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Four Free Things To Do In Nice, France


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Mimi Knapp



Nice, the picturesque city located on the French Riviera, is a popular destination for travelers seeking sun, sand, and the vibrant Mediterranean atmosphere. While there are plenty of attractions in Nice that require a fee, there are also several fantastic free activities that allow you to experience the charm and beauty of the city without emptying your wallet. From leisurely strolls along the famous promenade to exploring historic neighborhoods, Nice offers a range of free attractions that cater to every traveler’s interests.


Whether you’re a budget-conscious traveler or simply looking to add some variety to your itinerary, these free activities in Nice will enhance your experience and give you a taste of the city’s rich culture and history. From stunning vistas to bustling markets, Nice has something for everyone. So, grab your sunhat, put on your walking shoes, and get ready to explore the best free things to do in Nice, France.


By taking advantage of these free attractions, you’ll not only have a memorable experience but also save some valuable euros along the way. So, let’s dive into the top free things to do in Nice and discover the hidden gems that this vibrant city has to offer.


Promenade des Anglais

No visit to Nice would be complete without a leisurely stroll along the iconic Promenade des Anglais. Stretching for about 7 kilometers along the city’s coastline, this beautiful promenade offers stunning views of the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea.


Named after the British tourists who first constructed it in the 19th century, the Promenade des Anglais is a vibrant hub where locals and tourists alike come together to relax, exercise, and soak up the sun. The wide walkway is dotted with palm trees, benches, and even bicycle lanes, making it the perfect place for a refreshing walk or bike ride.


One of the highlights of the promenade is the pebble beach that runs alongside it. You can kick off your shoes and feel the warm embrace of the Mediterranean as you dip your toes into the crystal-clear water. It’s a great spot to unwind, sunbathe, and enjoy a picnic with friends or family.


As you stroll along the promenade, you’ll also notice a variety of iconic landmarks. Keep an eye out for the stunning Negresco Hotel, a luxurious Belle Époque-style building that has been a symbol of the city since its opening in 1913. Another notable sight is the Albert I Garden, a tranquil green space located near the heart of the promenade.


Whether you choose to walk, jog, cycle, or simply people-watch, the Promenade des Anglais offers a captivating blend of natural beauty and vibrant city life. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the breathtaking sunsets, which are particularly spectacular from this vantage point.


Best of all, the Promenade des Anglais is completely free to enjoy. So, take your time, soak in the serene ambiance, and revel in the beauty that makes Nice one of the most captivating cities on the French Riviera.


Old Town (Vieux Nice)

Step back in time and immerse yourself in the charming streets of Old Town, known as Vieux Nice. This historic neighborhood is a treasure trove of narrow winding streets, colorful buildings, and bustling markets that offer a glimpse into the past.


As you venture into Old Town, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a labyrinth of picturesque alleyways filled with artisan shops, small boutiques, and traditional cafes. The vibrant atmosphere is enhanced by the scent of freshly baked goods and the sound of locals conversing in the local dialect.


One of the highlights of Old Town is the lively Cours Saleya, a vibrant open-air market that is an assault on the senses. Here, you can wander through stalls bursting with regional produce, flowers, and local delicacies. The market is particularly famous for its vibrant flower market, offering a rainbow of colors and fragrances.


As you explore the streets of Old Town, don’t miss out on visiting the Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate. This stunning Baroque-style cathedral dates back to the 17th century and is dedicated to Nice’s patron saint. Step inside to admire the beautifully ornate interiors and soak in the peaceful atmosphere.


Old Town is also home to several historical landmarks, including the Palais Lascaris, a former noble residence that now houses a fascinating museum of Baroque art and musical instruments. Take a tour and uncover the rich history of the building while admiring its intricate architecture.


Whether you’re seeking a unique shopping experience, delicious local cuisine, or simply want to soak in the charm of the past, Old Town is a must-visit destination in Nice. Exploring the neighborhood is completely free, but be prepared to get lost in its enchanting streets, as every twist and turn reveals a new hidden gem.


Take your time to meander through the lively alleyways, stop for a coffee at a sidewalk café, and immerse yourself in the vibrant ambiance that makes Old Town a true gem of Nice.


Castle Hill (Colline du Château)

Rising above the city, Castle Hill, or Colline du Château, offers panoramic views of Nice and its picturesque coastline. While the castle itself no longer stands, the hill remains a popular destination for both locals and tourists seeking breathtaking vistas and a tranquil escape from the bustling city.


Located just a short walk from the Old Town, reaching the top of Castle Hill can be done by either climbing up the stairs or taking the free elevator. Whichever option you choose, the reward at the summit is well worth the effort.


Once you reach the top, you’ll be greeted with unparalleled views of the city, the vibrant blue waters of the Mediterranean, and the sprawling Promenade des Anglais. Spend some time to take in the breathtaking scenery, snap some photos, and appreciate the beauty of Nice from this elevated vantage point.


In addition to the stunning views, Castle Hill is also home to lush gardens, shaded pathways, and historic ruins. Explore the green spaces, relax in the shade of the trees, or discover the remnants of the ancient castle walls that still stand as a testament to the area’s rich history.


If you’re up for a leisurely hike, you can also choose to descend Castle Hill via the winding pathways that lead to the Port Lympia marina. This scenic route offers a different perspective of Nice as you make your way down to sea level.


Whether you’re a nature lover, history enthusiast, or simply seeking breathtaking views, Castle Hill is a must-visit destination in Nice. The best part? It’s completely free to explore, allowing you to soak in the beauty of the city without spending a dime.


So, pack your camera, bring some water, and prepare to be enchanted by the panoramic vistas that await you at the top of Castle Hill.


Cours Saleya Market

Immerse yourself in the vibrant sights, sounds, and flavors of Nice at the bustling Cours Saleya Market. Located in the heart of the Old Town, this lively open-air market is a feast for the senses.


The market is divided into different sections, each offering its own unique experience. The most famous section is the colorful flower market, where a kaleidoscope of blooms creates a vibrant and fragrant display. The flower market is a delight to explore, whether you’re a gardening enthusiast or simply appreciate the beauty of fresh flowers.


Adjacent to the flower market, you’ll find an array of stalls offering a wide variety of local produce. From seasonal fruits and vegetables to aromatic herbs, cheeses, and spices, the market is a paradise for food lovers. It’s the perfect place to sample the flavors of the region and pick up some ingredients for a picnic or a homemade meal.


In addition to fresh produce, the market also features stalls selling local specialties such as olive oil, honey, cured meats, and handmade chocolates. As you wander through the market, take the opportunity to engage with the vendors, learn about their products, and perhaps even taste some samples.


While the market is open every day except Mondays, it truly comes alive on Tuesdays and Saturdays when a flea market is added to the mix. This is a great opportunity to find unique antiques, vintage items, and quirky souvenirs to take home with you.


Aside from the variety of goods available, Cours Saleya Market is also a hub of activity and a great place for people-watching. As locals and tourists alike flock to the market, the atmosphere is filled with energy and excitement.


Even if you don’t plan on making any purchases, a visit to Cours Saleya Market is still highly recommended. Simply strolling through the colorful stalls, breathing in the aromas, and soaking in the vibrant ambiance is a sensory experience in itself.


So, make sure to allocate some time in your itinerary to explore this lively market, where you can discover the flavors, scents, and spirit of Nice, all free of charge.



Nice, France, offers a wealth of incredible experiences for travelers, and the best part is that you don’t need to break the bank to enjoy them. From the iconic Promenade des Anglais to the charming streets of Old Town, and from the panoramic views of Castle Hill to the lively Cours Saleya Market, Nice offers a range of free activities that allow you to immerse yourself in the city’s beauty, history, and culture without spending a dime.


Whether you’re strolling along the promenade, exploring the narrow alleyways of Old Town, admiring the vistas from Castle Hill, or getting lost in the vibrant atmosphere of Cours Saleya Market, each experience offers a unique glimpse into the essence of Nice.


By embracing these free activities, you not only have the opportunity to save money but also to connect with the local culture, interact with the residents, and create lasting memories of your time in this captivating city.


So, the next time you find yourself in Nice, make sure to take advantage of these free attractions and discover the hidden gems that await you. Whether you’re a nature lover, history enthusiast, foodie, or simply seeking moments of serenity and beauty, the free things to do in Nice will leave you with a deeper appreciation for this enchanting city on the French Riviera.