With trains, buses and roads running everywhere, Nice makes a great base from which to explore the French Riviera. Nearly every place on the Cote d'Azur can be a day trip from Nice, even distant Saint-Tropez. To narrow it down, I'll concentrate on places that are easily doable via public transport. In order of importance, here are the best day trips from Nice:
See the Prince's Palace in old Monaco and glamourous Monte Carlo. Trains are about every 1/2 hour and take about 20 minutes. Try to avoid rush hours. Buses are cheaper but less frequent.
The yearly Film Festival is legendary but Cannes' elegant La Croisette beachside stroll makes it worth a visit any time of year. The train only takes 1/2 hour; the bus is much longer.
This coastal resort town sports a wonderful stretch of beach and a delightful medieval town center.
Even without the Picasso Museum, this historic town would be worth a visit for the central Provencal Market and leafy Cap d'Antibes. There are plenty of trains from Nice and regular buses.
St Paul de Vence
Regular buses from Nice make St Paul the easiest of the hilltop villages to visit even though it is certainly the most touristy. The sweeping views from the walls and the first-rate art museum, Galerie Maeght make all the souvenir sellers worth withstanding.
This hilltop village makes a striking exclamation point on the Moyenne Corniche. The village is pleasant to wander but it's really the incredibly scenic bus journey high over the coast that makes it a worthwhile excursion.
One of the Riviera's most legendary spots offers a spectacular coast and a town with fisherman cottages transformed into elegant boutiques. Read about the best way to get there.
For a complete change, why not head over to Italy? It's right nearby and the shopping is great.
Recommended Riviera Tours