There best way to get around in Nice depends on your stamina and if you have good walking shoes or not!
Ok, it also depends on a few other things, like who you’re with, the weather, how much time you have.. so here are a few transportation options to start planning your stay.
WALKING – the best way to get around in Nice
Nice is a very walkable city.
You can go from Place Massena to the Old Town or the Zone Pietonne. Or to the Promenade des Anglais and you’re also only 5 minutes from Jean Medecin for shopping.
There’s no better way to discover the local architecture and the details that make this city unique unless you walk it.
Everything is intertwined, and if you plan it, you can cut down on walking and give your feet a break.
You just need a good map or a pretty good idea of what you’d like to do in advance.
But of course, depending on the circumstances, you may prefer taking public transportation.
TRAMWAY – the second-best way to get around in Nice
Since the tram lines are now all finished, you can get anywhere much faster.
To buy a tram ticket, you need to make use of the machine available at any tram stop. Tickets aren’t sold on the tram.
You can buy a single SOLO ticket for 1.50 euros, 10 tickets at once for 10 euros (note you won’t get 10 tickets, but only 1 ticket with 10 entries).
You can also purchase a day pass for 5 euros or a 7-day Pass for 15 euros.
You must pay in euros or with a chip credit card. Your ticket is good on all trams and buses within the city.
There is no expiration date, except when you transfer from tram to bus or vice versa, in this case, you have 74 minutes to transfer and continue in the same direction, without paying again.
3 TRAM LINES
The tram lines are pretty easy to use and will take you to different parts of the city.
To understand which direction you should take the tram, always check the tram’s final destination first. Do this by making sure the destination is written on the tram’s front window.
To enter the tram, push the large door buttons to open the doors, as they don’t open automatically. Once inside, you’ll find a small machine in order to validate your ticket.
Do it, or you may be fined by tram security. These guys just get on the tram and ask to check your ticket. If it’s not validated.. well, you’ll be fined 40-60euros.
TRAM LINE 1
Line 1 has a scraggly U shape to it and goes from the north of Nice to Pasteur Hospital. It’s the best way to get around Nice for most first time visitors and interesting attractions.
These are the stops of Line 1:
Henri Sappia – Comte de Falicon – Le Ray – Gorbella -Valrose – Borriglione – Liberation – Gare Thiers – Jean Medecin – Massena – Opera Vielle Ville – Cathedrale Vielle Ville – Garibaldi – Acropolis – Palais des Expositions – Vauban – Saint Angely – Saint Roch – Virgil Barel – Saint Charles – Pont Saint Michel – Hospital Pasteur
Most first-timers will visit the areas in BOLD above. From Liberation to Acropolis.
NOTE: On the Jean Medecin stop, you can take Tram Line 2 towards the airport.
TRAM LINE 2
Line 2 goes from Port Lympia, which is the Port area of Nice all the way to the airport Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.
If you’re closer to Place Massena then walk to the Jean Medecin Station and take Line 2 to the airport from here in about 30 minutes with no changes.
Make sure that on the front of the tram it reads AIRPORT.
Otherwise, you will need to change to Line 3 at Grand Arenas to the airport. It’s not a big deal, it’s just a hassle if you have luggage.
These are the stops of tram line 2:
Port Lympia (port) -Garibaldi – Durandy – Jean Medecin – Alsace Lorraine – Centre Universitaire Med – Magnan – Lenval (hospital) – Fabron – Sainte Helene – Carras – Ferber – Cassin.Kirchner – Parc Pheonix – Grand Arenas –
At this point, the tram goes in 2 different directions. Direction1: Cadam which is an administrative center and Direction 2: Airport Terminal 1 then Terminal 2.
This is why it’s important to check the correct direction before getting on the tram. Otherwise, as stated above, just change at Grande Arenas and you’ll be a few minutes away from the airport.
TRAM LINE 3
Line 3 goes to Sainte Isidore, a part of the city that has nothing interesting for most visitors. Unless of course, you’ve come for a football game, and in this case, it’s the best way to get around in Nice and head to the stadium!
If you’re staying further out from the city, then Line 3 will also take you to the airport.
These are the stops for Line 3:
Lingostiere Centre Commercial – Pole Lingostiere -Saint Isidore – Stade – Eco Park – Les Arboras University – La Plaine – Meridia -Digue des Francais – Paul Montel – Grande Arenas – Terminal 1 – Terminal 2
Note: due to COVID you can no longer buy tickets on the bus. You need to go to a ticket office or buy a ticket at the ticket machines placed along the tram tracks. Maks are mandatory.
The bus is the best way to get around Nice when the tram doesn’t go where you want it to.
For example, if you’d like to go to the Chagall Museum, or the Matisse Museum, or visit the beautiful gardens in Cimiez, then you need to take the bus.
You can take bus No. 5 from behind the Galleries Lafayette off of Place Massena, around the corner from Tiger. This bus will take you all the way up to Cimiez (and back).
The price of a bus ticket is the same as the tram: 1.50 and you can buy a ticket from the driver. (Note: you can no longer buy a ticket on the bus due to COVID.)
Don’t forget to validate it by putting it through the machine near the door.
Taxis aren’t really the best way to get around in Nice.
The only time I do recommend you use them is when you arrive at the airport and need to get into the city (centre-ville). It’s a flat rate of 32 euros and a pretty good deal.
Of course, you could take the tram into town, but there are many reasons why you could prefer a taxi. Lots of luggage for example.
So you have choices.
If you need a taxi within the city, you just can’t hail one down in the street.
You either need to call one, or go to a taxi stand. They’re all over the city and you’ll see them all lined up just waiting.
Taxi Stands: The Meridien Hotel, The Radisson Hotel, the train station, near the Notre Dame Cathedral (on the side near the parking), as well as Jean Medecin corner with Blvd Dubouchage and hospitals.
There are others, but these are the main ones. If you’re staying in a hotel, you’re best is just to ask them to call you a taxi.
Within the city, you can Uber just about anywhere. It’s easy, simple and no money gets exchanged, so if you’re confused about the price, that’s one less hassle.
It’s already paid for if you’ve put in your credit card info and downloaded the app and he knows where you’re going.
Uber from your home country also works here, so no problem with that.
Just bear in mind that if you call an Uber late at night, he may take a while to get to you. I don’t know why that is, but it’s been my experience.
Last but not least, bicycles may be the best way to get around Nice with new bicycle lanes all over the city and a nice long one on the Promenade des Anglais.
But you must be ready to go through the process of signing up.
The Velos Bleu are blue bicycles that anyone can rent for an hour or a day, or much longer. You pick it up at one of the many Velo Bleue stations and can drop it off at another station.
However, to unlock a bicycle you must first enter your details and your credit card, then call a specific number to register. Or you could also download the app and follow the instructions.
That’s where it gets tricky because it doesn’t always work!
If you persevere then the first 1/2 hour is free, the second 1/2 hour costs 1e and each hour after that cost 2 e. If you speak french you then check out their site.
Just recently Nice made available 200 electric bicycles to make it easier on those that have to go up hills. You can rent them for the day or much longer.
However, you must bring them back to a specific station which is noted in the app.
The best way to get around Nice really depends on you.
Do you prefer to try the tram? To Uber? To take a taxi from the airport?
Personally I think the best way to get around Nice most of the time is on foot ! 🙂