France can be expensive, but Nice can be a budget travel oasis in an otherwise expensive country. There are a lot of great things to do in Nice France on a budget!
If you are planning a trip to Nice France on a budget, or looking for things to do in the South of France, check out these other pieces of information from my travels there:
- Easy Daytrips From Nice France Using Public Transportation
- Bicycling in the Cote du Rhone Region of Provence
- Visiting Carcassonne France on a Budget: How to Avoid the Crowds and Get the Most out of Your Time
Taking the Bus from Nice Airport to Nice
Most tourists fly into the international terminal at the nice airport. From here, the only options for taking a bus from Nice airport to Nice are the Route 98 and 99 airport buses, for which there is a 6 Euro charge. This probably isn’t a bank breaker, but you can take the free shuttle over to the domestic terminal to take the Line 23 bus into the city for 1.50 Euro (less if you buy a pass of 10 tickets).
Line 23 follows almost the exact same route as 98 and 99, an easy way to save some money right off the bat!
Getting Around Cheaply using Nice France Public Transportation
Nice is right in the middle of a great transportation network! Trains are easy and readily available to many cities on the Cote D’azur, but transportation by bus is where the real value lies for a cash strapped traveler.
A bus pass costs only 15 Euros for a week (good within the city of nice only). A single ticket costs only $1.50 euro (good for 75 minutes one way) or you can buy a book of 10 tickets for 10 Euros.
There are many cities that are easy to access by bus. Eze Village and Villefranche sur Mer are very close, easy bus rides from Nice. If you are looking for more ideas about where you can go on Nice public transport, check with the tourist information office in Nice.
NOTE: If you are looking to get to Monaco (or anywhere else on this bus route, for that matter) I advise that you stay off of the Route 100 bus. Every day we walked past the bus stop for this bus, and everyday it was packed to the brim with cruise ship passengers, lined up waiting to get on.
If you are going to Monaco, take the train. If you are going anywhere else on that route, look at a route map and find another bus (there are other routes that stop almost everywhere that the 100 route does).
Hostels in Nice France (and other cheap but good lodging options):
Here are our personal recommendations for hostels and hotels to check out in Nice, France. All of my recommendations are carefully researched and I don’t ever recommend any hotel that we wouldn’t stay at ourselves.
- Hostel Meyerbeer Nice: This hostel is rated #1 in the specialty lodging category for Nice France on Tripadvisor. They offer a number of room options including private rooms in a number of family friendly configurations. The room includes breakfast (a great start if you are traveling to Nice on a budget!). This hostel also has a great, central location near the beach and old town.
- Hotel Open House Nice: This hostel/hotel also gets great reviews on Tripadvisor. It offers clean, budget accommodations in a great location.
- Hostel Smith Beach: The reviews for this hostel paint the picture of a homey, welcoming place with a great, laid back atmosphere. The location is convenient (close to the old town and beach). I am not sure if this is the type of hostel that we would stay in as a family (some hostels are more family oriented than others), but for someone traveling with a partner or friends, this should be at the top of your list. I loved reading about hostel goers here hanging out on the rooftop terrace sharing travel stories!
- Hotel Ozz By HappyCulture: I love the quircky look of this boutiquey hotel/hostel! The rooms looks clean and simple and it is getting great reviews (I don’t list any accommodations on the blog that we wouldn’t stay at ourselves). Definitely on the top of my short list for where to stay in Nice France on a budget!
- Star Hotel Nice France: CLEAN! I loved how many reviews mentioned how clean this place is (we are not SUPER picky, but clean is important to us). A clean, simple, centrally located hotel that offers great value and gets stellar reviews. Can’t go wrong here!
Where to Eat in Nice France on a Budget:
There are tons of good, budget food options in Nice. You really can get by pretty cheaply on food and not feel deprived (saving money for more activities or a splurge on a nice dinner!)
- Baguette=2 Euros or less. Decent, cheap wine=5 Euros or less. Cheese=3-4 Euros. Iconic French meal experience=Priceless.
- There are little meat shops all over Nice that sell rotisserie chickens for under 5 Euros which could be combined with a baguette and some wine for a cheap, filling meal (do you see a theme yet…baguettes and wine go with EVERYTHING in France!)
- If you are looking for good sized pizzas at reasonable prices in old Nice, make a stop at Pizza Pili (24 Rue Benoit Bunico, Nice). For 7 euros, you can get a great pizza (big enough to feed two people). They had a huge selection of creative toppings, making this a budget dining oasis in Nice!
- Of course you always have the choice of a Kebab and frites (a pita sandwich and fries), an imported French favorite and 6 Euros or less in Nice.
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Things to do in Nice France on a Budget:
Those traveling to Nice France on a budget have it pretty good. Nice has a TON of free and cheap things to do.
- Walking around the Cours Saleya Market is one of my favorite cheap (as long as you don’t buy too much) activities in Nice. It is a cheap way to sample local cheese and socca and other delicacies and get a great taste of local culture. We spent some time here on almost every day of our trip, and it never got boring!
- You can take the elevator at the end of the Cours Saleya market up to the top of Castle Hill in Nice. There is a free elevator up to the top, which give you easy access to lovely views of Nice, a great park and a pretty waterfall.
- Take the bus to the Cimiez Monastery and Museum (which has a nice set of Roman ruins, as well). The museum is worth a visit (there is also a Matisse Museum there). There is also a nice park that you can have a picnic in, making this an nice escape for an afternoon in Nice.
Are you looking for a great, family friendly apartment to rent in Nice?
- Nice has a huge, free green green space right in the center of the city! This park is the recently built centerpiece of the city, and the beautiful views and people watching are free to enjoy. The park, called the Promenade du Paillon, is built over a river that runs through the center of the city. The famous Place Massena and beautiful Jardin Albert I anchor one end of the park, and the National Theater of Nice and the modern art museum anchor the other. In between are creative kids play areas, lots of space for sitting and enjoying the scenery and a great misting pool that is just deep enough to dabble your feet in and cool off during Nice’s hot summers. The park was one of our favorite places to spend time when in Nice France on a budget.
- Unfortunately, Nice’s public museums are no longer free but you can get a one week pass for only 20 euros, so visiting museums in Nice on a budget is still possible and relatively cheap.
The Best Way to stay in Nice France on a Budget:
People are shocked when I tell the that we rented a fully furnished apartment in Nice for significantly less than we would have paid for even a budget priced hotel.
The apartment that we rented in Nice gave us the luxury of a separate room for our baby to sleep in (so we didn’t need to tiptoe around at night), a fully stocked kitchen (which gave us the authentic experience of being able to shop at the market each day with the locals and cook with fresh, local foods) and a deeper sense of belonging and of the local culture than we would have ever gotten staying with all of the other tourists in a hotel.
Try it, and I promise that you will never go back to a hotel!