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10 Epic Day Trips From Nice France

10 Epic Day Trips From Nice France

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If you are spending an extended period of time on the beautiful French Riviera, you will definitely want to take a few fun day trips from Nice.

These are the absolute best places to visit near Nice France that you should add to your Côte d’Azur itinerary.

Many of these Nice day trips can be combined into a single day trip if you are happy to village-hop and you start the day early enough.

The French Riviera is very well connected by public transportation and you can also easily and quickly drive between many of these villages during a day trip from Nice.

Getting Around Nice, France

Getting around the French Riviera is incredibly easy, even during the peak summer months when it gets quite busy.

You have a few options to choose from depending on how flexible you want to be and whether or not you want to drive.

The most convenient way to explore the French Riviera and get out to all of the best Nice day trips is to rent a car. I recommend doing this more if you are traveling during the shoulder seasons between October and late April. 

If you are traveling during the summer months, your biggest issues will be traffic on the roads and finding parking in the smaller towns on this list like Èze, Grasse, Antibes, and even Monaco which can be expensive to find parking.

If you only have a day somewhere, you don’t want to spend most of your time finding parking. 

That being said, a car will give you the most freedom to come and go as you please and if you are happy to pay for parking in most of the towns on this list, you will be ok to find parking at most times of the year.

I always use Discover Cars to rent cars around the world, they have the best prices and you know exactly what the price covers and what it doesn’t when you book. Check prices and availability on Discover Cars here.

Note that if your driver’s license is from a country outside of Europe (like the USA, Canada, Australia, etc), then you will need to hold an international driver’s permit to rent a car in France. 

The other options for exploring the French Riviera without a car are the train network as well as the bus network. Both are very well connected from Nice.

You can book any train tickets up until about 5 minutes before the train through the SNCF website (Google Play here and Apple here).

For the bus, I recommend purchasing a 10-ticket bus ticket which will allow you to visit many of the nearby towns like Èze, Villefranche, and Cap Ferat for only €1 per trip and you can also use it to explore all of the best things to do in Nice without walking a ton throughout the day.

Map of the Best Day Trips from Nice, France

1. Monaco

A Nice to Monaco day trip is perhaps one of the most popular day trips along the French Riviera.

Monaco is one of those places that you just have to visit, but staying the night or for a few days is both quite expensive and in all honesty, not really necessary (unless you want to live the high life while you’re there).

Monaco is a completely different municipality from France. It is its own sovereign city-state. They have a king and a very favorable tax rate (you don’t pay any on money earned outside of Monaco).

You come to Monaco to see the yachts, maybe do a bit of shopping, pop into the casino, and walk the narrow streets. 

A few things to enjoy on a day trip to Monaco are the Casino of Monte Carlo, the Oceanography Museum, and the Prince’s Palace of Monaco.

How to get from Nice to Monaco on a day trip

Just remember that although you are not leaving the Schengen Zone, you are crossing country lines. It’s always a good idea to bring your passport or EU ID with you when traveling across country borders.

By train: You can take the TER directly from Nice Ville station to Monaco. Check the SNCF app for the most up-to-date times and any strikes that may be taking place. It takes about 30 minutes. 

By bus: You can take bus 607 from the Port Lympia bus stop in Nice all the way to Monaco. It takes about an hour. 

By car: If you have a rental car, you can drive directly to Monaco. I always recommend using the Waze app to navigate. It will take you on the quickest route and always tells you if there are upcoming stopped cars or police en route.

By ferry: You can take a ferry from Nice to Monaco. It’s not the cheapest option, but it might be the most fun. There’s nothing cooler than pulling into the Monaco harbor from the water. Book roundtrip tickets here.

coming into monaco port by boat as a day trip from Nice

Pulling into Monaco’s harbor by boat is a pretty special experience.

Take a Tour from Nice to Monaco

If you want to take a day trip from Nice to Monaco with a tour, there are tons of options depending on what else you want to pack into your day, whether you want to take a boat or a bus, and how much you want to spend.

  • Monaco and Monte Carlo by Night: This tour takes you to Monaco from Nice and includes stops at the Formula 1 circuit, the Monte Carlo Casino, and free time exploring the cafes and bars that come to life in Monte Carlo after dark. The tour costs €45 per person (about $50 USD). It includes round-trip transportation from Nice. Book onto that tour here.
  • Full-Day Group Tour: This group tour includes stops at Èze, and La Turbie, and an afternoon exploring Monaco. It includes round-trip transportation from Nice as well as plenty of time to explore both with a knowledgeable guide as well as on your own. While in Monaco you’ll visit the Palace, the cathedral, the old town, and the Formula 1 Circuit. The tour costs €89 (about $97 USD) per person. Book that tour here.
  • Half-Day Group Trip: If you don’t want to spend the entire day in Monaco, you can opt for a trip to Èze and Monaco on a slightly shorter tour which doesn’t offer as much free time, but still allows you to see all of the top spots around Monte Carlo. That tour only costs €40 (about $43 USD). Book a spot on that tour here.
Monaco Aquarium

Be sure not to miss a trip to the Monaco Aquarium if you have time.

2. Antibes

Antibes is one of the most beautiful day trips from Nice and thankfully it’s only about 20 minutes away, so it’s easy to spend as much or as little time here as you would like (or revisit it over and over again!).

The town is best known for its 16th-century star-shaped fortification that surrounds the old town. It’s also home to a wonderful daily market (closed Mondays), a Picasso Museum where he lived and worked (which also has incredible views), and some of the best beaches in the region.

While I love the food scene in Nice, there are also some fantastic restaurants to enjoy in Antibes as well. You’ll definitely want to stick around for lunch while you’re here for the day.

While you’re here for the day, you may want to consider taking the hop-on, hop-off bus around Antibes. It’s a great way to see a lot in a short period of time. It’s also a fun option if you’re traveling with kids or you don’t want to spend your whole day walking in the summer heat. Book bus tickets here.

How to get to Antibes from Nice

By train: The quickest way to get from Nice to Antibes for a day trip is to take the TER. It takes 21 minutes to go from Nice to Antibes and usually costs just under €5. 

By bus: If there is a train strike, you can take the bus from Nice to Antibes, but not directly. You have to take the 60 bus from Nice to the Nice Airport. You can then catch the number 82 bus from the Nice Airport to Antibes. This whole trip takes just under two hours.

By Car: The road between Nice and Antibes is a beautiful one. If you are traveling in the summer months, be sure to start as early as possible to avoid traffic and to be able to find parking easily in Antibes. It takes about 25 minutes to drive between the two. 

Take a Tour from Nice to Antibes

There aren’t too many tours that only go from Nice to Antibes. There are, however, quite a few tours that include a trip to Antibes alongside a few other places. 

If you are only in the French Riviera for a short period of time or it’s your first time here and you want to find out which of the towns you like best before your next visit, these tours are a great option.

blue skies and historical stone buildings on a narrow cobbled street.

Èze, France. A great day trip from Nice.

3. Èze

Èze is without a doubt one of the most popular day trips from Nice.

If you want a quick and easy half-day trip that takes you up to a medieval village with views back over the Mediterranean Sea, this is a fantastic option.

A few great things to do in Èze village include visiting the Fragonard perfume factory, walking through the narrow streets, enjoying a drink on the terrace at Chateau Èza, and visiting the Exotic Gardens

You can also do a fantastic hike in Èze which you can start in the village (the easier option) and work your way down to the beach or you can start at Èze beach and walk up to the village (the more difficult option).

The hike takes you along the cliffside and offers some spectacular views as well as a pretty fantastic workout whichever direction you choose.

The trail is called the Nietzsche Path and on the way down takes about an hour and on the way up about an hour and a half to two hours depending on how many breaks you take.

How to get to Èze from Nice on a day trip

By train: You can take the train from Nice to Èze beach, but you will be at the base of the cliff where the medieval village is located. If you are up for the hike, you can take the Nietzsche Path up to the village or from here you can grab a taxi. If you take the bus to the village and then hike down to the beach, it’s best to take the train back to Nice.

By bus: The best option for getting from Nice to Èze village on public transportation is to take the bus. There are two buses that go to Èze from the Vaubon bus station, the #112 to Monte Carlo and the #82 to Plateau de la Justice. The buses are not particularly regular with only about one an hour. Note that on Sundays and holidays only the #82 operates.

By Car: Èze village is incredibly small and very touristy, so finding parking, which is only available outside of the medieval city, can be a real pain. I really recommend leaving the car in Nice and taking public transportation to Èze.

blue skies and stone buildings in the village of Eze in France.

There are so many stunning villages all over the South of France that are worth visiting as day trips from Nice.

Take a Tour from Nice to Èze

If you don’t want to navigate the public transportation or you want to add a few Nice day trip locations into one day, then taking a tour is a great option for visiting Èze from Nice.

  • Take a Nice Car Tour: These little open-top cars are such a fun way to explore the surrounding region of Nice, including winding up into the hills of Èze village. This tour is self-guided and includes a two-person vehicle with a full tank of gas and time to explore on your own. This is a great option because you don’t need an international driver’s permit to rent these little scooter-like vehicles and they are small enough to be able to park quite easily. Check out the tour and book it here.
  • Small Group Tour: The best way to get to Èze on a tour is to ensure that you aren’t on a bus packed full of people. The village is so small and if you show up on a tour bus, you will never get a photo without people in it or be able to escape the crowds to enjoy the peacefulness of this stunning town. The tour includes time spent in both Èze and Monaco. Read more about it and book it here.

4. Villefranche-sur-Mer

Villefranche-sur-Mer is a beautiful waterfront town that is very close to Nice.

One of the best things to do here is simply to hop on the train from Nice and enjoy a waterfront lunch watching the boats, soaking up the sunshine, and wandering around the colorful streets.

If you get the chance to take a boat trip while you’re in Nice, be sure to come to Villefranche-sur-Mer by water and see how lovely and colorful it is from a different perspective.

If you have a car or you want to enjoy a good walk, head up to Fort du Mont Alban. It’s a 16th-century fortification inside a beautiful clifftop park with trails to walk around and some of the best views back over the whole coastline. 

looking out over the sea from above with terracotta colored roofs below.

Day trips from Nice always include amazing views like this one in Èze.

How to get to Villefranche-sur-Mer from Nice

By train: This is the best way to get from Nice to Villefranche-sur-Mer. The TER goes straight to the town and takes a matter of minutes to reach. The station is just on the edge of the town and you can walk along the waterfront to get to the downtown area of the village.

By bus: If you are staying near the Vauban bus station in Nice, the 602 bus takes you straight to a bus stop that is on the highway above Villefranche-sur-Mer in about 20 minutes. From there you can walk down to the center of town.

By car: The route here is very straightforward and takes about 10 minutes. There are several paid parking areas as you head toward the center of town that are clearly marked.

By foot: If you are an active walker, you can walk along the coast from Nice to Villefranche-sur-Mer in about two hours.

on a boat looking back at land with houses on the hills.

Taking some time to explore the small bays and capes like Cap Ferrat make for great day trips from Nice.

5. Cap Ferrat

Cap Ferrat (Cap means Cape in French) is a beautiful little peninsula that sticks out into the Mediterranean Sea and is only a few miles/kilometers from Nice.

The official village name is Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and it is one of the most expensive places to own property in the entire world. This is due mostly to a single property that is on the cape.

Villa Les Cèdres is officially the most expensive home in the world when it went up for sale at €350 million (about $410 million USD).

However, it’s not just about wealth and big houses here, although it is a fun thing to have a look at as you walk the trail that runs the entire length of the cape.

There are several great trails that you can walk and if you are feeling incredibly up for it, you can actually start in Nice, walk to Villefranche, and then make your way along the bay to the paths of Cap Ferrat.

If you want to do more than walk, you should also visit the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. Built between 1907 and 1912, this mansion is one of the few you can go inside. It gives you a bit of an idea of why this peninsula is so sought after.

It’s an absolutely stunning property with a beautiful garden, and a nice tea room where you can have a coffee or tea with an overpriced slice of cake (with an amazing view). A ticket for visiting the whole property costs €14 per person. Book your tickets here.

How to Get to Cap Ferrat

By bus: Bus #15 leaves from the Promenade des Arts bus stop to Port de Saint-Jean. It runs every 20 minutes and stops right in front of the Villa Ephrussi. 

Uber: If you want to stay later than 8 pm for dinner in the area or you are enjoying the trails here, you will need to take a taxi or Uber back to Nice. It costs about €20 to get back to the center of Nice.

sunset over the ocean.

Get out on the water, even if it’s just to take a ferry to Saint Tropez to enjoy the sunsets!

6. Cannes

Cannes is an easy day trip from Nice. It’s located 20 miles or about 33km from downtown Nice and you can reach it either by car or public transportation. 

There are so many things to do in Cannes, you could easily spend an entire day here exploring the museums, visiting the local market, wandering along the port, and enjoying some of the fantastic restaurants here.

How to Get to Cannes from Nice

By car: Depending on traffic, it can take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour to get from Nice to Cannes by car. You will follow the A8 road all the way from Nice until you get to the turnoff to Cannes. It is very clearly signposted, but use the Waze app to ensure you don’t miss the turn and are following the fastest route. The app also helps you find parking.

By train: Getting from Nice to Cannes is quickest by train. It only takes about 35 minutes to get to Cannes from Nice train station and it costs about €7.50 depending on the time of day you are traveling. You can book the train directly on the SNCF app.

Take a Tour from Nice to Cannes

If you would prefer to explore Cannes with an organized tour, there are a few options that also include stops in nearby Antibes.

  • Small Group Tour: This tour limits the group size to only eight people, which means it isn’t a huge tour wandering the small streets of the French Riviera. You’ll visit the old town of Antibes, you’ll see the location of the famous Cannes Film Festival, and then you’ll finish the day exploring the medieval city of St Paul de Vence. Book this small group tour here.
  • Glitz and Glamour of the French Riviera Tour: This tour will take you through the Beverly Hills of the French Riviera in Cannes. You will go to millionaires bay in Antibes, and you’ll see the homes of famous French poets and painters in St Paul de Vence. Book that tour here.
boats at a port with the sun setting behind them.

Exploring the South of France with Nice as a base is a great option.

7. Saint Tropez

Saint Tropez is probably one of the furthest day trips from Nice on this list. It’s about 60 miles or 100km from Nice. If you plan to drive it can take about an hour and a half and but for public transportation, you’re looking at about a 6-hour round trip. 

It’s not an impossible day trip, but if you have the time, it would be better to find a nearby hotel or Airbnb where you can stay near Saint Tropez and spend more time exploring it.

If you want to have a fun day out from Nice, you can actually take the ferry between the two cities. It’s both a fun boat tour and a convenient way to get between the two. It takes about 2.5 hours each way.

Explore the Old Port which is now more filled with superyachts, but not so long ago, it was packed with local fishing boats. 

Saint Tropez is now best known for the jet-setting crowd that comes to be seen, but it is also home to some great restaurants, the best bakery in the South of France, and some beautiful views to take in as you wander the streets on a day trip from Nice.

Getting to Saint Tropez from Nice

By ferry: If you don’t have your own transportation, I think the best way to visit Saint Tropez from Nice is to take the ferry. It’s certainly not the cheapest option at €74 per person round trip, but it only takes 2.5 hours each way and it gives you five hours to explore Saint Tropez without restriction. Check times and book your tickets for the ferry here.

By train & bus: The only way to get to Saint Tropez from Nice by public transportation is to take the train from Nice to Saint-Raphaël Valescure and then the #876 bus to Saint Tropez. If you time it right you can manage it in about three hours, but this is really only an ideal option if you are planning to stay in Saint Tropez overnight.

By car: Driving to Saint Tropez from Nice is much like driving to Cannes. You simply follow the A8 from Nice until you reach the turnoff for Saint Tropez. It takes just under two hours if the traffic is flowing.

Take a Tour of Saint Tropez

Taking a tour of Saint Tropez is a convenient way of visiting the city as a day trip from Nice without worrying about public transportation or parking. These are the best options for a full-day trip to this luxurious destination.

  • Full-Day Tour: This full-day tour picks you up from your hotel in Nice and takes you directly to Saint Tropez. You’ll take the stunning coastal road and visit Saint-Tropez, Port Grimaud, and Sainte-Maxime along the way. Check availability and book a spot on the tour here
  • Family-Friendly Day Tour: This tour is great for families (they have car seats available). It picks you up in Nice and takes you along the coast to Saint Tropez. You will have a knowledgeable guide with you for the entire trip and you’ll be able to learn all about the history of this incredible slice of Mediterranean paradise. As well as time spent in Saint Tropez, you will also visit Port Grimaud to admire the canals and colorful houses. Book onto this tour here.
  • Private Tour: Are you traveling with a larger group and want to ensure that you have the tour guide all to yourselves? You can book this private tour for up to eight people and split the price between the group to make it a pretty reasonable price for a private tour. It includes roundtrip transportation, a licensed guide, and a full tour of Saint Tropez. Check out the prices and availability here.
side streets between narrow cobbled streets with old stone buildings on either side and blue skies above.

Medieval villages of the French Riviera.

8. Saint-Paul-de-Vence

Saint-Paul-de-Vence is a must-visit day trip from Nice if you have the time to explore it. It is particularly wonderful for art lovers.

This medieval village is one of the oldest in the French Riviera with inhabitants dating back to Roman times. It played a large role in the region during the 14th century as it was a stronghold on the border of the Provence province.

It has been home to famous artists and writers over the years including Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, and Jean-Paul Sartre, among many others.

It’s a great place to simply wander the narrow cobbled streets. You can take some great photos and just enjoy the solitude of this ancient village. There are cute shops for souvenir shopping or cafes for a caffeine 

Now, it’s a popular place to visit to enjoy the Foundation Maeght. There is a sculpture garden, a laberynth, and a museum packed with some of the most stunning art from the likes of Chagall, Anna-Eva Bergman, Alberto Giacometti, and many more European artists.

You can easily visit Saint Paul de Vence on your own or as part of a tour. Any of the tours listed above for Cannes or Antibes will all include a stop in St Paul de Vence as well.

How to Get from Nice to Saint Paul de Vence

By bus: The best way to get to Saint Paul de Vence (not to be confused with the neighboring town of Vence), you will need to take bus #400. There is a stop for Foundation Maeght or you can get off at the next stop which is the village of St Paul de Vence. You can purchase a ticket from the bus driver when boarding for €1.50. This bus leaves from the Parc Phoenix bus stop and takes about 45 minutes from here, but you will need to get to the bus stop from the center of the city. 

By car: There are a few ways to get to St-Paul-de-Vence from Nice by car depending on whether you want to avoid the toll road or not. The toll road is a little bit faster. Follow directions from Google Maps or Waze to get the quickest route. You can also opt to avoid toll roads on these apps if you would prefer not to pay extra. It takes about 45 minutes to drive to St-Paul-de-Vence from downtown Nice.

market stall in the French Riviera with oranges and lemons on display.

Don’t miss out on the different markets in the towns and cities along the French Riviera. Each has its own charm.

9. Grasse

Grasse is a beautiful little village in the hills north of Cannes and is one of my favorite day trips from Nice. 

Known best for the perfume industry which calls this town home, you can tour perfumeries including Fragonard, Molinard, and Galimard. There is also a Perfume Museum which is a fun place to explore and learn more about the history of perfume in this region of France. 

It’s also worth coming just to wander the streets of the village and to go inside the historic cathedral which houses some stunning handcrafted furniture and paintings very worth seeing. 

While you’re in Grasse you can make your own perfume after learning all about the history of the Fragonard perfume factory. The booking includes a guided tour around the Fragonard factory, a workshop where you’ll learn all about different scents and mixing oils, and you’l finish by making a 12oz bottle of your own personal scent. Book that tour here.

How to Get to Grasse from Nice

By train: The most direct way to get from Nice to Grasse for a day trip is to take the train. There is a direct train roughly every 30 minutes and it takes about one hour to reach the center of Grasse. You can purchase tickets on the SNCF app.

By car: Follow the A8 out of Nice towards Cannes and then continue onto the D9 until you reach Grasse. Driving takes just under an hour.

Take a Tour to Grasse from Nice

There are a few tour options that include stops in Grasse if you don’t want to navigate there on your own.

  • Countryside tour: This tour picks you up and drops you back off at your hotel in Nice and includes visits to Grasse, Gourdon, and Saint-Paul-de-Vence. All three are stunning villages that make up a fantastic day trip from Nice. Read more and book that tour here. 
  • Full-Day Medieval Villages Tour: This tour is similar to the other in that it includes stops at Grasse, Gourdon, and Saint-Paul-de-Vence. It also includes a visit to the beautiful waterfalls of the Saut du Loup and an additional village called Tourrettes-sur-Loup which is known as the City of Violets. Learn more and book that tour here
sitting in the plaza with the sun shining overhead and a cold beer on the table.

The best part of a day trip from Nice is that you get to return to this amazing city each evening to sip a cold beer in the sunshine.

10. Italian Riviera

While you’re visiting the French Riviera, you are also incredibly close to the Italian Riviera. You can easily cross the border into Italy on a fun day trip from Nice.

Just across the border is the resort town of Ventimiglia. While you can get some great Italian food along the French Riviera (especially in Nice!), there’s nothing better than hopping on the train and having lunch in another country.

You can also go a bit further afield to stunning resort towns like Sanremo or all the way to Imperia. The beaches along this coastline are stunning and just a touch less busy than the ones you’ll come across on the French side of the border. 

How to get to the Italian Riviera from Nice

By car: This is the easiest method. You do not cross any sort of borders when you drive between France and Italy as a day trip from Nice. It takes about 45 minutes to drive from Nice to Ventimiglia and about an hour to drive to Sanremo and about an hour and 20 minutes to get to Imperia..

By train: There is a direct train that runs from Nice to Ventimiglia every 30 minutes throughout the day. It costs about €7 each way and takes 52 minutes. You can also take the train to Sanremo and Imperia, but you will need to change trains in Ventimiglia. It takes an additional 30 minutes to get to Sanremo and it takes an additional 45 minutes from Ventimiglia to Imperia.