Nice is nice, don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of things to do in Nice to keep you busy for a week. If getting out of the city is your thing, though, or you would like a change of scenery, there are a lot of easy day trips from Nice France.
Nice has easy connections by train (and even more cheaply by bus). A spectacular array of other coastal and hilltop villages around Nice make taking day trips from Nice France super easy. Here are some ideas for some of the best day trips from Nice France. I promise these are REALLY easy…we only picked places that we could easily get to with a toddler:
If you enjoy reading this list of day trips from Nice France, here are some other tidbits about traveling in South of France for when you are done:
- Budget Travel in Nice France
- Velo en Provence – Bicycling in the Cute du Rhone Region of France
- Visit Carcassonne France on a Budget – Tips to Avoid the Tourists and Get the Most Out of Your Time
Nice to Eze Village:
The trip to Eze is about as easy as it gets when looking for a day trip from Nice, and the incredible payoff in the form of atmosphere and spectacular coastal views for such an easy day out almost make this trip feel like cheating! This shows up on many “must see” lists of the best places to visit around Nice France for good reason.
The village itself looks like one giant postcard, with one gorgeous view after another. Eze village is also home to tons of cutsie shops and little cafes. If you are looking for a splurge restaurant with beautiful views, Chateau Eze or de la Chevre D’or both offer spectacular cliff side views.
A tip for those on a budget: The best views in Eze are from the garden at the top of the village, but if you don’t want to pay the entrance fee, head over to the cemetery next to the church. Head up the upper path of the cemetery (the one to the left) and you will get to a viewpoint where you will get about 75% of the view that you would have had at the top without any entrance fee.
Getting from Nice to Eze Village on Public Transportation
Travel Time: Approximately 30 minutes by bus
Bus Lines: 82, 83 and 112 all go to Eze Village
By bus: Please check the official Nice public transportation website for the latest updates. Getting from Nice to Eze was really simple. The trip was a short 25 minute ride from Nice on the line 82 bus. The bus drops you off an easy walk from the tourist information office and from there you start up the windy, cobbled streets that make up the hilltop village of Eze.
By train: From It is easier and more direct to take a bus from Nice to Eze. If you take the train, you still have to transfer to a bus to get to the village.
Nice to Villefranche Sur Mer:
Villefranche Sur Mer is located right on the coast, just east of Nice. It is not a village that I saw on most people’s lists of “Nice day trips”, which made it all that much more appealing to my off the beaten path radar.
Villefranche sur Mer was a coastal stronghold starting in the 1500’s, and we enjoyed a pleasant walk around the foot of the old fortress walls. The town is a patchwork of hilly, cobbled streets, pastel colored houses and medieval arches clustered around the port and beautiful ocean views.
Villefranche is known for its covered streets. These hidden tunnels run underneath the houses above them, and they were used for shelter from bombs during World War II. The most famous of these (and the most photographed) is the eerie looking Rue Obscura, running right underneath the heart of the town.
This is one of our favorite day trips from nice. It was a very relaxed day and the village wasn’t overrun by tourists. I am really glad that we made the time to stop here!
Getting from Nice to Villefranche Sur Mer on Public Transportation
Travel Time: Approximately 15 minutes, exit at “Octroi” stop
Bus Lines: 81 or 100
By Bus: Please check the Nice public transportation website for updates. Villefranche was an easy 15 minute bus ride from Nice on the 81 bus (many travel guides advise taking the 100 bus, but from what we saw every day, the 100 bus was always PACKED with cruise ship tourists, most of whom are trying to get to Monaco. Avoid this bus at all costs.) The 81 bus also runs to Villefranche and was not crowded at all. Get off at the “Octroi” stop for close access to the Villefranche Sur Mer Old Town.
By Train: Getting from Nice to Villefranche is equally as easy by train (though the train station is not as close to the old town). There are approximately 48 trains per day and it is a 7 minute ride. Check the SNCF website for specific time tables and updates.
Cimiez/Monastery/Cascade de Gairaut:
This is technically not a trip OUTSIDE of Nice, but it is a pleasant detour from the old town and the parts of Nice that most tourists frequent.
The Cimiez complex includes a nice park, a monastery, an archaeology museum and some Roman Ruins as well as a Matisse Museum. The park seemed to be a popular place for local families having picnics and birthday parties on the weekend day that we visited.
The Cascade de Gairaut is a really photogenic waterfall on the north of Nice, not far from Cimiez. It is a really nice stop that is a little off the beaten path, a hidden gem!
Getting from Nice to Cimiez via Public Transportation
Travel Time: 25 minutes to Cimiez (exit at “Monastere” stop.) An additional 30 minutes to the “Cascade de Gairaut” stop for the waterfall.
Bus Lines: 17 or 15 to Cimiez, connecting with 25 to the waterfall.
By Bus: You can get there by bus by taking either route 17 or route 15, depending on where in Nice you are coming from. To continue your adventure, hop on the line 25 bus at the “Monastere” stop to head towards the Gairaut Waterfall, a haven of peace and nature in the middle of the city.
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Nice to Antibes:
I really had no idea what to expect from Antibes before we got there. I knew about the famed Picasso museum, but little else about this cute, fortified coastal town. Antibes is a laid back, seaside village just a short train ride from Nice. The town has a variety of nice, sandy beaches, for those that are into hanging out at the beach.
We chose to spend our time wandering around the quaint, cobblestone streets and exploring the squares of this unassuming (and uncrowded on a Sunday) little town. We continued out stroll through the harbor, gawking at the rows upon rows of huge yachts that were anchored there.Antibes has a lovely covered market and you can walk around the fortified ramparts that surround much of the old city. Sidewalk cafes and cute places to linger over coffee, wine or lunch abound.
We spent a really lovely afternoon in Antibes. This unassuming little town should definitely grace your short list of “best day trips from Nice France”
Getting from Nice to Antibes Using Public Transportation
Travel Time: 15-25 minutes
Train Choice: Take the TGV train if available. The TER train will take about 10 extra minutes.
By Train: The easiest way to get from Nice to Antibes is by train. Departures are plentiful throughout the day from the main train station in Nice. There really isn’t a good way to get from Nice to Antibes by bus.