French Riviera Day Trips from Nice

No trip to Nice would be complete without an excursion to see the rest of the French Riviera. I will tell you in detail the available options so that you have in one place all the information you need.

Katherine Betances

Katherine Betances

9 min read

French Riviera Day Trips from Nice

French Riviera | ©Ferda Hejl

Nice is not only one of the largest and most beautiful cities in France, it is also the gateway to the stunning French Riviera, known by locals as the Côte d'Azur (French Riviera).

Famous throughout the world for its connection with some of the country's best artists, any trip to this idyllic city should include among the activitiesto do in Nice, an excursion beyond its borders. The intention will be to immerse the traveler in the French Riviera and its wonderful landscapes.

As you will see in this article, the options are many! so it will be easy to find an option that suits your requirements, budget and specific needs.

1. Day Trip: Get to know the French Riviera from Nice.

On the French Riviera| ©Jean-Marc PAYET
On the French Riviera| ©Jean-Marc PAYET

The full day tour to explore the French Riviera from Nice is one of the favorite options for tourists and one I recommend to all my traveler friends who are visiting Nice for the first time.

Unlike the half day tour from Nice, this alternative allows you to expand the itinerary of activities and include a greater number of destinations to visit during the tour, from panoramic views at Cap Ferrat, to visit the Fragonard perfume factory or the Principality of Monaco.

Note that the final travel plan will depend largely on the company you choose to hire, however, all local companies in Nice offer several of the following destinations in their travel plans: Eze, Monaco, Antibes, Saint-Paul-de Vence and the beautiful Cannes.

If you are looking for tours to get to know Cannes from Nice, this tour format is one of the best alternatives available. Local companies offer facilities such as direct pick-up from your hotel in Nice and professional multilingual guides.

Useful Information:

  • Price: Group tours are available from 70€ per participant; private tour
  • Duration: Depending on the company you hire this tour can take about 9 to 10 hours to complete.
  • Means of transportation: This tour takes place in a shared minibus or by car if you book a private tour.

Book your excursions to the French Riviera

2. Half Day Tour: Explore the best of the French Riviera from Nice.

Prince's Palace.| ©toukans
Prince's Palace.| ©toukans

If you feel like exploring the French Riviera on an express trip, this tour format is ideal for you. It is recommended for travelers who are staying 3 days in Nice and want to make the most of every second. This excursion allows them to dedicate half a day's itinerary to visit the most outstanding cities of the French Riviera.

About the itinerary, keep in mind that, depending on the company you hire, some aspects may be modified. However, a good percentage of the local tour operators depart from Nice heading east to make stops in Éze and Monaco, where you can visit the Prince's Palace.

The tour is commonly offered in two schedules: morning and afternoon; additionally most local companies include among their facilities the pick-up service directly at the hotel. Due to its popularity, this tour is offered in several languages including Spanish, English, French, German, Italian and Russian.

Visiting Eze and Monaco from Nice is considered by many travelers as one of the best adventures to experience during a short vacation, so you can also find companies that offer full day itineraries for a few extra euros.

Useful Information:

  • Price: The price to pay for this experience is around 40€ per participant.
  • Duration: You should reserve about 5 hours of your itinerary for this experience.
  • Means of transportation: Minibus shared with other travelers.

Book your excursions to Ezé and Monaco

3. Sightseeing cruise to explore the French Riviera from Nice.

Tourist cruise to know the French Riviera.| ©Maryphoto92
Tourist cruise to know the French Riviera.| ©Maryphoto92

This is an alternative that allows visitors to explore the French Riviera from Nice and enjoy magnificent views of the coast aboard a luxurious sightseeing cruise.

It is highly recommended for all those travelers exploring the city for the first time and looking to enjoy its landscapes from different angles.

Tourists and locals alike consider this tour as one of the best things to do in Nice during the summer; due to its short duration and high demand it can easily be included in any itinerary of a few days in Nice.

Certain details of the experience vary greatly depending on the company but, in most cases, a guide in different languages (predominantly English and French) is provided. Economy options do not include any refreshments during the trip.

The tour plan may vary from one company to another, however most of them include the route from Nice to Citadelle to see the old hillside villages, the famous Promenade des Anglais and many other tourist and historical sites.

Useful Information:

  • Price: Around 26€ per traveler.
  • Duration: The Mediterranean coast tour takes approximately 1 hour to complete. You will need to be at the meeting point 15-20 hours before to board the boat.
  • Means of transport: The excursion takes place on board a private cruise ship.

4. Cruise to Saint-Tropez and Port Grimaud from Nice.

Touring Saint Tropez| ©Krzysztof Belczyński
Touring Saint Tropez| ©Krzysztof Belczyński

If you are a traveler looking for immersive experiences and to enjoy the destination to the fullest in Nice you will find different alternative excursion options that take the traveler to specific destinations within the vast French Riviera.

One of the most interesting options is the opportunity to visit Saint Tropez and Port Grimaud on a cruise trip departing from the port of Nice.

Although certain aspects may vary depending on the company organizing the experience, most tour operators in Nice organize this trip in a format of approximately 10 hours of duration.

Exploring Saint-Tropez from Nice is one of the most recommended adventures if you are several days away from the city. Additionally, the longer excursion format is ideal since it leaves the traveler free time to wander around Saint Tropez, admire its colorful houses, and sit and enjoy an aperitif in one of its many elegant cafes.

After spending time in Saint Tropez you will continue on your way to Port Grimaud, a picturesque little seaside town known as the Little Venice of France.

Useful Information:

  • Price: Around 125€ per participant; usually done in small groups of less than 10 participants. Many local companies offer the traveler direct pick-up from their hotel in Nice.
  • Duration: The adventure takes about 10 hours to complete, so I recommend reserving a full day for this experience.
  • Means of transportation: You travel by private car to Sainte-Maxime and then by boat to Saint Tropez.

Book your excursions to Saint-Tropez

5. French Riviera bike tour from Nice.

Cycling along the French Riviera.| ©Danilo
Cycling along the French Riviera.| ©Danilo

Bike tours in Nice are considered among the best tours of the city by the many adventurous tourists who tour the area. Some local tour operators also offer bike tours of the Riviera as a way to explore beyond the borders of Nice.

The companies provide the traveler with all the necessary equipment for the experience, as well as an expert guide who leads the group through the route and highlights. You will depart from Nice to visit the maritime town of Villefranche-sur-Mer, famous for its picturesque scenery and colorful architecture.

Although you will not have the opportunity to go as far or tour as many cities as other options discussed in this article; the main advantage of this experience is the opportunity to fully absorb and enjoy the characteristic landscapes of the French Riviera.

Useful Information:

  • Price: Around 55€ per traveler; the tour is done in small groups of approximately 8 participants to ensure personalized treatment.
  • Duration: You should reserve about 4 hours of your itinerary for this experience.
  • Means of transportation: This tour is almost always offered by electric bike to cover longer distances in shorter periods of time.

6. Excursion to Monte Carlo in Monaco from Nice.

Monte Carlo| ©Nazarenko Maxim
Monte Carlo| ©Nazarenko Maxim

If there is one corner of the French Riviera that is totally worth a day of exploration, it is undoubtedly Monaco. Famous the world over for its splendid viewpoints and luxurious experiences, it is a tourist destination that complements a vacation in Nice very well.

Many local companies and tour operators offer this type of excursion, as seeing Monaco and Èze from Nice is a highly demanded travel experience, not only by tourists but also by locals looking for getaways to nearby destinations.

Please note that the specific details of the experience may vary depending on the company you hire; the excursion is offered in several languages including private transportation and guide and hotel pick-up.

Most companies include several of the following activities in their itinerary: See the Old Town Le Rocher with its breathtaking views of the sea and harbor; explore the Prince's Palace and wait for the changing of the Guard at noon; visit the Notre-Dame-Immaculee Cathedral, The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco and the Monte Carlo Casino.

Useful Information:

  • Price: Available from 85€ per traveler.
  • Duration: You should reserve approximately 7 to 8 hours for this experience.
  • Means of transportation: Generally a private minivan is used, as the tour is organized in small groups.

Book your excursions to Monaco

7. Overnight excursion to Monte Carlo in Monaco from Nice. Private tour.

By night in Monte Carlo| ©Phil Kingsbury
By night in Monte Carlo| ©Phil Kingsbury

Another alternative excursion offered by some tour operators in Nice is the possibility of taking a private tour to Monaco to enjoy the atmosphere and nightlife of this beautiful city.

It is a perfect alternative if you are looking to enjoy the glamorous nightlife of Monaco and be back that same night at your hotel in Nice. It is also a great alternative for those who spend many days in the city, for example 7 days in Nice or more, and are looking for alternative plans for the night. Although I recommend consulting the specific details of the experience with the company you hire; most of them include in their plans some of the following activities: driving through the mountain village of Eze to enjoy panoramic views of the Riviera and the Mediterranean Sea; in Monaco enjoy the Monte Carlo Casino, the Paris Hotel and the famous Monaco Racing Circuit.

Useful Information:

  • Price: This is a private tour priced at approximately €500.
  • Duration: The full tour takes about 4 hours to complete.
  • Means of transportation: The tour is done in a private vehicle with driver included.

Tips for an excursion to the French Riviera from Nice

French Riviera Evening| ©Vanessa Houspic
French Riviera Evening| ©Vanessa Houspic

Here are some simple but effective tips that can help you organize your trip to the Riviera.

Summer is not the best alternative.

Undoubtedly the summer in France is an excellent alternative for sightseeing in cities like Paris; but it is important to remember that the period from July to August is when the locals take vacations and head to the beach.

This means higher prices, crowded hotels and attractions, especially in high-demand areas like Nice. If you can wait until September through April you will find better prices and fewer visitors.

The sandy beaches are not common...

Both in Nice and the rest of the French Riviera stretches of sandy beaches are scarce; mostly you'll find pebble beaches that locals call galets. Pack water shoes for you and the whole family; this way you can walk on the shore, enjoy the sea and not feel pain in your feet.

If you want to enjoy sandy beaches you will find alternatives in Villefranche-sur-Mer.

The French Riviera is a gastronomic paradise.

As for gastronomic options, the French Riviera offers from Michelin-starred restaurants to rustic food; make the most of your trip to enjoy the world of flavors offered by the different cities of the Riviera. You won't regret it!

What are the advantages of taking a guided tour vs. visiting the French Riviera on my own?

Overnight in the French Riviera| ©W. M. Connolley
Overnight in the French Riviera| ©W. M. Connolley

Visiting the French Riviera with an organized tour is one of the best decisions you can make. This alternative offers you numerous advantages such as the possibility to save time and effort looking for transportation options; and the opportunity, in many cases, to be accompanied by an expert guide.

As you may know, the French Riviera is an area in the south of France composed of several impressive cities; this fact leaves us facing a very exciting adventure but with many activities and interesting places to visit.

How to decide which places, attractions, monuments or museums to prioritize? Tour operators structure itineraries according to your travel plans that allow you to enjoy the best that the Côte d'Azur has to offer.

Complement your Riviera excursion with other unique excursions with a visit to the Verdon Gorge and a tour to Provence from Nice; and you will fall in love with the South of France.

Frequently asked questions

  • What is the French Riviera famous for?

    Known for being like an amusement park for the rich and famous, the French Riviera has beautiful Instagram-perfect beaches, charming little villages and a warm, sunny climate. Its cities are synonymous with luxury and wealth, with Cannes hosting an international film festival that brings together movie stars and celebrities every year, Grasse being the capital of the perfumery industry for centuries, and Monaco being a casino the size of a city.

  • What is the best time of the year to visit the French Riviera?

    The region has about 300 days of sunshine a year, so you can visit at almost any time. However, June and September are the best months to go to the French Riviera, as you will avoid the high season, crowded beaches and the impossibility of booking in restaurants.

  • Which places on the French Riviera should I visit?

    We recommend visiting Nice, a lively city with upscale shopping, good nightlife, exceptional restaurants, and art museums; Eze, a charming village with a botanical garden inside a medieval fortress; Villefranche-sur-Mer, a fishing village with a colorful harbor and a medieval citadel overlooking the Mediterranean; and Gourdon, a walled hilltop village that will transport you back to feudal times, while enjoying breathtaking views of the French Riviera.