The French Riviera might be known for its glitz and glam, its old-world opulence and its elegant villas, but Nice needn't be an expensive location to visit.
Getting around is easy and cheap, entry to the primary sights and attractions doesn't cost much (contrary whatsoever), with plenty of samples by mail to see and do. You may also dine on delicious Mediterranean and Nicoise cuisine without breaking the financial institution. Follow our tips to help make the most of your trip to Nice on a tight budget.
Avoid visiting Nice in peak season or during carnival
Summer – August especially – may be the worst time for you to visit Nice if you want to remain budget conscious. Most of Europe is on holiday, and prices for flights and accommodations have a tendency to skyrocket. Popular tourist spots end up with crowded, as well as the heat can get too much. You should also avoid visiting during carnival season in February (unless you're specifically visiting to see Nice's rightly famous Carnaval) – flights might seem affordable but accommodations get booked up fast and prices have a tendency to rise accordingly.
Visiting Nice in May, June, or September is a safer bet, with pleasant weather, fewer crowds and more wallet-friendly flight, food, and accommodation costs.
Consider remaining in a hostel or self-catering apartment
Let's be honest, hotels in Nice are seldom cheap, but there are ways to save. If your budget can stretch just a little, there are many worthy boutique hotels and wonderful hip accommodations – although a double room will often set you back at least EUR 50 -100 every night at best.
Travelers on a tighter budget (think EUR20 -40 an evening) should opt for a cozy guesthouse such as La Ma”ioun Guesthouse, a stylish hostel like Ozz Hostel or Villa Saint Exupéry Beach Hostel, or a self-catering apartment with Airbnb.
Buy the transportation or sightseeing pass you heard right for you
Buy your pass wisely, factoring in how long you will be in the city for, how you are planning on getting around, and what sort of attractions you're going to visit.
For example, if you're only around for 2 or 3 days and therefore are thinking of packing in as many cultural attractions and activities as possible, you should think about getting a French Riviera Pass (One day EUR26, 2 days EUR38, Three days EUR56), which provides free access to most of the city's top sights, including the MAMAC, the Musée Matisse, the Palais Lascaris and much more – from walking tours to electric scooter hire. For an additional EUR4 each day, the pass may also cover unlimited travel on the city's trams and buses. Alternatively, the Pass musées Ville de Nice is really a steal, at just EUR15 for Three days of unlimited access to the city's museums and galleries.
If you're very little of a culture vulture and want to spend your time shopping or laying on the beach, you'll are interested the EUR10 for 10 rides transport ticket from Lignes d'Azur. It's valid for transportation to and from manchester international, in addition to travel between different parts of the city using the local bus and tram network. If you are staying for longer, then the EUR15 7-day transport pass is much better value, with unlimited travel on the bus and tram network for a week.
Browse the stalls at local grocery stores for the perfect picnic
Head towards the city's famous Marché du Cours Saleya or Marché en Libération to cobble together a tasty lunch for less than EUR10. From colorful vegetables and fruit, to creamy cheeses, olives and breads, find the best local produce and treat yourself to an attractive picnic around the beach or perhaps in among the city's many green spaces.
At both markets, to keep your cheap and delicious Nicois street snacks (under EUR5 a pop), including socca (chickpea-flour pancakes), pissaladière (caramelized onion and anchovy tart), and pan bagnat (round-shaped sandwich full of tuna, raw veggies, eggs, and olive oil). Try Chez Thérésa at Cours Saleya and Kiosque Tintin at Libération.
Choose restaurants wisely
Generally, avoid restaurants in busy, touristy spots with lengthy menus and eye-watering prices. Prefer places popular with locals and anywhere having a Lonely Planet sticker. Lunch menus can frequently offer excellent value, too.
For a unique treat, here are a few places with excellent grub and inexpensive price points which are worth looking at: Olive & Artichaut within the old town (excellent 3-course menu for EUR34), La Maison de Marie in the city center (3-course Nicois menu: EUR27.90; 2 -3-course lunch menu: EUR17.90 -21.90), and L'Uzine near the port (go at lunchtime for the great-value, 2 -3-course lunch menu: EUR18 -23).
Make the most of discounted happy-hour drinks
Most pubs and bars in Nice, especially those within the old town, through the beach, near place Garibaldi as well as in the port district, offer discounts on pints, bottled beers and cocktails during “happy hour”, that is usually between 5pm and 8pm (sometimes from 6pm to 9pm in summer). That's a whole three hours to savor an “apéro” drink or three on a sunny day for around EUR5 a pop. We'll cheers to that!
Avoid Nice's private beaches
Nice's seafront is split between 15 private beaches and 20 public ones (including two which are wheelchair accessible). The rows of perfectly lined comfy sun loungers on the private beaches may look appealing, however they will set you back a good EUR20 a day. If you are budget-conscious, they're not worth splashing your money on.
Nice's beaches are pebbles, except for a sandy beach-volleyball court in the eastern fringe of the seafront. Our tip? Bring along a seaside mat or a fold-up mattress. You can ask your accommodation when they could loan you one (hostels and hotels often do), or purchase one for next to nothing in a tourist shop close to the beach, most supermarkets or a sports store like Decathlon. Jelly shoes may be necessary sometimes too!
Make probably the most of Nice's free sights and scenery
Nice is a lovely city to explore by walking, and taking in all of the beautiful scenery along the way is obviously completely free.
Stroll along the palm tree-lined Promenade des Anglais, ascend to the Colline du Ch^ateau for unparalleled views from the city and also the azure sea, explore every corner from the quaint old town and relax within the city's many free parks and gardens.
Daily costs in Nice
Hostel room: EUR20 -30 (dorm bed)
Basic accommodation for two: from EUR50 -60
Self-catering apartment (including Airbnb): from EUR30 -40
Public transport ticket: EUR1.50 for 1 ride, EUR10 for 10 rides, EUR5 for 1-day pass, EUR15 for 7-day pass
Coffee: EUR2 -4
Sandwich: EUR4 -5
Dinner for 2: EUR40 -60
Beer/pint in the bar: EUR7 -8 (around EUR5 during happy hour)