One Day Nice Itinerary: Make The Most of 24 Hours in Nice

Planning to visit the South of France and have only one day in Nice? Don’t worry, this comprehensive Nice itinerary will help you maximize your time.

Nice is one of the most popular destinations in France and a great base to explore the rest of the French Riviera. But this charming French city needs to be visited during your time in the South of France.

Whether you’re interested in relaxing by the Mediterranean Sea, exploring historical sites, or indulging in French cuisine, Nice has something for everyone.

In this article, you will find a complete Nice itinerary for 1 day with other things that you should know before visiting Nice. We will cover the main attractions, some hidden gems, museums, viewpoints, and even restaurants for different budgets.

*Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking one of these links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

The overview of one day in Nice itinerary

  • Morning: The Colline du Château, Port Lympia, Full Bloom Cafe (optional), La Place Garibaldi, Tour Saint-François (optional) 
  • Lunch: A Buteghinna or Le Bar des Oiseaux
  • Afternoon: Musée du Palais Lascaris, Nice Cathedral, Cours Saleya and more of Nice Old Town, Place Masséna, Promenade des Anglais, Villa Masséna Musée (optional)
  • Dinner: Le Siècle, La Cave du Fromager or Le Bistrot des Viviers – Piccolo Mondo.

The Colline du Château

one day in Nice
one day in Nice

Start your Nice 1-day itinerary by admiring “one of the most beautiful panoramas in the world” at The Colline du Château. Waking up early allows you to beat the crowds and see the city waking up right under your feet.

The hill offers a panoramic view of Nice and the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a hill rich with history and natural beauty, attracting visitors from around the world. Its peak provides a stunning backdrop for a postcard from Nice.

Let’s be honest, have you ever been to Nice if you haven’t been to Colline du Château?

Apart from the stunning vistas over Promenade des Anglais, Nice Old Town, and Port Lympia, you will love Cascade Dijon. This is an artificial waterfall running over a rocky cliff and another must-visit during one day in Nice. Also, don’t miss the Bellanda Tower, the ancient Cathedral, and Le Park du Chateau.

While there is no charge to visit Colline du Château, it has opening time which is a bit unusual considering that it is a public park. From the 1st of October until the 31st of March, it is open from 8.30 am to 6 pm and from the 1st of April to the 30th of September it is open from 8.30 am to 8 pm.

I am pretty sure you want to be one of the first to enter and make the most of your visit to The Colline du Château. Let’s be honest, have you ever been to Nice if you haven’t been to Colline du Château?

How to get to the Colline du Château?

It is located 90 meters above sea level and there is no public transport that brings you to the top. If you choose to walk, it will take you around 300 stairs to reach the peak. This is the best way to reach the top early in the morning.

As an alternative, you can take Ascenseur du Château and take s short walk up from there. It is free of charge, however, it is open from 10 am to 5 pm. Look up Ascenseur du Château to find the exact location on Google Maps.

When I first visited Nice some years ago, I opted for a Le Petit Train Touristique de Nice. It starts from Monument du Centenaire and takes 50 minutes to bring you around Nice attractions. The last stop is Colline du Château, where you have 10 minutes of free time. Not ideal, but works if you are on the clock.

The price is 12 euro and it leaves once every hour or once every 30 minutes depending on the season. It is open from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm.

Port Lympia

Nice itinerary
Nice itinerary

Walk down the hill to reach Port Lympia – a charming harbor located in the city and a must-visit for your 24 hours in Nice. Situated along the Mediterranean coast, it offers fantastic views of the sea and harbor.

The port’s history dates back centuries, with its origins tracing to ancient times when it was a vital trading post. Today, Port Lympia continues to thrive as a vital link between the city and the sea.

One of the notable features of Port Lympia is its picturesque setting. Surrounded by colorful buildings and quaint cafes, the harbor exudes a relaxed ambiance that attracts visitors. Port Lumpia is also home to Notre-Dame du Port, one of the most beautiful churches in Nice.

In the port you will find a wide range of boats, starting from big yachts and ending with humble fishermen boats. The contrast is pretty impressive and a nice walk around the Port Lympia will give you a different perspective of Nice.

Full Bloom Cafe (optional)

24 hours in Nice
24 hours in Nice

After discovering the port and the hill, take a deserved break in Full Bloom, one of the coolest cafes in Nice. This picturesque cafe is located in one of the liveliest areas of Nice and yet it’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy a peaceful moment. 

The ambiance is surrounded by plants, wooden furniture, and antiques, creating a perfect setting to relax. It’s worth mentioning the wide selection of teas and coffees. 

I have to say that they nailed a perfect balance of macchiato, cappuccino, and flat white. You also have the chance to try Matcha or other cold drinks. If you are in for an extra treat, try one of their cookies.

Every coffee lover will appreciate Full Bloom Cafe so it is a must during your one day in Nice. Click here to discover other amazing cafes in Nice.

La Place Garibaldi

what to do in Nice in 24 hours

A few steps away from the cafe, find La Place Garibaldi. This is another important place to see when you visit Nice in one day. 

The architecture around the square is stunning, with elegant facades that speak of a bygone era. Each building has its own tale to tell, adding to the charm and character of the place.

Named after Giuseppe Garibaldi, the Italian general and nationalist, it stands as a symbol of history and unity. La Place Garibaldi is very much alive in the present and connects the history of this charming city to its past.

While I think it is magical to see Colline du Château early in the morning when the city is still sleeping, La Place Garibaldi should be visited during peak hours. It is a great place for street photography and people-watching.

Tour Saint-François (optional)

what to do in Nice for a day
what to do in Nice for a day

If you happen to be in Nice on the weekends and occasionally on Fridays during the summer season, don’t miss Tour Saint-François. 

This is the best place if you are looking for a unique view of Nice. While Colline du Château is probably the number one option for most tourists, this offers a fantastic view of the roofs of Old Nice and the Mediterranean Sea.

Be prepared for a long spiral staircase that leads you up to the peak of the tower. After 15 minutes of stairs, you will be welcomed with some of the best views of Nice. It is not as high as Colline du Château, so you get a very different perspective on the city. 

Opening times on the weekends are from 9.30 am to 1 pm and from 2 pm to 5 pm. On Fridays, you can visit from 7 pm to 10 pm.

The entrance fee is 6 EUR. You have to get your ticket at the office downstairs and show your ticket at the top. The person checking your ticket can also give you a little guided tour, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Lunch: A Buteghinna or Le Bar des Oiseaux

Nice one day trip

And after a morning of exploration, it’s lunchtime. Trying local Niçoise cuisine is a real must-do in Nice so here are two options depending on your budget and preferences.

A Buteghinna is a place that holds my heart as I tried delicious local specialties for a very reasonable price. The braised meat with panisse is simply unbelievable, but there is a good selection of pastries and affordable sandwiches too.

For a little more formal experience, head to the Michelin-awarded Le Bar des Oiseaux. This restaurant is added to every Nice itinerary and for all the right reasons. Here, the local specialties are prepared with a global twist and presented aesthetically.

I have to say that prices are very reasonable at the Le Bar des Oiseaux and there are lunch deals available during weekdays. So if you are looking for a little treat during your one day in Nice, don’t miss this gem in the old town, but don’t forget to make a reservation!

How about a local food tour in Nice?

Musée du Palais Lascaris

visit Nice in one day
visit Nice in one day

Musée du Palais Lascaris is one of the prettiest places in Nice and quite a hidden gem for tourists despite its central location in the old town. Housed within a magnificent Baroque palace, this museum offers insights into the opulent lifestyle of the aristocracy during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Originally built as a private residence for the illustrious Lascaris-Vintimille family, the palace was transformed into a museum in the 1970s, allowing the public to explore its rich history and exquisite architectural details.

The museum’s carefully curated collection includes an impressive array of period furniture, decorative arts, and musical instruments. However, if you ask me, the palace itself is the most beautiful part of the museum and transfers you back in time.

One of the highlights of the museum is its magnificent staircase, adorned with intricate stucco work and ornate balustrades, leading to the upper floors where you will find opulent living quarters and reception rooms.

It is a relatively small museum, so you can easily visit the entire palace in one hour. The entrance fee is 5 EUR and it is open from 10 am to 6 pm. Keep in mind that the museum is closed on Tuesdays.

Nice Cathedral

one day in Nice, France
one day in Nice, France

Nice Cathedral, officially known as the Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate de Nice, is a majestic religious landmark of Old Town. Its striking facade, adorned with intricate sculptures and ornate details, is a sight that you don’t want to miss.

Dedicated to Saint Reparata, an early Christian martyr, the cathedral dates back to the 17th century, although it underwent significant renovations and enhancements over the years. 

Once you are around, make sure you visit the inside of the Cathedral as well. The interior is adorned with exquisite artwork, including vibrant frescoes, intricate stained glass windows, and beautiful sculptures, each telling a story of faith and devotion.

Right in front go the Cathedral, you will find La Fontaine Historique d’Obélisque and Place Rossetti, which is a lively square that fills up with restaurant tables and crowds during the day. 

On the right side of the Nice Cathedral, you will find a unique narrow building and another Nice Instagram spot. This house is painted in the typical pastel tones with light blue window blinds – it doesn’t get more South of France than this.

The building is located on the meeting point of Rue du Pont Vieux and Rue Mascoinat, also marked as Point de vue on Google Maps. Right next to the cafe called Le Kalice. I am sure you won’t miss it as you visit Nice Cathedral.

Cours Saleya and more of Nice Old Town

one day in Nice, France
one day in Nice, France

Cours Saleya is a vibrant market square filled with typical colorful Mediterranean houses. Right in front of Place Pierre Gautier, you will find a little staircase that offers a fantastic view of Chapelle de la Miséricorde de Nice, which is another important attraction of Nice.

The Old Town of Nice offers other relevant sights you should not miss. The Église Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur de Nice will astonish you with its beautiful interiors. The Maison d’Adam et Eve and the Tour de l’Horloge are two famous spots to take a photo in Nice.

Old Town is the main attraction of Nice and it will take you some time to explore it throughout. Also known as Vieux Nice, it is a labyrinth of colorful alleys where the smells of taverns blend with the herbs of Provence and little shops. 

Place Masséna

One Day in Nice Itinerary: Make The Most of 24 Hours in Nice

The old town is the heart of Nice, but Place Masséna holds the soul of the locals. This main square is adorned with the extravagant Fontaine du Soleil right in the middle. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, it is a lively square that you have to add to your Nice itinerary.

Dominating the Fontaine du Soleil is a grand statue of Apollo, the Greek god of the sun, who stands proudly atop a pedestal. Surrounding him are other figures representing the four seasons, each intricately crafted with meticulous detail.

Lined with shops, cafes, and vibrant street performers, Place Masséna buzzes with energy and excitement. It’s a place where people come to meet friends, enjoy a stroll, or simply soak in the atmosphere of this dynamic city.

The square also is home to one of the biggest parks in the city and the infamous shopping department Lafayette. Are you a shopaholic and wondering what to see in Nice in one day? Head to Lafayette.

The square is also the starting point for Av. Jean Médecin and Rue Massena which are two of the most popular streets in Nice.

Promenade des Anglais

what to see in Nice in one day
what to see in Nice in one day

To continue your itinerary, take Rue Massena or cut through the Jardin Albert 1er to arrive at the famous Promenade des Anglais.  During my travels, I have walked a lot of beautiful promenades on the water, however, the Promenade des Anglais is my favorite. 

The boulevard starts from the central Nice and stretches for 7 kilometers reaching the airport of the city. During one day in Nice, a romantic stroll on the promenade is mandatory. People also enjoy roller skating, biking, or simply sitting on the iconic blue chairs and enjoying the sunset on the water. 

The promenade counts several bars and restaurants and is also home to some of the best places to stay in Nice, especially if budget is not an issue. The world-famous hotel Negresco dominates the boulevard but the luxurious options are just countless.

Nice, together with the rest of the region is one of the best summer destinations in Europe and Promenade des Anglais is one of the many reasons why.

Are you looking for a dreamy hotel in Nice with sea views?

Villa Masséna Musée (optional)

what to do in Nice in one day
what to do in Nice in one day

Right next to Le Negresco, you will find Villa Masséna Musée, which is another popular attraction to visit if you have one day in Nice. Once the luxurious residence of a prominent local family, the villa now serves as a museum which means that you can visit and see it with your own eyes.

As you approach Villa Masséna Musée, you will be welcomed with a beautiful garden and stunning exterior, but the best secrets are still hidden inside. The museum’s exhibits take you back to the time when Nice was just a small fishing village and showcases all the progress that the city made ever since.

It is open from 11 am to 6 pm every day except Tuesdays when the museum is closed. The entrance fee is 10 EUR.

Dinner: Le Siècle, La Cave du Fromager or Le Bistrot des Viviers – Piccolo Mondo

Nice one day itinerary

I have to say that this area of Nice is tricky when it comes to restaurants, so it is better to head back to the old town or other parts of Nice. However, if you want to experience dinner on Promenade des Anglais, Le Siècle should be your only choice.

If you want to discover local gems, you will love these French restaurants in Nice Old Town. However, if you don’t have the time to read the entire guide, here are my top recommendations.

La Cave du Fromager

Nice 1 day itinerary
Nice 1 day itinerary

The beloved former French president Charles de Gaulle once said ‘How can anyone govern a country with 246 varieties of cheese?’. This makes you understand that cheese is a big part of French cuisine.

If you want to try the essence of French food and cheese is your passion, you need to have dinner at La Cave du Fromager. The place excels in the preparation of specialties with cheese like Fondue, Baked Camembert, Tartiflette, or Raclette.

When it’s about pairing with a good bottle of wine, it’s unbelievable to see the amount of National and foreign labels at the Cave du Fromager. There is a sommelier that is ready to help you to pick the perfect wine to pair with your dish.

Depending on the wine you choose, dinner will cost you between 50 and 150 euros. A reservation is strongly recommended.

Le Bistrot des Viviers – Piccolo Mondo

Nice one day itinerary
Nice one day itinerary

Le Bistrot des Viviers is the perfect address for seafood and aesthetic lovers. Le Bistrot des Viviers is a place with a long history that had the honor to guest stars like the former Beatle Ringo Starr and that has recently been renewed.

We tried the famous onion soup, a fabulous fish soup that tasted like ocean, pasta with crab and scallops. There is a good selection of wines and meat specialties are also available.

It is located a bit further from the touristy area, nevertheless, the interiors are absolutely beautiful, with painted mirrors and wooden antiques. It is one of the best restaurants in Nice.

Are you still planning your trip to Nice?

If the answer is yes, I am here to help you out with some of the essentials, like tours, hotels, and other useful tips that will help you with the entire process.

🏆Are you looking for fun experiences in Nice? Don’t miss these top-rated tours in Nice:

🔎 Want to see beyond Nice? Book a half-day trip to Monaco & Eze or discover the most beautiful villages near Nice. Or discover the best day trips from Nice on your own.

⏰ Wondering how long to stay in Nice? You can cover the essentials of Nice in one day and you can easily find entertainment for a week. Nice is a great base if you want to explore the rest of the French Riviera.

🏠 When it comes to accommodations, there are plenty of luxury hotels, yet not much for those seeking mid-range or affordable hotels. Here are some suggestions that can help you.

🌊 Or check out these hotels in Nice with amazing sea views directly from your balcony.

✈️ From the airport of Nice, you can take the bus, a tram, or book a private transfer to reach your accommodation.

🚗 If you are planning a road trip around the French Riviera, you will love Rentalcars and all these beautiful places on the French Riviera that should be added to your itinerary.

Further reading for one day in Nice

Here are some useful Nice travel guides to help you with the preparation process:

Or read more about: Nice | Paris | Menton | Saint-Paul-de-Vence | Cannes | Eze | Villefranche-sur-Mer | France | Monaco

In conclusion…

One Day Nice Itinerary: Make The Most of 24 Hours in Nice

This is the end of your one-day Nice itinerary and I am sure that it will help you have an amazing 24 hours in Nice despite the limited time.

I would love to hear your thoughts, so if you have any feedback or additional tips, leave a comment below. Also, check out my Instagram for regular travel videos and travel inspiration. Or explore other destinations on this travel blog.

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One Day Nice Itinerary: Make The Most of 24 Hours in Nice
One Day Nice Itinerary: Make The Most of 24 Hours in Nice

One Comment

  1. Thanks for sharing this article to plan one day in Nice 👍

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