Located on the French Riviera, Nice is a city brimming with wonder, and there’s literally something for everyone.
From the naturally rugged terrain to the Italianate old quarter, the stunning beaches, and the rich history, you could quite easily spend weeks discovering the beauty and charm of this magnificent part of the world.
And when you add in the perfect climate, excellent cuisine, and that infamous Riviera glamour, you’ve got a recipe for an extraordinary experience.
But when you’re planning out your itinerary, what should you put on the first day? You want an introduction to the city that will set the tone for the rest of your trip, so here are three of the best first experiences.
3 Things To Do On Your First Day in Nice
#1 Take a Walking Tour
A walking tour of Nice is a great way to get your bearings, and while you may have packed glamorously to fit into the French Riveria scene, make sure you put on your comfy shoes for a stroll around your new surroundings.
This allows you to connect with local guides in Nice, who have an intimate knowledge of the city and can give you tips which will set up the rest of your trip. You’ll be able to take in iconic sites on day 1, which frees up the rest of your days for more hidden gems.
If you book Nice walking tour the highlight will be Old Town (known locally as Le Vieux Nice), which has many narrow streets (hence the need for good walking shoes!), and is packed with baroque churches, boutique shops and charming restaurants.
Tours usually start from the Place Massena Square fountain, and include Nice Town Hall, the Opera House and Palais de la Prefecture, Palace of Justice Square and Rosetti Square (Nice Cathedral), Cours Saleya market, the famous Promenade des Anglais, the Port of Old Nice, Belanda’s Tower and then end at the historic Castle Hill.
You may have only just arrived, but make sure you have a bottle of water with you, as well as sunglasses, sunscreen, and your camera. Tours are usually 2 hours meaning you have much more time left in your first 24 hours!
#2 Walk Back to Vieille Ville (Old Town)
You’ll likely take in much of Old Town Nice on your walking tour, though it’s worthwhile then spending a few more hours to explore yourself, digging a big further under the surface – there’s much to uncover and explore!
This part of Nice is what people picture when they think of old European towns – it’s an entanglement of picturesque alleys lined with local restaurants and shops, made darker by tall apartment buildings painted in warm ochre color.
Here, you’ll find cafes, crêperies, and glaciers that spill out into the squares, which are always busy until the early morning hours. Having done your walking tour in the morning, stop here for lunch.
Even though you’re on the French Riviera, we guarantee you’ll feel strong Italian vibes when you look around at the setting and architecture. But considering Nice wasn’t French territory until the Treaty of Turin in 1860, it kind of makes sense!
Maybe you’ll learn that though in your walking tour around Vieille Ville!
#3 The Beer District
We know, you’re probably thinking – beer in the south of France? While the country is primarily known for its wine (which we’re sure you already have planned for the rest of your itinerary), Nice is also growing a reputation for its barley and hops.
Hop heads, unite.
Thanks to the opening of the Beer District Libération, locals and tourists alike can enjoy a cold, refreshing beer from a choice of 16 microbrews on tap and many worldwide bottled beers.
And if you can’t decide what you want, the staff are all trained to advise and recommend, and they’ll let you try before you buy. On day one, try something different by starting with beer, before you then dedicate the rest of your trip to Nice wine!
While there are plenty of things to do in this amazing city, these are just a few ideas to get you started on day 1. Whether you’re a culture enthusiast, a walking lover, or want to have a beer and watch the world go by, you’ll have a great trip if you follow this guide.