Nice’s Transportation Options
There is a lot to see in the lovely city of Nice in southern France, and one of the essential things to learn if traveling there is how to get around.
Be careful on all forms of public transportation because pick-pocketing is rampant, partially because the police don’t prosecute. Be careful of men on scooters swooping by and grabbing iPhones and handbags. Here’s a lowdown on the crime in Nice.
Here are the ways to get around in Nice, France:
The Nice Airport
The Aéroport Nice-Côte d’Azur is the French Riviera‘s primary airport and the third busiest airport in France. It has global flights arriving daily, and easy access to Nice via #99 bus, taxi or Uber.
Nice by Car
All the major car rental companies like Hertz, Sixt, Avis, and Budget are at the Nice Airport. If you decide to drive, we recommend renting a small car, like a convertible Fiat 500. Top-to-down is the way to go, and smaller cars are much easier to maneuver and park. If you’re going to go on day trips to some of the French resort towns, then you’ll need a small car to get through the tiny medieval roads.
Once you’re in Nice, there are many parking lots, which you can find on Google Maps. The rates are posted, but reasonable. Parking rates in garages are less than €3 per hour, with a daily maximum of about €17. Parking is free of charge for the first hour, except in the months July and August.
BlaBlaCar is a ride-share that is very inexpensive.
You can hail an Uber from anywhere in Nice.
Nice by Bus
The city of Nice in France has a public bus transportation system. Lignes d’Azur operates the buses and trams for the public transport system in Nice.
Some lines go to nearby towns like Monaco and Cannes. Located in about 2 km from the city center is the main bus station: Gare Routiere (which is sometimes called ‘Gare Vauban’ or ‘Gare St. Jean d’Angely’).
- #12 Bus runs along the Promenade des Anglais seafront stopping at Airport (promenade in the main road in front of the airport).
- #23 Bus connects central Nice to Terminal 1 of the airport.
- #99 Bus (“Airport Express”) goes to downtown Nice and the central station coming straight from the airport.
- #98 Bus travels along the Promenade des Anglais on the seaside going to the central bus station.
- #200 Bus goes from Terminal 1 (airport) to Antibes and Cannes and leaves every half an hour
There are also open-air buses that tour around the city. There are audio commentaries and guides in different languages that include French and English. These hop-on-hop-off buses do stops on many tourist attractions.
Nice by Tram
Nice has above-ground trams that run through the city and also connect the Nice Airport to many parts of the city. It takes only 26 minutes to get from the Nice Airport to Port Lympia (at the other side of Nice) via tram, with 20 stops on the way.
- Tram line 1 connects Gare de Nice-Ville, Place Garibaldi, the bus station Gare Vauban, and the area around the Vieux Port.
- Tram line 2 connects Vieux Port to Nice’s airport, with stops in Jean Medicin district, and Place Garibaldi in the center.
The tramway main stations are as follows:
- Nice Airport (both terminals)
- Gare Thiers (train station)
- Place Massena (main city square)
- Opera Vieille Ville (Old City)
- Cathedrale-Vieille Ville (bus station)
- Cruise Port / Modern Art Museum (Place Garibaldi)
- Port Lympia
Ticket vending machines are at every stop. You need to validate tickets inside the trams before boarding.
Nice by Train
SNCF, the French National Railway, has trains that run from Nice to the cities and towns of the French Riviera and even up to nearby Italy. Their high-speed train (called TGV) runs between Paris and the main train station: Gare de Nice-Ville. SNCF’s other train, TER, also runs through different cities and towns in France including Nice and has trains every hour but arrives every 30 minutes during rush hours.
From June to September, the guided voyage on the Trains des Merveilles (€15 round-trip) runs from Nice to Tende in the Valley of the Marvels, with stops in perched villages like Peille. The train climbs nearly 3,280 feet high on the two-hour trip through the lush Mercantour National Park.
Nice by Sea
By its location on the coast, Nice is very accessible in the sea with private yachts or ferries. Leisure and luxury crafts, cruise ships, and ferries dock at Port of Nice (Port Lympia) at the east of Colline du Château.
The Maritime Shuttle goes between Nice and Cap d’Ail / Monaco, linking Port Lympia in Nice to the port of Cap-d’Ail , on the border of Monaco (Fontvieille). At peak times, there is a shuttle every half hour. It transports up to 1,200 people every hour with 34 rotations each day. Covering a distance of around 15km, on a sunny day in good conditions, the journey would only take 35 minutes. In Nice, the shuttle is connected to tramline number 2, as well as the park and ride service in Port Lympia. Shuttle tickets will be included in the transport pass available in the city. It will be operational from August 2021 onward.
If you’re planning on going to other destinations, be sure to read the guide to transportation for that town/city (click on the town in our navigation menu and you’ll see the guide listed). Enjoy your trip to Nice!