8 Best Day Trips from Nice

8 Best Day Trips from Nice

As the capital of the French Riviera, Nice has beautiful beaches, glamourous resorts, and Provencal countryside, all within day-trip distance. If you’re visiting Nice for the France Rugby World Cup 2023, why not make the most of the time between matches and take in some of the regional highlights?

Ready to discover the Côte d’Azur, kayak through a river canyon, and visit the world’s second-smallest country? Here’s our pick of the eight best day trips from Nice.

1. Monaco & Eze

A royal palace, a world-famous casino, and an iconic Formula One Grand Prix circuit—Monaco might be Europe’s second-smallest country, but it packs a lot into its 200-hectare landmass. The good news for day-trippers is that it’s easy to explore in just a few hours, stopping to admire the Prince’s Palace, play a few chips at the casino, admire views of the Rock of Monaco, and gawp at the mega-yachts in the harbour.

The classic Monaco tour includes a stop at hilltop Eze, one of the French Riviera’s most picturesque towns, with its maze of cobbled alleys and medieval buildings. Swing by the Fragonard perfume factory to pick up some souvenirs while you’re there, too.

2. Cannes

All eyes are on Cannes for its annual Film Festival, but this French Rivieria city rolls out the red carpet for travellers year-round. Swing by the Palace of Festivals, where the big event takes place, and follow the Allée des Étoiles, Cannes’ version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, for your brush with the city’s celebrity legacy.

Another headline act is the Promenade de la Croisette, Cannes’ swanky seafront boardwalk—more than three palm-fringed kilometres of luxurious hotels, designer boutiques, and glamourous bars and restaurants. Gaze out over the harbour with its million-dollar yachts, then slip down to the beach to top up your Riviera tan.

Distance from Nice: 21 miles (34 km)

How to get there: Drive (45 minutes), take the train (39 mins) or join a tour or cruise from Nice.

Don’t miss: Boulevard de la Croisette

3. Aix-en-Provence

Amid patchwork vineyards and rolling Provencal hills, Aix en Provence is a Van Gogh painting brought to life. Start your tour with a stroll along the tree-lined boulevard of Cours Mirabeau, weave through the maze-like streets of the Old Town, then soak up the scenery with a leisurely brunch at a terrace café.

Art lovers won’t want to miss the Granet Museum, with works by Paul Cézanne and Picasso on display, along with the Atelier Cézanne, the artist’s former studio, which lies in the hills just north of town.

Distance from Nice: 110 miles (175 km)

How to get there: Drive (2 hours) or join a tour from Nice.

Don’t miss: Follow the Paul Cézanne trail.

4. Menton

It’s all about the lemons in this French Riviera town, France’s largest producer of citrus fruits. Lemon groves blanket the hillsides along the Italian border; lemon tarts, cakes, and pastries line the windows of cafés and bakeries throughout the Old Town; and the annual Lemon Festival draws more than 200,000 lemon lovers to the small town each February.

If you can tear yourself away from the citrus theme, be sure to take a peek at the Baroque Saint-Michel Basilica, visit the Jean Cocteau Museum, and stroll through the Val Rahmeh Botanical Garden.

Distance from Nice: 19 miles (30 km)

How to get there: Drive (35 minutes), take the train (41 mins) or join a tour from Nice.

Don’t miss: Delicious lemon tarts and pastries.

5. Antibes

Some of the Riviera’s best beaches and coastal walks fringe the Cap d’Antibes, the forested peninsula that juts out into the Mediterranean east of Cannes. Hike the sea-cliff trail ‘Le Sentier du Littoral’ for the best views, then head into Antibes town to gawp at the yachts in Port Vauban, the largest yacht marina in the Riviera.

While you’re there, be sure to visit the Picasso Museum, check out the ‘Le Nomade’ sculpture, and climb the ramparts of the Fort Carré. Or perhaps tag on a visit to neighbouring Juan-les-Pins, famed for its sandy beaches, jazz bars, and buzzing nightlife.

Distance from Nice: 28 miles (28 km)

How to get there: Drive (40 minutes), take the train (26 mins) or join a tour or cruise from Nice.

Don’t miss: The yacht marina at Port Vauban.

6. St Tropez

A-listers and multi-millionaires aren’t the only ones welcome in St Tropez—the most glamourous of French Riviera vacation spots is also the ideal destination for a day trip. Arrive early to browse the morning market on Place aux Herbes, wander through the atmospheric Old Town “La Ponche”, then admire the views around the Vieux Port (Old Port) with its pretty pastel-coloured houses, fishing boats, and street artists.

If all else fails, hit the beach. This resort town has some of the silkiest sands in the Riviera, with mile upon mile of beaches to choose from. Pampelonne Beach is the first stop for sun-seekers and has everything you need for a beach vacation, from buzzing beach bars to water sports rentals.

Distance from Nice: 68 miles (110 km)

How to get there: Drive (1 hour 40 minutes) or join a tour or cruise from Nice.

Don’t miss: The best beaches in the French Riviera.

7. Grasse

Hemmed in by fields of wild jasmine, lavender, and rose, a visit to the hilltop town of Grasse is a full sensory experience. The capital of the French perfume industry is home to three world-famous perfumers—Fragonard, Galimard, and Molinard—all of which open their factory doors to visitors.

Let your nose lead the way as you peek inside the showrooms, browse the perfume shops, and learn about the perfume-making process at the International Perfume Museum. You can even join a perfume-making workshop and create your own signature fragrance.

Distance from Nice: 28 miles (45 km)

How to get there: Drive (50 minutes), take the train (1 hour 11 mins) or join a tour from Nice.

Don’t miss: The Fragonard perfume factory.

8. Verdon Gorge

Stretching for more than 50 kilometres from Castellane to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, the Verdon Gorge measures in as Europe’s largest canyon. If you’re looking for a change of scenery from the French Riviera, this is it, with its towering 700-metre-high cliffs, thundering rapids, and forested gorges.

Head to the Verdon Regional Natural Park to hike or mountain bike along miles of trails, enjoy rock climbing in the gorge, or join a white-water rafting tour along the Verdon River.

Calmer waters await at Sainte-Croix Lake, where you can set sail on a boat cruise, rent a canoe or kayak, or try windsurfing instead.

Distance from Nice: 93 miles (150 km)

How to get there: Drive (2 hours 30 minutes) or join a tour from Nice.

Don’t miss: A view over the gorge.

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