One day in Nice is just enough time to experience a taste of the French Riveria lifestyle. I have found that you can pack a lot of things into 24 hours if you plan and prioritize correctly. Although Nice is the 5th largest city in France, most of the main attractions and sights to see are in close proximity. Therefore, with just one day in Nice, you will be able to see the highlights of the city.
However, 24 hours is not enough time to see everything in Nice. So, after your one day taste of the city, you may choose to visit again in the future to see more! This list is packed with activities that will keep you moving and exploring all day long. But, you can take what you want from this list and leave out what you don’t fancy. If you prefer to travel and explore leisurely then choose a few things from the list and stick with them.
It is time to discover the beautiful city of Nice in just 24 short hours.
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One Day in Nice
In This Post
Explore the Cours Saleya Market
One of the best things to do while traveling is exploring the local street markets. This is the best way to interact with locals and discover local delicacies. The best and most famous street market in Nice is the Cours Saleya Market. This street market is open all week long and has stalls supplying fresh fruits and veggies, flowers and local goods. On Monday’s this market transforms into a flea market which then sells trinkets, clothes, vintage jewelry and more!
With just one day in Nice, it is a good idea to skip a regular breakfast and head here to try some Nicosie specialties. Two really delicious options you should try are socca, which is a chickpea flour crepe, or Tourte de blettes which is a chard, raisin and pine nut pie.
The Cours Saleya street market, much like others, gets very busy! So try heading here in the early morning to miss the crowds and pick up some items while they are super fresh.
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Climb the Colline du Château
To enjoy the most panoramic and picturesque views of the city you must head to the top of Colline Du Chateau, also known as Castle Hill. There are two options for getting to the top: stairs or elevator. The stairs offer some lovely views along the way and are a good choice after a morning of eating french pastries. However, if you have small children or are limited in mobility the elevator is a great option.
Castle Hill was constructed as a citadel made for military purposes. Now, this is Nice’s most famous and popular public park. More so, despite this parks name, there is no longer a castle on this hill. It was destroyed by Louis XIV in 1706. However, in this park, you will find a waterfall, stunning views, a playground, and an archeological site.
This is a great place to visit during the day to capture some amazing photos, but it is also stunning in the evening. If time permits, try heading up here again in the evening to watch the sunset over Promenade des Anglais.
Relax on the Beach
The whole city of Nice is lined with a strip of stunning beach. This long strip of the beach can get pretty crowded in the summer months, but once you see the glittering blue waters you will understand why! The Mediterranean waters are the perfect temperature and the beach is pebbly instead of sandy.
If you are a beach lover or need to relax after the hike up Castle Hill, spending some time on the beach is a must. It is also a good idea to grab a bottle of French wine and enjoy some drinks while sitting on the beach. You can probably imagine how stunning the views of the water are, paired with the gorgeous views and the buzzing atmosphere.
Walk the Promenade des Anglais
The Promenade des Anglais is a spacious and beautiful promenade that stretches along the coast. It is always full of locals and tourists alike catching the cool breeze off the sea and looking around at the beautiful surrounding architecture. The promenade is lined with palm trees giving the area a tropical and exotic feel.
If time permits you can also rent a bike and bike down the promenade! This is the perfect place to admire the stunning Nice surroundings. From the beach, to the colourful buildings, and beyond.
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Explore the Old Town
The Old Town in Nice is absolutely stunning! There are a ton of historic monuments and sculptures to discover in this area, but it is also very enjoyable to just walk around freely. Spend some time exploring with no direction or end goal. Just go where your eyes take you around the cobblestone streets, colorful buildings and charming squares.
No matter where you head in the Old Town you will find beauty. However, there are a few interesting sights to see that are worth searching for.
One of which is the Palais de Justice, which is the courthouse of Nice. This courthouse is very well known for its involvement in the 1970’s escape of French bank robber Spaggiari. More so, near the courthouse is Place Rossetti, which is a charming square that is home to the stunning Sainte Réparate cathedral.
Place Rossetti is also home to three amazing ice-cream shops!
Take a Break with Some Fresh Ice-Cream
Nice is located along the French Riveria and its food has both French and Italian influences. The Italian influence is very noticeable in Nice’s delicious ice-cream. One of the best and most famous ice cream shops in Nice is Fenocchio.
Fenocchio has over 50 ice cream flavors, with options like Olive, Chewing gum, Baileys, Rose, Violet and tons more! Stopping at this unique ice cream shop and tasting a few new flavors is never be a bad idea. Take your ice cream and sit in the square while watching and admire the stunning city of Nice.
Admire the Architecture
After exploring the Old Town of Nice, you may be thinking you’ve seen all the stunning architecture the city has to offer. But there is one more building to blow you away. Nice is home to a Russian Orthodox Cathedral that looks like it is straight from Moscow.
The Cathedral has a very unique design that is unlike any other structure you will find in Nice, or Europe!
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Eat Niçoise Cuisine
One thing that is very interesting about Nice is that it is only one out of two cities in France that has a cuisine named after it. In Nice, the cuisine is called Niçoise, and it’s an amazing mix of both French and Italian due to its closeness to the Italian border.
There are various Nicoise specialties that you must try throughout your one day in Nice. Some of the best dishes are socca, pan bagnat, salade Niçoise, and pissaladière. I highly suggest you order one of these dishes for a unique meal that serves the authentic tastes of Nice. You can also get some delicious pizza’s here that are thin-crusted and made with the best fresh and local ingredients.
To find restaurants that serve authentic Nicoise Cusine look for ‘Cusine Nissarde‘ signs at restaurants. This means they are certified in Nicoise dishes!
Watch the Sunset from a Rooftop Bar
If you don’t head back up Castle Hill to watch the sunset I suggest you head to one of the rooftop bars within the city. Going to a rooftop bar in any city is my favorite thing to do. There is something so magical about drinking a cold cocktail while overlooking the city from above.
The best rooftop bars in Nice are located on the roofs of the following hotels: Aston La Scala, Plaza Boscolo, and Meridien. Enjoying the sunset from up here is the perfect moment to relax after a long day of exploring, take some Instagram photos and prepare for the adventures of the night.
Enjoy the Nightlife
Nice has a buzzing nightlife scene that you must experience with just one day in Nice. The whole city comes alive once the sun sets, with an endless amount of bars and restaurants to choose from. There is a bar or restaurant to fit all traveler’s desires. From Live jazz clubs to local bars to clubs, there is sure to be something to fit your desires.
If you are not into drinking or going to clubs you can also walk along the promenade or get ice cream again! The ice cream shops stay open well into the night.
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Additional Information about Nice
Best Time to Visit Nice
The best time to visit Nice really depends on your preferences as a traveler. It is a year-round travel destination that welcomes tourists every month of the year.
If you want to go to Nice to relax on the beach and swim in the Mediterranean, the summer months may be best for you. However, it gets pretty busy and crowded in the summer months.
If you aren’t going to Nice for the beach, the shoulder season (March-May, Sept – Nov) is the best option. During these months the prices for accommodation and flights are much more affordable, plus there are way fewer crowds.
Where to stay
With just one day in Nice, it is important to choose accommodation in a central area to avoid being outside the city and having to travel to get into the main areas. Here are some accommodation options:
- Hôtel Régence – Very centrally located and a good price for one night
- Boutique Hôtel Neptune Nice – Central location and fantastic reviews
- H33 Hôtel – Located 700 meters from Nice Old Town
Tours of Nice
If you are someone who prefers to be led around on tours by expert guides while traveling there are some great options for you. Here are a few guided tours that are highly recommended:
If you are thinking about heading to Nice, take the plunge and do it. It is such a charming city that surprised me. I did not expect to like it as much as I did, however, its magic and beauty are moving.
I hope you add some of these things to your to-do list while spending one day in Nice. Let me know if there is anything else a tourist should do while in Nice!
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