If you are thinking about planning your French Riviera Itinerary and Nice has made a spot on your list then in this post I will talk about What to do in Nice France in One Day.
My French Riviera Itenary started from Frankfurt to Nice and this particular city is a good point to start your French Rivera Itinerary.
Nice, located on the stunning French Riviera, is a city that captivates visitors with its charm, beauty, and rich history is known for its vibrant atmosphere, picturesque landscapes, and Mediterranean climate,
Since I only allocated a day specifically to explore Nice during my Itinerary in this post I will be talking about all you could do in Nice in one day.
What is Nice France Known For?
Well, it is a gem of French Riverara, It has a great Mediterranean climate, which means mild winters and warm, sunny summers. This perfect weather allows visitors to explore the city’s beauty and attractions comfortably year-round.
You will love the stunning views of the city when you walk along the Promenade des Anglais or climb up to the Colline du Château for a panoramic view of the city against the backdrop of the azure sea, Nice’s landscapes are breathtaking.
Is One Day Enough for Nice?
Now I know you looking to spend only one day in Nice and that is why you are here on this post, but I would be honest and still say, it is not enough.
But it is okay if you are thinking about spending time also in Monaco, Monte Carlo, Eze & Cannes separately.
You can also think about keeping Nice as the base and explore the wider area around Nice, you can check all about that in my guide to best day trips from Nice France.
Quick Tip: When exploring the French Riviera in Nice, consider taking Nomad Insurance’s Safety Wing for added peace of mind during your trip. It can provide you with essential coverage for unexpected situations, ensuring a safer and more enjoyable travel experience.
What to do in Nice in one Day?
If you are thinking about What to do in Nice then this is something that you can enjoy doing in the city.
Start Your Day with a Visit to the Promenade des Anglais
No visit to Nice would be complete without experiencing the iconic Promenade des Anglais firsthand. This famous promenade stretches along the Mediterranean Sea for about 7 kilometers (4 miles) and offers breathtaking views at every turn.
The history behind this promenade dates back over two centuries when English aristocrats began flocking here during winter months seeking relief from their cold climate. Today, it serves as a hub for locals and tourists alike, offering a wide range of activities.
Take a stroll along the promenade, enjoying the refreshing sea breeze and admiring the beautiful architecture that lines its path.
You can enjoy the beautiful sunrise at Baie des Anges.
Stop by one of the many cafes or restaurants to grab a coffee or indulge in some delicious French pastries while people-watching.
Explore the Old Town of Nice and Its Markets
After immersing yourself in the beauty of the Promenade des Anglais, head towards Vieux Nice, also known as the Old Town. This charming neighborhood is filled with narrow cobblestone streets, colorful buildings adorned with vibrant shutters, and an array of local shops and boutiques.
Wandering through this historic district feels like stepping back in time. Take your time to explore its hidden alleyways and stumble upon quaint squares where locals gather for lively conversations over glasses of wine.
One highlight not to be missed in Vieux Nice is its bustling markets. The Cours Saleya market is particularly famous for its vibrant flower market where you can find an array of colorful blooms that will brighten up any space.
There are also food markets where you can sample local delicacies such as socca (a savory pancake made from chickpea flour) or fresh seafood caught straight from the Mediterranean Sea.
Visit the Iconic Place Masséna and Its Surroundings
Located at the heart of Nice lies Place Masséna – a grand square that serves as a central meeting point for both locals and tourists alike. Surrounded by stunning architecture featuring neoclassical facades painted in shades of red ochre, yellow ochre, and Italian pink, this square exudes elegance at every corner.
Take some time to admire the impressive statues adorning Place Masséna before exploring its surroundings further. Just steps away lies Avenue Jean Médecin – one of Nice’s main shopping streets, lined with a variety of stores and boutiques. Whether you’re looking for high-end fashion or unique souvenirs, this bustling avenue has something to offer every shopper.
For art enthusiasts, the Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain (MAMAC) is also nearby. This museum showcases an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art from renowned artists such as Yves Klein and Niki de Saint Phalle.
Discover History and Art at the Musée Matisse
If you have a penchant for art, a visit to the Musée Matisse is a must during your one day in Nice. Located in the Cimiez neighborhood, this museum pays homage to one of France’s most celebrated artists – Henri Matisse.
The museum itself is housed in a beautiful 17th-century villa surrounded by lush gardens that provide a serene backdrop for exploring Matisse’s works. Inside, you’ll find an extensive collection of paintings, sculptures, drawings, and personal belongings that offer insight into the artist’s life and creative process.
One particular highlight is Matisse’s famous painting “La Danse,” which depicts joyous figures dancing against vibrant blue backgrounds. The simple yet expressive nature of his works will leave you inspired long after your visit.
Take a Stroll Through the Jardin Albert Ier
After immersing yourself in art at the Musée Matisse, take some time to relax amidst nature at Jardin Albert Ier. This picturesque garden offers respite from the bustling city streets with its well-manicured lawns, colorful flower beds, and towering palm trees.
As you wander through this oasis of tranquility, keep an eye out for various statues scattered throughout the garden that pays tribute to notable figures from Nice’s history. Take a seat on one of the many benches strategically placed around fountains and enjoy the peaceful ambiance.
Enjoy a French Lunch at a Local Bistro
By now, you’ve likely worked up an appetite to explore all that Nice has to offer. Luckily, the city is home to numerous charming bistros where you can indulge in some authentic French cuisine.
For a truly local experience, head to Chez Acchiardo – a family-run bistro that has been serving traditional Niçoise dishes for over 90 years. From hearty stews like daube (a slow-cooked beef stew) to delicate seafood dishes like bouillabaisse (a flavorful fish soup), their menu offers a wide range of options that will satisfy any palate.
If you’re looking for something lighter, opt for a classic Niçoise salad – a refreshing combination of fresh vegetables, tuna, anchovies, and olives drizzled with olive oil.
Pair your meal with a glass of local rosé wine or try one of the many regional specialties such as socca or pissaladière (a savory tart topped with caramelized onions and anchovies).
Head to the Castle Hill for Stunning Views of Nice
After enjoying a leisurely lunch you can continue walking on the seaside you can also find the scaled-down version of the Statue of Liberty opposite to Opera, Capture a selfie in front of the #ILoveNice sign on the Quai des États-Unis. This photo is truly picturesque and will be a lasting memory for you!
Now it is time to make your way towards Castle Hill (Colline du Château) – an elevated park offering panoramic views of Nice and its surrounding areas. While there is no longer an actual castle on top of the hill, remnants from its past can still be seen today.
Climbing up Castle Hill may require some effort but trust me when I say it’s worth it once you reach the top. As you ascend higher and higher, take in breathtaking vistas that stretch from the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea to the red-tiled roofs dotting Nice’s skyline.
Once at the summit, find yourself a comfortable spot on one of the benches scattered around and simply soak in this mesmerizing view. It’s moments like these that remind us why travel is so enriching – the ability to witness the beauty of a place from a different perspective.
Explore the Port Area and Its Vibrant Atmosphere
As you descend from Castle Hill, make your way towards Nice’s vibrant port area. This bustling neighborhood is home to an array of restaurants, bars, and shops that cater to both locals and tourists alike.
Take some time to explore the colorful streets surrounding the port, lined with charming buildings painted in pastel hues. Stop by one of the many seafood restaurants for a taste of fresh catches straight from the Mediterranean Sea or simply enjoy a stroll along the waterfront promenade.
If you’re feeling adventurous, consider taking a boat tour along the coast to discover hidden coves and secluded beaches that can only be accessed by water. Alternatively, rent a bike or rollerblades and cruise along Promenade des Anglais for an exhilarating experience.
Visit the Famous Nice Cathedral and Its Baroque Architecture
No visit to Nice would be complete without stepping inside its famous cathedral – Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate. Located in Vieux Nice, this stunning Baroque-style cathedral dates back to the 17th century and is dedicated to Saint Reparata – Nice’s patron saint.
Step inside this architectural masterpiece adorned with intricate frescoes, gilded altars, and beautiful stained glass windows that bathe its interior in ethereal light. Take some time for quiet reflection or attend one of their daily Mass services if you wish.
As you explore further within its walls, don’t miss out on visiting Chapelle de la Miséricorde – an adjoining chapel known for its ornate decorations featuring delicate stucco work and elaborate paintings depicting scenes from biblical stories.
Relax at the Beaches of Nice and The French Riviera
One cannot visit Nice without spending some time basking under the warm Mediterranean sun on one of its many beautiful beaches. The French Riviera is renowned for its stunning coastline, and Nice offers a variety of options to suit every preference.
Whether you prefer sandy or pebbly beaches, there is something for everyone here. Plage Beau Rivage and Plage du Castel are popular choices for those seeking a sandy beach experience, while Plage de la Reserve and Plage Coco Beach offer a more secluded atmosphere on their pebbly shores.
Rent a sunbed or simply lay your towel down on the soft sand, close your eyes, and let the sound of crashing waves lull you into relaxation. Take occasional dips in the crystal-clear waters to cool off from the summer heat or indulge in some water sports activities such as paddleboarding or jet skiing if you’re feeling adventurous.
Indulge in Some Shopping at Avenue Jean Médecin
Before bidding adieu to Nice, take some time to indulge in some retail therapy along Avenue Jean Médecin – one of the city’s main shopping streets. This bustling avenue is lined with an array of stores ranging from high-end fashion boutiques to well-known international brands.
Whether you’re looking for designer labels or unique souvenirs to bring back home, Avenue Jean Médecin has it all. Explore its side streets as well where you’ll find charming local shops selling handmade crafts and artisanal products that make for perfect mementos of your time in Nice.
(Bonus) What do in Nice during the night?
This one might not be for everyone but you can also try the Pub Crawl Party in Nice which could be an experience of the vibrant nightlife of Nice.
Final Thoughts: What to do in Nice in one day?
It might get tiring if you are going to explore all the things that I have mentioned above so I would recommend you to select and decide what you want to explore. But if you really want to do everything it would be kind of fun.
Now I don’t want to miss this and share that there is a wonderful e-bike Tour of the city which you can take if you have time. The only reason why Marineland Côte d’Azur and Aquasplash is not something I recommend doing in one day is because it will eat your time.
But if you are traveling with Kids or Family you might have a different preference compared to me so you can check that out.
You can check more about France and the French Riviera in general on my Travel France page.
Nice One-Day Itinerary Map
FAQs: What to do in Nice France in one Day?
Is Nice Worth Visiting?
Hell Yeah! Nice is absolutely worth visiting and it is a perfect spot to start your French Riviera Itinerary.
How many days to spend in Nice France?
To fully enjoy Nice, France, a suggested itinerary would be to spend around 3 to 4 days exploring the city and its surroundings.
This will give you enough time to visit popular attractions such as the Promenade des Anglais, the Old Town (Vieux Nice), Castle Hill, and the various museums and beaches in the area.
You can take day trips to nearby towns like Cannes, Monaco, and Antibes to make the most of your visit.
What to do in Nice in 2 Days?
Well if you have more time to spend in Nice as I have said before it would be great to visit Monaco and Monte Carlo from this city as the bus cost is fairly cheap and you can reach these in just 10 € to these places while staying in Nice.
What is the best time of year to visit Nice?
The best time of year to visit Nice is during the spring (April to June) or fall (September to November) when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller. However, Nice is a popular destination year-round.
What is the currency used in Nice?
The currency used in Nice is the Euro.
What is the language spoken in Nice?
The official language spoken in Nice is French, but many locals also speak English and other languages.
What is the time zone in Nice?
The time zone in Nice is Central European Time (CET), which is one hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+1).
What is the best way to get around Nice?
The best way to get around Nice is by foot or by using the city’s public transportation system, which includes buses and trams. Taxis and rental cars are also available.