Nice, France is in a great location on the Mediterranean Sea in the French Riveria.
Not only is it a great place to visit, but there are also some amazing places just nearby that make some great day trips from Nice if you don’t feel like staying in one place.
It is the perfect place to camp out if you want to explore the south of France.
Nice, is in close proximity to both Italy and Monaco with mountains and beaches to explore that are just nearby. There is something for everyone within an hour’s drive of Nice.
Not only that, but it also has a major airport, so it is easy to access. You can either rent a car or rely on public transport and walking if you don’t feel like driving in France.
Nice has a lot of Italian influence and used to be a part of the kingdom that is now Italy, but never belonged to Italy. Just a fun Nice fact.
Nice and the French Riveria is the perfect place to spend your holiday, and the best part is the weather is pretty much perfect year-round, which is always nice. Pun intended.
As they say, it’s always nice in Nice.
Here are some of the best day trips from Nice to help inspire you where you should go.
The Best Day Trips from Nice, France
Only a 35-minute drive or train ride from Nice, you will find Cannes. An iconic city is known for its Film Festival where celebrities gather each year on the stunning red carpet steps of the city.
Cannes has some of the most beautiful beaches in all of the French Riveria due to their soft, powdery, white-hue color sand.
It is also quite a luxurious city, not only in fashion and shopping but also with its food and restaurants.
There are many Michelin-rated restaurants in Cannes. All of these are worth trying if you want a high-end Mediterranean Cuisine to remember for years to come.
The city is split into two sections. Le Suquet is the old historic part of town and La Croisette which is the newer and more modern side of town.
When visiting Cannes for the first time, start at the hill of Le Suquet. You will find amazing views of La Croisette and the Lérins Islands in the distance.
The Lérins Islands are a group of four islands off the coast of Cannes. Only two of them are large enough to be inhabited and all four are a part of the city of Cannes.
If you want to visit some of the oldest establishments, the islands can be reached by ferry in 15 minutes.
The Saint-Honorat island is the second-largest and about a mile from Cannes shore. It was founded in 410 and is still inhabited by monks.
Also in Le Suquet is Notre-Dame D’Espérance a beautiful church with a rich history that is worth a stop inside.
After you’ve enjoyed the historical buildings in Le Suquet you will want to walk along the oldest port. It is great from grabbing a café to divulge in the beauty, and appreciated the preservation of history.
Also, don’t forget to make your way to the famous Boulevard de la Croisette. It is a prominent road stretching along the shore of the Mediterranean Sea.
La Croisette is full of beautifully designed buildings, high-class restaurants, luxurious shops and boutiques, and exclusive beaches.
Cannes is a truly picturesque city that deserves to be experienced.
2. Saint Tropez
Just over an hour and a half from Nice is Saint Tropez which is known as the most glamorous city on the French Riviera full of celebrities, giant yachts, and beach clubs.
While sandy white beaches and exclusive resorts are true about Saint Tropez, there is more beauty than meets the eye.
Besides living like the fabulous for a day on the beach, the historic part of town is worth exploring, too. It is full of colorful buildings graced with old charm and narrow cobblestone streets.
When in Saint Tropez, visit the Vieux Port (Old Port) in the historic village to be astonished by massive yachts as well as quaint little sailboats with colorful houses lining the shore.
In the middle of the historic part of the city, is a Citadel. From here you can spend some time wandering the streets of the village and visit the Notre Dame de l’Assomption.
This church soars high above the rest of the town and full of picturesque color and amazing architecture, which you can see pictured above.
Place de Lices located in the Old Town is a lovely square shaded by trees that have been a gathering spot for pétanque (bocce ball) players for many years.
On the weekends, this square is occupied by traditional Provençal markets with fresh produce and goods. If you’re up for it, there is an amazing trail leading from Old Town to the peninsula of Saint Tropez.
The coastal path allows you to explore the natural beauty of the coastline without a crowded view.
While there are many private beaches in Saint Tropez, there are beautiful public beaches that have free private shower and restroom facilities.
If the exclusive and expensive beach scene isn’t for you, there are enough free beaches to enjoy that are just as great.
Saint Tropez is the best day trip from Nice for experiencing both the glamorous life of the rich and famous as well as the ordinary.
There is a strong dynamic between the historic village and the shorefront that allows you to experience both types of lifestyles in one day.
It’s worth experiencing Saint Tropez for yourself.
Aix-en-Provence is located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of France and can be reached by car in under 2 hours making it an easy day trip from Nice.
Provence region is known for its wine, more specifically its rosé. Just one of the amazing wine regions France has to offer.
So when you are here, you have to be sure to do a Provence Wine Tour.
Aix is also known as the city of fountains because they can be found on every street corner and each with its own unique character.
Aix is split by a beautiful Rotunda fountain between the ‘new’ and ‘old’ city. The ‘old’ city is where the character and life of Aix lives. It’s full of narrow rues, quaint shops, and delicious cafés.
It’s known for its honey-colored buildings and trees that line the Cours Mirabeau. Aix is full of light and life that is so worth experiencing in person.
Visiting Aix allows you to feel like you’ve left modern-day life for a moment.
You could spend your entire day in Aix walking around the winding streets where time seems to stop in its tracks.
When you’re in Aix, you feel like you’re in a better world, one where people enjoy their mid-afternoon cafés and crêpe and live their life to the fullest.
While in Aix, you must visit the 800-year-old Cathédral that resides in the center of town. The best part about it is you don’t see it coming.
After walking under the famous and high-standing clock tower, you will land at the most beautiful medieval church that is full of history and untainted beauty.
It is also known for its markets that offer fresh flowers and produce. There is also a larger market on weekends with unique goods and products from hardworking vendors.
The people in Aix are some of the happiest because they’re living in a small piece of a beautiful pie.
Aix-en-Provence is an indescribable town full of character and vibrancy that is unmatched.
After visiting Aix, you won’t forget its beauty or the sweet feeling of being it its presence. It’s certainly a favorite between artists and travelers alike.
Right on the Mediterranean Sea and under 2.5 hours from Nice, you will find Marseille. It is the second-largest city in France and a major port destination. Making it a great day trip from Nice, especially if you don’t want to stay in a big city.
It’s full of diversity and rich history. It was founded by the Greeks, captured by the Romans, and later inhabited by the French.
It also has significant African influence which embodies a great cultural experience to enjoy the smell and taste of the different foods in the markets and nearby restaurants.
It’s a true melting pot with European and African influences coming together.
Similar to Aix, the city is divided into an ‘old’ and ‘new’ town.
You must visit Vieux Port (Old Port) which is the oldest port in the city and full of shops and amazing restaurants right on the water.
High on a hill, you’ll see Notre Dame de la Garde a beautiful roman cathedral.
If you have time, you can walk up to the stunning church for piercingly beautiful views of the city.
A bit out of the city but breathtaking is Calanques National Park which is full of beautiful limestone cliffs on the water.
The hike is long but there are ferries and kayaking tours to see the beautiful natural wonders from below.
You could also spend some time lounging on the beautiful clean beaches of this coastal city. They may be less popular than other well-known beaches in the Mediterranean but they’re just as gorgeous.
Another amazing thing to note about Marseille is its full of art and culture. It is also home to some world-class museums.
Marseille gives off a welcoming and relaxed vibe that makes you want to visit.
The city has a great mix of historical architecture and modern-day designs. It’s a beautiful bright city to spend your day and it’s a great day trip from Nice.
Toulon is a 1 hour and 40-minute car ride from Nice. Like Marseille, it’s a port city on the Mediterranean.
Toulon often goes unnoticed between Nice, Cannes, Saint Tropez, and Marseille even though it’s a beautiful city worth the day trip from Nice.
What’s so great about Toulon is that it truly is a beautiful city. It is on the water with a lot to do but there are significantly fewer tourists since it’s a lesser-known location.
If you’ve never heard of Toulon, it’s worth checking out because it’d make a great day trip for something a little bit off the beaten path.
While in Toulon you must take the cable car ride up Mount Faron for exquisite views of the city and ocean from above.
Once at the top of the mountain, you can even hike a bit before heading back down or check out the sanctuary for wild cats!
The ride is very inexpensive and accessible with only a 10-minute wait in between each car.
While on Mount Faron, the Musée Mémorial du Débarquement is worth checking out.
It’s a World War II fortress paying tribute to the liberation of Provence. It also has amazing views of the city. Toulon has a strong military presence and many monuments to commemorate Toulon’s important role and location.
Toulon harbor is another must-visit spot. It has some of the most breathtaking sunsets against the sailboats, yachts, and blue water that it almost doesn’t look real.
The beach is also a nice stop to relax and grab lunch on the water from one of many great restaurants in the area.
The Tour Royale is also a unique spot to visit that can be accessed by a footbridge.
Since 1947, it has been a historical monument and a naval fortress. There is a lot of military and maritime history and heritage in Toulon. It’s truly worth the visit to see its preserved history and amazing views on the water.
Only a 30-minute drive or train ride from Nice, Monaco is a place where dreams come alive. Monaco is an independent city-state and the second smallest country in the world.
It’s one of the wealthiest places where the most elite individuals live. It’s full of yachts with helicopter pads, fancy mansions on the water, and views that are unimaginable. Although it is still easy to visit Monaco on a budget.
If you want to experience the life that some of the richest people in the world live, it’s the place to be.
Even Starbucks has one of the most jaw-dropping oceanfront views in the world! The landscape is colorful and undeniably perfect.
The buildings are all adorned in a palette of bright pastel colors with shops and parks all over town. The Monaco Cathedral is divine and matches the beauty that resides in Monaco.
Every day at 11:55 am, the Changing of the Guards takes place at Palace Square where the guards have solemnly protected the royal family for hundreds of years.
The Palace also has its breathtaking views of the Mediterranean and the many houses and boats that call it home.
It’s famously known for Monte Carlo, one of the most lavish casinos in the world. Dressed in a marble and gold building and lined with the most expensive cars money can buy.
Only a section of the casino is open to the public and sneakers and sandals are forbidden in the gaming areas. This is to upkeep the exclusive, well-groomed presence.
Monaco is also home to the Formula One Grand Prix motor race held each year in May. It’s one of the most prestigious races in the world, fitting for Monaco to host.
What this country lacks in size, it makes up for it in beauty, excitement, and true luxury. It is a must-visit location at least once in your life.
Genoa is the 6th largest city in Italy and only a 2 and half hour’s drive from Nice or a 3-hour train ride. For only a few hours in the car, why not see what Genoa, Italy is all about. Spend some time eating pizza and pasta!
Genoa is one of the most important and busiest port cities in the Mediterranean.
The city of Genoa is full of historical sites and monuments as well as it has embraced modern-day designs.
Its city center is one of the largest preserved medieval places in Europe and has many World Heritage Sites recognized by UNESCO.
A must-visit is the Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) which was built in the 17th century and decorated with an abundance of art and furniture to marvel at when exploring the palace.
The next must-have spot is the San Lorenzo Cathedral a Romanesque-gothic church built between the 12th and 14th centuries.
It’s made of a staggering black-and-white stone design. A great photo-op stop is at Palazzo de Ferrari to see the large and popular photogenic fountain. This would also be a good spot to eat or take a mid-afternoon café break.
This fountain is right in front of Palazzo Della Borsa, where the Italian stock exchange takes place.
Next, Porto Antico is the heart of the Old Town and a beautiful spot on the water to visit. If you want stunning, 360-degree views of the city, you must go on The Bigo Lift in the shape of a shipping crane that takes you 131 feet above the water.
A cabin will lift you up to see Genoa from a bird’s eye view. The food culture in Genoa is quite well known for its seafood, focaccia bread, and Genovese pesto.
The Liguria region is the birthplace of pesto so it’s a must-have when visiting. Genoa is the perfect mix between a modern and historical city worth visiting.
There are so many beautiful cities to experience in the world. This list of 7-day trips are just some of the many wonderful places to explore from Nice in Southern France and Northwestern Italy.
Some are more well-known such as Cannes and Saint Tropez while others can get lost on the radar such as Aix-en-Provence and Toulon.
Even still, all of these cities are worth spending a day in because they each have their unique character, big and small.
In only a few hour’s drive or train ride, you can have the perfect day trip from Nice. Having the perfect adventure in any of these cities. Start planning out your weekend with these places in mind!
Looking for a 3-day Nice itinerary while you are away on holiday? Be sure not to miss out on all the fun activities inside the city.