3 days in Nice is the right amount of time to see this great city on the French Riviera.
I was in Nice for three days during a trip around Europe recently and enjoyed my time in the city. It’s a great place with a lot to do and is much more than just a beach destination.
Visiting the Promenade des Anglais is a must, of course, but places such as the Old Town, Castle Hill and the Russian Orthodox Cathedral are just as good.
This Nice itinerary will tell you all you need to know about visiting this beautiful city in the south of France. You’ll find out what to do, where to stay, rough estimates of costs and much more to make your trip as enjoyable as possible!
Keep on scrolling to discover what to do in Nice for 3 days.
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Table of Contents
3 Days in Nice Itinerary
My Experience in Nice
I travelled to Nice after spending 3 days in Marseille a bit further down the coast.
Nice is somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit but knew very little about, apart from it being popular with rich people.
it’s not the biggest city but there are plenty of things to do here and in the surrounding area to keep you occupied for three days.
The first thing about Nice that came to mind for me was the beach, and while the beach is indeed a good reason to visit, there’s more than that.
The old town is beautiful with narrow streets winding around a small area. There’s Castle Hill where you can get some of the best views of the city and some stunning buildings such as the Saint Nicholas Cathedral.
I also liked that you could walk around the city and see everything with ease. Nice is very walkable and you won’t have any trouble walking around no matter what your fitness level.
While public transport makes getting around easier, I always feel like you miss out if you don’t walk around and get a feel for a city.
Thankfully, you can do that in Nice as almost everything is within walking distance of the centre. With the weather glorious most of the time, it means you can enjoy the city to its fullest!
Here are a few things I liked about Nice and a few things I didn’t:
- As I mentioned above, Nice is easy to walk around. You’ll have no trouble seeing the city without using public transport, and you can use it if you wish. most of the main sights are within easy reach of the centre unless you want to go on a day trip down the coast.
- Nice is a brilliant place to base yourself if you want to discover the French Riviera. All the small towns are within easy reach of the city via train and you can even head to Sanremo in Italy in around an hour.
- If you’re travelling on a budget, Nice will stretch that. It’s an expensive city and although you can do it on a budget, it’s not easy. My advice would be to stay in hostels so you can cook your own food or in an apartment with a kitchen. Otherwise, try and find cheap places to eat, otherwise, your money will start to dwindle fast.
- If you visit Nice during the summer, be prepared for high temperatures. I visited towards the end of September and it was in the high 20s. You couldn’t walk around too much during the day as it was that hot and you had to take shelter to avoid overheating. Visiting in the shoulder seasons might be a better idea to avoid the heat and the crowds.
What to do in Nice in 3 Days
As you might expect, there are plenty of things to do in Nice. You can spend three days here and not run out of places to visit in the city and in the surrounding area.
There are plenty of day trips you can do down the coast such as Eze and Monaco. Going to Monaco is interesting, especially if you’ve never been before.
If you’ve never visited Nice before and are unsure about what to do, I’ve listed some places you should visit a bit further down. Below are a few recommendations for tours you should do in Nice:
Something you should consider getting before visiting Nice is a Côte d’Azur Pass. This is handy if you’re looking to save some money on your trip.
You get access to over 120 sites in Nice and the wider region and will save you a lot of money than if you just buy tickets from the source.
It doesn’t give you free use of public transport, but if you’re planning to visit a few more places on the French Riviera, it’s a must in my opinion.
- Promenade des Anglais – This is the promenade that spans the length of the beach in Nice and is a must-visit while you’re here.
- Marc Chagall National Museum – A museum that’s dedicated to the works of the French painter Marc Chagall. A must-visit if you’re an art lover.
- Old Town (Vieux Nice) – You’ll find bustling squares, beautiful buildings and some of the best spots in the entire city while exploring Vieux Nice.
- Castle Hill – This is the place to go if you want to get some of the best views of the city. You can see the historic center, beach and port from the top of the hill.
- Opera House – The Opera House in Nice is a beautiful building that you should check out if you want to watch an opera while you’re in the city.
Nice Itinerary – Day 1
Start your time in Nice with a walking tour to get acquainted with the city, then a leisurely stroll around the Old Town before checking out the beautiful cathedral!
One of the first things I do whenever I get to a new place is to check into my accommodation, drop my bags and go for a walk.
I normally just wander in one direction and see where it takes me. I enjoy doing this as I think it’s a great way to get to grips with a city and you always find some interesting sights.
They’re great ways to explore Nice, as you get an overview of the main sights and learn about the history behind them. You’ll also get a feel for the city and an understanding of where everything is.
Old Town (Vieux Nice)
After you’ve finished your walking tour, a good place to explore is the old town (Vieux Nice) of Nice.
You’ll find cobblestone streets and colourful buildings as you wander around the old town and historic center. You can feel the Italian influence given the resemblance the buildings have to those you find just across the border.
There are lots of cool cafes and delicious restaurants here so it’s a good place to get something to eat for lunch as well as see the sights here.
You’ll find the opera, Lascaris Palace and the Cours Saleya Market, as well as Nice Cathedral which is the next activity on the list.
The Cathedral in Nice, or the Cathedral of Saint Reparata to give its full name, is a stop you should dedicate some time to while you’re in the old town.
Built in the 17th century, it’s located on Place Rossetti and is surrounded by many restaurants and cafes where you can get a delicious meal after. This means that after you’ve explored you can get something to eat with an amazing view.
The construction of the cathedral was inspired by St Peter’s Basilica in Rome and was built to represent a Latin cross.
Wandering around inside and admiring the Baroque architecture is a must while you’re in the city. I enjoyed the cathedral and it’s definitely one of the most beautiful I’ve seen!
Nice Itinerary – Day 2
The second day of your 3 days in Nice sees you check out the promenade, head to Castle Hill above the city and visit the Russian Orthodox Cathedral.
Promenade des Anglais
The Promenade des Anglais runs down the coast of Nice for 7 km (4.35 miles) in front of the beach.
It gets its name from the English aristocracy holidaying in the city and funding the construction of the promenade.
It’s one of the main spots in the city and is a lot of fun to walk down. That said, I don’t advise you to walk it all. I tried to do this when I was there and found it wasn’t the best idea in 20+ degree heat!
You can relax at the beach, which is a better idea. But be aware that the majority of the beach is made of pebbles, not sand. So it might be different to what you’re expecting, but still fun!
At one end of the Promenade, near the old town is Castle Hill and this is the place to go if you want to get some of the best views of Nice.
You have to walk up a lot of steps to get there, but it’s worth it. Once you’re there, you’ll find a large park that’s worth exploring, as well as plenty of viewpoints.
The name comes from a castle that used to sit atop the hill, but there are only ruins left today.
One of the places I liked the most on Castle Hill was the waterfall, which is on one of the paths away from the main hill. It’s beautiful and makes for a great photo opportunity, of which there are many up here!
St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral
One of the stranger places to visit on this 3 days in Nice itinerary is the Russian Orthodox Cathedral.
I was confused as to why there was one in the city, which made me even more curious to go and check it out. It’s slightly outside of the centre, but at 10 minutes it doesn’t take long to get there.
The church was built to commemorate Nicholas Alexandrovich, who was the son of the Russian Tsar Tsar Alexander III. He died in the city in 1865 with the cathedral was completed by 1912.
It’s an interesting place to visit, especially if you’ve never been to an orthodox Cathedral before, as they are very different from Protestant or Catholic ones.
There are lots of ornate figures, intricate paintings and the exterior itself is worth making the trip for alone!
Nice Itinerary – Day 3
The final day of this 3-day Nice itinerary sees you a visit in the morning before heading to Èze or Monaco.
You can, of course, spend the visiting museums, or visit both Èze and Monaco in one day. The below is a guide to what you can do on your third day.
Before heading off on a day trip to either Èze or Monaco, it’s worth checking out one of the many museums in Nice.
One of the most interesting is the Musée Matisse, which is a famous museum, dedicated to the works of the French artist Henri Matisse.
Matisse was a famous painter, sculptor and draughtsman. His work is some of the best representations of visual art from the 20th century along with Picasso.
The museum is in the Cimiez neighbourhood, which is about a 30-minute walk from the centre. It’s worth visiting if you like art, but there are plenty of other museums you can check out too.
Some of them include the Nice Cimiez Archaeology Museum, which is very close, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and the Marc Chagall National Museum.
If you’re looking for a good place to go on a day trip from Nice, the nearby town of Èze is one of the best spots to visit.
It’s a small village that’s easy to reach on the train from Nice and is one of the most beautiful spots on the Mediterranean Sea in Southern France.
The beach here is fantastic and a sharp contrast to the pebbled beach you’ll find in Nice. It’s the perfect place for a day at the beach from Nice.
You can also hike into the cliffs above Èze which will provide you with some amazing views of the village below and the surrounding coastline.
One of the most interesting day trips from Nice is to visit Monaco.
The principality is renowned for being home to the rich and famous and it’s a lot of fun to walk around and see all the fancy cars and apartments.
I was lucky enough to visit during a Grand Prix weekend, which was hectic but amazing. Monaco felt alive and it was incredible to see the cars whizzing through the streets.
Monaco is just as fun to visit when Formula One isn’t in town and you’ll be able to see more of the sights, such as the Casino and marina too.
If you’re on a budget, beware, as Monaco is an expensive place and it may be a good idea to bring some food with you as eating out can be expensive!
Other Places to Visit in Nice
If you want some more places to check out while you’re visiting Nice, check out the suggestions below:
- Nice pub crawl – This is a fun activity to do if you’re Nice during the weekend and want to have some fun. There are lots of bars in the city and there’s a fun atmosphere in the city at night. Click here to book your ticket!
- Perfume-making workshop – Nice is close to one of the main centres of the perfume industry, so going to a workshop to see how perfumes are made is an interesting activity to learn more about the industry. Click here to book your ticket!
- Allianz Stadium – If you’re a sports fan, visiting the Allianz Stadium, which is home to the local football team is worth doing. You can do a stadium tour to learn more about the club and the stadium itself. Click here to book your tour!
If you want even more places to see and activities to do in Nice and the surrounding region, click the link below:
Nice Travel Tips
In this section, you’ll find practical advice to help you plan your trip to Nice. This includes, where to stay, rough estimates of prices, the best time to visit and how to get around Nice.
Where to stay in Nice
As one of the most popular tourist destinations in France, there is no shortage of places to stay in Nice.
It’s a big city and you’ll find a variety of options including hostels, hotels and rental apartments. So, whatever your budget, you won’t have difficulty finding somewhere to suit your needs.
I stayed in Hostel Villa Saint Exupery Beach, which as the name suggests, is a short walk from the beach. It was a nice hostel with good facilities and ideal if you’re travelling on a budget.
One of the main considerations will be where in the city you stay. You can expect to pay a bit more if you stay in a hostel and even more, if you stay in a luxury hotel close to the centre. But then everything is easy to access.
Or you could stay a bit further out, pay a little less and get public transport into the centre. Nice is a walkable city, so even if you do stay a bit further out, you won’t have an issue getting to the centre.
I’ve included a few options below for you to consider when you stay in Nice:
|Hostel Villa Saint Exupery Beach||A clean hostel close to the beach that has good rooms and a bar downstairs||Book Now|
|Hostel Meyerbeer Beach||Another hostel that’s not far from the beach, it has a cosy feel with spacious rooms||Book Now|
|Hostel OZZ||A modern hostel close to the train station that has clean rooms with triple bunk beds!||Book Now|
Cost of Travel in Nice
Nice is one of the most popular tourist destinations in France, so you can expect to pay a bit more than you would in other cities in the country.
The prices are not as steep as what you’d find in Paris, but they are more than nearby Marseille and can leave a hole in your wallet if you’re not careful.
If you visit during the end of autumn and winter, you might find prices are a bit cheaper but they won’t be much cheaper than what you’d pay during the height of summer.
One way to save money is to stay in a hostel or somewhere where you can cook food. Eating out can be very expensive in Nice and this is a good way to reduce costs.
The good thing about Nice is that it’s easy to get around on foot, so you won’t need to pay for public transport that much.
You will have to factor in admission to museums, as well as day trips to places like Monaco and Eze. But if you research this beforehand, you’ll have an idea of what to budget.
Booking tours is the only other expense that could cost you a lot and if you buy travel gifts for your friends and family, which can be expensive depending on what you get.
Below is a general guide to prices for accommodation, eating out and transport in Nice.
Prices for other expenses such as nights out at a bar/pub, club entry fees, souvenirs/clothing purchases, tours. etc. are not included.
You’ll need to budget extra for these purchases as they are ‘non-essential!’
Hostel: Dorm – €22-36; Private – €70-120
Rental Apartment: €80-135
Food and Drink
Takeaway meal: €4-8+
Pint of beer: €4-5.50
Metro single ticket: €1.50
10-journey card: €10
Bike rental: €1 for the day via VeloBleu
Best Time to Visit Nice
With Nice being in the south of France, the weather is decent most of the year. I visited in September and it was sunny every day in the mid-20s, which was perfect.
Nice has a Mediterranean climate and you can expect warm summers, decent weather in late spring and early autumn and cooler weather in winter.
As it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in France, Nice is visited year round and will be busy at most times. It will be quieter in winter, but one of the primary reasons to visit is the warm weather, so there’s not much point in visiting then.
If you want to deal with the crowds during the height of summer, a good idea is to visit during the shoulder seasons from March to May and September to November.
You’ll still get good weather, but you won’t have to deal with the heavy crowds you’ll find if you visit during the summer.
I’ve put together a summary by season below to give you an idea of what to expect whenever you visit Nice:
Nice in Spring
Spring is a good time to visit Nice if you want cooler weather than summer and to experience the city with fewer people.
Average temperatures from low to high: 8.3°C – 21°C / 46.9°F – 69.8°F
Nice in Summer
This is the busiest time of the year to visit and also the hottest. It’s not uncommon for temperatures to reach above 30 degrees and you can expect to pay a bit more for accommodation too.
Average temperatures from low to high: 18.1°C – 27.9°C / 64.6°F – 82.2°F
Nice in Autumn
Another good time to visit Nice is during autumn. The temperatures are still in the 20s but the city is quieter than it would be during summer.
Average temperatures from low to high: 9.7°C – 24.8°C / 49.5°F – 76.6°F
Nice in Winter
I wouldn’t recommend visiting Nice in the winter unless you’re not bothered about going to the beach. Temperatures will be much colder but there will be fewer people in the city.
Average temperatures from low to high: 5.8°C – 14.1°C / 42.4°F – 57.4°F
How to Get Around Nice
The great thing about Nice is that the city isn’t too big so it’s easy to get around on foot.
Nice is a walkable city, with Promenade des Anglais and the beach within easy reach of the city centre. The old town is also within easy reach of the city centre.
If you don’t fancy walking, there’s a tram in Nice that goes through the city centre and takes you to most of the major attractions in the city.
There’s also a bus service you can use to get around too. But I’d only use these if you’re in a rush or visiting somewhere that’s a bit further out of the centre.
Nice Ville train station is the main train station in the city and is a short walk from the city center. It took me around 15 to 20 minutes to walk there to my accommodation.
So, if you’re arriving in Nice by train, you don’t have to walk far to get to the centre.
The main airport is Nice Côte d’Azur Airport, which is 5.9 km (3.7 mi) away from the centre of the city. Again, it’s easy to get to and from the airport and the city centre.
Tram lines 2 and 3 run between the airport and Grand-Arénas station, while tram line 2 also goes to Nice-Ville.
You can book a taxi to get to/from the airport, but when it’s so easy on public transport, it’s only worth it if you’re in a rush to get there.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is 3 Days in Nice Enough?
3 days is the perfect amount of time to check out Nice. It’s not the biggest city and you can see all the sights during this period. 3 days also gives you the opportunity to head down the coast to places such as Monaco and Eze where you can go to the beach.
How Many Days Do You Need in French Riviera?
5 to 7 days is the ideal number of days to spend in the French Riviera. This will allow you to spend a few days in Nice exploring the city before heading down the coast and seeing the coastal towns such as Eze and Saint-Tropez, as well as Monaco.
Looking For More Travel Guides?
3 Days in Barcelona – Located a bit further west down the Mediterranean coast, Barcelona is a good place to explore if you’re in the region for a while.
3 Days in Turin – Turin isn’t too far from Nice over the border in Italy and is an interesting place to visit next if you’re travelling around Europe.
Tom is a travel addict who first left England to spend a year Down Under. Not satisfied with this, he then went to New Zealand, about as far away from home as he could get. He is now planning his next adventures in Europe and Canada while maintaining this blog. Check out the about me page to learn more!