Cannes to Nice: One Day in Nice, France

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Is Cannes, France a port-of-call on your Western Mediterranean cruise? Are you staying in Cannes and are thinking of spending one day in Nice, France? Cannes to Nice is an easy and fun day trip.

When I saw Cannes, France on our Western Mediterranean cruise itinerary, the first thing that came to mind is the yearly film festival packed with celebrities. Was that your first thought, too.

Cannes is more than that. It is part of the French Riviera, also known as Côte d’Azur in Southern France. An absolutely beautiful coastal city that is worth exploring if you choose to stay in Cannes for the day.

Not far from Cannes are many other cities to explore, perfect for a day trip, including Nice, France.

cannes to nice france | blog post cover

Please note: this trip and post was written pre-Covid.

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 that there are numerous destinations you can take day trip to.

Do you stay in Cannes? Reserve a car? Book a tour of Monte Carlo? Or, do you try to see as much as the 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. You just have to narrow it down to what you’d like to see 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 our own vehicles during our first few cruise stops, 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.

Cannes is a tender port

What do you mean by tender?

The cruise ship will dock and anchor off-shore. Which means smaller boats will transfer cruise passengers ashore.

CRUISING TIP: IF IT’S A TENDER PORT, AND YOU DO NOT HAVE PRIORITY STATUS ON THE SHIP, GIVE YOURSELF ENOUGH TIME IN THE MORNING TO BE ONE OF THE FIRST ONES OFF THE SHIP. THAT IS IF YOU WANT TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR DAY AT THE PORT.

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. Cannes to Nice 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 I’ve mentioned in other posts, there isn’t enough time at these cruise stops, period. One of the many downsides of cruising, I 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.

Cruise Tip: On the Norwegian Epic, sign-up for tendering at any of the ports applicable from the TV in your cabin or from one of the many touchscreens throughout the ship. You want to do this on day 1 of your cruise, so you can choose the earliest time available and be one of the first off the ship.

Cannes to Nice Day Trip Pin for Pinterest

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 first start by saying that once you get to the train station, your options are open. If you want to follow my advice on Nice, that’s great. However, if you’re just looking to navigate your way to the train station, perhaps this will help you and then you can choose another city nearby. No matter what you do, Nice or Cannes, you will have a great day.

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)

Train timetable information: Click Here

Once you arrive at the train station, find an electronic kiosk. It is pretty easy to navigate. I suggest you should know which station you would like to travel to beforehand so your chances of getting lost are low.

Train kiosk and tickets at Cannes train station

For Nice, choose NICE VILLE and the time you wish to depart Gare de Cannes – Cannes-Ville. We purchased roundtrip tickets and made sure to choose 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 making your selection.

The platform where the train will be departing from will be shown on the ticket.

If you don’t feel like exploring Nice on your own, you can take the train to Nice and do a walking tour.

Cruise Tip: The last tender 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.

Tour Options from Cannes

These are some of the shore excursions to consider if you find traveling by train intimating or you just 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.

  1. Half-day tour of Monaco and Eze [book here]
  2. St. Tropez Day Trip [book here]
  3. Cannes to Ste. Marguerite Island [book here]
  4. Private Luxury Motorboat Cruise with Personal Skipper [book here]

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 that I will never pick an itinerary with a tender port again.

Beautiful boats docked in the marina at Cannes Port
Marina at Cannes Cruise Port

But, once you’re off the ship and in Cannes port on a lovely serene morning like the one we experienced, you forget all about how you made it there.

Then a beautiful day follows and the memory of the tender line from the morning is buried deep into the back of 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 in the middle of everything below. The best way to explore is to walk.

Inside the train station in Nice

Our goal was to head towards Old Town Nice and it is 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 just to see what the city had to offer by walking.

Naples to the Island of Capri, Italy

Take the ferry from Naples and spend a beautiful day in Capri. See lemons the size of your head! Have some limoncello and take a chairlift up to Mount Solero.

Things to Do in Nice, France

Avenue Jean Médecin

We used Google Maps to lead us towards Old Town and we were lead towards Avenue Jean Médecin. We were lead 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.

FYI: Our cellphones were connected to our Solis Wifi Hot Spot for the day.

Le Jardin Albert 1er (Albert I Garden)

Kathy twirling in the fountains at the Albert Garden in Nice, France

This 19th-century public park is a gem. Such a wonderful surprise when we came across it. You can spend a good amount of time strolling through the park and seeing everything it has to offer.

We only managed to walk through the fountains and I 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.

Vieux Nice (Old Town Nice)

Promenade des Anglais & Beach

Beautiful clouds over the gray rocky beach in Nice, France

After passing by the park, you’ll start to see the coast and we followed the sight of the ocean to the Promenade des Anglais and the public beach. The promenade is actually about 4 miles long along the Mediterranean and starts at the Cote d’Azur Airport.

The beach was pretty empty, but I have a feeling during the summer 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 in the French Riviera.

Ascenseur du Château & Castle Hil

Ascenseur du Château & Castle Hill

If you would like to see a panoramic view of the coast of Nice, go to Ascenseur du Château and take an old school art-deco elevator all the way up to Castle Hill Park. You can also just 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.

Full view of the beach and ocean from the panoramic deck at Castle Hill Park
View from Panoramic deck at Castle Hill Park

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 fall in love with 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 walking around, looking up at all the details and recording that I walked right into a steel pole. ? This is not the first time this has happened to me. Thankfully, I’m fine and simply laughed it off. I did have a black & blue on my thigh for a while.

Spend a Day in Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy

Have you heard of the dying city in Italy? See this charming ancient village perch on a hill.

Tasty Itinerary: What to Eat in Nice, France?

There was so much to see and do in the small amount of time we had, we didn’t know if we were going to sit and have a full lunch. It was all up in the air and then we found lunch at the market.

We did stop at a French cafe for a bit for a coffee.

Cours Saleya Open-Air Market

A variety of Pastries and croissants at the open-air market in Nice, France

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, so gracious and welcoming.

This market takes place almost daily: Tuesday thru Sunday from 7 AM to 1 PM.

a variety of spics at the farmer's market

There was everything from fruit stands, baked goods, seasonings, and flowers. I 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. I think you can find a smorgasbord of delicious local items and return to the beach for a picnic.

Visit Nice, France

Our day trip from Cannes to Nice was a success and we had a wonderful time exploring this lovely city. I will dare to say, 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. I think 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. I’m eyeing these for my next visit.

  1. No-Diet Club Food Tour [book here]
  2. Ferrari Sports Car Experience from Nice [book here]
  3. The Flavors of Nice Food Tasting Tour [book here]
  4. Half-day Sightseeing Tour of Nice [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.


Are you excited about your trip to Nice, France? What are you looking forward to the most?

If you have been to Nice, what did you love the most?


Don’t forget to share the love on Pinterest:

Cannes to Nice France

When I’m not daydreaming about my next vacation, drinking coffee, or playing with my dogs, you can find me on InstagramTwitter, or Facebook for more posts and stories! Would love to hear from you!

12 thoughts on “Cannes to Nice: One Day in Nice, France”

  1. I am mesmerized by the stunning pictures of this post, and I have never been to Cannes. I definitely think of the film festival, first and foremost, as you said.

    Since I am not a cruiser, I had no idea what ‘tendering’ meant at first. lol. Did the boat gently come into port? Was it kind to Cannes? Did it greet Cannes with a hug? I figured it out–I am so ridiculous sometimes.

    That train station is a sight in itself. I think American train stations, minus the huge ones (and even then), are slightly boring. Nice is gorgeous, though. We loved the ones in the Netherlands too.

    Open air markets are one of my favorite parts of traveling, and they always make me so hungry. With Invisalign these days, they are harder for me to drop into since I cannot easily snack. However, I’d be more than happy to take something for the road. Not sure that cruise ships let you do that, though?

    A beach picnic sounds PERFECT. Love that idea and the beach around Old Town looks dynamic.

    Cannes and Nice are on my list so thank you for all of the great suggestions and tasty itinerary. Will be pinning for later.

    Reply
    • I laughed out loud this morning reading this. “Did it greet Cannes with a hug?” LMAO! I seriously wish that was the case! It’s more like we have to sit around waiting to be transferred to shore. It’s such a hassle. I think I would prefer the hug though. lol

      American train stations are boring. The only one that comes to mind that has any beauty is Grand Central that’s why it’s so overused in movies.

      We are not allowed to bring food on the cruise ships unless they are sealed. Which is a bummer! However, I’m a rule breaker and in the next blog post / next port, you’ll find out what I smuggled in later.

      All I kept thinking while I was in Nice was that I wish I had more time. The worse part about cruising, honestly. I would have totally had a picnic on the beach. I missed so much in Nice. I will go back. Especially now that I know the vibe was completely different than when we visited Paris.

      Thanks for always being the first to comment!

      Reply
      • I cannot wait to see what you smuggled in lol!

        No matter where we go or how we get there, I always wish that we had more time. It’s never enough. I don’t ever have goals or dreams to be a full-time traveler: I love home and having a regular place to return too. However, I do wish I had more time to travel. I miss my kitties too much.

        I hope we both find time to revisit the places we loved.

        Reply
  2. These pictures look incredible!! That beach with those clouds and the sea green/blue sky looks amazing.
    The park with that fountain also was beautiful and looks like a lot of fun! And you’re right, I wish our train stations looked like that. At least we do have Grand Central in NYC but that’s it! The rest is just gritty and grubby. ?

    I cracked up at you walking into that pole! ? That’s something I would definitely do.

    So now you’ve definitely made me want to stay in Nice and do day trips around the French Riviera. I would LOVE that! ?

    Reply
    • The sky during our time there was insane. I mean, it was a picture perfect day honestly. I kept wishing I had dressed more for the summer because that’s what it felt like. It was so beautiful.

      Grand Central is quite possibly the most beautiful train station in all of the United States. I mean, I could be wrong.

      I want to go back to Southern France now. One of these days.

      Reply
  3. Those pastries look amazing! I also have to say – from one pole walker to another – I’m glad you are okay! Last time I walked into a pole I cut my face, ahahaha! Nice sounds incredible and looks incredible!

    Reply
    • Oh no! Sorry to hear about the cut to the face. Yeah, I wouldn’t want that to happen to anyone. I once walked into a steel pole and ended up with a ghastly bump in my head. It took days to heal.

      Thanks so much for stopping by! I appreciate your comment. Let’s watch out for those poles! 😉

      Reply
  4. I think that I would love to travel around Southern France! I think Paris would only be interesting to see for a day or two for me, then heading south to see Nice and Cannes and other places would be amazing!

    Your photography is stunning, and I love that you just explored Nice at your leisure. That is my favorite way to travel! I would love to visit this lovely city. Old European cities are places that I dream of!

    Reply
    • I love the sound of that itinerary. Hit up Paris for a couple of days then drive south. I would love to explore all the old European cities in Southern France too. Doing things at your own pace is just the way to go, IMO. I do love private tours with knowledgeable guides and taken them every so often, but I love the freedom of doing it on my own.

      Thanks so much for the comments. Appreciate you so much.

      Reply
  5. The French Riviera is high up on my list for a future trip. I’ve only spent one day in France ever, on my recent trip, and I want to go back to see more! I definitely need to try all those pastries and spices at the market, and spend some time on that beach. The pictures look amazing, the architecture is dreamy, and you look so happy in the fountain! Love that pic of you!

    Reply
    • We’ve only spent maybe a total of 3 days in France and it’s definitely not enough. I will say, I absolutely loved the hospitality and charm I was able to experience in that 1 day in Nice. I can’t wait to go back and explore further as well. Hope you get to go back soon!

      Thanks for the comment on the pic. I love that one too!

      Reply

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