beach near road at daytime

3-Days in Nice Itinerary: Adventure in the French Riviera

If you’re in Nice, France, with three days at your disposal and wondering how to make the most of it, you’re in the right place. This guide focuses on the essentials – highlighting must-see spots and those you can afford to miss. 

Drawing from my five years of experience living in France, including a year in Nice, I’m here to provide practical advice for your visit. Consider me your behind-the-scenes guide, steering you clear of common tourist traps and guiding you on the best things to do, see, and eat while spending three days in the heart of the French Riviera. 

Ready to explore? Allons-y!

Day 1: Exploring the Old Town


Place Massena in Nice
Photo Credit: Tiana Thompson

Start your day with a delicious breakfast at one of the many local cafes in Vieux Nice. Vieux Nice, also known as Old Town, is the historic heart of Nice and is a treasure trove of narrow streets, colorful buildings, and European architecture.

My personal favorite breakfast spot is Marinette – it’s a chic cafe with both indoor and outdoor seating that serves up breakfast classics like pancakes, french toast, and more.

Once you’ve enjoyed your breakfast, make your way to the vibrant Cours Saleya Market. Get lost in the bustling atmosphere as you sample various local products and admire the beautiful flower market. 

Aside from flowers, you can also find books, vintage items, and even produce at the market. The Cours Saleya Market is open Tuesday-Sunday from 8 am-12 pm.


After your morning stroll through the market, head towards the magnificent Nice Cathedral. 

Soak in its rich history and marvel at its beautiful Baroque architecture. After visiting the Cathedral, it’s time to explore the narrow streets of Old Town. Take your time to appreciate the charm and character of this ancient area, discovering hidden gems along the way.

Pause for a late lunch at a cozy French restaurant. Now is the time to try some of the delicious dishes that originate from the French Rivera! Dishes like socca, pissaladière, and salade Niçoise are commonly found food items on any menu in Nice.

Indulge in mouthwatering local cuisine, and don’t forget to order a glass of rosé! Savor your meal as you immerse yourself in the Old Town’s lively atmosphere.


sunset views at beach in nice
Photo Credit: Tiana Thompson

As the sun begins to set, make your way towards the iconic Promenade des Anglais. Stroll along this picturesque boulevard with a backdrop of the shimmering Mediterranean Sea. This is one of the most popular spots for taking photos in Nice – and especially at sunset. 

Enjoy breathtaking views of the coast and feel the cool breeze on your skin as you capture the perfect photos to remember your first day in Nice.

Day 2: Art and Culture


Start your day with a visit to the Marc Chagall National Museum. This gem of a museum houses some of the most stunning works of Chagall, one of France’s most celebrated artists. Take your time browsing the different masterpieces and be prepared to be amazed by his colorful and unique creations.

Once you’ve had your fill of Chagall, hop on public transport to head towards the Matisse Museum. Another great destination for art enthusiasts, this museum is dedicated to the works of Henri Matisse. Take in his fascinating range of art styles and get a deeper understanding of why Matisse is such a revered figure in the art world.


Nice Castle Hill
Photo Credit: Tiana Thompson

By now, you must have worked up quite an appetite. Treat yourself to a delicious lunch at a local bistro. Don’t forget to try a classic Niçoise salad or another French classic like moules frites (mussels with fries). 

Post-lunch, head to the Nice Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. With its unique architecture and versatile collection of artworks, including sculptures, paintings, and installations, spending a couple of hours here is like walking through a treasure trove of modern art.


Now that you’ve had your fill of iconic art museums, it’s time to experience the rich culture of Nice through a cultural performance. Be it theater, dance, or music, Nice has a robust performing arts scene that’s worth checking out. Have a look at the local listings and find a show that aligns with your interests, or better yet, step outside your comfort zone and surprise yourself with something new!

After working through this artistic journey, reward yourself with a celebratory dinner at a cozy local restaurant, and just like that, you’ve got your Day 2 in Nice sorted!

Day 3: Nature and Relaxation


Nice Port
Photo Credit: Tiana Thompson

Start your day by heading to Port de Nice. If you’re an early bird, catch the sunrise near the port, which is truly a magical sight. Once you’ve taken in the beauty of the Mediterranean, make your way to Castle Hill. This urban park offers lush gardens and history, as well as panoramic views of Nice. Stroll around the park and explore its hidden gems. This is also the best spot in town for a bird’s eye view of the Promenade!


Now that you’ve worked up an appetite, treat yourself to a seaside lunch at Le Plongeoir. This unique restaurant is perched on a rock in the Mediterranean, offering delicious food with an unbeatable view.

food at le plongeoir
Photo Credit: Tiana Thompson

Note: Le Plongeoir closes for winter, but if you’re visiting Nice in the warmer months, I highly recommend stopping by!

When you finish lunch, head down to Plage de la Promenade des Anglais. Now it’s time to experience the best part of the French Riviera: the beaches. Dip your toes in the water, soak up some sun, or rent a beach chair and umbrella if you prefer not to sit on the pebbles.


As the sun begins to set, make your way back to a seaside restaurant for dinner. Enjoy some local seafood specialties while savoring the stunning view of the Mediterranean. After dinner, take a stroll along the Promenade des Anglais and indulge in some people-watching or simply enjoy the scenery. 

If you’re feeling up for it, top the night off with a stop at a local bar or cocktail lounge to carry on your evening with a delicious nightcap. My personal favorite is Movida, a trendy cocktail bar that faces the Promenade. They always have great music and direct views of the sea!

By following this nature and relaxation-focused itinerary, your third day in Nice will be the perfect end to your French Riviera vacation. And remember, just like French pastries, there’s always room for a little sweetness and indulgence in your life!

Practical Tips for a Memorable Trip

Transportation in Nice

Getting around Nice is quite a breeze, thanks to its reliable public transport system. When deciding between buses, trams, and trains, it’s important to consider factors such as location, frequency, and cost. Here’s a simple breakdown:

  • Bus: The city offers an extensive bus network for your convenience. Perfect for exploring both the city center and nearby attractions. A travel card will help you save some euros!
  • Tram: Efficient and modern, trams connect key spots within Nice. A great choice for short distances.
  • Train: If you’re planning to explore the outskirts or nearby towns, trains come in handy with frequent schedules.

Bonus Tip: If you are interested in treating yourself to a little extra, you can drive a Ferrari in Nice. It’s a perfect way to get around the city for a bit especially when the weather is perfect and you just want to have the top down.

In any case, don’t forget that Nice is a walkable city, so put on your comfy shoes and enjoy the stunning scenery!

Accommodation Recommendations

Nice offers accommodation options catering to all budgets:

  • Hostels: Budget-conscious travelers can find a cozy bed in one of the numerous hostels in the city. They’re ideal for making new friends and spending less on your stay. Some common ones are Hostel Villa Saint Exupery and Hostel Ozz.
  • Hotels: A sweet spot for those seeking comfort and more privacy. Ranging from 2 to 5 stars, hotels in Nice offer various amenities for your enjoyment. For a luxury stay, check out Le Negresco, a 5-star seaside hotel. For a budget option, I recommend the ibis Budget Nice Palais.
  • Apartments: Traveling with family or a group of friends? Renting an apartment can provide you with more space, flexibility, and a home away from home feeling. Check out Vrbo or Airbnb for deals on vacation rentals.

Remember to book your accommodation in advance, especially if you plan to visit during peak season.

Final thoughts

Saying Nice is a blend of stunning Mediterranean beauty and rich culture would be an understatement. There is so much to see and do in this city that you can easily (and you should if I’m being honest) spend way more than 3 days here!

As you explore the city during your 3-day itinerary, you’ll undoubtedly come across various architectural styles, local markets, and unique attractions that reflect the history and lifestyle of this amazing gem on the French Riviera.

This article originally appeared on The World Overload. Featured Photo Credit: Unsplash

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