The best way of getting around Nice is by foot! It's a beautiful city for walking whether strolling by the sea on the Promenade des Anglais or exploring Nice's diverse neighbourhoods.
Walkers will appreciate a new guidebook that takes you through seven neighborhoods revealing details about Nice's history and culture that even locals don't know! Nice Uncovered: Walks Through the Secret Heart of a Historic City was written by a long-term resident (me!) and includes step-by-step instructions, maps, vintage photos, true stories, fun legends and more. Buy now on Amazon or your favorite e-book store. More about Nice Uncovered.
In recent years the city of Nice has invested an enormous amount of time and money in encouraging everyone to use the public transport system. If you haven't visited Nice in years, you'll be amazed how quickly you can get around town with a bus and tram system that has been totally overhauled. The price of a tram or bus ride is €1.50 solo or €1 on a 10-voyage card.
After many years of haggling, planning and construction, Nice's first tramway, Ligne 1, running north-south opened in November 2007. A second tram line, Ligne 2, running east-west went into partial service in December 2018. It was extended to central Nice in June 2019 and reached Nice Port December 2019. A third tram line running from the Airport to St Isidore came into service at the end of 2019 as well. More details on the Nice tramways.
Nice now has an excellent bus network, hampered only by somewhat less frequent service on Sundays. Gone are the famous noctambuses, replaced by bus lines that coordinate with the tramway to provide service until late at night. Some areas of Nice are served better than others however. Central Nice is served extremely well while service to more outlying neighbourhoods can be spotty. During the day the buses are fast and frequent, using special bus lanes to bypass Nice's notorious traffic. There's even a new electric shuttle bus that runs from boulevard Gambetta to central Nice. And it's free!
To be avoided if at all possible. Taxi fares are the highest in continental France and dishonest drivers are legion. Taxis cannot be hailed on the street. Taxis are lined up at the airport, train stations and major hotels but the best way to book a taxi is through the Nice Taxis app in Google Play or the Apple App Store which at least gives more clarity to the fares. Payment is in cash to the driver. More about Nice taxis, fares, payment and alternatives.
For private transport, Uber is a far better option than a taxi. Your foreign Uber app will work fine in Nice and paying by credit card eliminates currency hassles. Uber is cheaper than a taxi and the drivers are honest. Most speak at least some English. Uber in Nice offers three options: Uber X, a standard vehicle; Berline, a luxury vehicle; Van. Demand for Ubers can often exceed supply which is why it's best to reserve in advance if possible.
Try to avoid driving around Nice if at all possible. The road network is a confusing, poorly signposted nest of one-way streets and illogical, meandering avenues. Also traffic is clogged in central Nice and parking is a nightmare.
Although car is unnecessary for getting around Nice it can be essential for day trips. Most major car rental companies have outlets in Nice either at the airport or in town. Manual transmission is more common than standard transmission. If you need the latter, be sure to reserve in advance. It's also advisable to rent the smallest car you can as it will be much easier to park.
Short-term car rental can be a good solution if you just need to take a quick trip out of town or from one end of the town to the other. The former Auto-Bleu service has been replaced by the new Renault Mobilite which offers short rentals starting at €5/hour. The car must be picked up and dropped off at the same place and to use the service you must upload a copy of your drivers license and other documents through the app. It's a fiddly process right now but hopefully it will be streamlined in the future.
With the mild climate and a long, flat shoreline, cycling in Nice is a pleasurable way to get around, not to mention great exercise. There's a bike lane along the Promenade des Anglais that stretches from the Port all the way across Nice and on to Antibes plus numerous bike lanes on interior roads. The city is committed to increasing bike lanes with more added each year.
The Nice public bike rental system is another alternative for getting around Nice. Called "velo bleu", these blue bike stands are plentiful throughout Nice but are particularly concentrated on the Promenade des Anglais. Although good in theory, there are problems, particularly for non-French speakers. Instructions that are supposed to be in in English aren't. The registration process is overly complex and too many bikes or docking stations don't work. It would be unwise to count on Velo Bleu as a mode of transport. A private bike rental is better.
Last updated April 28, 2021
©French Riviera Traveller 2008-2021 All rights reserved