divers alike. The price for a guided dive can range from €59 for a three-hour adventure to €149 for an overnight dive package. Prices quoted are often inclusive of all equipment, instruction and insurance.

Jet skis, water skiing and wakeboarding are also popular sports to practice while on holiday in Nice and are offered by numerous providers. If you're looking for a little more oomph in your holiday, parasailing or windsurfing are also readily available. Prices range from €32 for a half-hour session to €53 for an hour-long ride.

Stunning Walking and Cycling routes along the Coté d'Azur

If you're in the mood for some hiking then head to Parc national du Mercantour, which spans 184 square kilometres and offers spectacular views from its summit in the French Alps as well as numerous walking trails. There's also a ski resort at one of the park's peaks, so for those who hadn't previously considered Nice as a winter escape, it might make a nice change from your usual winter getaway.

Nice, and more widely the The French Riviera, is home to a series of national parks, covering an area the size of Luxembourg. Whilst most are actually on the mainland, many can be accessed from Nice either by kayak or car via ferry. Some of the most popular of these national parks include the stunning Parc National des Calanques de la Corniche and the much larger Parc National du Mercantour.

Parc National des Calanques de la Corniche, located in Nice's bay, has dramatic cliffs and caves dotting its coastline. The park is relatively small at just over 8,000 hectares but it offers superb views of Nice.

Nice offers some of the most dramatic road cycling routes in the world. For those of you looking for a challenge to suit all levels, the Nice Cycling Route is probably a good place to start. This 94km stretch of tarmac links two of Nice's most iconic attractions, La Baie des Anges and Promenade des Anglais. Along the way, you'll pass by Place Massena and famous Avenues Jean Jaurès and François Mitterrand, before reaching the seafront for a final ride along the Côte d'Azur.

Spas and relaxation fit for a queen

If you fancy a bit of relaxation, why not explore one of Nice's many spas such as ValmontSPA, which is set in a converted convent, or you could try out one of the city's many golf courses. The prices at ValmontSPA vary depending on the treatment but expect to spend upwards of €60. Alternatively, you could find cheaper options for some serious pampering at one of the city's many beauty salons. From facials and mani-pedis to hair treatments and massages, there's something for everyone in Nice. If you're feeling more energetic and want to get your heart rate up, try one of the city’s luxury gyms.

Nice and the French Riviera

A little further out of the city lies Nice's picturesque Riviera. Nestled between dramatic cliff faces, sandy beaches and crystal-clear seas, the Riviera is a paradise for lovers of sun and sand. The coastline here stretches for almost 40 kilometres, offering plenty of opportunities to relax.

One of the most amazing places you can go is Grasse - known for its world-famous perfume companies and its beautiful villas on the hills overlooking the town. You're sure to find your perfect scent. Antibes is a charming Mediterranean resort with plenty of sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters.

Cimiez is another of those ‘must see’ locations. Situated in an ancient Roman necropolis, this UNESCO World Heritage site features some of the best-preserved ruins in Southern Europe. Villefranche-sur-Mer is a pretty seaside town with azure waters and lively nightlife, perfect for those looking for a younger scene.

Monaco - every bit a chic as James Bond himself

If you’re looking to take a day trip outside of Nice, then Monaco should be top of your list. The principality is home to world-famous casinos, luxury shopping and amazing views. Some of the most famous casinos in Monaco include The Monte Carlo Casino, the world-famous Bellagio and The Palace.

Find world-class shopping at Monaco's iconic malls like the Galeries Lafayette and Hermitage. You'll find some of Europe's most famous designer brands in Monaco such as Yves Saint Laurent, Armani and Cartier. Shopping in Monaco doesn't come cheap but it’s well worth the trip. If you're a luxury shopper, then Monaco is worth a visit.

The city has a number of picturesque villages to explore, including Moneghetti Village and Villeneuve-Loubet, which are perfect for a relaxing stroll or picnic lunch.

If you're looking to take in some amazing views then head up to the summit of Monte Carlo where you will be able to gaze across the iconic French beaches and Azure seas.

Some of the top tourist attractions in Monaco for those interested in their culture include the Hermitage Museum and the Botanical Gardens.

Monaco is only a short drive or scenic bus ride away at the cost of a mere €1.50, well worth the visit whether you are looking for adventure, culture or just somewhere delightful to escape!

Water Parks for fun for all the family

Nice is only a short drive to Fréjus, home of one of the biggest and best water parks in the world - Aqua Land! The park itself is home to 18 slides and pools and even a wave machine! So whether you want to lay back in a rubber ring and wend your way down the lazy river with a Pina Colada in hand or reach breakneck speeds racing down the slides, Aqualand makes a fun option for all the family.

While the Aqualand in Fréjus is only a short drive away and well worth the visit, Nice has a number of its own top-notch water parks including Aqua Park '06, Water Fountain Azure and a little further down the coast towards Antibes, Aquasplash. If you would like to visit some of the world's largest water parks then Nice is a great place to start.

Zoos and botanical gardens that will boggle the mind

Parc Phœnix is probably Nice's most impressive zoological attraction. Just minutes away from the city centre, Parc Phœnix offers a fully stocked zoo complete with monkeys, crocodiles and even an insectarium; but perhaps most impressive is their enormous indoor botanical gardens. Walk into a lush tropical paradise and discover an alien world of flora and fauna. Just down the coast from Nice in Frejus is 'Parc Zoologique de Fréjus', home to your more traditional zoological attractions such as lions, tigers and elephants, for those of you that like your wildlife on the larger side.

Art, museums and culture

The 'Musée Matisse' is a museum dedicated to the famed French artist, Henri Matisse. It was built in 1906 by Eugene Meyer, over a period of almost 30 years and includes examples from all phases of the artist's work - drawings, paintings and other artistic works are featured in the collection.

The 'Museum of Fine Arts' in Nice is another must-see for you art buffs out there. Housing one of the biggest art collections in France, you can find paintings by Monet, Cezanne, Gauguin and many other artists as well as sculptures from Michelangelo to Rodin. The museum has a number of gardens that are perfect for a relaxing stroll or picnic lunch.

If you're looking for something more traditional, then the Palace of Monaco is for you. While not a museum in the traditional sense, the palace contains an impressive array of art and antiques. The palace gardens are a dream to wander whilst taking in the beautifully manicured terraces.

The Cannes Film Festival is one of the world's most famous and prestigious festivals of film, attracting some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Held annually in May, it features a plethora of screenings as well as workshops, interviews and other events.

As you might expect of the city that hosts the world's most famous film festival, Cannes is full of vibrant bars, restaurants and nightclubs which you can explore at your leisure. Some of our favourites include the hipster haven 'Le Port des Andes' and the more sophisticated 'Champ de Mars'.

Nice has a number of opera houses and theatres that are worth a visit for those culture vultures amongst you. The Nice Opera House, often known as the 'Blue Ante', is one of the oldest in France, if not the world. Completed in 1875, it seats 1,850 and houses a notable collection of artefacts from around the world. If you're looking to explore art galleries, then head over to the area around Place Massena. Here you'll find some of the city's most prestigious galleries, as well as smaller lesser known independent boutiques.

The are many Theatres that offer productions throughout the year, these include the Théâtre de la Colline and Théâtre du Capitole both situated within the same quarter of the city.

So there you have it, the best things to do on your trip to Nice. We hope you have found the article useful and that it has provided you with some insights and inspiration for your next vacation to Nice - bon voyage!