15 best things to do in Nice on the French Riviera

Things to do in Nice

A colourful history, wealthy heritage and an impressive foodie scene: the best things to do in Nice cater for every want and whim.

An elegant jewel on the Mediterranean coast, Nice is a city that draws the international jetset to its luxury hotels and postcard-perfect beaches. 

From the quaint cobbled streets of the Old Town to the palatial buildings which line the pretty promenade, Nice offers both charm and grandeur to discerning visitors. 

When I visited Nice, it was like stepping into a world of cosmopolitan luxury, but one that hadn’t forgotten it’s roots. I found the Niçois culture to shine through its architecture, its people and perhaps most importantly, its cuisine.

I’ve combined the best things I got up to on my trip Nice with recommendations from locals and fellow travellers to bring you this selection of the best things to do in Nice.

Whether you’re after beach clubs and boat trips, museums and markets, or workshops and wine tasting, discover my pick of the best things to do in Nice on the French Riviera.

Author Bio: Jessie Moore

Jessie Moore is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

1. Stroll along the Promenade des Anglais

In my opinion, one of the best ways to soak up the atmosphere in Nice is to take a slow stroll along the Promenade des Anglais. 

This famous promenade is a long stretch of walkway that runs along the beach, offering unspoilt views of the Mediterranean Sea.

As you wander, you’ll see everything from luxury hotels in Nice and opulent casinos to chilled out beaches.

I loved perching on one of the benches and soaking up the atmosphere as much as I loved grabbing a seat in one of the beach clubs for a beachside cocktail and a bite to eat.

The promenade is also home to several landmarks, including the iconic blue chairs and the famous Negresco Hotel

If you’re feeling active, try renting a bike or a set of rollerblades and cruise along the promenade – just remember your knee pads if you’re a beginner! 

2. Wander the cobbled streets of the old town

Top tours to book: 

Also known as Vieux Nice, the charming old town is located in the heart of the city.

The narrow, cobbled streets are lined with vibrantly colourful buildings, quaint independent shops, and bustling cafés.

Personally, I think one of the best things to do in Nice is to simply wander through the old town and immerse yourself in the local culture.

I loved seeing locals going about their daily lives, and got a real sense of Nice’s history and traditions.

As you stroll through the streets, you’re sure to come across many hidden gems, such as small squares and old churches.

One of the key attractions of the old town is the food – so foodies listen up! You’ll find a a whole host of restaurants and family-owned cafés serving traditional Niçois dishes, including: 

  • Socca – a chickpea flatbread
  • Pissaladière – a type of pizza with onions and anchovies
  • Salade niçoise – a salad with tuna, eggs, and olives

If you have a sweet tooth, I’d recommend stopping at one of the many gelato shops for a sweet treat.

Old Town Streets Nice

Insider travel tip: As you explore the old town, keep an eye out for the famous flower market, which takes place every day except Monday.

Here, you’ll find a vibrant selection of blooms, fruits, and vegetables, as well as local handicrafts and souvenirs. 

3. See the view from La Colline du Château

Opening times: 

  • Between early October and late March: 08:30 – 18:00
  • Between early April and late September: 08:30 – 20:00

For simply stunning panoramic views of Nice, you must visit La Colline du Château. The hill is located centrally in Nice and offers a breathtaking view of the city, the sea, and the surrounding landscape.

To reach the top of the hill, you can either hike up the stairs or take the elevator.

The hike up the stairs can be a bit of a challenge, but I found that it’s well worth it for the views. The elevator is a more comfortable and accessible option, and it’s also free.

La Colline du Château

Once you reach the top, it’s time to take in the beautiful view of Nice and its surroundings. You can see the Promenade des Anglais, the old town, the Port of Nice, and the rolling hills that surround the city.

The view is particularly gorgeous at sunset – I’d recommend a well-timed visit so can make the most of the incredible photo opportunities.

Good to know: On top of the hill, you can also visit the ruins of the Château de Nice for an interesting glimpse into the history of Nice.

4. Spend the day at one of the beach clubs

Nice is known for its beach clubs, so visiting one should definitely be on your list of things to do in Nice.

These clubs offer a luxurious experience and a taste of the high life. Think comfortable sun loungers, decadent cocktails, and access to the Mediterranean Sea.

One of the most popular beach clubs is the Blue Beach Club, which is located on the Promenade des Anglais.

This club offers a private beach area and the chance to enjoy a variety of water sports, such as jet skiing and paddleboarding, at an additional cost.

Another fan-favourite beach club in Nice is the Castel Plage, which you can find near the old town.

View from Beach Club in Nice

If you want to make the day really indulgent, I recommend renting a private cabin at this beach club, which comes with a personal butler service.

Insider travel tip: If you’re looking for something more exclusive, the Paloma Beach Club is a great option. This club is located on the nearby Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat peninsula, which is known for its gorgoeus scenery. 

Discover the best beaches and beach clubs in Nice.

5. Explore the museums of Cimiez Hill

Opening times: 

  • Between early November and late April: 10:00 – 17:00
  • Between early May and late October: 10:00 – 18:00

For history and culture galore, I highly recommend taking a trip to see the museums of Cimiez Hill during your stay in Nice.

This hill is located just a few kilometres north of the city centre, and it’s home to some of the most fascinating museums in the region.

One of the most popular museums on Cimiez Hill is the Musée Matisse, which is dedicated to the life and work of the famous French artist Henri Matisse.

The museum houses an impressive collection of his paintings, sculptures, and drawings, as well as some of his unused paper cut out elements.

Cimiez Hill

Another must-see museum on Cimiez Hill is the Musée Archéologique, which showcases the rich history of the region from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages.

Here, you can admire ancient artefacts and learn about the Roman and Greek influences on the area.

If you’re interested in contemporary art, don’t miss the Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain. It features works by some of the most famous artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.

The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions throughout the year, so be sure to check their schedule before you go for some unexpected gems.

Insider travel tip: As well as these interesting museums, Cimiez Hill is also home to the beautiful gardens of the Franciscan Monastery, which offer a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city. 

6. Head to nearby Saint Paul de Vence

Top tours to book: 

If you’re looking for a charming mediaeval village to explore near Nice, head to the impossibly pretty Saint Paul de Vence.

Located just a short drive away, it’s easily one of the best day trips from Nice and an unmissable spot in my opinion.

This hilltop village is famous for its art galleries, boutique shops, and beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.

You can easily spend hours wandering through the narrow, winding streets of Saint Paul de Vence, admiring the ancient architecture and soaking up the atmosphere.

There are plenty of art galleries to explore, showcasing the talent of both local and international artists.

One of the highlights of Saint Paul de Vence is the Fondation Maeght. It’s a modern art museum and independent art foundation that’s home to works by some of the world’s most famous artists, including Joan Miró and Marc Chagall.

Good to know: If you’re in the mood for some shopping, Saint Paul de Vence won’t disappoint. The village is home to a wide variety of boutique shops, selling everything from handmade jewellery to local wines and cheeses. 

7. Have a drink at Le Plongeoir

Address: 60 Bd Franck Pilatte, 06300 Nice, France

Opening times: Daily, 16:30 – 23:00

For unparalleled views and some mouth-watering drinks, I’d really recommend heading to Le Plongeoir.

This bar and restaurant is located on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, providing captivating views while you dine and drink.

There are two separate areas at Le Plongeoir: the main restaurant and the bar where you can get cocktails and snacks. 

Although prices are on the higher side, the views and atmosphere are absolutely worth it.

Insider travel tip: If you want to eat in the restaurant, you need to book well in advance. Otherwise you can usually get a walk-in table at the bar, but you may have to wait for a little bit – this is what we did and we always managed to get a table in the end.

8. Join a segway tour

Top tours to book: 

A unique and exciting way to explore Nice, joining a segway tour around the city is a fun way to embrace the place.

One of the best things to do in Nice, it’s an enjoyable and efficient way to see the city’s top attractions – and definitely quicker than walking!

During a segway tour, you will be accompanied by a knowledgeable guide who will take you on a fascinating journey through Nice’s streets and landmarks.

Segway Tour in Nice

You will be able to see the city’s highlights, such as the Promenade des Anglais and the old town, from a new perspective.

Segway tours are suitable for all ages and skill levels, and no prior experience is required.

You will receive a brief training session before the tour, and your guide will ensure that you feel comfortable and confident on your segway before you set off onto the streets.

Good to know: The tours usually last around two hours and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to take photos and ask questions during the tour.

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9. Visit the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum

Opening times: 

  • Between early November and late April: Tuesday to Sunday, 11:00 – 18:00
  • Between early May and late October: Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 – 18:00

Prices: 

  • Nice Museum Pass (access to all municipal museums for four days): €15 per person or €10 per person for a group of over 10 people.
  • Individual ticket: €10
  • Groups of over 10 people: €8 per person. 

Art enthusiasts, I’ve included this one for you! A trip to the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum (MAMAC) is one of the best things to do in Nice. It’s home to an impressive collection of art from the 20th and 21st centuries.

Modern and Contemporary Art Museum

As you enter the museum, you will be greeted by a beautiful collection of intricate paintings, detailed sculptures, and captivating installations.

The museum’s collection includes works by some of the most famous artists of the 20th century, including Andy Warhol, Yves Klein, and Roy Lichtenstein.

In addition to its permanent collection, the museum also hosts many temporary exhibitions throughout the year.

These exhibitions showcase the work of contemporary artists from around the world and provide you with a unique opportunity to experience new and exciting art you might never have seen before.

Good to know: If you are interested in learning more about the art you’ve seen, the museum offers guided tours in English.

These tours are led by knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides who can provide you with an in-depth explanation of the art and artists on display.

10. Stop by the Cours Saleya Flower Market

Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday, from around 06:00 until 17:30 – or when they’re sold out!

Top tour to book: Nice Old Town and Castle Hill: Guided Cultural Walking Tour

Colourful and fragrant, wandering through the Cours Saleya Flower Market in Nice is a glorious experience. Located in the historic old town, I love that the market is bustling with life.

As you stroll through the market, you’ll be surrounded by a wonderful array of delicate flowers, exotic plants, and aromatic herbs.

You’ll find everything from bright and beautiful roses to sweet-smelling lavender. 

Cours Saleya Flower Market

The market is also a great place to pick up some fresh produce, including fruits, vegetables, and local specialities.

It’s always bustling with locals and tourists, and I find the vendors to be both friendly and knowledgeable. 

Good to know: If you’re a photographer, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to capture some stunning shots at the market. The colourful stalls and vibrant flowers make for a beautiful backdrop – just be courteous to shoppers and vendors. 

11. Try a perfume making workshop

Top experiences to book: 

Perfume and fragrance has a rich history in the region, so it’s no surprise that there are many workshops and boutiques where you can create your own scent.

I’d highly recommend this as a truly unique and unforgettable activity in Nice.

During one of the workshops, you’ll learn about the different notes and ingredients that make up a perfume, and you’ll have the opportunity to create your own signature scent.

You’ll be guided by a professional perfumer who will help you select the right ingredients and blend them together to create a scent that’s uniquely yours.

There are many different workshops to choose from. These range from short, introductory sessions to more in-depth experiences. 

Some workshops even allow you to design your own perfume bottle and label, making it a truly personalised souvenir of your time in Nice.

Insider travel tip: Little ones can get involved in the fragrant fun too with perfume workshops for children

12. Day trip to Verdon Gorge

Top tour to book: Nice: Gorges of Verdon and Fields of Lavender Tour

If you’re looking for a naturally beautiful day trip from Nice, the Verdon Gorge is the perfect option.

Known affectionately as the ‘Grand Canyon of Europe’, this stunning natural wonder is located about two and a half hours from Nice by car.

Once you arrive, you can explore the gorge by hiking, kayaking, or even rock climbing.

The views are breathtaking, with turquoise waters under towering cliffs. Make sure you bring a camera to capture the incredible scenery!

If you’re not up for an adrenaline-fueled adventure, you can still enjoy the beauty of the Verdon Gorge from the comfort of your car.

There’s a scenic drive that takes you through the heart of the gorge, with plenty of pull-offs for photo opportunities.

Insider travel tip: Before you go, I’d recommend packign plenty of water and snacks, as there are limited facilities in the area. Also, keep in mind that the Verdon Gorge can get crowded during peak season, so plan accordingly.

13. Enjoy a boat cruise

Top boat cruises to book: 

In my opinion, a boat cruise is one of the best ways to explore the captivating coastline of Nice and glimpse more of the French Riviera.

You can choose from a range of options, including private, group, or sunset cruises. 

Harbour in Nice

See the stunning coastline, beaches, and landmarks from a unique perspective as you relax on the boat.

Many boat cruises offer the opportunity to swim in the refreshing waters of the Mediterranean, which offers a great chance to cool off and enjoy a refreshing dip in the sea.

Good to know: Many boat cruises come with expert guides who can provide insight into the history and culture of the Côte d’Azur. So you can learn more about the region and its landmarks while enjoying your cruise.

14. Go on a wine tasting tour

Top tours to book: 

If you’re a wine lover like me, then a wine tasting tour should definitely be on your list of the best things to do in Nice.

The region is known for its delicious wines, in particular the rosé wines that are produced in the Provence area.

There are a whole host of wine tasting tours available from Nice, with options ranging from half-day tours to full-day tours.

Some tours will take you to multiple local vineyards, allowing you to sample a variety of wines and learn about the winemaking process.

During the tour, you’ll learn about the different grape varieties that are grown in the region – and my favourite part, taste the different wines.

Good to know: Many wine tasting tours will also include a visit to a local wine cellar, where you can see how the wine is stored and aged. 

15. Do an e-bike tour of the French Riviera

Top tours to book:

A great way to explore the beautiful landscapes of the French Riviera is to do an e-bike tour.

Eco-friendly and fun, I recommend touring the landscape using electric bikes, allowing you to effortlessly ride up and down the hills while enjoying the fresh Mediterranean breeze.

As well as Nice, explore some of the beautiful nearby areas like Villefranche-sur-Mer and Cap Ferrat.

Villefranche Sur Mer Front

You can choose from various routes and durations for an e-bike tour, depending on your preferences and fitness level.

Some of the most popular tours take you along the iconic Promenade des Anglais or to the exclusive peninsula of Cap Ferrat.


If you have any questions or recommendations for visiting Nice, do let me know in the comments! For more inspiration, check out my Nice travel guide.

Planning a trip to the French Riviera? Discover the best day trips from Nice or read my guides to Antibes, Villefranche-Sur-Mer and Saint Paul de Vence.

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Jessie Moore
Jessie Moore

Jessie is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

Find me on: Web | Instagram

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Want up to 25% off hotels?

Subscribe to my newsletter and get immediate access to my guide on how to save money on flights and hotels. Our weekly emails are filled with adventure inspiration, insider travel tips and exclusive discounts.