Landing on the Cote d’Azur or the famous French Riviera, you’ll find Nice to be the closest city. With 300 days of Sun, Nice is as beautiful as it gets. From the city attractions like the world-famous art museums and the picturesque old town with its narrow streets to beaches and the legendary Promenade des Anglais, Nice has something for everyone. However, once you’ve marinated yourself in that charm, you’ll see that the charm of Nice is not only inside the city but also because of its very central location. Yes, Nice is the perfect place to take all your day trips to get around Cote d’Azur. Nice lies where the Alps meet the sea and therefore, is surrounded by many interesting places to explore in short and exciting getaways. I mean, I did that on my trip this year. So, I decided to put together a list of 15-day trips from Nice that cover the entire coast (more or less).
Before we jump in, don’t forget to check out my outfit details at the end of this article. Make sure you look your best in this picturesque with my style advice. And, if it’s your first time visiting, also read some interesting things about the French culture here.
All the cities I talk about are accessible via trains and buses from Nice and can be driven to. The best part about Cote d’Azur is that it has a great network of public transportation and roads to take you everywhere. So, let’s jump in and see which places are just a day trip away from Nice and remain a must to be able to see all of French Riviera.
You definitely know Cannes for it’s International Film Festival glamour but this resort town on the French Riviera has a lot more to offer than just that. Its Boulevard de la Croisette, curving along the coast, is lined with sandy beaches, upmarket boutiques, and palatial hotels. It’s also home to the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, a modern building complete with red carpet and Allée des Étoiles – Cannes’ walk of fame. This is one of those must-take day trips from Nice.
On your way to Cannes from Nice, you’ll pass the beautiful town of Antibe. With resort towns like Juan le Pins in the commune, Antibe is refreshing and has got beautiful beaches. It’s known for its old town enclosed by 16th-century ramparts with the star-shaped Fort Carré. This overlooks luxury yachts moored at the Port Vauban marina. The forested Cap d’Antibes peninsula, dotted with grand villas, separates Antibes from Juan-les-Pins, a chic resort with a buzzing nightlife and the Jazz à Juan music festival.
This town in the south has been at the crossroads of immigration and trade since its founding by the Greeks circa 600 B.C. At its heart is the Vieux-Port (Old Port), where fishmongers sell their catch along the boat-lined quay. Basilique Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde is a Romanesque-Byzantine church. Modern landmarks include Le Corbusier’s influential Cité Radieuse complex and Zaha Hadid’s CMA CGM Tower.
4. Aix en Provence
The birthplace of Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne. The white limestone mountain Sainte-Victoire overlooking the city as well as the surrounding countryside were frequent subjects of his works. Not only that though, but the countryside of Provence is also famous for its lavender fields. So, basically a picturesque dream between spring and summer months.
5. St. Tropez
This famous coastal town on the French Riviera is another must-see when in the south. Long popular with artists, the town attracted the international “jet-set” in the 1960s and remains known for its beaches and nightlife. The cobblestoned La Ponche quarter recalls its past as a fishing village, although yachts now outnumber fishing boats in the Vieux Port (Old Port).
Situated just after Nice, in the direction of Menton, Eze stretches out along the coast from Cap Roux to the Cabuel point. After enjoying the beautiful aerial views in the village, you can also visit “Eze bord-de-Mer” (beach) by taking the Friedrich Nietzsche path (at the end of the “avenue du Jardin Exotique”). The path derives its name from the story that Nietzsche composed the last part of his work ” Thus Spoke Zarathustra “. The hike down is an hour and backup is about 90 minutes. However, there’s a train station to go back to the bottom, too.
7. Villefranche Sur Mer
The most beautiful find of my trip to the south of France has to be this beautiful, picturesque town of Villefranche Sur Mer. It is located south-west of the Principality of Monaco, which is just west of the French-Italian border. The drive from Nice is absolutely beautiful and you’ll see the multicolored beach water from a height. The pebble beach is a bit rough but exciting and beautiful. This is literally my favorite beach along the coast for a relaxed morning.
8. Ile de Sainte Marguerite
Accessible by a Ferry from Nice, Île Sainte-Marguerite is the largest of the Lérins Islands, about half a mile offshore from the French Riviera town of Cannes. The island is approximately 3 kilometers in length and 900 meters across. It has beautiful beaches & stunning views to make your trip even more lovely.
9. La Gaude
This commune in the area is a little less known but was a great find to retreat, live the local culture, and find great hiking trails in the coastal mountains. Especially nearby villages like Vence & St. Jeanette had great food and gave me the feeling of the real french, relaxed summer.
Famous for its colorful houses, Menton is also known for beaches and gardens such as the Serre de la Madone garden, showcasing rare plants. East, the hilly, medieval old town is home to Basilique Saint-Michel, with its 18th-century bell tower, and the ornate facade of La Chapelle des Pénitents-Blancs. Nearby, the Musée Jean Cocteau collection Séverin Wunderman displays works by poet Jean Cocteau.
11. Verdon Gorge
Verdon Gorge is a river canyon in southeastern France. Carved by the Verdon River, it has white-water rapids and cliffs. Great hiking paths here include the Blanc-Martel trail, ending at Point Sublime lookout. Within Verdon Natural Regional Park, the village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie has 12th-century Notre Dame de Beauvoir Chapel and ceramics at the Musée de la Faïence. South, the Musée des Tourneurs Sur Bois shows local woodwork. It has some stunning beaches and river-walks, too.
It’s not really a part of France but Monaco is also one of those must-do day trips from Nice. Of course, you can choose to live there for a few days and really immerse yourself but a day trip is just fine, too. it is one of the smallest sovereign states in Europe and the second-smallest in the world, after Vatican City. Monaco is not formally a part of the European Union (EU), but it participates in certain EU policies, including customs and border controls. It has some nice beaches and beautiful castles for you to enjoy.
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Which city is your favorite of these day trips from Nice? Did I miss something? Leave it in the comments below!
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