10 Best Things To Do in Nice, France

Here’s a selection of some of the best things to do in Nice, if you’re lucky enough to be visiting this charming city on the Côte d’Azur. Nice is the dazzling jewel of the French Riviera, where azure skies meet the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean, and the scent of roses from the market perfume the air. Whether you’re a seasoned traveller or a first-timer, this seaside town in the South of France has something for everyone. 

10 Best Things to Do in Nice, France

  1. Cycle or stroll along the Promenade des Anglais

    Begin your journey with a leisurely stroll, or cycle, along the famous Promenade des Anglais. (The promenade was named after the English who used to frequent the warmer Riviera in winter, and who commissioned the promenade to be built in the 1820s so they could walk beside the seaside.) The sweeping views of the Mediterranean Sea and the iconic blue chairs along the promenade provide the perfect backdrop for a romantic evening or a relaxing afternoon. 
  2. Wander around the Old Town (Vieux Nice)

    Get lost in the narrow, winding streets of Old Town, where colourful buildings house a treasure trove of boutiques, cafés, and local markets. Don’t miss the Cours Saleya Market, where the vibrant stalls burst with fresh produce, flowers, and regional specialties. The market is open daily, although on Mondays it makes way for an antique/flea market (marché à la brocante), so if you’re heading to the market for its famous flower stalls, make sure it’s not a Monday! 
  3. Hike up Castle Hill (Colline du Château): A Panoramic Paradise

    Hike (there are stairs with about 300 steps) or take the elevator from the beach side to Castle Hill for breathtaking panoramic views of Nice, its colourful Old Port, and the sweeping French Riviera coastline. You’ll be struck by the amazing azure blue colour of the sea in Nice’s Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels), and instantly understand why the Riviera is called the Côte d’Azur. The lush gardens, medieval waterfall, and remnants of an ancient castle make this a must-visit spot. It’s an Instagram-worthy moment waiting to happen! Best time to visit is two hours before sunset. 
  4. Marvel at the Matisse Museum: A Brush with Art

    Art enthusiasts, rejoice! The Matisse Museum pays homage to the renowned French artist Henri Matisse. Located in a 17th-century villa, the museum showcases a stunning collection of his paintings, sculptures, and personal belongings. Please Note: The museum will be closed for climate control work until 14 March and its permanent Matisse collection will only return on 27 May. Nice offers a great four-day Museum Pass for just 15€ that allows you access to all the town’s municipal museums and art galleries (around 12 of them!).
  5. Admire the paintings at Chagall National Museum

    For another artistic delight, visit the Chagall National Museum. Russian born Marc Chagall’s biblical paintings are on display in a purpose-built space that bathes the artwork in natural light, creating a serene and captivating atmosphere. The museum, which was established during Chagall’s lifetime, is not included in the Nice Museum Pass (because it’s a national rather than municipal museum) BUT it offers free access to all on the first Sunday of each month.
  6. Picnic at Mont Boron with a View of Nice and the Riviera

    Lace up your hiking boots and head to Mont Boron (on the opposite side of Nice port to Castle Hill) for a scenic trek with spectacular panoramic views from the Mont-Alban fort – all the way from the Estérel to Italy! The area includes 11km of marked trails in the midst of a 57 ha Mediterranean forest. (Aleppo pines were planted here in the late 1800s). Pack a picnic to savour the view of the Alps or the Med. And if you have the energy, you could even venture on a beautiful 45-minute trail (all downhill) to Villefranche. (You could catch a bus or train back to Nice afterwards.)
  7. Indulge your senses at Fenocchio: Ice Cream Extravaganza

    Indulge your taste buds at family-owned Glacier Fenocchio, an iconic ice cream parlour in Place Rossetti in the Old Town. With an extensive menu of around 59 ice-creams and 35 sorbets, this is an ice cream lover’s paradise. Flavours range from the classics to the most original, featuring unique flavours like lavender, rose, and olive. Glacier Fenocchio is usually closed from mid-November to mid-February. Open Tuesdays to Sundays.
  8. Light a Candle at Nice Cathedral (Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate)

    Step into tranquility at Nice Cathedral, a masterpiece of Baroque architecture. Marvel at the intricate details of the interior and light a candle or two for your loved ones. 
  9. Visit Orthodox Churches that are Cultural Gems

    The Russian Orthodox CathedralLa Cathédrale Saint-Nicolas – in the heart of Nice transports visitors to Russia, and is one of the most important outside of Russie. Its  stunning architecture, golden domes and intricate details make this cathedral a cultural gem. There’s also a lovely garden where you may spot the odd bunny or two hopping around. Please note: there is a fee to enter the main part of the church. The Church of Saint Spyridon is also worth a visit – it serves the local Greek community (which began growing in the 1930s), and includes one of the most impeccable displays of pure Byzantine decorative art in Nice. It’s tiny and exquisite with beautiful stained glass work and mural paintings. 
  10. Enjoy the Nice Jazz Festival for Musical Magic in the Mediterranean

    If you’re visiting in July, make sure to catch the world famous Nice Jazz Festival. Established in 1948, it’s one of the oldest jazz festivals in the world. Immerse yourself in the soulful melodies and rhythmic beats as international jazz legends and emerging talents take the stage against the backdrop of the Mediterranean sunset. Bring a blanket, some snacks, and let the music carry you away for an unforgettable evening under the stars. The Nice Jazz Festival is not just a music event; it’s a celebration of the harmonious blend of culture, ambiance, and artistic expression that defines this vibrant city on the French Riviera. P.S. If you’re in Nice during February, don’t miss the Nice Carnival, a spectacular extravaganza!

We’re just getting started. There’s so much more – Michelin-star restaurants like JAN (in Nice’s Old Port district, which uses only local and seasonal ingredients from surrounding farms), and the fabulous Le Plongeoir, which hovers metres above the Mediterranean on a pillar of rock. And then there’s the Carré d’Or (Golden Square) which is a shopper’s paradise if you’re after luxury items from the likes of Armani, Cartier, Chanel, Hermès, Louis Vuitton and more.

Nice, with its blend of history, art, and natural beauty, is a destination that captivates the soul. From the sun-kissed Promenade des Anglais to the vibrant streets of Old Town, each experience in Nice is a chapter in a story that you’ll cherish forever. Pack your bags and get ready for a journey filled with sunshine, culture, and the undeniable charm of the French Riviera!

Jenni Baxter
Jenni Baxter
Jenni is a co-founder and editor of Riviera Traveller. She has been based in Antibes for over 10 years, and has been visiting the Côte d’Azur since she was a student. As a celebrity journalist for international magazines, she has watched hundreds of movies at the Cannes Film Festival, interviewed stars at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc and watched the Monaco Grand Prix from all the key angles. Jenni has also lived in South Africa, London and Australia... and co-wrote The Expat Confessions. She is happiest paddle boarding on the Med with her 3 daughters, or sipping rooibos in the African bush. Contact

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