10 Things to Do in Nice in Summer

Nice is one of the most glamorous places in the French Mediterranean and is home to hundreds of activities and attractions to do during the hottest time of the year.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

11 min read

10 Things to Do in Nice in Summer

Nice | ©Sergiy

If you have not yet decided when you are going to travel to Nice, you should keep in mind that summer is the ideal time of the year to do it. Being close to the sea, Nice is known for its luxurious beaches and resorts, as well as for a large number of activities that take advantage of the good weather.

For that reason, to all the attractions that you can find in Nice on a regular basis, you can join in summer festivals, water activities or simply relax on the beaches.

1. Attend the Nice Jazz Festival

Nice Jazz Festival| ©benoit.darcy
Nice Jazz Festival| ©benoit.darcy

If you like jazz and good music, you can't miss this event, which has been held every summer in Nice since 1971. Although it was organized for the first time in 1948 with the participation of musicians such as Louis Armstrong and Django Reinhard, it took about 23 years to be held again. Since then, it has been a fixed date of the city's summer.

Today, it is one of the most renowned music festivals in Europe, having featured artists such as Miles Davis, Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, Harbie Hancoock and many others.

The festival, although at the beginning only presented musicians from the jazz scene, in recent years has been changing its aesthetics to include other musical genres. If you look at the line-up of previous editions you can find artists from all genres: jazz, funk, rock, reggae, indie and even rhythm & blues.

Because of this, the Jazz Music Festivals are a great opportunity to broaden your musical tastes.

It is usually organized in the second half of July and the location varies depending on the year. In previous events it was organized at Jardinsde Cimiez, where an ancient Roman amphitheater was located.

Useful information

  • When: Third week of July
  • Duration: Between 3 and 5 days
  • Where: To be confirmed, usually held at Jardin du Monastère de Cimiez and Place Masséna
  • Prices: The 5-day pass costs approximately 180 euros. A ticket for any day costs approximately 50 Euros.

Book a guided tour of Nice

2. Dance till dawn at electronic music festivals

Crossover Music Festival| ©Riviera
Crossover Music Festival| ©Riviera

If you have come to Nice in search of fun and beach parties, then I recommend you to attend the Crossover Music Festival. This festival concentrates the best DJs and artists from the house, experimental electronic music and psytrance scene.

The festival is usually organized for late August and early September, so you should be attentive to the time they publish the dates because tickets sell like hot cakes.

The event usually lasts between 3 and 5 days, during which DJs and artists from all over the world will make you dance and enjoy their shows for hours.

The event is held simultaneously at the city's most select beaches, stages and clubs. It aims to represent equally both emerging artists and the most acclaimed of the environment.

Also during the first days of August, the Plages Electroniques is usually organized in the nearby city of Cannes. While this city is famous for organizing the independent film festival during the month of May, the Plages Electroniques is not far behind in terms of attendance.

Also, I recommend that you consider a trip to Cannes from Nice, as it is only 40 kilometers from Nice, which will allow you to enjoy both cities.

Book a day trip to Cannes from Nice

3. Witness a new edition of the Ironman

Ironman Triathlon| ©Christopher Geloni
Ironman Triathlon| ©Christopher Geloni

If you are a fan of high competition sports, a highly trained athlete or would like to see how many people give 100% to reach the finish line, the Ironman is an ideal choice to visit Nice in summer.

This famous triathlon is organized every year in the last week of June and counts with the participation of athletes from all over the world. While some seek glory and a new record, the demands of this competition are such that most compete to push their own limits and simply reach the finish line.

Like all triathlons, the race is extremely difficult and is divided into 3 sections: It starts with a 4 km swim in the Bay of Angels, then a 180 km bike ride around the Côte d'Azur and finally a 42 km run for an epic finish on the Promenade des Anglais, facing the Mediterranean.

In case you prefer to watch rather than race, I recommend that you keep an eye on the date and time of arrival. This will allow you time to reserve a spot near the finish line to join the winners' festivities.

4. Participate in an open water race

Baie des Anges| ©Ioan Sameli
Baie des Anges| ©Ioan Sameli

If you are interested in this type of sporting event, you can participate or be a spectator at the Prom'Swim. This open water swimming race is organized every year in the last days of summer, in mid-September.

This competition consists of running the entire "Baie des Anges" and has the advantage of having many categories so that everyone is encouraged to participate. The 7 categories to participate are:

  • 500 meters: competition for children
  • 500 meters relay race (3 relays)
  • Individual races (1, 3, 5 or 10 kilometers)
  • 10 kilometers relay (3.3 km each)

This race is a very fun event, both for those who compete and for those who watch from the beach. During the competition you can enjoy the warm-up activities at full pace, attend the beginner courses to learn how to swim in open water and watch the awards ceremony.

This part is the most fun and takes place on the last day of the competition, when a spectacular party is held on the beach, with plenty of food, music and inflatable games for the little ones.

Useful information

  • When: Second weekend of September
  • Where: Promenade des Anglais
  • Prices: Between 10 and 60 euros approximately, depending on the category you sign up for.

5. Sail the French Riviera

French Riviera| ©Mona Zimba
French Riviera| ©Mona Zimba

If you like boardwalks or want to see the splendor of the Côte d'Azur from the Mediterranean, I recommend you consider this fantastic option.

Some tour companies offer day tours of the French Riviera from Nice, either by road or aboard a cruise ship. One of the advantages of taking the tour in summer is that the weather is ideal for all the activities you can do on board.

You can snorkel to discover the different underwater species thanks to the turquoise color of the water, discover hidden beaches and coves, swim in the warm waters of the Bay of Angels or simply sunbathe from the deck of the boat.

If you choose the option of a sailing boat, this is an ideal activity if you have traveled in a large group, as the boat has space for 6 to 12 people. As the sailboat is not large, it does not have a restaurant, so I recommend that you pack food and drinks.

On the other hand, if you decide for a sightseeing cruise, you will have the opportunity to contemplate the most beautiful views of the coastal towns of the area in a very relaxed way.

Book a sightseeing cruise on the French Riviera from Nice

6. Visit the Verdon Gorge for

Verdon Gorge| ©Patrick Nouhailler
Verdon Gorge| ©Patrick Nouhailler

The Verdon Gorge is an ideal option to get to know the incredible geography of the region: with elevations of up to 700 meters, this river canyon of almost 25 kilometers long is an ideal option for lovers of adventure sports and hiking.

This tour also offers the possibility of visiting the beautiful lake of Sainte-Croix, where if you dare, you can swim in its turquoise waters, paddle, kayak and many other water sports. It also has beautiful beaches on the shore of the lake to relax after any walk.

I recommend that you visit the Verdon Gorge in summer because this is the time when all the wild flowers in the area bloom, and especially the lavender fields show all their color.

Useful facts

  • How to get there I recommend that you book a tour for this activity because, although it is about 150 kilometers from Nice, there is no bus or train that will drop you off directly. Most will take you to the village of Castellane, where you will have to take a cab. This can make the trip take more than 4 hours.
  • When is the best time to visit: This tour can be done at any time of the year, but I recommend that you go between May and June, where you can enjoy very good weather without being full of tourists who visit during the summer.
  • Bring sunscreen: Remember that this area of France is very sunny and throughout the walk you will not have much shade, so a sunscreen is essential to protect your skin.

7. Relax on the beach

Carras Beach| ©Daniel Kelly
Carras Beach| ©Daniel Kelly

If you are the type of person who thinks of traveling to rest and enjoy a quiet day of sand, sun and sea, Nice has more than 7 kilometers of beaches to choose from and summer is the best season to enjoy them.

If you choose to spend three days in Nice, spending a few hours to simply relax on the beach will always be the best option.

Perhaps you have already heard that this city was chosen by the English aristocracy and the rest of Europe to spend the summer. They had plenty of reasons: besides the fact that the water of the bay is calm, turquoise and refreshing, the length of its beaches makes it always a quiet place to rest.

The city has to choose from very quiet public beaches to more exclusive private beaches, so you can choose the option you prefer. The best known beaches are:

  • Playa Carras: One of the longest beaches in the western sector, it is 350 meters long and has access for disabled people. It has sand courts to play beach volleyball and places to rent jet skis
  • Playa del Centenario: It is the beach next to Carras. It has showers to wash yourself and rent mattresses in case the pebbles bother you. Due to its location it does not have a lot of waves and usually has a blue flag all summer.
  • Lenval Beach: It is one of the quietest public beaches due to its location. It is located in front of the Casino Ruhl and next to the beautiful Albert 1 Garden.

Book a private speedboat ride with personal assistant in Nice

8. Cannes International Fireworks Festival

Cannes International Fireworks Festival| ©Maurits Verbiest
Cannes International Fireworks Festival| ©Maurits Verbiest

Do you like fireworks? Have you ever witnessed an international festival? Then this is your chance.

Cannes and Nice, being neighboring cities, are only 45 minutes away by train or bus. This makes any major event held in the neighboring city very easy to access from Nice.

In this case, the Cannes Fireworks Festival isa perfect opportunity to enjoy a beautiful summer night.

This Pyrotechnic Art Festival brings together the best fireworks artists in the world. It is organized since 1998 on the Croisette beach and you can watch it the last weekends of July and the first two weekends of August.

While it is more normal to see fireworks at events or celebrations, this type of festival is completely different. The fireworks are part of a choreography of colors and sounds, which are reflected in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

The height that the fireworks reach is so important that they can not only be observed perfectly from the 800 meters long beach, but also from boats that are sailing in the bay.

9. Enjoy the Fete de la Musique

Fete de la Musique| ©yann ellesse
Fete de la Musique| ©yann ellesse

June 21, in addition to the beginning of summer in France, is celebrated with one of the most interesting events thanks to the world famous "Fete de la Musique".

Officially created in 1981 by Jack Lang, French Minister of Culture, this festival aims to democratize and share music in all its styles, free of charge for everyone.

Nice is an ideal city to celebrate Muisca Day, as you will see musicians gathering to play in every street, as well as people dancing and taking turns to join in. In addition, for several years the city has been organizing free festivals with renowned artists to promote French culture.

Taking advantage of the date, the restaurants and bars of the city take their tables out to the street so that the party is total. Do not miss walking along the beaches that border the Promenade des Anglais, where you can dance or improvise with an instrument in the famous rounds of musicians.

I suggest you also stop by the Place Masséna, the main square of Nice and located in the old part of the city. Here is always organized a very important event where you will find musicians of all genres throughout the day and respecting the spirit of this festival. The entrance is absolutely free.

10. France's National Festival

National Festival of France.| ©Perry McKenna
National Festival of France.| ©Perry McKenna

Every July 14th is a holiday in France, as the National Day is celebrated and Nice is no exception. That day commemorates the storming of the Bastille in 1789, which marked the beginning of the French Revolution.

Since 1880 it has been a national holiday and activities are held to celebrate the nation of France.

In Nice the celebration usually takes place on Promenade des Anglais, where parades and street concerts are held throughout the day. You can also find stands and activities for the whole family in Place Masséna.

At night the scenery is usually the summer night sky of the Bay of Angels, where you can watch a beautiful fireworks show.

The weather in Nice in the summer

Summer in Nice| ©Javier Doren
Summer in Nice| ©Javier Doren

While Nice's location means that it can be visited at any time of the year, summer is an excellent choice for several reasons.

First, although the temperatures are at their highest during this time of the year, they do not become oppressive thanks to its proximity to the sea. In addition, being surrounded by public beaches, any time is perfect to cool off in the waters of the Bay of Angels.

As if this were not enough, Nice has a fairly low cloudiness index for the region and it drops even lower in summer. This means that the months of June, July and August have very little rainfall: On average it rains between 1 or 2 days a month.

Finally, summer is when you can find the most hours of sunlight, which is ideal to make the most of your vacation. The sun usually rises between 6 and 7 am, perfect if you are a person who likes to wake up early.

The sun sets between 8 and 9 in the evening, so you will have plenty of time to stroll or relax on the beach.

Prices Nice during the summer

Money in Euros| ©Pixabay
Money in Euros| ©Pixabay

Prices during the summer may be a little higher than during the rest of the year. This is because it is a place that many Europeans choose to spend their vacations, especially from the south and center of France, as well as northern Italy.

For example, the cheapest accommodations can be found near the oldest part of the city. This is due to the fact that to access them you often have to climb some stairs, because they are located in an elevated part of the city. In contrast, the most expensive neighborhoods to rent are near the Promenade des Anglais and the Carre d'Or.

Although prices in summer are higher than usual, the good thing about Nice is that you will have many options to choose from. This will give you the possibility to adjust your vacation according to your budget.