12 Easy Day Trips from Nice, France

Here are twelve easy and fun day trips from Nice, France on the French Riviera.

1. Monaco

One of the most popular day trips from Nice is visiting the second smallest independent state in the world, Monaco. This microstate is found along the Côte d’Azur, 9 miles (15 kilometers) to the east of Nice.

It is easily reachable by train or car from Nice. Though it is not a member of the European Union, they use the Euro as their currency. Luckily for travelers, this makes visiting another country for a day trip easier.

Related: The European Union vs The Euro

Monaco is most famous for its Grand Prix and Monte Carlo Casino. While in Monaco you can tour the Palais du Prince or walk the Jardin Exotique. Here there are a mix of plants from all over the world set against ocean views. You could also spend the day on Larvotto Beach, the only public beach in the principality. There are nets in the sea to protect swimmers from jellyfish.

Related: Traveling on a Budget Tips

2. Menton

A 30-minute ride by car or train, you can reach Menton fairly quickly from Nice. It is the last stop on the train before entering Italy. Becoming increasingly popular as a picturesque colorful town on the sea, Menton offers a variety of leisure activities. You can spend the day on the beach or explore the old town where there are many restaurants to choose from.

Be sure to visit the Basilica de Michael Archangel, known for its bell tower hovering over the charming town. Menton was historically a leading lemon producer in Europe. You can still sample various lemon treats such as lemonade or desserts throughout the city. In February, the city even hosts a lemon festival.

Related: 3 Day Paris Itinerary

3. Antibes

Antibes makes for a fantastic day trip from Nice. Antibes is only about 28 kilometers from Nice, so getting between the two cities is pretty quick.

The best way to get between Antibes and Nice is via train, as it’s the quickest and most direct, taking only 20-30 minutes. There are multiple trains going between the cities throughout the day (often several an hour). So you can choose times to come and go that suit you.

Two of the best things to do in Antibes are explore the Old Town and visit the beach. The Old Town of Antibes is quite charming and full of nice shops, cafes, and restaurants. The Old Town is easily reachable from the train station by foot.

If you’re looking for a good place for a meal or drink, just stroll around the Old Town until you find something that strikes your fancy.

Antibes is an easy day trip from Nice

Antibes offers many beaches for visitors, depending on what kind of beach you want to visit and how far you want to travel to get there. Salis Beach (Plage De Salis) is a popular, sandy beach, and it’s about a 30-minute walk from the train station.

Because Antibes is so close to Nice, it’s easy to stay for a few hours, or you can make a whole day of visiting. If you’d like to keep your day trip to Antibes cheap, bring some food with you from the supermarket and have a picnic on the beach!

Read more recommendations from Ashley at Culture Snapshots.

4. Saint-Jeannet, Provence

If you are interested in wine, you’ll want to explore the charming village of Saint-Jeannet in Provence. This town is about 40 minutes by car, but you could make a multi-stop road trip by also visiting Biot, Gourdon, and Tourettes-sur-Loup.

You can sample wine and olive oil in Saint-Jeannet. For wine tasting, try booking with Vignoble Rasse or Domaine des Hautes Collines. The majority of the wine produced in Provence is rosé, although other varieties can be sampled.

Saint Jeannet is also popular for hiking as it is a village at the foot of a cliff. Lieu-dit le Panorama is one the best viewpoints in the small town. Good walking shoes are recommended to explore the winding, slopping, and narrow streets of the town.

If you don’t want to rent a car and drive yourself, guided tours can be booked for a reasonable price.

5. Cannes

Another great idea for a day trip from Nice is an excursion to the beautiful town of Cannes. The small coastal town of Cannes on the French Riviera is mostly known for hosting the annual fabulous film festival. 

Cannes is about 16 miles (26 kilometers) away from Nice. The best way to reach Cannes is by train, the journey will take you about 30 minutes. It is also possible to travel from Nice to Cannes by ferry or boat, which will take about an hour. Cannes is not very big, so you can nicely explore the town without a guide or a tour.

The most impressive thing to do in Cannes is checking out the famous Boulevard de la Croisette.  You can take a beautiful walk along the coast, lined with sandy beaches and cute small boutiques. Another great thing to see in Cannes is the Old Town, which is also known as Le Sequet. The little fishing village offers old-world charm as well as exceptional views.

Below the Old Town, you can find the charming Old Port, which is also worth a visit. You definitely have to stop by the Palais Des Festivals et Des Congres, this is the building where the film festival is held each year.

Cannes is a quick and easy day trip from Nice

Cannes is not only known for the picturesque little villages, but also for the many fabulous beach clubs alongside the Croisette. I can especially recommend La Plage du Martinez and the Carlton Beach Club. Make sure to check out Le Baoli, my favorite restaurant in Cannes. With some luck, you might even meet some celebrities in one of these places. 

Read more trip recommendations from Sabrina at Shades of Summr.

6. Calanques of Cassis

The coastal city of Cassis is about two hours (200 km) away from Nice. Although the city of Cassis itself is very pretty, the real attraction here are the calanques which are located just outside of the town. Calanques are inlets into the coast from the Mediterranean that are lined with limestone cliffs of varying sizes. 

You can hike to 3 calanques from Cassis on one out-and-back hike. You’ll hike by Calanque de Port-Miou, Calanque de Port Pin, and finally, Calanque d’En Vau. Calanque d’En Vau is by far the most impressive of these calanques, with extremely tall, sheer, white limestone cliffs creating a narrow inlet of turquoise water that ends at a pebbly beach. Bring a blanket and a little picnic lunch and spread out and enjoy the views out towards the ocean. If you want to, you can go swimming in the Mediterranean waters. 

How to see the calanques of cassis from Nice

The hike to the calanques is mostly easy, but the descent down to Calanque d’En Vau is extremely steep and quite difficult (especially going back up). All told, it’s about 4.5 miles (7km) round trip to hike to Calanque d’En Vau (passing the other two calanques on the way), with about 1200 feet (60 meters) of elevation gain. 

Driving yourself to Cassis is really the best way to visit, as you can easily drive to the trailhead outside of town. You could also take the train (2.5 hours), but the train station is quite a ways outside of town – you’d need to take a taxi or Uber to the trailhead.

Contributed by Stephanie at The Unknown Enthusiast.

7. Gorges du Loup

The drive to and through the amazing Gorges du Loup (Wolves Canyon) is an outstanding day trip from Nice. The impressive gorge is located about 30km west of Nice, above the perfume town of Grasse in the mountains. This is not an excursion that can be done by public transport, you need a car to visit and explore the gorge.  

The beauty of this outstanding day trip is the combination of the canyon and the picturesque mountain villages that are passed along the way and should be visited.  

On the way from Nice to the gorge, you should make a café stop in Saint-Paul-de-Vence and or Tourrettes-sur-Loup. Both villages are absolutely worth seeing as they have a historic, picturesque village center and are fantastically placed on a hilltop.   

At the small village Pont du Loup, Wolves Canyon opens up in front of you. Along the winding road D6, the cliffs get higher and higher. There are only a few opportunities to stop at the roadside and look into the impressive gorge.  

How to visit the Gorges du Loup near Nice

At the Saut du Loup, several waterfalls cascade into a turquoise pool surrounded by dense vegetation. This spectacle, in the center of the gorge is absolutely worth seeing and costs €1.00 entrance fee.  

A little further north you leave the canyon road and drive on D3 back towards the coast, but up the mountain. On a plateau, high above the Gorges du Loup, towers the village of Gourdon with a fantastic view over almost the entire Côte d’Azur. It belongs to the association of the most beautiful villages in France. That charming village with its magnificent view is the perfect finish for your day trip from Nice to Wolves Canyon.

Contributed by Linda at Hiking the Alps.

8. Saint Paul de Vence

Saint Paul de Vence is one of the best day trips from Nice. It’s just about a half hour drive to reach this charming village. As you drive up (no train station), you’ll see the fortified walls and historic town perched on a hill. Snap a few shots from the side streets before you enter.

Cars are not permitted through the Medieval gates, so wear comfortable shoes for walking. Saint Paul de Vence can be covered in its entirety in a few hours, but you’ll want to take your time and stroll through the cobblestone streets. Meander to the opposite end of the town from the gate for amazing views that reach the Mediterranean Sea. You’ll also see the cemetery where Marc Chagall is buried. As with many villages in the south of France, Saint Paul de Vence has an artsy vibe.

Old stone homes still exist and some have transformed into boutiques, galleries, and restaurants. However, the best place to eat is just steps outside the village, La Colombe D’Or restaurant. Art lovers will especially love this enchanting spot where you’ll find original works by Picasso, Calder, and Matisse are displayed. Sitting in the picturesque outside courtyard of La Colombe D’Or you’ll enjoy traditional French foods cooked to perfection while admiring murals and instillations by well-known artists. 

Contributed by Denise at Chef Denise.

Charming village near Nice

9. Grasse

Grasse, a sloping medieval town, is located about 30 kilometres west of Nice. An inland city away from the alluring Mediterranean coast, it’s still a worthy day trip from Nice and the Côte d’Azur.

Like so many other medieval villages, Grasse’s downtown is easy to get lost in, but small enough that you won’t be lost for long. Take time to explore the winding streets and stop to admire the expansive vistas that the hills provide. The 12th-century cathedral is a notable landmark.

But what most people go to Grasse for is perfume. For hundreds of years, this French city has been considered the world’s perfume capital. It’s where many in the perfume industry go to train their noses, and where many large brands have plantations of key flowers for perfume making.

Visitors should take a perfume-making workshop while in town; there are three parfumeries that are open to guests: Galimard, Molinard, and Fragonard. During these workshops, you will learn more about the perfume-making process and make a small bottle of your own creation to take home. As well, the Musée International de la Parfumerie in the city centre offers more information about the history of perfume and how it’s made.

How to visit Grasse from Nice

If you time your visit right, you could attend one of Grasse’s perfume-related festivals. In mid-May, the town celebrates the production of roses with Expo-Rose. In early August, there is also the Fête du Jasmin, which honours the jasmine plant with music, parades, and more.

The fastest transit route from Nice to Grasse is a direct TER train, which takes just over an hour and passes through other interesting cities like Antibes and Cannes. For those with a car, it’s about a 35-minute drive.

Contributed by Melanie at Postcards & Places.

10. Lourmarin

Lourmarin is one of the most charming Luberon villages. This picturesque town is a great day trip option for those visiting Nice, offering a beautiful break from the bustling city.

Lourmarin is known for its typical Provencal architecture, narrow streets, and well-preserved historical buildings. The village boasts a rich cultural heritage with several monuments to admire, in particular the Lourmarin castle, which is now a museum showcasing the history of the region.

There is a lot to do and see in and around the town. You can explore the village on foot, visit unique shops and art galleries and taste the local cuisine in one of the many restaurants and cafes.

The village is also surrounded by vineyards and olive groves that offer tours and tastings. The region is particularly famous for its rose wine, so it is a great place to stock up quality wine at great price.

Lourmarin is easy to reach from Nice. It is a 2.5 hours drive, mostly on the highway. Alternatively, you can take a train from Nice to Avignon, and from there, take a local bus or taxi to reach the village.

With its charming architecture, rich cultural heritage, and stunning surroundings, this Luberon village is a must-visit for anyone looking for a taste of rural French life and a great day trip from Nice.

Contributed by Emma at Bonjour Sunset.

Lourmarin is an easy day trip from Nice

11. Gorges du Verdon

Gorges du Verdon is a huge river canyon in South East France. Featuring bright turquoise water, jaw-dropping limestone cliffs and lush vegetation, the gorge is about 25 km (15.5 miles) long and 700 metres (0.4 miles) deep. Located in the Verdon Natural Regional Park, Gorges du Verdon is one of the best day trips from Nice. The most popular spot in the gorge is the Lake of Sainte-Croix, a huge man-made lake at the mouth of the Verdon river.

There’s plenty to do at the Verdon Gorge. Tourists can rent a peddle boat or kayak and paddle into the middle of the gorge, or simply relax on the beach and swim. Adventurers will be pleased to know the gorge offers a variety of hikes, as well as opportunities to go rock climbing, bungee jumping and paragliding. While bird lovers can spot unique species like griffin vultures and eagles gliding over the canyon.

Verdon Gorge is easily accessible from Nice by car along the A8. The journey takes around 2.5 hours and offers spectacular views from the winding mountain roads. Be sure to stop at Pont du Galetas Bridge for an awesome photo op. Alternatively, tours can be taken from Nice and often also include the stunning Provence lavender fields in Summer.

Contributed by Lucy and Dan at Thoroughly Travel.

How to see the Gorges du Verdon

12. Eze

The charming medieval village of Eze is perched on a hilltop and is a must-see day trip from Nice. Visit this tiny village on the French Riviera and walk its cobbled streets, peer into its artisan shops and enjoy delicious delights in its charming hidden cafes. 

Like something from a fairy tale, centuries-old Eze is a maze of narrow passages, tiny secret doorways and beautiful flowering bougainvillea that trails over stone walls that have stood the test of time. If you are a fan of gardens, you can pay a small fee to enter the Jardin D’Eze, a botanical garden at the summit, filled with cacti, winding pathways, and secluded seating areas.

On the way back down, stop at the 5-star Chateau Eze to enjoy a glass of wine on the balcony with even more dazzling views. Here, you can also look around the Fragonard perfume factory and shop. There are also more restaurants and bars in Eze and a tourist information office.

Eze is at the top of a very steep hill, so wear good shoes with a grip for your walk to the top. When you get there, the reward is a 360-degree view of the turquoise waters of the Côte d’Azur, making the climb even more worthwhile.

It is easy to travel from Nice to Eze by train in under 1 hour or by car in 25 minutes. Near to Eze is the Villa Ephrussi which can be reached by taxi and is another beautiful place to visit on the French Riviera.

Contributed by Angela from Where Angie Wanders.

Visiting Eze from Nice

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7 thoughts on “12 Easy Day Trips from Nice, France

  1. Each city/town looks better than the next! Great list and awesome photos. I love visiting charming towns and you have included some great ones here.

  2. We loved staying in Nice and agree that there are so many great day trips with Nice as a base. But you have added a few for us to consider on a return visit. We love that the train is a good option for many day trips. We are sorry we missed Grasse for the perfumes! We really do need to get back to this part of France.

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