Type: City / beach break
Length: 7 days (minimum time to explore – 3 days)
Getting there: The big bird – britishairways.com | Flight time from London ~ 1.5 hours (if the French air traffic control aren’t striking)
The Low Down: So some of you may know that I lived in Nice for 2 summers over 2012 and 2013. I love this town, and have been back every year since I left (except last year). But this trip was a little more special as it was for a reunion with the old Hostel (Villa Saint Exupéry) crew, and what a week it was!
After dumping my bags at my awesome and very central Airbnb (see here), my first stop was Ma Nolans, the best Irish pub in town, for a few pints and their epic burger of the same name. The next morning we kicked things off with a cheeky swim at Opera Plage, just off the Promenade des Anglais. To follow that, another burger and some pink wine at an old favourite Blast – the Texas burger is a stand out.
Monday was Villefranche day. This is probably my favourite beach along this coast and only 5 mins on the train from Nice. That night we ventured back to the Villa hostel bar for another night of mayhem.
Tuesday was yacht day. Courtesy of our hostel connections, we sorted 3 yachts and set sail from Golfe Juan heading for Ile St Honorat, off the coast of Cannes. After an amazing and boozy day out on the water, we headed back to Nice and out to Waka Bar which has recently opened right on the promenade. Their Waka Burger is a game changer, officially my new favourite burger in Nice.
Wednesday was mostly recovery followed by an amazing night out in Monaco. Monaco is a must see and my favourite day trip from Nice, best of all is its only 25 mins away by train. See my dedicated Monaco blog post for the low down on what to do here.
Thursday was beach and Mexican day. We hit Poco Loco in the evening for some awesome food and good vibes. And with Friday being massive hang over day and Saturday involving mostly chill and yet more burgers, I’ll skip straight to my top 3’s.
Given how much I know Nice I couldn’t just do my standard Top 3 for this post, so here are some places you need to check out…
My Top 3 Beaches
1 – Villefranche
Huge bay very close to Nice. 5 mins on the train (€1.80 each way) from Nice gets you; smaller pebbles, no waves, clear water and an awesome old town to explore after. Definitely worth a visit.
2 – Cap d’Ail / Plage Mala
Secluded Pirates-of-the-Caribbean-esk bay surrounded by cliffs. 20 mins train from Nice (€3.30 each way) and a 20 mins walk around the coast gets you; cliff jumping, a mix of smaller and larger pebbles, Instagram photos all of your friends will be jealous of and some cool lounge bars for wines afterward. Sold?
3 – Paloma Beach
Secluded beach next to some of the most expensive real estate in Europe. 10 min Train from Nice to Beaulieu-Sur-Mer and then a bus and walk from there gets you; a high end secluded beach, medium size pebbles, clear water and a place that not a lot of tourists go. As this beach faces east, the sun will disappear mid-late afternoon, so get there early.
My Top 3 Drinking Holes
1 – Waka Bar
Kiwi bar that has recently opened, right on the promenade with a very cool vibe and great food (see below). Things don’t kick off here til a bit later, so unless your looking for chill don’t bother getting here before 10.30pm.
2 – Ma Nolans
The best Irish Pub in town with 2 venues in Nice, one in the Old Town and one in the Port. Great craic anytime of day, does get busy after 6pm though. If you can, get a spot on the alfresco. Food is solid. Sport is always on.
3 – Waynes
The old go-to for a good night out, if you’re looking for somewhere to dance on tables to the latest pop remixes, lose half your body weight in sweat and meet backpackers, this is the place for you. Kicks off around 10pm, closes at 2am, at which point you should follow the crowds to Pompeii. You can thank me later.
My Top 3 Eateries – Casual Dining
1 – Waka Bar
Burgers, burgers and more burgers. Thats literally all these guys do but they are amazing. The fries are incredible too. Go either the Waka Burger or the Chicken equivalent, you won’t regret it.
2 – La Favola
Great Italian food and exceptionally good value for money. Literally everything I have had here has been amazing, the pizzas in particular. Unfortunately you can’t book, so get there before 7.30pm otherwise you’ll be queuing.
3 – Ma Nolans
Good pub grub. Decent value for money and fairly quick service.
My Top 3 Must Sees
1 – Place Massena / Promenade du Paillon
The main square in Nice and the adjacent fountain installation which you literally can’t miss – guaranteed to walk straight through it at some point.
2 – The Promenade des Anglais / Le Chateau
Basically every photo you have ever seen of the bay of Nice is taken from the turret at Le Chateau. Go for a stroll along the promenade and head up to that turret, your Instagram fans will thank you for it.
3 – Cours Saleya / Old Town
One of France’s iconic markets, the Cours Saleya is located in the Old Town of Nice. Open everyday except Monday from 6am til 2pm it is a food, fruit and flower market with loads of other cool random stuff. A must see. And while your right in the heart of the Old Town, go for an aimless wander, you can’t go wrong.
My Top 3 Day Trips
1 – Monaco
Seriously cool and not as expensive as you’d expect, see my dedicated blog post here.
2 – Eze Village
Medieval hilltop village with stunning views over the coastline. To get those views you’ll need to head to Jardin Exotique (cactus gardens) which are perched over the town. Getting there is a 15 min train from Nice to Eze-sur-Mer and a 30 min steep hike, or alternatively catch a 30 min bus from Nice straight to the village. The hike is cool, but decent shoes are necessary.
3 – Antibes
Cannes’ less touristy neighbour, Antibes is the super yacht port for the French Riveria. 25 mins from Nice by train, Antibes is a more chilled out place for a day of exploring. Walk around the old town, check out some super yachts, hit the beach and if your feeling a little home sick check out Geoffrey’s of London. If you like Picasso, there is a museum for him here too.
My Top 3 Must Do’s
1 – Free Walking Tour
Perfect way to see Nice and get a history lesson while you’re at it. For tickets and info click here.
2 – Pub Crawl
Nice isn’t known it’s amazing nightlife, but this pub crawl certainly makes up for that. If you’re keen for a night out, make sure you jump on this. For tickets and info click here.
3 – Fenocchio (fenocchio.fr)
Like ice cream? This place has 94 flavours and is in one of the coolest squares in the Old Town. Enough said?