Few places on earth seem to exude glamour like the French Riviera. And along with cities like Cannes and Antibes, Nice acts as the epicenter of the good life in this beautiful part of the world. Famous for its oceanfront boulevard, the Promenade des Anglais, Nice has been known as a stunning seaside resort for well over a century, and it's still a place where the international jet set come to enjoy abundant sunshine, crystal clear waters, fascinating culture, and great food.
Because of its location on the Mediterranean, determining the best beaches in Nice can be tricky. After all, there are so many to choose from. Still, that can be an advantage. In this upscale Provence town, you can find plenty of luxurious private beaches that offer Michelin-starred restaurants and all the amenities you could possibly want. But you don't need to be a millionaire to enjoy the best beaches in Nice. Budget travel can be tricky in this expensive city, but finding a public beach to spend some time on is a great way to make your budget stretch further.
Another top tip for enjoying your time in this legendary city is to drop off your bags at a Nice luggage storage. Carrying only what you need to makes it much easier to enjoy the best beaches along the French Riviera and will also help you look more like a local instead of a flushed and sweating tourist in a town where image still counts for something.
One of the most iconic of all Nice beaches, Blue Beach has been a legendary private beach along the Promenade des Anglais for generations. If you want to enjoy Nice's abundant sunshine and coastal beauty the way the wealthy of a century ago used to, this is the place to do it. It's also one of the best beaches in Nice if you want to stay close to the beautiful Old Town while enjoying the natural environment.
Travel distance from Nice
Zero. Blue Beach is located on the Promenade des Anglais right in front of the iconic five-star Negresco Hotel and is as much a part of central Nice as Place Massena and the flower market. You can see planes land at and take off from Nice Airport while you lounge on the beach, and the L2 tram line from the airport stops just a few blocks from this private beach.
Sunbathing: The ample sunshine of the French Riviera offers the perfect way to top up your tan, and the comfortable - albeit expensive - sun loungers this private beach offers are the perfect place to do it. Note that this is where the beautiful people come to hang out, so act like you're one of them even if you're not, and enjoy the sunshine.
Food: Like most of the private beaches along the Promenade des Anglais, Blue Beach has its own on-site restaurant, complete with a tasting menu that will guide you through the produce and cuisine of this sunny region. There is also a cocktail bar that provides drinks and snacks right to your sun lounger, so it would be hard to pick a better place to dine. However, if the beach club's own restaurant isn't for you, Nice Old Town is just steps away and is packed with restaurants of every description - and capable of suiting every budget.
Located a little bit away from the private beaches along the Promenade des Anglais, including Blue Beach and ancient Ruhl Plage with its iconic saltwater pool, Coco Beach offers a different environment than you'll find on the pebbly beaches in the rest of the city. This beach is as rocky as they come, with the low cliffs eroded into fantastic shapes by the constant action of waves and linked by a stony path. Ladders lead from the rocks down into the ocean, so this beach provides an incredible view, absolutely crystal-clear water, and a way to enjoy what feels like a natural and unspoiled environment even in the shadow of the city.
Travel distance from Nice
Basically none. Coco Beach is well within Nice itself in the chic Mont Boron neighborhood. You can get here by taking bus route 38 from Nice Cathedral, which takes around 15 minutes, depending on traffic.
Swimming: Swimming may be an obvious beach activity, but there are few better places to do it in Nice than here. The lack of sand or even pebbles means the water clarity here is truly amazing, and the rocky platforms make the perfect place to dive from or use ladders to get into the warm water. Depending on what day you choose to go, this beach can be anything from packed with other visitors to completely deserted, but it's always a good idea to get here early and stake out your spot on the rocks so you can enjoy swimming on one of the best beaches in Nice.
Castle Hill: One of the top tourist attractions in Nice, Castle Hill rises right behind this beach and is a perfect place to explore before or after a swim. You can walk up to the top of the hill or take an elevator, and once you reach the summit you'll find tons of hiking trails and incredible views of the city. The castle the hill is named after no longer exists, but the pine forests, cool breezes, and astonishing views make this place well worth visiting anyway.
Plage des Marinières
Located in the neighboring town of Villefranche-sur-Mer, Plage des Marinières sits at the eastern end of the main city beach and is the perfect public beach to visit if you want a classic seaside vacation without the pretension and the high prices you'll sometimes find on beaches in Nice. Easy to reach from the city, Villefranche is more of a working town popular with locals than Nice is - although just about everywhere along this coastline is at least a little bit high-end.
Travel distance from Nice
Only 11 kilometers from the center of Nice, you can reach Villefranche-sur-Mer with a drive of about 20 minutes. You can also get here by train, which takes around 20 minutes, or you can save some money by taking the two-euro bus that winds its way along the coast and will take about half an hour.
The beach: One of the main attractions in Villefranche-sur-Mer is that it offers something that can be incredibly difficult to find along this rocky coastline: a sand beach. The beach here is huge, so there's plenty of space to spread out and watch the luxury yachts sail by, and unlike many beaches in the area, you don't need to spend a lot of money to get a sunny spot with a lovely view. There are also tons of ice cream stalls and even the odd gourmet restaurant along the avenue behind the beach, so you won't go hungry here.
Swimming: Thanks in part to its sand but mostly because the beach here remains quite shallow for around 10 meters into the water before it starts to deepen, this is one of the best beaches near Nice for swimming. Lifeguards are on duty throughout the summer, so it's a good place to bring the family for a paddle or just enjoy it for yourself.
Plage de Carras
Something of a specialist among local beaches, Plage de Carras is the most accessible of the area's beaches for those with disabilities. It's also almost the only beach with a pet-friendly area, so it's not the best place to go if you don't like dogs. But if you do, and especially if you brought your dog with you to Nice, this is a great place to go to enjoy the city with your furry friends.
Travel distance from Nice
Really none. This is another of the pebbly beaches along the shore of Nice itself, so you can get here from just about anywhere in the city. Within walking distance from some of Nice's top attractions, it's just a short stroll from the Old Town, the Opera House, and many of the private beach clubs Nice is known for.
Water sports: One of the more active beaches in Nice, this is a great place to come if you want to do more than just lie out on the pebbles and enjoy the view. You can rent jet skis to explore the Baie des Anges from the water or play a game of volleyball on the rocky beach - though water shoes are highly recommended to protect your feet. Along with swimming and just strolling along the water's edge, there's plenty to do to stay active on this lively beach.
Swimming: Carras Beach benefits from the same clear warm water as the rest of the beaches in Nice. Often less crowded than some of the beaches further along the coast, this is a great place to take a dip and cool off from the heat of a sunny Provence summer.
Nice has some truly exceptional beaches, and you don't need to travel far from the city to enjoy them. However, the city's more famous beaches can quickly get crowded, especially in the summer months. That's why a short trip to the nearby town of Eze-sur-Mer is a good idea. Eze can give you an encounter with the wilder side of the French Riviera while still providing all the amenities you'll get from being so close to the city.
Travel distance from Nice
Located to the east of the city, close to the glamorous principality of Monaco, Eze can be reached in a drive of around half an hour from Nice. You can also take the train here in about the same amount of time. The beach is just a few hundred meters from the train station, so it's easy to walk there after you get off the train, especially if you leave your heavy bags behind in Nice before you go.
Water sports: The beach at Eze is known for its Club Nautique, which is the perfect place to rent equipment or take lessons to try water sports in the area. Options include kayaking, standup paddleboarding, windsurfing, and diving, so whether you're a total novice or an experienced aquatic adventurer, this is a great place to come for a more active spin on the classic beach day.
Hiking: Located outside the city, this scenic area is a great place to take a hike. Just beyond the beach at Eze, Parc Sacha Guitry provides lots of hiking trails and endless scenic views, and a designated coastal trail runs along the cliffs beside the homes of local millionaires, giving you stunning views out over the sea and back toward the city.
Nice is known as a playground of millionaires, and the prices in the city can reflect that. But visiting some of these beaches is a great activity to help you enjoy Nice on a budget. Alternatively, if you have money to burn, the many private beaches in the area provide the perfect luxury experience to enjoy this glamorous location.
Drop off your bags at a nearby luggage storage and try some of these Nice beaches for yourself. And if you just can't get enough sun and surf, there are tons of other beaches further outside the city that provide excellent destinations for the best weekend trips from Nice.