Nice is one of the most fun places to do absolutely nothing – I mean, you can make an art form of it. Between the sun, the coastline and the beautiful squares, there’s plenty of reason to have “hanging out” as the only thing on your vacation itinerary for the day. So, right after my signature list of helpful travel planning links, I’m going to tell you about all the fun things you can “do” in Nice without paying a centime – all the better to save your money for a long lunch to gear up for doing more of nothing, and loving every minute of it. Who said the French Riviera is expensive?
- Things you should know about the French Riviera
- Best Places to Honeymoon in France
- How to get to Nice from Paris
- Nice overview
- 3 Days in Nice: Itinerary Ideas
- Things to do in Nice
Free Things to Do in Nice
Take a stroll down the Promenade des Anglais.
This paved walkway several feet above the shoreline runs the length of Nice, and is used by locals and visitors kind of like a living room – everyone’s just hanging out, having conversations, eating, kids are learning how to ride bikes – it’s actively pleasant, I’d say. And if you book at one of the hotels near Promenade des Anglais, it will be right outside your door!
Take a stroll on the beach.
Now that you’ve walked in one direction, it’s time to head back – why not do it along the beach? It’s not a sandy beach but pebbly, so you may want to keep your shoes on; but if you’re hell bent on taking off your shoes, head into the sea and splash your way back from whence you came.
Visit the cemetery.
Checking out les cimetières du Château de Nice, however, can give you a rare glimpse into centuries of life in Nice. The family tombs hold generations, dating back to the early 1800s. If you’re seeking a quiet refuge from the hustle and bustle of Old Nice or a break from the crowded beaches, wander through the cemetery nestled on Castle Hill. Learn about the cemetery in Nice here.
Spend the afternoon on Castle Hill.
Hey, you’re already up there – go ahead and spend some time. The elevator up is free, and you can also learn a a bit about the history of Nice during your walk from the entrance at the hill face to the actual elevator. Head to the right to get a bird’s eye view, straight back to let the kiddies run free on the playground, and clear to the other side to see the spectacularly ostentatious yachts anchored at the port.
Check out the Cours Saleya Market.
Tell anyone you’re going to Nice, and they’re sure to suggest you visit the Cours Saleya market in Vieux Nice, or the Old Town. Well, guess what – they’re right. You really, really should check out Cours Saleya, even if you’re not a big outdoor market fan. In fact, once you see Cours Saleya you can pretty much forego every other outdoor market in France. It’s that awesome. Here’s the lowdown on the Cours Saleya market.
Get lost in Vieux Nice.
The old section of Nice has those little streets, crumbly buildings and the typical adorableness that seems to come part and parcel in French old towns. This is where you should get your photo taking on!
Obviously this one depends on when you’re visiting Nice, but this Mardi Gras celebration is a days-long party that’s free, fun and fabulous. Read more about celebrating Carnaval in Nice.
Take a day trip.
Ok, this isn’t 100% free because you’ll need to buy train tickets. But once you’re there, there’s no cost for walking around and soaking up the vibe of a brand-new city. Read more about day trips you can take from Nice.