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Nice Tourism And Travel Guide
6° C / 42.8° F
April to September
4 to 5 Days
Nice Cote d'Azur Airport (8 kms)
Gare de Nice-Ville
The French Riviera needs no introduction to seasoned vacationers, and if you are looking for a heady blend of art, culture and some delectable food, the city of Nice situated along the southeast coast of France should feature among the top destinations of your holiday list. The sparkling blue water of the Mediterranean Sea appears enticing almost all year long with the majority of travellers in Nice spending a great deal of their holiday on the pebbly beaches. Tourism is what primarily drives Nice’s economy, and travellers often use Nice as a home-base for touring other regions of the French Riviera. Here, we have compiled a brief travel guide to help you plan the perfect holiday to the alluring city of Nice.
How to Reach
The quickest and most convenient way to reach Nice is via flights. All major cities in India have a number of regular flights operating to and from Nice; however, there are only connecting flights available between the two regions with stopovers in Moscow, Rome and Istanbul etc. After landing in Nice, travellers can choose between taking a bus or a cab to the city centre, which is only 8 km away. Since cabs are usually costlier, buses are a better option. There is also a small train station near the airport from where regular trains are available to Nice and other regions situated eastward. A new tram service between the airport and the city centre has begun operations in December 2018 and is scheduled to expand to other areas in 2019.
The SCNF train network connects Nice to most other regions in France. The TGV is France’s high-speed intercity rail network that has regular trains running between Paris and Nice; a journey that can be covered in just around 6 hours. People coming in from Italian cities like Rome, Venice and Milan can use the Trenitalia train service, while the Russian Railways operates a regular weekly train from Moscow to Nice with stopovers at Vienna, Warsaw and Minsk.
With a picturesque coastal setting, travelling via road in Nice will prove to be a lovely and pleasant experience. The A8 route connects Nice to all major European cities; people coming in from the west are required to take exit 50 and those coming in from the east take exit 55. The best way to travel to Nice via road is to choose one of the numerous bus services, which provide really comfortable rides at very cheap rates.
Being a coastal city, Nice can be reached via water routes as well; whether you’re on a personal boat or journeying via ferry from other coastal cities nearby. It is advisable to contact the local port before your arrival to reserve a spot in case you’re travelling on your own boat.
Weather & Best Time to Visit
Summer (June – September):
Summer is one of the peak tourist seasons in Nice. The temperature lows and highs average between 20⁰C to 27⁰C respectively, and beaches are the best place to relax and work on your tan in this warm and sunny weather. However, since it is one of the busiest seasons in the year, the beaches and the rest of the city, in general, are quite crowded and extravagant rates are quite common in hotels and eateries. If you are looking for a vacation in a secluded and quiet French city, Nice should be avoided in summers.
Autumn (September – November):
Autumns in Nice witness cooler temperatures and fewer crowds compared to the main tourist seasons. September is a good month to visit, with the weather remaining warm enough to enjoy the beaches till sometime around mid-October. Temperatures remain in the range of 15⁰C-20⁰C throughout the season and only start to dip lower in the month of November. Rains also become frequent at this point and usually mark the end of peak tourist seasons.
Winter (December – February):
The winter months in Nice experience cool temperatures ranging between 5⁰C-13⁰C throughout the season, with occasional rainfall as well. While the climate of Nice in winters is generally cool and chilly, it is still pleasant enough to remain outdoors and enjoy sightseeing activities; though beaches aren’t usually an option during the winters. This is also the least crowded time of the year and the best time to make the most out of the low rates in hotels and restaurants.
The spring season in Nice can be defined as cold but is relatively more pleasant than the chilly winters. During peak spring weather, the entire city takes on a vibrant green appearance with enjoyable daytime temperatures that make the spring season one of the best times to visit Nice.
Things to Do
Enjoy a Walk on Promenade des Anglais:
One of the most popular spots among tourists, the Promenade des Anglais is a seafront walkway lined by palm trees, beaches and restaurants on one side and beautiful historical buildings on the other side. Stretching for 7 km, it is a great place to enjoy a leisurely stroll surrounded by scenic views on a good weather day, which in Nice’s case, can be enjoyed almost all year long.
Visit the Museums:
Nice is an art lover’s dream come true. There are numerous museums and art galleries here that will keep you occupied for hours at a stretch. Most of the museums here cater to artworks dating back to different periods, ranging from 15th-century paintings to the popular pop-art culture from the 1960s. The Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art, the Matisse Museum and the Chagall Museum are considered some of the top places to check out in Nice.
Relax on the Beaches:
Nice beaches are quite unlike the beaches you may have seen elsewhere; most of them are covered in small pebbles instead of the usual sandy shores and if you aren’t completely used to them, sunbathing on these surfaces may not be a very comfortable experience. There are sun loungers spread throughout such beaches though, with occasional sandy spots as well. There are also a good number of private beaches here, most of which are properties associated with high-end hotels.
Shop in Vieux Nice:
Vieux Nice is one of the oldest towns in Nice and is simply an extensive maze of winding alleys where visitors will find a wide range of shops, delis and restaurants all crammed close to each other. If you are looking to shop for souvenirs or gifts to take back home, this is the place to be. Moreover, the Cours Saleya market square located in the heart of Vieux Nice deserves a special mention here for its stalls that sell farm fresh produce every morning. You’ll find chefs shopping for fruits and vegetables that they cook and serve in their restaurants located right next door. The flower market here will enthral you with its vibrant blossoms with fragrances that waft through the entire area.
What to Eat
Out of all the numerous local attractions worth exploring in Nice, the exotic Niçoise cuisine certainly features as one of the main highlights. Local delicacies like Salade Niçoise (salad made with lettuce, tomatoes, boiled egg, anchovies and olives), Socca (crispy pancakes made of chickpeas), Pissaladiére (caramelized onion tart) and La Daube Niçoise (traditional beef stew made with red wine and vegetables) are some of the top things to try when visiting Nice.
You’ll find cafes and delis in every corner of the city, with familiar French delicacies served in all of them including each one’s own in-house specialities. Interestingly, the popular dish Ratatouille, which is a simple vegetable stew that was made famous by the movie of the same name, also has its roots in Nice and can be easily enjoyed in most of the eateries here.