Introduction to Nice
Situated on the stunning French Riviera, Nice is the fifth largest city in France and a popular destination for tourists of all ages. Founded around 350BC by the Greeks of Marseille, they named the colony Nikaia after the Greek goddess of Victory, but it was the Romans who started the tourism industry with their mineral baths in what is now Cimiez.
Once an exclusive location for the aristocracy of Europe, today it is a popular destination for holidaymakers of all budgets. Known for the stunning views from the Promenade des Anglais, its famous waterfront; it also boasts good beaches, a vibrant nightlife, historical landmarks and art galleries and fabulous hotels in Nice.
A great place to start in Nice is a climb up Castle Hill to the Colline du Chateau. There’s not much left of the Chateau itself, but the spectacular views overlooking the Baie des Anges, across the roof tops of the old town over to the Alps is well worth the 100+ steps! There is a lift however for those who prefer not to walk!
A good way to see Nice is on a guided bicycle tour. It lasts around 3 hours and takes visitors on a journey to discover Nice’s architectural, historical and cultural landmarks.
Other sights not to miss include the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, the Chagall Museum and the Russian Orthodox Cathedral, an impressive building and a national monument of France.
Most visitors enjoy a swim in the beautiful crystal water, but for lazing on the beach don’t forget to take a cushion. Nice’s beaches consist entirely of stones and pebbles so can get slightly uncomfortable without one!
Eating and drinking in Nice
Nice boasts everything from Michelin star restaurants to family style bistros. Although more budget eateries can be hard to come by, they do exist; you’ll find the best deals in and around the port area.
Nice specialities worth trying include ‘Socca’, a chickpea flatbread; ‘Pan Bagnat’, a tuna fish sandwich and of course the well known ‘Salad Nicoise’.
For an evening’s entertainment Nice has something for all tastes. The old town boasts a labyrinth of lively bars and pubs with music ranging from folk to jazz and rock. To experience the glamour of the French Riviera head to the Promenade des Anglais for cocktails and glitzy nightclub
Nice has a typically Mediterranean climate with long hot summers and mild winters being the norm. During the summer months of May to October temperatures often reach in excess of 30C, particularly in August. However sea breezes can make the summer evenings cooler.
Maximum temperatures in winter are generally between 10-15C, however it has been known for temperatures in April and November to go above 20 degrees Celsius.
The best time to visit Nice to avoid the tourist crowds and the oppressive heat is around May and June. However with almost year-round sun and a Mediterranean climate, the city can be enjoyed all year.
February is also a popular time to visit for the annual Nice carnival, the main winter event on the Riviera and one of the largest carnivals in the world. The two week festival is a huge entertainment and cultural event with flower parades, float procession, fireworks, concerts and more!
Flights to Nice arrive at Nice Cote D’Azur Airport which is situated about 6km west of the city center and its two terminals are connected by a free shuttle bus. Two shuttle buses take passengers to the city center with regular departures from the airport. Taxis are also available; expect to pay around €25-€35 and more at night.