Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate/compensated links at no extra cost to you, for more information you can read my disclaimer

Best Free Things to Do in Nice, France

Nice, France is a popular place to visit in the South of France. Its known for its gorgeous ocean views, opportunities, activities, and location.

The large city is an absolute must-visit if youre ever in the south of France and have the opportunity.

Nice truly has everything you could want in a place, making it the dream vacation spot.

Besides being a great place to visit, there are plenty of great day trips from Nice that you are going to want to take.

Is Nice, France worth visiting?

Nice, France is a wonderful city in the South of France. Its located on the Mediterranean and is known for its spectacular ocean views.

In addition, its centrally located, making it easy to get around the area. For example, it’s only 45 minutes from Cannes, France, half an hour from Monaco, and half an hour from the border to Italy, so its near tons of other places you may want to check out while youre in the Mediterranean area.

Girl in yellow shirt with her hands up overlooking the city of Nice

Free Things to Do in Nice, France

Keep reading for ideas on the best free things you can do while visiting Nice.

There are so many more free activities out there than you may realize. If youve spent a lot of money to go on a trip to the South of France and want to save some money by taking part in some free activities, look no further.

You dont have to break the bank just to go on a vacation to Europe. Of course, there are costs you cannot get rid of, like hotels, flights, and food, but you can ease the costs by finding some great alternatives and free activities.

Nice has such a beautiful view of the Mediterranean, and there are so many ways to enjoy the coast without having to pay to see it.

Keep reading to learn more about the best free things to do in Nice, France.

Nice is large enough that there is so much to explore. You’ll never get bored when you’re exploring the various parts of the cities.

Check out new neighborhoods and streets, and find parks, cool buildings, and hidden gems.

It’s a great way to stay busy and of course, it’s free. 

12. Visit one of Nices Free Museums

Thats right; there are three completely free museums in Nice. The museums include The Museum of Asian Art, Villa Arson, which is a modern art museum, Franciscan Monk Museum, and Espace Ferraro, which is a contemporary art museum.

So learn some history, check out some art, and get acquainted with the area. This is a great way to spend your afternoon without breaking the bank.

People walking the streets of Nice, France with outdoor restaurants lining the streets

11. Go on a Free Walking Tour

Nice is a walkable city. Luckily for you, Nice offers free walking tours. This is not only a great way to get your steps in, but youll learn about the city and get more acquainted with it.

Tours are usually in the mornings or evenings and last a few hours. Youll learn all about the history and culture of Nice while exploring hidden gems you may not have known about otherwise.

An entire website is dedicated to free walking tours in Nice, France. Heres the link if you want to check it out.

Blue and White Shade Umbrellas line the beaches of Nice, France

10. Go to the Beach

The beaches in Nice are open all year long, and there is a mix of public and private beaches. Keep in mind that public beaches are free of charge, while private beaches cost money and are often attached to hotels, and are less crowded with more amenities.

The beaches in Nice seem to stretch as far as the eye can see, about four miles along the coast.

At the beach, you can do one of several things: lay in the sun, walk the shoreline, look for shells or unique rocks, go swimming, enjoy a picnic, and more.

Its a great free thing to do in Nice. Its a pretty popular beach destination among tourists. Its also a safe place for swimming, so be sure to get in the water and enjoy the Mediterranean.

Nice is full of great public beaches, which is a great free activity when visiting this city. La Reserve is a public beach close to the city’s center.

This is a small beach, and it tends to get crowded, so keep that in mind. There also isnt any food, so be sure to pack ahead of time.

Coco Beach is another public beach further from the city, but it does have showers and a restaurant. Finally, La plage des Marinières is technically in the neighboring town of Villefranche-sur-Mer.

However, its the most significant beach in the area because of its size. Its a great place for swimming and relaxing.

There are also spots to grab a snack if you get hungry and need a pick-me-up.

If you do decide you want to splurge a little and visit a private beach where you have all the amenities you could need and more space to relax, here are two options.

Castel Plage with lots of food and excellent service, and Ruhl Plage has a swimming pool next to the beach.

Promenade Des Anglais at sunset

9. Visit Promenade Des Anglais

The world-famous stretch known as Promenade Des Anglais is a must-visit. It overlooks the Mediterranean and is great for walking, exercising, and enjoying the views.

This is one of the most famous promenades in France.

Not only are there great walking paths with amazing views, but there are also designated bike lanes, events and concerts hosted at the promenade, and so much more.

Its where all the hustle and bustle and heart of the city is located, so be sure to check it out. The best part, of course, is its free.

The promenade is just under 4.5 miles long, allowing you to explore the coast.

Water Fountain with man sculpture in the center and red buildings around it

8. Check out Place Masséna

This is the largest square in Nice, and its known for being colorful with lots of hustle and bustle. Its super busy because it connects Old Town to New Town and you can do a lot of people watching from this square.

Photograph it, walk the length of it, and enjoy watching the crowds of people go by. It has a checkerboard-designed ground with a vibrant orange and pink colored building.

If you decide to spend some money, this would be a fun place to grab lunch.

7. Nice Carnival

This festival is one of the oldest in the world. The Nice Carnival occurs every February and hosts over 1,000 artists and dancers.

Its a cheerful, celebratory, and colorful event that takes place each winter. Its a great way to enjoy the local culture, and the best part is that you dont have to spend any money if you dont want to.

The opening and closing events each day of the festival are free, but there are some paid events and parades.

So you can still have an awesome time if you dont want to spend any additional money.

Christmas ordainments in outdoor market

6. Christmas in Nice

Christmas in Europe is like no other. There are many cities throughout Europe that host Christmas markets each year and light up their cities with colorful, twinkly lights.

While Christmas in the South of France isnt as vibrant as in some other European cities, its still a fun time.

If youre visiting Nice during the month of December, be sure to check out the Christmas festivities in Nice.

You can walk around and enjoy the lights and decorations for free. Be sure to try the Vin Chaud or hot mulled wine. It is a game changer

5. Explore The Colorful Markets in Nices Old Town

Nice has a wide array of markets in its old town, which is the historic part of town. You dont have to buy anything to enjoy the markets, and you can instead choose to browse.

Youll find people selling fresh flowers, produce, and local handmade goods. If you do choose to spend a little money, youll find that its a great place to grab some fruit or a souvenir to take home with you.

Its also a great way to interact with locals and learn more about what is grown or made in the area.

View through the trees overlooking the city of Nice

4. Visit Castle Hill

Going to the top of Castle Hill will provide you with the best free view of the city. The hill is located above the old town, over 300 feet above sea level.

The castle was built between the 11th and 18th century BC but was since destroyed in 1706, and all that remains now are ruins.

To access the castle, you have different options. You can climb the steps leading to the hill right from Promenade DAnglais, where youll find detailed guides. Be prepared to climb, as it is quite a hike to get to the top.

If you dont want to walk, there is a lift you can take up the hill, which will bring you up and back down in less than 3 minutes.

The lift is located at Rue des Ponchettes. The lift is free, so its a must-do activity when in Nice.

Once youre at the top of Castle Hill, there is a nice park you can visit. Also, before leaving Castle Hill Park, be sure to check out Nices artificial waterfall.

Cascade Dijon dates back to 1885. Stand close to the waters edge on a hot day and enjoy a mist shower.

Colorful Buildings in the Old Town of Nice

3. Explore Old Town

Nice has a charming old town with cobblestones, squares, little streets, and colorful buildings. You can wander the narrow alleyways and marvel at the buildings without spending a penny.

Vieux Nice (meaning Old Nice) is a great place to get lost and uncover hidden gems.

You could spend several hours wandering the picturesque churches, squares, and streets.

The streets all run together and there is no real order to them, which can be fun.

Boats all docked up in Nice, France old port

2. Explore Old Port

Nices Old Port is a significant harbor on the Mediterranean. Ferry companies and private yacht owners use this port frequently, so its enjoyable to watch the large boats come in and walk by them in all their glory.

Get a glimpse into yacht life while walking the boardwalk and admiring how fancy these boats are.

1. Visit the Jardin du Monastére de Cimiez

If you love nature and want to get away from the city, Jardin du Monastére de Cimiez is a great option.

This is the oldest garden in Nice and a great place to walk around, breathe in the fresh air, and relax.

The garden surrounds the Cimiez Franciscan monastery, and the entire place is located on the hillside of Nice, so it also provides nice views of the city.

Enjoy the fresh flowers’ scents and colors while having a memorable and free-of-charge afternoon.


Nice, France is a great place to visit in Europe and one of the best spots in France for solo female travelers.

Its a sizable city, so there are many things to do, including many free activities. You dont have to break the bank to visit Europe; its easier than ever to keep yourself entertained on a budget.

France is a beautiful country, and there are a ton of free things to do in Nice. Hopefully, this list of options has spoken to you and sparked your interest!

Don’t let your budget hold you back on taking the trip of a lifetime, there are still plenty of ways to save money while traveling.

Related Content

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top