Planning a 2 or 3 days in Nice itinerary is a wonderful experience when you consider all there is do in this beautiful city. The gem of the French Riviera, Nice is a vibrant beachfront city with bags of culture around every corner. Just a few kilometres away from Italy and Monaco, Nice is infused with its very own distinctive Mediterranean atmosphere.
France’s 5th largest city is packed full of charm, with a warren of narrow streets and bustling markets to explore. The beating heart of the Cotes d’Azur, Nice is a year-round destination, so grab your sunglasses and unwind to the sound of the lapping waves whilst sampling some of the finest regional Niçoise cuisine.
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How Many Days In Nice?
Known for its gorgeous beaches, vibrant nightlife, and rich cultural history, you may be wondering how many days to spend in Nice to make the most of this Mediterranean city.
You will need to spend a minimum of 2 days in Nice which will allow plenty of time to visit the city’s main attractions as well as discovering some hidden gems along the way.
However, why not enjoy Nice in 3 days? If you are lucky enough to have a full 3 days to spend in Nice, you could also take a day trip to visit some of the unique neighbouring towns and villages along the French Riviera.
You may even want to take a day trip to nearby Cannes, famous for the annual Cannes Film Festival.
Getting To & Around Nice
Getting to Nice is relatively straightforward, thanks to its excellent transport links. The Nice Côte d’Azur Airport is located just a few kilometres from the city centre.
This airport offers a wide range of domestic and international flights all over the world. From the Nice airport, you can take either a taxi, bus, train or private transfer directly into the heart of the city.
For those arriving by train, Nice is well connected to other parts of France and Europe. Gare de Nice-Ville is the city’s main train station, located in the heart of the city with regular services to cities such as Paris and Marseille.
There are also high-speed trains that can take you to a variety of major cities across Europe. You can view train schedules here.
Nice has an extensive bus and tram network that makes it easy to get around the city and covers all of the main attractions. Tickets can be purchased at ticket machines or directly from the driver as you board. If public transport isn’t your thing, you will also find several taxi companies including Uber, operating in and around the city.
Nice is a fairly compact city so you can walk from one corner to the other without much trouble. For example, the Old Town to the train station is only a 20-minute walk.
There is no need to hire a car to make the most out of your time in Nice. If you are travelling with a vehicle, there are several park-and-ride car parks along the tram route where you can leave your car for free whilst you explore.
2 to 3-Day Nice Itinerary
Nice is a vibrant and colourful city in the South of France that offers a perfect blend of French and Mediterranean culture. With its stunning seafront location, charming Old Town, and beautiful parks and gardens, Nice is a city that is full of surprises.
Whether you have 2 or 3 days in Nice, you’ll be able to soak in the must see sights as well as discovering some of the city’s hidden gems.
Day 1 – Promenade des Anglais & Vieux Nice
Promenade des Anglais
Start your first day by taking a leisurely stroll along the iconic Promenade des Anglais.
One of the most famous seafronts in the world, this iconic 7km-long promenade runs along the stunning Mediterranean coastline and the Nice Port and is lined with towering palm trees, grand hotels, and blossoming gardens. Take in the breathtaking views of the glistening azure sea, whilst you soak up the city’s history and architecture.
Walking not your thing? Nice offers a cheap bike hire called Velo Bleu — simply take a bike from one of the many stations throughout the city and return it when you are finished.
Whether you’re looking to go for a walk, a morning jog, enjoy a bike ride, or simply sit and enjoy the views, visiting and strolling along the Promenade des Anglais is one of the most essential things to do in Nice.
After your morning stroll, head into the Old Town of Nice (Vieux Nice), a charming and picturesque district with narrow streets and colourful buildings. Explore the Cours Saleya Market, a vibrant hub of activity, with an array of market stalls selling everything from fresh produce to handcrafted souvenirs and antiques. You can also organise a walking tour or food tour here.
For lunch, why not sample a Socca, a pancake made from chickpea flour that is a popular local specialty – the best Socca stall at the market is Chez Theresa, they use traditional recipes passed down through the generations since 1925 to make delicious Socca.
Cours Saleya is also home to the famous Nice Flower Market, which is open every day except Monday. Here, you can find a dazzling display of flowers and plants, including local blooms such as mimosa, lavender, and sunflowers.
The market is a sensory feast, with the aroma of fresh produce and flowers filling the air. Whether you’re looking for a souvenir, a taste of local produce, or simply an opportunity to soak up the atmosphere of this lively square, Cours Saleya is an essential part of your itinerary for Nice and a lovely place to visit.
Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
A must-visit destination for art lovers, The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (or MAMAC for short) showcases a diverse range of modern and contemporary art. The museum includes works by artists such as Yves Klein, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol.
A work of art in itself, the museum is a striking modernist design that includes a glass and steel façade. Take in the stunning views of the city and the surrounding landscape alongside the world-class art exhibitions inside.
Russian Orthodox Cathedral
Perhaps one of Nice’s best-kept secrets, hidden off the beaten path, the Russian Orthodox Cathedral is the largest Orthodox cathedral in Europe.
As you round the corner this spectacular cathedral will stop you in your tracks, with six golden cupolas topped by golden crosses, this stunning ecclesiastical building stands out among the traditional Hausmmannian architecture you typically find in and around Nice.
Don’t miss the exquisite iconostasis surrounding the choir, made in Russia by the famous Khlebnikoff workshops. You can enter the cathedral free of charge and the detour from the city centre is well worth doing. If you don’t want to walk, the nearest bus stop is Parc Impérial / Gambetta.
Weave your way back through the old town to spend your evening in the Place Rossetti. An evening here is a magical experience, with its beautiful architecture, lively atmosphere, and charming restaurants and cafes.
The bustling square is particularly enchanting when illuminated at night, with street performers and other entertainers putting on shows throughout the evening and the Nice Cathedral overlooking it. Why not try some traditional regional Niçoise cuisine?
The Rossettisserie is an excellent restaurant if you want to try homely regional delights. Try the daube, a rich beef stew, or the salade Niçoise, a classic dish of fresh vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, and tuna. Nice’s cuisine pairs simplicity with excellent local ingredients.
Day 2 – Musée Matisse, Cimiez & Castle Hill
Start your second day in Nice with a visit to the Musée Matisse, dedicated to the life and work of the famous French painter, Henri Matisse.
The museum is home to an impressive collection of Matisse’s original paintings, drawings, and sculptures as well as documents that give you a closer look into his life and inspiration.
Perched on Cimiez Hill, the museum is located in a beautiful 17th-century villa that was also once Matisse’s home.
As you leave the museum, take a moment to explore the rest of Cimiez Hill. The Cimiez Monastery, Gardens and Museum of Archaeology are located a stone’s throw from the Musée Matisse.
Built in 1989, The Museum of Archaeology was inaugurated on the site of the remains of the ancient Roman city of Cemenelum. You can find a wide range of artefacts, archaeological evidence of the ancient history of Nice as well as ancient collections from other sites.
The gardens are the real highlight, a former vegetable garden and orchard with its central well and pergolas completely covered with climbing roses. The paths are dotted with a variety of citrus fruit trees but don’t forget to wander through the vast olives groves that face the monastery.
Made up of thousands of olive trees more than 100 years old. Below lies a small, cosy terrace with a traditional fountain and pools. Enjoy a breathtaking view of Nice and the Paillon valley all the way down to the Mediterranean Sea.
You could also opt to visit the Marc Chagall National Museum, which is filled with artwork by the eponymous Russian-born French painter.
Despite the absence of the castle, the hilltop it once occupied remains one of Nice’s most popular destinations.
There are plenty of hiking trails to explore, with the grandest panoramic views over the city, its bay and the coast beyond. On a clear day you can even see whispers of the French Alps in the distance.
Castle Hill is best experienced at sunset when the scenery is at its most spectacular. For a romantic evening, pack a picnic and spend time atop the hill as day turns to night.
As you come to the end of your 2nd day in Nice, it’s time to walk in the footsteps of celebrities and even royalty and head to the Hotel Negresco. This magnificent belle-époque building, standing proud on the Promenade des Anglais is instantly recognisable by its pink domed roof.
Over a century ago, Le Negresco first welcomed guests through its grand doors and it soon became renowned for its unmistakably French art de vivre – and it is certainly one of the more upmarket places to stay in Nice.
Established in 1912 by Henri Negresco, the hotel changed ownership in 1957, when it was acquired by Madame Jeanne Augier. It was under her ownership that the hotel underwent a lavish transformation, with opulent decor and furnishings that continue to enchant guests to this day.
Now classified as a historical monument, you can indulge in a drink indoors or on the terrace and bask in the sophisticated atmosphere. The prices may be high but it’s definitely worth the splurge to embrace yourself in some of the glamour of the 60s Riviera.
If you only have 2 days or a weekend in Nice, this is the perfect way to round off your trip.
Day 3 – Antibes
If you have a full 3 days, why not take a day trip from Nice to the nearby town of Antibes, located just 20 kilometres west of the city?
Antibes is a charming town, typical of the French Riviera. Known for its beautiful beaches and culture, taking 1 day out of your Nice itinerary gives you the perfect amount of time to explore this beautiful town.
Antibes is easily accessible from Nice by either train or bus. Trains depart regularly from Nice’s main train station, Gare de Nice-Ville, and take just 20 minutes.
The bus to Antibes will take a little longer, between 30-40 minutes in total. You can also book a full-day tour that includes Antibes and some other spots on the French Riveria.
Start your morning in Antibes with a visit to the Marché Provençal, a bustling market perfectly representing the region of Provence, full of exotic sights and smells. Fresh meats, cheeses and vegetables alongside handmade crafts. The perfect place to pick up a souvenir to take home.
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast of croissants and coffee at one of the cafes in the market square.
One of the must-see attractions in Antibes is the Musée Picasso, a museum housed in a breathtaking chateau overlooking the sea. In 1946, the iconic artist Pablo Picasso spent a delightful year in Antibes, where he utilised the second floor of this magnificent chateau as his workshop.
At the end of his stay, he gifted several significant works to the city, including 44 drawings and 23 paintings, some of which are now among his most celebrated pieces. During his time in Antibes, Picasso experimented with a limited palette of only 12 colours, using the same paint that the local fishermen employed on their boats!
Visitors can admire the masterpieces he created during his stay and gain a deeper understanding of the artist’s creative process and the inspiration he found in the stunning surroundings of Antibes.
For lunch, head to La Gravette, a small beach just a short walk from the museum. Discreetly tucked away behind the mediaeval ramparts at the end of the port, this beach is perhaps the most beautiful beach in Antibes.
With its wide open sandy shores, La Gravette is the perfect spot to relax and take a dip in the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
Feeling peckish? Grab a table at one of the many seafood restaurants that line the shorefront and enjoy a delicious meal of locally caught grilled fish and crisp white wine.
Finish off your day trip with a visit to the Cap d’Antibes, a picturesque peninsula complete with hidden coves and a lighthouse. You can walk the entire peninsula in 1.5 hours but make sure you are wearing suitable footwear as the path can be rocky in places.
Cap d’Antibes is the perfect place to enjoy the sunset before you head back into Nice.
Where to Stay in Nice
Nice Garden Hotel – A comfortable mid-range hotel located in the centre of Nice, this is a great option. They offer single, double and triple rooms along with a lovely garden so its great for everyone from single travellers to families.
Palais Saleya Boutique hôtel – A modern hotel at the entrance to the old town, this is an excellent luxe option in Nice. There are several chic rooms along with some apartments and an airport shuttle available to guests.
Aparthotel AMMI Vieux Nice – With a great location in the centre of Nice, this aparthotel offers several pet-friendly studios along with daily breakfast and other amenities.
Hostel Meyerbeer Beach – With plenty of dorm and private, this highly-rated hostel is a good choice for those on a tight budget in France. There are also excellent common areas, a cafe and a fantastic location.
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Nice hotels!
Whether you discover the delights of Nice in 2 days or spend an extra day exploring more of the Cotes d’Azur, we hope you use this itinerary to make the most of this magnificent Mediterranean city.
Are you planning a trip to Nice? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!