Discover all the destinations you can visit on day trips from Nice using public transportation including a day trip to Italy and Monaco.
Nice is the largest city on the Côte d’Azur, making it the perfect city base to explore the French Riviera. With several train stations and bus lines in Nice, you have so many possibilities for day trips using only public transportation!
While there are several bus and train routes throughout the French Riviera, the most convenient mode of public transportation between Nice and the Côte d’Azur is the train.
Nice has three main train stations: Nice Ville, Nice Riquier, and Nice Saint-Augustin (Aéroport). These stations are serviced by SNCF, France’s national state-owned company. If you’re interested in taking day trips from Nice to Italy, you can also book with Trenitalia, the primary rail operator in Italy.
While traveling by public transportation in France is convenient, it can also be a headache. Unionized workers in the transportation sector are known to go on strike (la greve in French) throughout the year. As a traveler visiting France, you unfortunately won’t know if or when there will be strikes during your visit until a few weeks before. This shouldn’t discourage your visit to the beautiful country though.
Come discover the best day trips from Nice using public transportation!
Cannes is known around the world for their film festival and the glitz and glamour lifestyle. Fortunately for you, visiting Cannes doesn’t have to break the bank.
There are plenty of things to do in Cannes on a day trip from Nice. You can lay out on Cannes’ sandy beach along the Boulevard de la Croisette while enjoying a picnic and explore the colorful old town, or Le Suquet. As you go deeper in the old town, the more uphill you’ll go. Keep your eyes open because before you know it, you’ll have gorgeous panoramic views over Cannes, the port, and the Mediterranean Sea.
From Cannes, you also have the opportunity to visit the island of Sainte Marguerite. The island sits just off the coast of Cannes and is accessible by a 15-minute ferry ride or even by private kayak! Historically, the island of Sainte Marguerite was home to a prison which famously held The Man in the Iron Mask.
Getting to Cannes from Nice by public transportation
Though you can travel to Cannes from Nice by train and bus, taking the train is the most convenient way to travel between the two cities.
Ticket price: €6-10
Journey duration: 25-40 minutes
You’ll get off at the station Gare de Cannes. The old town, port, and golden sandy beaches are all within a 15 minute walk from the train station.
Juan les Pins
Juan les Pins is a small but lively beach town situated between Antibes and Cannes.
You’ll discover Juan Les Pins has sandy beaches, promenades, boutiques, and bars and nightclubs. Juan les Pins is actually a good place to visit in the summer if you want to deal with smaller crowds than the ones you’ll find in Antibes.
In the summer, locals of the Côte d’Azur go to Juan les Pins to party at night, but most importantly, they go to enjoy Jazz á Juan, one of the oldest jazz festivals in Europe. Jazz á Juan is held annually and has played host to several big names such as Ray Charles, Miles Davis, and Earth Wind and Fire – just to name a few!
Getting to Juan Les Pins from Nice by public transportation
The fastest and easiest way to go to Juan Les Pins from Nice is by train.
Ticket price: €4-6
Journey duration: 25-40 minutes
You’ll get off at the station Gare de Juan Les Pins.
Antibes is one of the busiest cities on the Côte d’Azur though it’s not nearly as big as Nice. This city is loved by locals and tourists because of its small town vibes, charming promenades, beaches, and delicious restaurants. Antibes has something for everyone.
If you’re a history buff, you can visit the Picasso Museum for €8 and the Archaeology Museum for €3.
Want to take in the scenery and spend time outdoors? Take a walk around Cap d’Antibes. You’ll follow a paved footpath where no bikes or cars are allowed. Use my Google Maps walking guide, bring a camera, and enjoy the scenery! Depending on your speed, the walk can take up to one hour, starting from Garoupe Beach and finishing up at the Bay of Billionaires.
Looking for a good place to eat in Antibes? Try La Taille de Guêpe, a French restaurant famed for serving edible flowers and delicious dishes on beautifully presented plates. If you’re in the mood for Italian, consider Romagna Mia, Bistro Teatro, or Le Milano Antibes. And if you just want to grab some ice cream or sorbet for your serene walk along the sea, then go to Gelateria Del Porto. The locals will tell you this is the best gelateria in town!
Getting to Antibes from Nice
The best way to go to Antibes from Nice using public transportation is by train .
Ticket price: €3-5
Journey duration: 20-30 minutes
The train station in Antibes is Gare d’Antibes. It’s situated right near the sea and is about 1 kilometre from the Picasso Museum and the Fort.
Unlike the other cities and villages on this list, Grasse is not situated on the coast. Instead, you can find Grasse on the hills deeper inland of the French Riviera.
Grasse has long played an important role in the perfume industry. In fact, many consider it to be the perfume capital of the world. To discover more about its history, you can visit the International Perfumery Museum and tour through several perfumeries like Fragonard, Molinard, and Galimard to know all about the perfume making process.
How to get to Grasse from Nice
Grasse is accessible from Nice by bus and train.
You can take the train with SNCF to travel between Nice and Grasse.
Ticket price: €11
Journey duration: 60-90 minutes
The bus ride costs €1.50 one way and lasts 90 minutes.
Saint Paul de Vence
Saint Paul de Vence is one of the oldest villages on the French Riviera. Despite its small size (population ~3000), Saint Paul de Vence is exactly the kind of place you’d want to be in; surrounded by charming stone buildings, and winding and narrow alleys that all seem to come straight out of a novel.
Art enthusiasts will appreciate this village. It’s home to several art museums and exhibits such as The Maeght Foundation, Di Allure Art Gallery, and Galerie 337 Sud just to name a few.
While walking through the streets, be sure to check out Place de la Grande Fontaine and the village’s cemetery where you’ll find it to be the resting place of the Russian-French artist, Marc Chagall.
If you’re up for it, walk the Ramparts of Saint Paul de Vence to have a panoramic view of the mountainside. The best starting points are the Porte de Nice and Porte de Vence.
Getting to Saint Paul de Vence from Nice
There is no train station at Saint Paul de Vence, so you’ll have to take the bus.
You’ll get off the bus at Saint Paul Village.
The bus ride should last about one hour. A one-way ticket costs €1.50, which you can buy on the bus in cash.
Villefranche-sur-Mer sits immediately next to Nice, just on the other side of Mont Boron. It’s actually one of my favorite towns to explore because of the combination of its close proximity to Nice, its colorful small village, and the tasty dishes served with local ingredients. It’s so picturesque, you may not be able to put your camera down!
At the edge of Villefranche is Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat – home to some of the most lavish real estate on the Côte d’Azur. In fact, one of the villas belonging to Rothschild can be found here. For a small fee, you can visit the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild and its gardens.
Getting to Villefranche-sur-Mer
To visit Villefranche-sur-Mer on a day trip from Nice, take the train from any of Nice’s three stations.
Ticket price: €1-3
Journey duration: 5-15 minutes
The train station you’ll get off at is Villefranche-sur-Mer.
Beaulieu-sur-Mer is located just on the other side of the beautiful and lavish Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. I mentioned before that some of the most expensive real estate can be found at Cap Ferrat, and that continues to be true as you enter Beaulieu-sur-Mer.
Beaulieu-sur-Mer is a small town along the sea surrounded by towering mountains and cliffs. In the summer, the beaches of Beaulieu are buzzing with locals and tourists as they sail through the Côte d’Azur or have table service at some of the beach clubs. If you’re not into bottle service, don’t worry. You will find public beaches in Beaulieu like Plage des Fourmis or Plage Petite Afrique.
If you’re into exquisite designs and antique furniture, you must visit the Greek Villa Kerylos. You’ll feel like you’ve traveled through time walking through the rooms made of high ceilings, marble columns, Greek statues, and unbelievable mosaics.
Getting to Beaulieu-sur-Mer from Nice
Embark on a train at any of Nice’s three train stations.
Ticket price: €2-4
Journey duration: 5-20 minutes
The train station you’ll get off at is Beaulieu-sur-Mer.
Eze is probably the most unique village in the whole Côte d’Azur. While most towns are bursting with shades of orange, yellow, red, and green, Eze is made up of medivalesque stone buildings. Eze Village sits atop a hill overlooking the breathtaking French Riviera and the shades of blue from the Mediterranea Sea.
As you explore Eze Village by foot, you’ll be met with winding narrow roads, markets, restaurants, and the gorgeous Eze Exotic Garden. You do have to pay to enter the garden (€6) but it is absolutely worth it!
If you can afford it, consider grabbing a drink or lunch at Chevre d’Or. It’s a 5-star hotel that sits on the edge of Eze Village and offers up outdoor spaces for its guests to enjoy the view.
Getting to Eze from Nice by public transportation
It’s possible to visit Eze from Nice by bus and train. To access Eze Village directly, I recommend taking the bus. While Eze is accessible by train, Eze Village is about a 45-minute walk uphill from the train station.
From Nice, you’ll need to take bus 112 in the direction of Monte Carlo.
You’ll be getting off at Eze Village.
Important to note: You’ll have to press the red STOP button on the bus to notify the driver that you want to get off at the next stop. Otherwise, the bus might drive past the stop. To ensure you get off at Eze Village, press the STOP button once the bus leaves the La Calade stop.
To get back to Nice, take bus 112 in the direction of Nice. The bus stop to go back to Nice will be right across the street from the bus stop you arrived at.
Take the train from Nice to Eze-sur-Mer. Once you arrive in Eze, you’ll notice that the train drops you off near the sea. You will have to walk uphill for about 45 minutes in order to reach Eze Village.
Wear comfortable shoes which you can walk up and downhill in. You wouldn’t want to ruin a perfect day with painful feet!
Ticket price: €2-4
Journey duration: 10-25 minutes
A day trip from Nice to Cap d’Ail is one worth remembering! Cap d’Ail has some of the most jaw dropping hiking routes and beaches.
If you want to have a leisure travel experience and to take it easy, hang out at Mala Beach – a secluded beach made of pebbles, surrounded by trees and the sea. There are a couple beach clubs if you want to rent a bed, but otherwise, bring a towel and relax!
You can also take a stroll along the sea, following Sentier du Littoral. The path is flat and only open to pedestrians, making it an enjoyable experience for you.
If you’re an avid hiker or want some extraordinary views, hike the Tête de Chien trail. It’s a medium difficulty hike that takes you 550 meters above sea level. Once you reach the top, you’ll have a view of Monaco and the French Riviera. If the skies are clear, you’ll even be able to see past Monaco to admire the hills of Italy.
Getting to Cap d’Ail from Nice
Take the train from Nice to the Cap d’Ail train station.
Ticket price: €3-5
Journey duration: 15-30 minutes
Taking a day trip to Monaco from Nice is quite easy given that the municipality is sandwiched in between France, having to share almost all of its borders with it.
Though Monaco notoriously has a higher cost of living compared to its neighbor, there are still plenty of free or affordable things to do.
You can explore the Oceanographic Museum, home to over 6,000 species for about €16. Monaco is also home to three gardens: Japanese Gardens (free admission), Exotic Garden (~€8), and Saint-Martin Gardens (free admission).
One of my favorite activities in Monaco is simply walking around. You can visit inside the Monte Carlo Casino, appreciate the architecture of the Opera, walk through the port and be in awe by the massive yachts, and simply relax at one of their several public beaches.
Getting to Monaco from Nice with public transportation
Monaco is accessible by bus and train from Nice.
You can take bus 100: direction Gare Routière (Menton).
From Nice, you can catch the bus at Port Lympia and get off at Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco.
The price of the bus ticket costs €1.50 one way and the journey is expected to last about an hour.
From any of the Nice train stations, you can take the train directly to Monaco Monte Carlo.
Ticket price: €3-5
Journey duration: 20-30 minutes
With its brightly colored old town, Menton is definitely one of the cutest towns along the French Riviera. There’s nothing quite like getting lost in its mazes of narrow streets and staircases. Eventually, you’ll make your way up to the Cemetery of the Old Chateau for beautiful panoramic views of Menton.
Menton is the last town in France before crossing the French-Italian border, so it’s no wonder that some of the best restaurants you’ll find in Menton are Italian.
Fun fact: did you know that Menton is home to one of the world’s best restaurants? In 2019, Menton’s Mirazur was ranked #1 in the world. If you’re looking to splurge, this place is it!
If you get the chance to visit the Côte d’Azur in February, consider visiting Menton to experience the wildly creative and fun Fête du Citron, or Citrus Festival. It’s a 3-week long event where artists create elaborate designs made from lemons and oranges. Past themes have included Broadway, Bollywood, and Disney.
Getting to Menton from Nice
The train is the easiest way to travel from Nice to Menton on a day trip.
Ticket price: €5-7
Journey duration: 30-45 minutes
Did you imagine you could take a day trip to beautiful Italy while visiting the French Riviera? Well, I’m here to tell you that your dream is within reach! Nice is located just several kilometres from the French-Italian border, making it possible to take day trips from Nice to Italy.
Just on the other side of the French-Italian border is the Italian Riviera, and the first major town after crossing the border is Ventimiglia. From Nice, Ventimiglia is just 40 minutes away by train with no transfer needed!
On your day trip to Ventimiglia, you can visit the Hanbury Botanical Garden, a natural oasis and a lovely escape from the city, wander through the streets of the old town, and have your choice from a large selection of pasta and sauces at Pasta & Basta.
With Italy literally at your fingertips, can you really pass up the day trip opportunity?
While the landscape may resemble that of the French Riviera, Ventimiglia is not France! The allure of visiting Ventimiglia or San Remo on a day trip is so you can experience another country, another culture, another language.
San Remo, Italy
San Remo is another great destination to visit on a day trip from Nice to Italy.
It is a bit further away from Nice than Ventimiglia is, but not by much. In 90 minutes by train, you can find yourself in San Remo, a large Italian town with stretches of sandy beaches, beautiful architecture, and fresh Italian food.
One of the best things you can do in San Remo on a day trip from Nice is to explore the La Pigna neighborhood. You’ll have stepped through time with its stone buildings, narrow staircases, and colorfully painted footpaths.
Russians have historically loved traveling to and living in the French and Italian Rivieras. They’d built a community in several towns and San Remo was no exception. Have a visit to the Russian Orthodox Church, one of the prettiest architectural feats in San Remo. While in San Remo, don’t forget to grab a bite to eat (Italian ingredients, Italian prices!) and mindlessly walk around under the Ligurian sun.
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