This guide of places to see in Nice will help you prepare your itinerary in the capital of the French Riviera making the most of your time.
Located by the Mediterranean Sea, a few kilometers from Italy and Monaco, this city is one of the most popular tourist destinations for the French and travelers from all over the world. In addition to its privileged location, Nice is seduced for its mild climate, the beaches of crystal clear waters and blue tones, museums and art galleries and above all, for its beautiful historic center.
Based on the day we spent in this city during our trip to the French Riviera, we have made a list of what we believe are the best things to do in Nice. Let's get started!
1. Vielle Ville
Getting lost in the narrow streets of the Old Town of Nice without rushing is a real pleasure for the senses and one of the best things to do in Nice.
In these narrow, curved streets surrounded by historic buildings with wooden shutters and ocher and yellow colors, you will find traditional stores, terraces full of people, markets and old churches, which will make you fall in love at first sight.
In addition to passing through many charming corners, you can not leave the old town without tasting the chocolate of Maison Auer that opened in 1820, the socca of Chez Pipo and the ice cream of Azzurro or Fenocchio.
In this area you will also find some of the best restaurants to eat in Nice such as Le Millésime and Les Amoureux.
A good way to learn about the history of the city and not miss anything in the old town is to book this free tour of Nice Free! with an English speaking guide, considered one of the best free tours in Nice.
2. Promenade des Anglais
The Promenade des Anglais is an avenue of 7 kilometers along the beach of the Bay of Angels and another of the most famous places to see in Nice.
As a curiosity, the name comes from its first tourists, mostly British, who took advantage of the good weather to take long walks along this avenue.
It is worth walking down this long street to see the beautiful facades of Belle Epoque style buildings among which the exclusive hotel Negresco (that can be actually booked at https://karta.com and take a picture in the famous blue chairs, which have become a symbol of the city.
It is also a very popular place for lovers of outdoor sports, especially roller skaters.
From this promenade you can access the city's public beaches for a refreshing swim in the turquoise blue waters so characteristic of the Côte d'Azur.
3. St. Nicholas Cathedral
The Cathedral of St. Nicholas is the largest Russian Orthodox cathedral outside Russia and one of the most amazing places to visit in Nice.
This church, which bears some resemblance to St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, was built in 1912 in honor of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia by the large community of Russians who fell in love with this city and stayed to live there.
Although the cathedral is a little far from the center, about half an hour walk, it is an architectural jewel that you can not miss.
You can visit its interior with several frescoes from 9h to 12h and from 14h to 18h.
A good option to visit this cathedral and other points of interest, if you do not have much time, is to book the Nice tourist bus with recorded commentary in English.
4. Castle Hill
At the end of the Promenade des Anglais you can walk or take the elevator up to the Castle Hill, the best viewpoint in Nice.
At the top there are a few remains of an ancient medieval fortress, a botanical garden and a large artificial waterfall, but the best are the fantastic views of the orange roofs of the old city, the Port Lympia and the Promenade des Anglais.
5. Lascaris Palace and Matisse Museum
The Lascaris Palace, baroque style and located in the Old Town, is one of the most essential palaces to visit in Nice.
Built in the seventeenth century this palace stands out for an ornate exterior in the style of Italian palaces and an ornate interior in which permanent collections on the history of the city are exhibited.
Visiting the Matisse Museum dedicated to the brilliant French painter Henri Matisse, who lived in the city for more than 30 years, is another of the best things to do in Nice.
In this museum located in the seventeenth century Villa des Arenes you will enjoy an extensive tour of the paintings, dominated by the use of intense colors, of this renowned artist.
Visiting hours of the palace: Wednesday to Monday from 10 am to 6 pm.
Museum visiting hours: Wednesday to Monday from 10 am to 5 pm.
6. The Flower Market, one of the places to see in Nice.
Marché aux Fleurs or Flower Market of Cours Saleya, located in the heart of the old town, is the most famous and beautiful market to see in Nice.
In this market, which opens every day at 6 am except Monday, you can find flowers of all kinds, food, vegetables, spices and souvenirs.
From 6 pm this picturesque market is dismantled and the square is filled with parasols and terraces that invite you to sit and enjoy the atmosphere.
7. Churches of Nice
Among the most important churches to see in Nice are:
Cathedral of Santa Reparata: this church built between 1650 and 1699 is one of the best examples of the Roman Baroque style in Nice.
Church of St-Jacques (Gesù): it is another example of baroque architecture with a Corinthian façade and a 42 meters high bell tower.
Basilica of Notre Dame: this neo-gothic church with a style similar to that of Notre Dame de Paris has an interior with 8 side chapels.
8. Port Lympia
Built in the 18th century, the port of Nice is one of the oldest of the Côte d'Azur and another place to visit in Nice.
This beautiful harbor carved into the rock at the foot of the ancient citadel Lympia, is surrounded by historic buildings with the typical colors of the city and has numerous yachts and pleasure boats.
From this port depart some of the most popular boat trips among travelers visiting the city as this one that will take you to Cap Ferrat or this one that runs along the coast of Nice and Monaco.
9. Nice squares
Another of the must-see places in Nice are its beautiful squares such as the Palais de Justice, the Rossetti and above all, the Massena and Garibaldi.
The Massena Square is the most beautiful of the city to be surrounded by old buildings, which abound in the terraces of restaurants and quaint cafes. This square also has one of the most amazing works of art in the city, 7 sculptures of people kneeling on top of a pole and representing the 7 continents.
Another of the most famous is Piazza Garibaldi, surrounded by elegant buildings with yellow ochre facades and green shutters.
10. Excursions from Nice
A good way to get to know the French Riviera, if you do not want to rent a car, is to stay in the city of Nice and take day trips to the most beautiful towns and villages, which are within walking distance.
Among the excursions with guide in Spanish best rated by travelers you have:
- Côte d'Azur Excursion.
- Excursion to Monaco and Eze
- Tour of Cannes, Antibes and Saint-Paul-de-Vence
- Excursion to the villages of Provence
- Excursion to San Remo and Menton