Of course, Nice is home to the world famous Promenade des Anglais, the long boulevard along a pebble beach. But if you want to spend the day on a different beach, you don’t have to travel long by car or train to discover a new stretch of coast. So let’s figure out what types of vacations in Nice area might suit you
Juan-les-Pins – Distance from Nice 24 km
A seaside resort with a lively nightlife, with cocktail bars, clubs and casino. Russians and Englishmen like to find themselves here. The sandy beach is long, but not very wide. Partly restaurants have settled there, which have filled the remaining 4 m of the beach with sunbeds (price about 25 €). Watch out for the blue and white sunbeds in between: they usually belong to the Plage Public, where you can rent sunbeds for 10 € (including umbrella) – if you get there early. The perfect place in the evening: enjoy dinner on the beach with your feet in the sand.
Antibes – distance from Nice 22 km
Juan-les-Pins is located on a peninsula and on the other side – accessible via the Chemin des Sables road – is Antibes. It is dominated by the old fortress, which towers confidently above the sea. Narrow alleys, the Picasso Museum as a must-see and the Marché Provençal in the center attract visitors. In this partially covered and typically Provençal marketplace, you’ll find stalls selling fresh vegetables, fruit, cheese, meat and fish, as well as other items such as bags, clothing, belts, handicrafts and tablecloths. The fort ends where the port begins. Dinner Tip: Boulevard d’Aguillon is lined with one restaurant after another.
Beaches: At the harbor and on the outskirts of the old town there is a small, public sandy beach without sunbed rentals. In the newer part of town, adjacent to the old town, is a larger public beach where locals gather in the evening for barbecues. The most beautiful beach, however (in our eyes), is La Garoupe, located almost at the tip of the peninsula. It’s a small but nice stretch of coastline with a chic beach bar called Keller Plage. Here, pretty staff dressed in white prepare the beach in the morning and use a rake to conjure up patterns in the sand. Then they run back and forth all day serving drinks to guests on their loungers on the beach and pier.
Next to them are the beach bars La Juliette and Le Rocher, which are a bit more down to earth. Here again are the typical blue and white loungers, which – yes, you read correctly – can be had for as little as €10. Your view: a beautiful bay, quietly lapping waves and in the distance the anchoring keep-on-dreamin’-babe yachts.
Villefranche-sur-Mer – distance from Nice 7 km
Pretty old town with winding streets and houses in various Provençal colors. Our suggestion: first do some shopping in the center, then have lunch at the harbor (La Mer Germaine is supposed to be very good) and afterwards siesta on the sandy beach, which is on the other side of the harbor. You can even rent a cozy small apartment here, just take a look at Karta.
Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat – Distance from Nice 11 km
We were told that the most expensive plots of land in the world are located here: 1 square meter costs a whopping 500,000 €. For 1 million you can just spread your towel. But in return, a paradisiacal pebble beach lies at your feet: Paloma Beach. The sea is all shades of blue. A large part of the beach is owned by a chic restaurant with a large terrace and – oh la la – heavenly loungers!
Beaulieu-sur-mer – distance from Nice 8 km
Beau chic. No tourist hustle and bustle, but pleasant tranquility in a very nice residential area. There is still a market here every day, the bakery closes at lunchtime between 12 and 14 o’clock and the locals meet in the café on the square. The harbor is ideal for fine dining in the evening. In the bay is the Plage des Fourmis, but it is better to go to the smaller beach Plage de la Petite Afrique, where you will find an idyllic setting with pine and palm trees in front of a high cliff.
Eze-sur-mer – 12 km from Nice
Only half an hour by train, bus or cab – and you are already in Eze-sur-mer. At least in the low-lying area of the famous medieval village perched high on the mountain. Even the drive there is an experience, because it leads along the beautiful coast via Villefranche. By train, you arrive in Eze-sur-Mer, the seaside district. It’s an ideal place to arrive, because you can go directly to the recommendable beach restaurant Papaya Beach, which is located on a pebble beach in a magnificent bay with a view of Cap-Ferrat. We were immediately taken with this beach bar with its cozy and relaxed atmosphere. The young manager of the establishment, a nice guy, told us about his famous neighbors: the houses of Bono and The Edge of U2 are nearby. In the evening, the beach chairs are cleared away and tables are set up on the beach. So you can literally have dinner here with your feet in the water.
Car or train?
We prefer to stay independent and therefore took a rental car, which we booked online via Sunnycars from Nice Airport. Anyone who has ever flown to Nice knows that this airport is located by the sea. So you are quickly in the seaside resorts west of Nice. From there you can continue on a road trip from Nice to Toulon or Marseille via the coastal road. You will pay a bit more if you want to drop off the rental car at another location and fly from there, but what the heck: You will enjoy the ultimate Côte d’Azur experience! However, if you prefer to add some train travel to your city trip to Nice, you can also reach the mentioned seaside resorts by train. At the train station in Nice you can buy tickets to Beaulieu-sur-Mer, Villefranche, Antibes or Juan-les-Pins. You can find more information here.