Nice is one of those place in France where you won’t struggle for reasons to visit. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that with all the amazing things to do in Nice – and the surrounding areas in the South of France, Nice is one French city that is atop many people’s travel lists.
And you wouldn’t be alone in that either, even as far back as the 18th century, English aristocrats had this at the very top of their travel lists, especially with the dreary winter weather back home – a fact that has kind stuck with Nice and still made it a pretty fancy spot to holiday in.
Of course, any trip to Nice or indeed, the South of France as a whole comes with the almost obligatory need to eat your way through the town/city, soak up some sunshine pool-side or on the beach, pop into a vineyard or two (or three).
Take a look at some of the very best things to do in Nice. 🇫🇷
1.) Castel Plage
Nice is the capital of the French Riviera, so there is certainly no shortage of public and private beaches to choose from (suffice to say, one of the top things to do in Nice is to make the most of that sunshine).
With that said, Castel Plague is arguably the most beautiful private beach in the entire region. Its sparkling white sands and vivid blue waters make for a perfectly picturesque setting for sunbathing or generally splashing in the water (I was gonna say swimming but you’re on holiday – no exercise is expected of you here 😉).
There is also a fantastic restaurant here on the beach for you to wet your whistle and grab a bite to eat when you want to take a break from that busy work of relaxing on the beach.
2.) Castle Hill (Colline du Chateau)
This is one of the most popular things to do in Nice! Rising 92 meters above sea level, it is not only the point of highest altitude in the city, it is also where you can visit the ruins of Chateau de Nice.
Once an active military citadel, it was eventually destroyed in the early 1700’s by Louis XIV. The ruins here are absolutely worth checking out but it’s got to be said, one of the best things about visiting Castle Hill is the fantastic viewpoint which overlooks the Bay of Nice.
During the summertime, be sure to leave plenty of time to tour the beautiful gardens. (*There’s good reason why they are the most popular public garden in Nice!)
3.) Lascaris Palace
This is one for the music-buffs… and I guess the history buffs too! If you’re into both then you’ll be very happy here as, in Lascaris Palace, you will find a huge assortment of musical instruments on display as well as some rather amazing décor and architecture as you wander through its hallways. Lascaris Palace is open from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm everyday except for Tuesdays and major holidays. The admission is free to all! (Save yourself some of that wine money… 😉)
4.) Musee Marc Chagall
For the uninitiated, Marc Chagall was an artist of French and Russian heritage and one of the most popular Jewish artists of the twentieth century!
Chagall was famous not only for his incredible work with stained glass but also for his large paintings and modernist style. He also paid some serious attention to details! In fact, the precise location of each painting in this museum was decided by Chagall himself – one of the many reasons why this is absolutely a top thing to do in Nice.
There are many wonderful pieces to check out when you’re here but the most famous by far is the seventeen biblical paintings which Chagall divided into Old and New Testament. Located at 36 Avenue Dr Menard, the museum is open to the public every day but Tuesdays and major holidays from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.
5.) Nice Cathedral
This is absolutely one of the most important things to do in Nice and one you definitely shouldn’t miss out on! Located in Vielle Ville, the relative plainness of the Roman Catholic cathedral gives very little hint to the remarkable beauty and incredible architecture located inside!
The intricately designed interior is rather lavish, with plenty of gold gilding and fantastic details. Dating back to 1685, this is still very much and an active cathedral so be sure to check the schedules if you wish to attend mass here.
6.) Parc du Mont Boron
If you are tired of sightseeing, eating in wonderful restaurants, lounging on the idyllic beaches and generally all the laidback things to do in Nice; and instead want to do something a bit more active, take a journey to the eastern part of the city to Parc du Mont Boron.
There are over seven miles of hiking trails to choose from here, ranging from an easy hour-long excursion to more strenuous paths that take almost an entire day to complete! The summit of Mont Boron offers spectacular views or climb Mont Alban for the opportunity to explore the ruins of a military fort – if you’re up for some exercise.
7.) Parc Phoenix
This park is home to one of the largest greenhouses in all of Europe and is an absolutely delightful experience for children and adults alike. At Parc Phoenix, it is worth setting aside enough time to allow you explore the different zones of this attraction, all of which feature a wide variety of flowers, plants and trees. (Suffice to say, if you’re not really into this stuff, this might be one spot worth skipping for yourself). For those who prefer fauna over flora, there are plenty of animals to check out while you’re here, including iguanas, turtles, otters and even flamingos!
8.) Place Massena
Located in the centre of Nice, this is a rather fun, bustling city square and definitely one of the top things to do when you’re in the city (though chance are that you will without even planning to).
Here you can walk amongst the lush Massena gardens and impressive fountains, which are particularly beautiful when lit up from behind after dark. Place Massena is also a wonderful spot for simply sitting and people watching (preferably with a glass of wine in hand).
If you’re up for a bit of shopping, the nearby Avenue Jean Medecin is a great place to head to as there you’ll find a fantastic mix of designer clothing stores dotted with some traditional French boutiques.
Oh, also, don’t forget to check out some of the stunning places to stay in Nice, like accommodation that can be found at Interhome.co.uk. They’ve got a huge wealth of beautiful properties that’ll leave you wanting to stay in Nice forever!
9.) Promenade des Anglais
This idyllic promenade along the gorgeous beach is arguably an icon symbol of Nice! It’s the spot you see a photo of and go “Ah, that’s Nice!“. Heads up though, it can get very crowded here, particularly during peak season but you simply cannot visit Nice without taking a stroll here.
The promenade is an incredible experience unto itself, complete with full sensory overload. There are a number of fantastic restaurants and bars to stop off in while you wander but Le Mesclun is one stand out restaurant you have to make time to eat in. Reserve a table near the panoramic window overlooking the promenade and feast upon traditional French cuisine (if you need help ordering – the more popular dishes include the roasted partridge and salted butter scallops).
10.) Vielle Ville
Nice old town of Vielle Ville, is an absolutely beautiful part of the city and understandably one of the best things to do in Nice. You don’t need any real plans when you visit, just venture here and slowly amble through the streets, taking in all the sights.
walking working up an appetite exploring, stop into Place Rossetti – a spot that’s popular amongst locals and tourists alike for its delicious food as it is for its beautiful surrounds. 🍇
Fancy visiting other places in the South of France? Check this post out.