Travel from Cannes to Nice. Spend one day in Nice, France.
Is Canne a port of call on your Western Mediterranean cruise? Are you spending time in Cannes and thinking of spending one day in Nice, France? Cannes to Nice is an easy and fun day trip.
When we saw Cannes, France, on our Western Mediterranean cruise itinerary, the first thing that came to mind was the yearly film festival packed with celebrities.
Was that your first thought, too?
However, there is more to Cannes than film festivals. It is part of the French Riviera, also known as Côte d’Azur, in Southern France. An absolutely beautiful coastal city worth exploring if you plan to be in Cannes for the day.
Many cities and opportunities to explore are not far from Cannes, perfect for a day trip, including Nice, France. We decided to spend the day in Nice.
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This article shares how to get to Nice, France, from Cannes and how we leisurely spent the day exploring Nice.
Cannes Cruise Port
This was our first trip to Southern France. When you start digging into all the places you can see from the Cannes cruise port, you’ll see numerous destinations you can take a day trip to.
Do you stay in Cannes? Reserve a car? Do you book a guided tour of Monte Carlo? Or do you try to see as much French Riviera as possible?
This is truly a great port-of-call for a cruise day. There is plenty to explore as long as you have a full day ahead of you. The best way to decide is to narrow it down to what you want to see or do most.
We narrowed it down between taking a rushed tour of the French Riviera or simply hopping a train to a nearby city.
Nice, France has always been on our bucket list.
While we loved renting a car during our first few cruise stops of this cruise, Europe also has an amazing rail system. A train to Nice sounded like an easy do-it-yourself day trip. It’s also the cheapest and the quickest way to get there.
Note: Cannes is a tender port. What is a tender port on a cruise? When a cruise ship anchors away from the port off-shore, this means they will have to tender. Smaller boats will transfer cruise passengers ashore to the port cruise terminal.
Cruise tip: Schedule your tender time as soon as you embark, if allowed. On the newer ships, you can probably book this from your cruise ship mobile app, from the TV screen in your room or even the touch screens around the ship. If you have priority status on the ship that gives you priority tender, then you don't have to worry as much.
Our itinerary at Cannes port was from 8 AM to 6 PM. After contacting the tour company regarding the French Riviera tour, we realized there wasn’t enough time for the tour.
A do-it-yourself Cannes to Nice by train quickly became the winner.
We didn’t get to book the tour, but a day trip from Cannes to Nice allowed us time to explore at our own pace. On top of that, we saved money.
As we’ve mentioned in other posts, there isn’t enough time at these cruise stops, period. That is one of the many downsides of cruising, we admit.
And tendering automatically shaves us an hour or more of your time at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day. You do not want to miss the ship. Give yourself enough time to tender back in time.
Tour Options from Cannes
These are some shore excursions to consider if you find traveling by train intimating or you feel like something more exciting. There is nothing here I wouldn’t do myself. Just make sure it fits within your cruise itinerary for the day.
- Cannes Walking Tour [book here]
- Monaco, Monte-Carlo, Eze Half-day from Cannes [book here]
- St-Tropez Day Tour from Cannes [book here]
- Provence Countryside Small-Group Day Trip [book here]
Cannes to Nice by Train
How far is it from Cannes to Nice?
Cannes to Nice is about a 30-min train ride.
How much does it cost?
It costs less than 10€ pp for a roundtrip fare.
How to get from Cannes to Nice, France, by Train?
Let me start by saying that your options are open once you get to the train station. If you want to follow our advice on Nice, that’s great.
However, if you’re looking to navigate your way to the train station, perhaps this will help you, and then you can choose another city nearby. You will have a great day no matter what you do, Nice or Cannes.
When you arrive at Cannes port, take a 17-min walk to Gare de Cannes – Cannes-Ville, the main railway station for the Southern part of the city.
- Google Map Directions from Cannes port to train station: Click Here (Save this link or print out directions)
- You can also book your tickets in advance. Click here for train schedules and info; if a bus transfer option is available, it will come up.
Once you arrive at the train station, find an electronic kiosk. It is pretty easy to navigate. We suggest you research and find out which station you would like to travel to beforehand so your chances of getting lost are low.
For Nice, choose NICE VILLE and the time you wish to depart Gare de Cannes – Cannes-Ville. We purchased roundtrip tickets and chose a return time that allowed us time to walk back to the port to tender.
Note: some trains are faster than others, so keep that in mind when selecting.
The platform where the train will depart will be shown on the ticket.
If you don’t think you can explore Nice on your own or are afraid of not getting to see enough, you can take the train to Nice and take a walking tour.
Cruise Tip: The last tender back to the ship is normally an hour before the ship is scheduled to leave. In our case, we had to be back no later than 5 PM. This meant that we purchased return tickets from Nice to Cannes for 4 PM. The ride back is no longer than 30 mins, but we also had to consider the time it took to walk back to the port.
Planning a cruise can seem daunting, but if you take it one step at a time and follow these simple steps to plan a cruise, you’ll have a fantastic cruise booked in no time.
One Day in Nice, France
Our morning started with breakfast and lining up to tender to port. Sometimes depending on the ship and the port, it’s super easy. Other times, it’s an ordeal. You find me swearing and saying I will never pick an itinerary with a tender port again.
But, once you’re off the ship and in Cannes port on a lovely serene morning like the one we experienced, you forget how you made it there.
Then a beautiful day follows, and the memory of the tender line from the morning is buried deep into your mind until you have to tender back to the ship. This time though, you return to the ship with wonderful memories.
The Nice-Ville train station is beautiful. I think we were the only ones to stop and take pictures. This was the start of our adventure in Nice. You’re not going to step out of the train station and immediately be where you are in the middle of everything below. The best way to explore is to walk.
Our goal was to head towards Old Town Nice, a nice 25-min walk from Nice-Ville Train station. You can take a bus or a taxi to save time; that is always an option. Since we had no real agenda besides the old town, we decided to see what the city had to offer by walking.
Is one day enough in Nice?
One day in Nice is not enough to see and experience everything this beautiful coastal city offers. However, it is enough to understand what it’s like, see a few sites and enjoy a stroll along the beach. You’ll fall in love and start making plans for a longer trip.
How do you spend a day in Nice?
You can spend the day in a variety of ways. You can arrive and walk towards Old Town to explore. Book a guided tour to maximize your time. Go shopping on Avenue Jean Médecin. You can even spend it at the beach.
Things to Do in Nice, France
Avenue Jean Médecin
We used Google Maps to lead us toward Old Town and were led towards Avenue Jean Médecin. It is the city’s main north-south street. It will lead you directly to Old Town Nice.
If you’re looking to do some shopping, this would be the street. Every store you can think of is on this street. This is the main shopping area for tourists and locals.
Le Jardin Albert 1er (Albert I Garden)
This 19th-century public park, Albert I Garden, is a gem—such a wonderful surprise when we came across it. You can stroll through the park and see everything it offers.
We only managed to walk through the fountains, and we loved seeing everyone enjoying these fountains, including me. I felt like a kid.
On the other side of this park is Promenade du Paillon. With more fountains and play areas for kids. Nice, France makes for a great family-friendly day trip.
Promenade des Anglais & Beach
After passing by the park, you’ll start to see the coast and follow the sight of the coast to the Promenade des Anglais and the public beach. The promenade is about 4 miles long along the Mediterranean and starts at the Cote d’Azur Airport.
The beach was pretty empty, but in the summer months, it is packed with rows of beach chairs, umbrellas, and vacationers. We took a short walk, and I can happily say that I dipped my toes on the French Riviera.
Ascenseur du Château & Castle Hil
If you want a panoramic view of the coast of Nice, go to Ascenseur du Château and take a classic art-deco elevator up to Castle Hill Park. You can also take the stairs around the corner to the deck. We chose the latter.
This view was worth the extra steps. The color of the water was different from above than from below.
Explore Charming Old Town Nice
The further you walk from the coast, away from the overly touristy parts, and the deeper into the vibrant old town of this European city you go, you will be taken back in time.
You will love the cobblestone streets, old-world Europe, French cafes, and charming bistros.
Here is a funny story; maybe this has happened to you. I was so mesmerized and in awe, looking up at all the details and recording, that I walked into a steel pole. This is not the first time this has happened to me. Thankfully, I’m fine and laughed it off. I did have a black & blue on my thigh for a while.
Cours Saleya Open-Air Market
There was so much to see and do in the short time we had; we didn’t know if we would sit and have a full lunch. It was all up in the air, and we found lunch at the market.
We did stop at a French cafe for a bit of a coffee.
We completely lucked out and ran into an open market along the Cours Saleya in old town Nice. It was a great treat! I was honestly taken aback by the lovely people running these stands; they were so gracious and welcoming.
This market occurs almost daily: Tuesday through Sunday from 7 AM to 1 PM.
Everything from fruit stands, baked goods, seasonings, and flowers. We purchased some seasonings and dried lavender to bring back home with me. So many flavors and delicious aromas all in one place!
We purchased multiple goodies that we ate along the way, including a sandwich. Hubby loves sandwiches; what can I say?
There were a couple of stands with long lines serving hot dishes, which I wish we had noticed before stuffing our faces with other things. You can find a smorgasbord of delicious local items and return to the beach for a picnic.
Food tours are a great introduction to a new destination, its traditions, and the local culture. We answer these questions and provide practical travel tips on booking and taking a food tour during your next vacation.
Visit Nice, France
Our day trip from Cannes to Nice was a success, and we had a wonderful time exploring this lovely city. We loved Nice more than our visit to Paris years ago. It was a completely different vibe. I encourage you to visit Nice, France.
We didn’t do everything, but we did enough to leave us smiling and craving another return in the future. Nice would also make a great home base for day trips around the French Riviera.
Tour Options From Nice
Just in case you decide that you have no problem getting to Nice but would love to do something more than explore on your own. Here are some tour ideas:
- No-Diet Club Food Tour [book here]
- Highlights & Hidden Gems of Nice [book here]
- Nice Small-Group Walking Food Tour [book here]
- Walking Tour of Old Nice and Castle Hill [book here]
When booking your train tickets, give yourself enough time to arrive and return. Book a tour within the time frame you will have in Nice.
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Meet Kathy Ava, a food, travel, and cruise writer based in Los Angeles/Pasadena, and the owner and main writer of Tasty Itinerary. With over 20 years of experience planning trips and logistics at her full-time job and for herself, she's become a pro at crafting unforgettable tasty itineraries. She's always on the hunt for delicious, fun travel destinations and cruise itineraries. She firmly believes that life is short and we must make the most of it, so always say yes to dessert.