When I backpacked through Europe a few (um, okay, seven!) years ago with my friend, we created a pretty jam-packed itinerary. We started in Barcelona, then headed to Italy to take in all of the sites and eat all of the pasta in Bologna, Florence, and Rome. By the time we landed in Nice for the final stretch of our trip, we were pretty exhausted. Luckily, the pace of Nice matched our energy levels nicely.
While there are plenty of things to see and do in Nice, we took things at a leisurely pace. If you’re interested in a relaxed beach vacation in the south of France, check out my Top 5 favorite things to do in Nice, France.
1. Get breakfast (and lunch!) at the Cours Saleya Market.
France is a beautiful, expensive country. A great way to cut down on costs – whether you’re a backpacker on a budget or just a mindful tourist – is to shop for your meals at local markets. Rachel and I hit up the Cours Saleya Market each morning, and bought fruit, cheese, and bread that we would then enjoy at the beach for the rest of the day. It was not only economical, but also delicious.
Oh yeah, some Nutella might have made its way into our basket, too.
2. Relax at the beach.
At first glance, the rocky beach in Nice doesn’t look like a very nice place to relax. But the stones are actually very smooth and strangely comfortable, making it easy to settle in for an afternoon of sunning and swimming. Just be careful with the sunning part…worst.sunburn.of.my.life.
3. Wander through Vieux Nice.
Vieux Nice is the old part of town filled with cobblestone streets, narrow alleyways, and charming little bistros. It’s a really fun area to wander around at night, especially in the summer. You’ll find live music and gelato shops around every corner.
4. Climb Parc du Château.
Parc du Château, or Castle Hill, is a lovely little hike that offers great views of Nice and the waterfront below. I use the term “hike” mildly, as you’ll mostly be climbing stairs and can easily do this in flip flops. If you’ve been a total beach bum, it’s a nice way to stretch your legs and get some good photo ops.
5. Walk along the Promenade des Anglais and Place Massena.
Another walk you won’t want to miss is the Promenade des Anglais. This seafront stretch is beautiful both day and night, and runs right next to Place Massena. Place Massena is a large, open square that’s perfect for people-watching.