7 Nice Day Trips from Nice

Last updated Jun 1, 2019 @ 10:13 am [clear h=10]

Are you planning a trip to Nice, France? Congratulations on your decision, you’re going to have an awesome time! Elton John and Brigitte Bardot have homes in the area for a reason!

The whole region Provence – Alpes – Côte d’Azur, however, features some other amazing cities that you shouldn’t miss! I’d suggest that you dedicate 3 days for Nice and use the rest of your time to exploring the surrounding areas taking plenty of day trips from Nice.

If you’re looking for a private day tour from Nice to explore the French Riviera, this one is one of the best you can get and it can even be tailored to your needs.

Click here to check the price & availability of the French Riviera Private Tour

Scooter trips?

You’ll be driving by the coastline a lot so if you’re visiting in warmer months, you might consider renting a scooter instead of a car. The rides are incredibly scenic and you can enjoy the views much better if you’re riding on a scooter, like a real French person :)

By Bus or by Train?

Many of the towns are accessible by public transport. It’s possible to get by bus anywhere too, but the bus routes are long and take so much longer than trains. So if you’re not driving, use the convenient train network. As you’ll see below, there’s one exception among these Nice day trips: Saint Paul de Vence.

Here is my list of the best day trips from Nice by train and various other means of transport. We stayed in Nice for a couple of weeks and thus had a lot of time to explore the surrounding areas.

I’ll also suggest some highly rated tours, in case you like exploring places that way. Tours covering several cities (always out of Nice) are in a map at the end of this post.

Villefranche-sur-Mer


8min / 8min / 7min

Nice – Villefranche distance: 8 km / 5 miles

The charming little village of Villefranche neighbors with Nice. The ride is short and many residents of Nice come here for Villefranche’s pebble beach, with pebbles much smoother than Nice’s rocks.

You can have a delicious lunch at a classy restaurant with a view of the sea, then enjoy walking up and down the charming streets while you digest.

There’s a 16th-century Citadel with a great lookout points also, and it’s usually quite empty. You’ll be able to get grand views of the sea, with frequent cruise ships anchoring in nearby waters.

The distance from Nice is even walkable, if you feel up for it you should manage the hike in under an hour.

This is by far the easiest day trip from Nice. You can spend a full day in Villefranche, or even a few hours would do.

You can also take this 4 hour tour, during which you’ll get a tour of Villefranche and will be able to see some villas from up close.

Villefranche sur Mer is one of the easiest Nice France day trips
Villefranche can also get busy with tourists. It’s a stone throw’s away from Nice, after all!
View of Villefranche sur Mer - one of the easiest Nice day trips
View of Villefranche sur Mer. The railway leads straight to Nice.

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Monaco

20 min / 20 min / 23 min

Nice – Monaco distance: 22 km / 14 miles

The ride to Monaco is beautiful! If you’re on a scooter, don’t forget to stop often on the way and take photos :)

Monaco definitely cannot be missed. Not only because it’s the second smallest country in the world, but also because of the grand casinos and unbelievably luxurious yachts.

You should definitely spend some time at the port just admiring the gorgeous polished yachts and thinking what a burden it would be to own one (kidding!).

If you’re an F1 fan, schedule your trip for the time when the Grand Prix takes place in Monaco.

Walking up to the royal castle and strolling around the area is not a bad idea either. This upper part of town is the nicest in the late afternoon when shadows become long.

As lavish as Monaco can sometimes be, there’s an option to fly a helicopter to get from Nice to Monaco.

As Monte Carlo is a multi-level city, everybody uses elevators to get up and down the hills, so if you want to experience how locals navigate around their city, this is something you should definitely try out.

On you travel from Nice to Monaco, stop in Eze, another beautiful coastal village. I would definitely suggest visiting Monaco on a Nice day trip rather than staying overnight.

Click here to check the price and availability of a Half Day Trip to Monaco

 

Sainte Devote Church Monaco
You need to visit Monaco while in Nice. It’s a unique country! Here in front of the Sainte Devote Church.
Monaco Bay in Monte Carlo - one of great day trips Nice
Monaco Bay in Monte Carlo.. Some of the yachts are incredible!

Cannes

28 min / 28 min / 26 min

Nice – Cannes distance: 33 km / 21 miles

Even if you’re a hardcore backpacker and hate glamour and flashy style, you should still make a day trip to Cannes from Nice and allow yourself to be seduced by the city of the rich and famous.

Le Suquet, the old town elevated on a hill above the city offers the finest views and the waterfront avenue lined with palm trees is pleasant to stroll. No trip to Cannes would be complete without that.

The city itself is a labyrinth of small winding streets and the overall ambiance is welcoming. Beware of the Film Festival, though! That’s when Cannes turns crowded and chaotic.

Nice to Cannes day trip can be easily done on a scooter and I can highly recommend it!

Click here to check out the Half Day Trip from Nice to Cannes

View of Cannes from Le Suquet - Day trip from Nice France
View of Cannes from Le Suquet

Antibes

24 min / 24 min / 29 min

Nice – Antibes distance: 23 km / 14 miles
Perhaps you’ll find Antibes as inspirational as the French writer Guy de Maupassant did!

Even today, this city by the sea is infused with history. The archeological museum housed in a 17th-century fortress and Picasso’s museum housing one of his two biggest collections, are the best examples of what art and history has meant for Antibes.

Juan les Pins is a town in the commune of Antibes and the beaches around it will convince everybody to get a soak.

You can use any means of transport you like to get from Nice to Antibes, but I must recommend the scooter again! :)

Click here to check out a Half Day Trip Visiting Antibes from Nice

An old fortress in Antibes France
An old fortress in Antibes

Menton

24 min / 39 min

Nice – Menton distance: 30 km / 19 miles

Menton became famous mainly for its yearly lemon festival, or Fête du Citron. The festival celebrates locally grown lemons, and is indeed a showcase of creativity – you wouldn’t believe what giant statues and designs one can make with lemons!

Outside the February festival time, the city is quite relaxed. However, there can still be all kinds of events going on – we witnessed a meet up of old American cars & Harley Davidsons during our visit.

Old French buildings breathe magic like almost every city on the French Riviera. Walk the streets, don’t try to resist the numerous candy shops and finish the day off at the little beach, preferably with an ice cream! An impressive Basilica St. Michel towers over the beach and guess what…it offers great views :)

So as not to feel the kilometres in your feet, invest in good walking shoes.

The road from Nice to Menton is mostly highway, that’s why I don’t recommend using the scooter.

Click here to check out a day trip from Nice featuring Menton

 

Menton Beach - one of the best day trips Nice France
Menton Beach on a day trip from Nice
Houses by the main beach in Menton
Houses by the main beach in Menton
Showcase of old cars in Menton Framce
While visiting Menton, we were lucky to come at a time of a showcase of old cars :)

Grasse

40 min / 1h 12 min

Nice – Grasse distance: 44 km / 27 miles

Grasse is a special place thanks to its perfume making tradition. Have you seen the movie Perfume: The Story of a Murderer? The scenes are set here! Even though the actual shooting was done in many other places. I wrote about it here.

The streets are beautifully winding around nice little squares with a large number of galleries and perfume shops. The famous Fragonard perfumery is located here. Pay a visit to this big one or any of the smaller perfumeries – for example Galimard or Molinard.

The art of perfume making is indeed fascinating and they have perfected the craft right there, in Grasse.

Click here to check out a day tour from Nice featuring Grasse

 

Fragonard Grasse France
Fragonard: The most famous perfurmery of Grasse
Grasse - one of the most pleasant day tours from Nice France
Grasse is not just perfumes but also unique architecture.

St. Paul de Vence

21 min / 56 min

Nice – St. Paul de Vence distance: 19 km / 12 miles

St. Paul de Vence is a little medieval town sitting on top of a hill. It does look picturesque. It has a lot of smaller art galleries and museums, but I found just strolling with an ice cream cone in hand to be the best pastime there.

Many French artists lived in the area, such as Chagall. Oh, and former Rolling Stones bassist has one of his homes there! That does justify a visit, doesn’t it ;)

Click here to check out a Wine Day Tour from Nice featuring St. Paul de Vence

 

South of France village St. Paul de Vence
A tiny village perched atop a hill. A trip to St. Paul de Vence balances out all the beachside tours :)
Charming little squares in Saint Paul de Vence on a day trip from Nice France
Charming little squares in Saint Paul de Vence

Bonus t(r)ip: Lavender fields

Especially if you don’t have plans to hang out for a couple days in Provence, you could use a day trip from Nice to lavender fields. Everyone needs to see those, right? Well, don’t judge, but I didn’t :D It’s actually not so easy near Nice.

Nevertheless, I’ve researched lavender fields near Nice. First of all, you should be aware that lavender is not traditionally grown in the Riviera region.

The closest you can get to lavender is North of Grasse. See a map here. However, most of the lavender grown on Grasse lavender fields is of the wild variety, not the perfectly groomed ones you know from photos.

The safest option is to take a lavender tour from Nice. There are Provence lavender tours from Nice that take 9 hours and during which you’ll visit some nice areas of Provence, including Aix en Provence.

Click here to check the price and availability of Provence Lavender Tour from Nice

Lavender blooms from June until the end of July, sometimes possibly even in August. Each year it’s a little different, depending on the current climate conditions.

Lavender Fields
Do you long to see the lavender fields..? I get it..

Of course there are many more places you can visit on several day tours from Nice, especially if you decide to drive further away. For example, Saint Tropez, Aix en Provence, Marseille are all worth exploring.

In case you’re interested even in taking a day trip to Italy from Nice, the Italian Riviera is not far either and can be easily visited in a day. Like on this tour, in which they’ll take you through the picturesque spots. It’s a group tour and you’ll share a minibus with other people.

Here’s a map of the area around Nice and 5 selected excursions from Nice covering more than one town, but always departing from Nice. Click on each mark to learn more.


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Would you rather indulge in a private tour that could be fully customized to your needs? Here’s a high-rated one.

Click here to check the price & availability of the French Riviera Private Tour

And finally, French Riviera and the neighboring Provence are beautiful any time of the year. If you long for photos in purple lavender fields, head there in the summer. Anytime from spring to autumn is going to be ideal. Early summer is my favorite time of year to visit, and it’s just perfect for touring on a scooter!

Bon Voyage! (that’s “Have a nice trip” in French)

Have you ever visited the South of France? If so, what places did you go to and what was your favourite one?


 
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Best day trips from Nice, France
 

34 thoughts on “7 Nice Day Trips from Nice”

  1. Lovely!! I have been to Nice and Monaco before, though I am in need to come back, especially for the F1 Grand Prix in May… it has been my childhood dream to go for the GP :D
    I will make sure to dedicate some time to the other villages too. Côte d’Azur is amazing!
    Great pictures by the way!

  2. Eze is another medieval town, just seventeen Kms from Nice, worthy of a visit. It isn’t necessary to hire a car or scooter as the buses are excellent as are the trains. If you are not used to driving in French cities public transport can be much safer and far more relaxing.

  3. Great post Veronika :) I really loved the quaintness of Ville-Franche and it’s beautiful beach. I would also highly recommend people staying in Nice to visit Saint Tropez, or better yet to stay a night or two or three. It’s truly an eye-opening experience. I’ve written a guide for the area here: http://www.tripchow.com/saint-tropez/ Same with Cannes, I think the city warrants a stay as well if possible.

    • Thank you, Gale! Good to hear you’ve enjoyed Saint Tropez too. I found it quite hard to get there from Nice, actually! The road was always stuck and train connections were not good at all. How did you go?

  4. I am in Nice as I write this, staying at a relative’s house who retired here from Germany. The water is refreshing, the lavender divine, Grasse is a great place for photography and perfume. We are going into Cannes today and to Soleil I believe. I’m not good at spelling french yet lol!
    We will also attend the Jazz Festival coming up right after Bastille Day. Woo Hoo!

    • Wow Ingrid, that sounds amazing! So many fun adventures at the Cote d’Azur! Enjoy your time to the fullest :)

  5. I’ve been to Côte d’Azur so many times, I’m deeply in love with it! Just outside of Nice, in the town of Saint-Laurent-du-Var, there’s an enormous shopping mall called Cap3000, and also the town’s port area is quite nice and quiet. Also, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin is worth a visit too! It has a lovely pebble beach and it’s a great place to stay in. In Menton, which borders Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, you can visit the Jean Cocteau museum. If you’re into walking and hiking, I can suggest two paths: Chemin de Corbusier in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin and Chemin Nietzsche in Eze. Both boast amazing views, but the latter goes all the way up the mountain and is much more challenging than the former! Monaco is amazing, I wish I lived there! There are lots of awesome spots, such as Larvotto beach (and the promenade which connects it with the city center), the Oceanography museum, the Prince’s palace, the Japanese garden and Princess Grace’s rose garden. Can’t wait to go back!

  6. Very nice helpful blog. Thanks a lot.
    Is antibes and Grasse doable in one day? And Eze and Menton can be done in one day?

    • Hello Kavya.
      Antibes & Grasse: Yes, doable, but you’ll have to rush a little. Grasse can easily take 4+ hours as there are all the perfume factories and the city is charming. I think it makes more sense to combine Antibes with Cannes.
      As for Eze & Menton, I’d say yes. We basically just rode through Eze and didn’t see much of it, but it’s on the way to Menton :)
      How many days do you plan for the French Riviera?

  7. I’m planning a move to Nice in a few months and am considering buying a scooter. Are most of the main roads accessible to scooters? I currently live in Taiwan and the main highways here ban scooters. Just wondering if buying a scooter there is a crazy idea or one worth exploring.

    • Hello Andi, it’s not a crazy idea at all. Most locals use scooters. You only cannot go on the highway with a scooter (unless it’s a super strong type). But you can take trips out of Nice on local roads. We even went all the way to Cannes on a scooter!
      So I’d say go for it. Alternatively, you can rent a scooter for the first month you’ll spend there and make sure by yourself.
      Enjoy Nice! Btw. I think when relocating to Nice, the no. 1 challenge is to open a bank account and get a nice place to stay :) Good luck with it all.

    • Getting a scooter is a good idea and you can go everywhere on one, including on the motorways, that is if it’s a 125cc one. If it’s a little one then you can go everywhere apart from motorways (I think). I live in Nice and like getting about on my scooter. It’s also much easier to park than a car, and you cut through busy traffic easily too.

      • Thanks for joining in, Oliver!
        My boyfriend had the smaller scooter and accidentally went on a motorway and was fined €50 for that. But at least the policemen were quite friendly :)

  8. Love the article on Nice and Monaco and many other places to go as me and my wife will be in Nice in late august / early September.Thanks for the great advice and the many places we can visit.Much appreciated.Lee

    • Thank you for reading Lee! And let me know if your wife needs any more specific tips and info :) I’m sure she’ll love it!

  9. This is an excellent list of day trips from Nice. I visited all apart from Grasse and Menton. Your list comes highly recommended. Just makes me want to go back! Great read. Well done.

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