Located in the legendary French Riviera on the Mediterranean Sea, Nice is every bit as beautiful as you would expect. With a charming old town and the snowcapped peaks of the Alps forming a backdrop to the city, you couldn't really ask for a more photogenic location. And since this is one of the major cities in France, you'll also find great food and fascinating cultural attractions, including the best museums in Nice.
With all that going on, you may see no reason to leave the city. But along with everything the city offers itself, part of what makes Nice so special is its location. The best day trips from Nice can take you along the Mediterranean coast, through charming ancient villages, or into the wilderness of the mountains. Plus, with the Italian border just a stone's throw away from Nice, you can even pop into a different country on a day trip. For that matter, you can visit two, since Monaco is just outside Nice too.
In other words, Nice makes a truly spectacular base from which to explore the rest of Provence and beyond. Drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage in Nice and get ready to see all that the French Riviera has to offer.
How to get out of Nice
Nice's Gare de Ville train station is your gateway to the city but also your best way out of it. Located in the city center, just a short walk from the Old Town, the train station offers both high-speed, long-distance trains to other cities in France and slower regional trains that will help you take some of the best day trips from Nice. You can reach many of the top destinations in the area from Nice by train, including Marseille, Ventimiglia, Antibes, and Monaco.
On the other hand, if your idea of a fun day trip means getting out of the city and enjoying the incredible natural surroundings of Nice, you might want to consider renting a car. That will give you the freedom to explore some attractions more off the beaten path. However, driving in Nice itself is no picnic, so it might be better to try and pick up the car from the airport that you can easily reach by public transit. Check out our guide on how to get around Nice for more information.
From Nice to Monaco
First on our list of best day trips from Nice has to be Monaco. This tiny country is just outside Nice, and you can actually see it from some parts of the city. It's easy to get to Monaco by train from Nice, and once you're there, you can explore the glamorous streets of Monte Carlo, visit the Prince's Palace, or take a walk through the old town. You could easily spend an entire day in Monaco, but if you want to make it a quick trip, two or three hours is enough to see the highlights.
Monaco is famous for its popularity with the international jet set, and you can see its legendary Formula One Grand Prix circuit or dine in some of the best restaurants on the Mediterranean coast. Alternatively, Monaco has some fascinating museums where you can explore the interesting history of this unique city-state.
How to get to Monaco
It couldn't be easier to get to Monaco from Nice. The train from Nice will drop you off in the principality in only 25 minutes, and from there, you can walk to everything this tiny country on the Mediterranean Sea offers.
From Nice to Villefranche-sur-Mer
If you're looking for a charming seaside town to visit on a day trip from Nice, look no further than Villefranche-sur-Mer. This pretty little town is located just outside Nice, along the Mediterranean coast. It's known for its beautiful bay, which is sheltered by cliffs and dotted with colorful fishing boats. The old town of Villefranche-sur-Mer is also lovely, with narrow streets lined with flowers leading up to a medieval castle perched on a hilltop.
Villefranche-sur-Mer is a great place to relax for a day, swimming in the Mediterranean Sea or lounging on the beach. But there's also plenty to keep you busy, like exploring the old town or visiting one of the many art galleries in town. You can even take a boat trip from Villefranche-sur-Mer to Saint-Tropez or Nice.
How to get to Villefranche-sur-Mer
Villefranche-sur-Mer is just a short train ride from Nice, and the station is located right in the center of town. You can also take a bus from Nice to Villefranche-sur-Mer, but the train is faster and more convenient.
From Nice to Ventimiglia
For a day trip with a bit more of an international flavor, Ventimiglia is the perfect destination. This town is located just across the border from Nice in Italy, and it's known for its huge open-air market. You can find everything from fresh produce to clothes and souvenirs at the market, and it's a great place to explore even if you're not looking to buy anything.
Ventimiglia is also home to a beautiful old town, with narrow streets lined with shops and cafes. And of course, no trip to Italy would be complete without some delicious Italian food. Ventimiglia has plenty of restaurants serving up traditional dishes like pasta and pizza.
How to get to Ventimiglia
To get to Ventimiglia from Nice, you'll need to take a bus or a train. The journey takes around an hour, and the bus station is located right in the center of town.
From Nice to Saint Paul de Vence
Saint Paul de Vence is one of the most popular day trips from Nice, and it's easy to see why. This medieval hilltop village is located just a short drive from Nice, and it's full of charm. The streets are lined with artists' studios and galleries, and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy the views.
Saint Paul de Vence is also home to some of the best-preserved fortifications in France, which you can explore on a walk around the town walls. And if you're interested in art, don't miss a visit to the Fondation Maeght, one of the top museums in the region.
How to get to Saint Paul de Vence
Part of the charm of this ancient village is how remote it feels. There's no train station here, so you'll need to either get a bus or hire a car and make the journey yourself.
From Nice to Antibes
If you're looking for a beach day on your trip from Nice, Antibes is the perfect place to go. This town is located just east of Nice, along the Mediterranean coast. Antibes has sandy beaches where you can relax in the sun, as well as a lively old town with plenty of shops and restaurants.
There's also a fascinating history to explore in Antibes. Check out the hilltop fortification that dominates the city and enjoy stunning views of the Mediterranean, or visit the famous Provencal Market, where you can shop for unique souvenirs to bring back home.
How to get to Antibes
To get to Antibes from Nice, you can take the train or a bus. The journey takes around 30 minutes by train, while the bus is slower but cheaper.
From Nice to Cannes
If Monaco and Nice itself haven't satisfied your appetite for glitz and glamour, take a train ride to the famous French Riviera town of Cannes for a day trip that will bring you closer to the stars. Not the ones in the sky, of course, but the ones who pose on the red carpet every year at the legendary Cannes International Film Festival.
Cannes is also known for its beautiful beaches, so if you're looking to relax in the sun, this is the perfect place to do it. Or, if you're feeling a bit more adventurous, take a boat trip from Cannes to one of the nearby islands like Saint-Tropez or Île Sainte-Marguerite.
How to get to Cannes
The journey from Nice to Cannes by train takes around half an hour, and there are several trains per day. The station is located in the center of town, so it's easy to get around even if you're not familiar with the area.
From Nice to Saint Tropez
Another of the most popular day trips from Nice is to the glamorous town of Saint Tropez. This is a playground for the rich and famous, and it's easy to see why. The town is located on the French Riviera, with beautiful beaches and stunning views.
There's plenty to do in Saint Tropez, even if you're not interested in celebrity spotting. Take a walk around the old town, visit one of the many art galleries or museums, or just enjoy a coffee or a meal in one of the many cafes and restaurants.
How to get to Saint Tropez
There's no train station in St. Tropez - possibly to keep the riffraff out. Instead, you'll either have to take a bus or rent a car. Either way, you're looking at a two-hour journey, but on the plus side, you'll have great views of the French Riviera all the way.
From Nice to Aix-en-Provence
If you're looking for a day trip that's a bit further from Nice, consider Aix-en-Provence. This is a beautiful city located in the south of France, and it's full of historic buildings and stunning architecture. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy the views, as well as shops and boutiques if you want to do some shopping.
Aix-en-Provence is also home to some of the best universities in France, so if you're interested in learning more about the country and its culture, this is the perfect place to do it.
How to get to Aix-en-Provence
Aix-en-Provence is located about two and a half hours from Nice by train, so it's a bit of a journey. However, it's well worth it for the chance to explore this beautiful city.
From Nice to Ile de Sainte Marguerite
If you're looking for a day trip that's a little bit different, why not take a boat ride to Ile de Sainte Marguerite? This is a small island located just off the coast of Cannes, and it's home to a number of different attractions.
One of the most popular things to do on the island is visiting the Fort de Sainte Marguerite. This was once used as a prison, and it's where the "Man in the Iron Mask" was reportedly held. Today, it's a museum where you can learn more about the island's history.
Other than that, Ile de Sainte Marguerite is simply a beautiful place to relax. There are plenty of beaches where you can sunbathe, and the clear blue water is perfect for swimming.
How to get to Ile de Sainte Marguerite
To get to Ile de Sainte Marguerite, you'll need to take a boat from Cannes. The journey takes around 20 minutes, and there are several boats per day.
From Nice to Mercantour National Park
Want to escape the hustle and bustle of Nice for a day? Head to Mercantour National Park. This is a large park located in the French Alps, and it's full of hiking trails and stunning scenery. You can also go camping or horseback riding if you're feeling adventurous.
There are several towns located within the park, so you can explore at your own pace. Or, if you're feeling really energetic, you can hike all the way from Nice to Menton - it takes around six days.
How to get to Mercantour National Park
The best way to get to Mercantour National Park from Nice is by car. It's only around an hour to the southern entrance of the park, but you could spend a lot longer than that exploring one of Europe's last great wildernesses.
There's so much to like about Nice. But one of the best things about this iconic city is all the great day trips you can take from here. These day trips from Nice offer a stunning range of things to do, from exploring a charming medieval village to living like a millionaire on the French Riviera to losing yourself in one of France's best national parks. Whatever you like to do, there's a day trip from Nice that can take you there. So drop off your bags and explore what makes Provence so special.