After my short trip to the French Riviera, I have tested and created the perfect three-day itinerary that I would recommend anyone to do for a trip! At first I was confused going into the trip about the train system, but in this guide I will explain what you need to do and you’ll find that it is really quite simple! Also, I tried to offer as many recommendations and sites to see, but the best way I found to explore the riviera was simply by walking around and exploring all the cities without a strict plan.
To begin, I would base yourself in Nice for the three days, this city is an easy place for getting around the riviera, and also a lovely, homey area to stay in. I stayed in an AirBnb however there are tons of hotels as well if you prefer that. If you are planning to try and see other parts of the French Riviera then I would search for accommodation near the train station. Nonetheless, Nice is very small and walkable! It takes around 15 minutes to walk from the train station to the waterfront, otherwise their tram and bus system is very easy and any hotel concierge or AirBnb host could easily explain it to you.
DAY 1 – I would spend your first day exploring Nice. Here are my recommendations:
- Walk along the Promenade Des Anglais (waterfront)
- Stroll through Old Town and find a place to enjoy some lunch!
- Make your way to the main street to go shopping (Avenue Jean Medecin) – They have my favourite store Bershka, you need to go!
- Eat dinner at LA VOGLIA – Hands down the best meal I have had in Nice. At a reasonable price point this restaurant offers HUGE pastas that are extremely delicious
- Have a crepe at Confiserie Ballanger for dessert
CHECK OUT MY INSTAGRAM HIGHLIGHT FOR PHOTOS OF THE AMAZING FOOD @izzyvanoppen
DAY 2 – Head to Monaco
- We slept in since it was raining, then found a spot for lunch near our AirBnb and got a crepe from Sun’ice by the waterfront.
- Once the rain stopped we hopped on the train to Monaco! All you need to do is go to the station, use one of their machines to buy a ticket, then search on the main board which platform has a train headed in the direction of Monaco. Just check what stops the train has. I would also recommend downloading the SNCF app on your phone so you can access the train schedule!
- Once in Monaco (Monte Carlo specifically) we walked to Casino Monte-Carlo, then made our way down the hill to the waterfront where the yachts were parked.
- Check out Les Jardins Saint-Martin’s beautiful gardens
- Jardin Japonais japanese gardens
- Walk to Fort Antoine
- Fontvielle Park
- Explore old town on “Le Rocher.”
- We were in Monte Carlo for only a couple hours and felt that we had seen everything we wanted to, personally I wasn’t super impressed! However if you are interested in coming to Monte Carlo that is what we did.
DAY 3 – Cannes and Antibes
- We started our day taking the train to Cannes. The exit is right by the waterfront, we first walked along all the designer shops on Boulevard de la Croisette.
- Next we crossed the road and walked back on Boulevard de la Croisette on the beach-side. We sat on one of the many stools along the boulevard and enjoyed the sunshine! If you want to swim or tan there were also many beach clubs here.
- Rue d’Antibes – this is the main shopping street where you will find more affordable and realistic shopping! We spent two hours strolling down here before finding lunch at one of the many restaurants at the end of the street (near McDonald’s if you want a reference of the area).
- After lunch we went back to the train station and headed to Antibes. Note – you need to buy separate train tickets to do this sort of trip. One ticket from Nice –> Cannes, one from Cannes –> Antibes, and then Antibes –> Nice. Unfortunately train tickets can get expensive, we actually had a return ticket from Cannes –> Nice
- ANTIBES WAS BEAUTIFUL! Probably my favourite spot we went to outside of Nice. We walked out the train station down to the harbour, then turned right (you’ll see a ferris wheel and a fort). We walked around the fort and admired the yachts before entering town and walking around aimlessly there.
- I would recommend Cafe Clemenceau for some coffee or food! It is in a cute square in Old Town
- Then we headed back on the train to Nice and packed our bags for our next trip to Southern Italy!
While this guide isn’t as planned out as my usual ones, that is because I truly believe Southern France is best explored by simply walking around. The cities are all small and have their own specialties, knowing we weren’t interested in going into casinos or on luxurious yacht rides – our ideal itinerary was just to walk around and see what Southern France had to offer us!
As for my thoughts on the trip, Southern France is beautiful, and I loved Nice the most. Nonetheless it is probably a trip I would just do once, at least at this point of my life. For the price point and what it can offer a 20-year old I feel there are better places in Europe to visit :).