Welcome to our guide to Nice on a backpacker budget!
Nice is an absolute gem within the French Riviera. We absolutely loved our time here and already can’t wait for the next time we’ll get to visit. Nice is well known for being a fancier tourist destination. The French Riviera in general is known to be slightly more on the expensive end when it comes to European travel destinations. With that in mind, we were preparing to have to increase our daily budget to accommodate the higher cost of living. To our surprise, we were able to enjoy Nice while spending just as much, if not less, than in all the other cities we visited. This is why we are sharing our top tips to getting the most out of your time in Nice without breaking the bank.
The first piece of advice we have is about how to get to the center of Nice from the airport. We opted to take the tramway, which is much cheaper than a taxi and, incredibly comfortable and quick. It only took 20 minutes to get us from the airport to our accommodation, which was located near the beginning of the Promenade des Anglais. Take the tramway line 2 towards Nice-Ville.
The second tip we have, is to book through Airbnb. When we looked at all our options, Airbnb was by far the cheapest. Even 2 bunks in a dorm would have cost us more than the private room we rented. The second perk of renting an Airbnb is that you can pick one that gives you full access to the kitchen. The aspect of Nice that we found the most expensive was the restaurant and bar scene. There were no budget restaurants near where we were staying. Luckily, there were plenty of markets and grocery stores that were very reasonably priced! If you have access to a kitchen and can cook at least one or two of your meals every day instead of always eating out, it will make a massive difference in your budget. The grocery stores even had premade couscous salads for 3.50 euros that we were able to bring to the beach with us for lunch.
Our favorite way to occupy an afternoon without spending any money is the beach. The beach in Nice is beautiful once you get over the fact that pebbles are slightly less comfortable to lie on than sand. The water is warm, clear, and typically pretty calm. Instead of having an afternoon drink on a terrace, which would have cost us at least 5-9 euros for a beer and 10-15 euros for a cocktail, we would walk 2 minutes to the nearest grocery store and buy a 80 cent pint of French beer and enjoy it by the beach.
When the time comes that you want to treat yourself to a nice dinner out, use “the fork” app! We wrote an entire article on this life-changing app for eating out in Europe. You can read our article on “the fork” here. It will allow you to save up to 50% of the price of your meal at many restaurants.
For the rest of your time in this beautiful city, here are 3 areas we really enjoyed walking through and taking some pictures.
The city’s stunning old town will charm you with its narrow cobblestone streets and pastel buildings. There are also plenty of stores and market to occupy your time. It is a lovely area to pick a restaurant for dinner.
It is considered the main square of the city and it is lovely. It is often used for public events, concerts and even festivals. There is always a great atmosphere and you are guaranteed to find some street entertainment.
Castle hill viewpoint
The walk to this viewpoint is an experience on its own. To get to the top, you have to walk the entire promenade des Anglais. It is a beautiful boardwalk lined with beach bars and restaurants. We also enjoyed a few morning jogs on this promenade.
To add a little note at the end of this post, Nice is also a great place to do a cheap daytrip to the famous country of Monaco! We took a train in the afternoon and were in Monaco in less than an hour. We definitely recommend taking half a day to visit Monaco and walk through streets lined with the most expensive stores you can think off and, a marina full of the most extravagant boats you’ll probably ever see!
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Lots of Love,
Ben and Bianca