Top 9 tips for visiting Nice and the French Riviera

Along the promenade des Anglais in NiceAlong the promenade des Anglais in Nice. Photo: Elena Elisseeva /

From Nice's Belle-Époque promenade des Anglais to Romanesque cathedrals and medieval hill villages, the French Riviera offers a beguiling mix of the grandiose and the intimate along with a variety of architecture. Here we give you our top tips for visiting this enchanting region.

1. Family travel

If you are holidaying with children under 16 and want to explore the French Riviera, consider buying a Pass Isabelle Famille at the local railway station. This costs around €35 and allows two adults and two children unlimited travel for a day.

2. Eating out

It’s usually much cheaper to go out for a meal at lunchtime as restaurants offer good-value plats du jour or two-course menus. Also, to save money, order a carafe d’eau (tap water) instead of pricey bottled water.

3. Free apps

The main tourist office websites have free apps of guided tours while the departmental website has free apps for local entertainment, monuments, film locations and local transport. 

4. Go skiing

If you’re on the French Riviera during the winter months, take the opportunity to go skiing in the Alpes de Haute Provence. You can get a direct bus from Nice train station to Isola 2000, which takes just over two hours and costs around €5 one way.

5. Enjoy a free tour

Greeters are a group of volunteers who offer free guided tours to visitors around particular themes, for example, architecture, food or antiques. Book at least a couple of weeks in advance.

Looking for private, tailor-made holidays to France? Let our local experts plan the details for you from start to finish. 

Menton is a popular day-trip from Nice – and no wonder why...

Menton is a popular day-trip from Nice – and no wonder why...

6. Cross the border

Menton is next to the Italian border and trains and buses on the French Riviera regularly go as far as Ventimiglia, the nearest town. The best day to visit is Friday as there is a large market on the seafront where goods are cheaper than in France.

7. The Côte d’Azur Card

Active families should consider buying this card which offers free access to more than 115 activities including entry to museums, fishing, vineyard visits and kayaking. It’s available for three or six days and can be purchased at the local tourist office.

8. On the beach

Many of the French Riviera’s beaches are shingle, which can be uncomfortable to sit on. Arguably the best sandy beaches are La Croisette in Cannes, Vieux Antibes and Pampelonne in Saint Tropez. Don’t forget to look after your valuables.

9. Dining alone

Solo diners might find it difficult to be given a table in high season. Ask for a table for two and if anyone questions it when no one turns up tell them your partner can’t make it. Take some reading material to keep yourself occupied.

Buy our Explore Guide to Nice and the French Riviera to discover the region through a series of tailor-made itineraries.

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