You’ve made a big travel decision and decided to visit the South of France on your next vacation. But you don’t know where to go or how much time you’ll need to visit the many villages. That’s where our new 5 day Côte d’Azur itinerary can help. We’ve included some of the most popular destinations to help you prepare for your holiday.
As the 2nd busiest airport in France, after Paris, it’s likely you will fly into Nice. We suggest making the city your home base during the trip. While you could rent a car during your stay, our itinerary makes use of public transportation, as it’s easy to explore by train and bus.
Where is the Côte d’Azur?
The Côte d’Azur is a region on the Mediterranean coast in southeastern France. It extends from the Italian border to Saint Tropez and generally includes the country of Monaco.
How to Get to the Côte d’Azur:
The Côte d’Azur is easily accessed by plane, train, boat or car.
- By Plane – The Nice Côte d’Azur International Airport has direct flights from over 100 other airports.
- By Car – The motorway is well linked throughout Europe making driving to and from the Riviera a breeze.
- By Train – Express and high speed trains link the French Riviera with major cities within France and Europe. Information can be found on the SNCF website.
- By Boat – Cruise into the port of Villefranche, Cannes or Monaco. Ferries also link Corsica and many ports are available for private yachts to dock.
Côte d’Azur Itinerary:
Day #1: Spend the day exploring Nice after checking into your accommodation. Visit the Old Town (Vieille Ville), Promenade des Anglais, Castle Hill and Place Masséna.
Read more on discovering Nice in one day.
Day #2: Take the train or bus along the coast to Villefranche-sur-Mer, then continue to Monaco after lunch. Alternatively, swap Menton for Villefrance.
In Villefranche, walk along the sea, explore the Old Town and the Citadel before enjoying a relaxing lunch. Then continue onto Monaco to see the famous hotels and casinos in Casino Square, admire the yachts in the Monte Carlo Harbor, and explore Vieux Monaco or Monaco-Ville including the Prince’s Palace and Monaco Aquarium.
Nice to Villefranche via bus = 15 minutes
Nice to Villefrance via train = 6 minutes
Villefranche to Monaco via bus = 45 minutes
Villefranche to Monaco via train = 15 minutes
Read more on what to see in Menton
Read more on what to see in Villefranche
Day #3: Take the bus and visit the fortified village of Saint Paul de Vence. Touring the village and wandering the art galleries should only take a couple of hours, so consider visiting Vence as well. Stroll through the Old Town of Vence and consider enjoying lunch during your visit. You’ll find a bit more variety and budget friendly places to eat here versus Saint Paul.
Ride the bus back to Nice and enjoy a relaxing evening.
Nice to Saint Paul de Vence via bus = 1 hour
Read more on what to see in Saint Paul de Vence
Day #4: Take the train to Antibes, then onto Cannes. This will be a full day, exploring the charming Old Town of Antibes and the glamour of Cannes.
Antibes is known for it’s quaint old Town, beautiful beaches and Musée Picasso. If you fancy a little exercise, there is a great 5km (3mi) coastal walk around Cap d’Antibes. This will take a good portion of your day, however, so plan accordingly.
In addition to taking photos on the Red Carpet and hunting for film murals in Cannes, there is a lovely sand beach and an interesting museum, the Musee de la Castre, with fantastic views from the tower.
Nice to Antibes via train = 20 minutes
Nice to Antibes via bus = 1 hour
Antibes to Cannes via bus = 35 minutes
Antibes to Cannes via train = 10 minutes
Option – The train also goes from Cannes to Grasse. Depending on your preferences, you could visit Grasse as well. We suggest either eliminating Cannes or Antibes from an itinerary that includes Grasse, as time could become an issue.
Cannes to Grasse via train = 50 minutes
Day #5: Take the bus to the hilltop village of Eze for a half-day of exploring. Spend time wandering around the narrow streets of the village and don’t miss the Jardin d’Eze.
Ride the bus back to Nice or hike down the Nietzsche Path to the sea and walk along the beach before taking the train or bus back to Nice from Eze-sur-Mer.
Nice to Eze Village via bus = 30 minutes
Eze-sur-Mer to Nice via bus = 30 minutes
Eze-sur-Mer to Nice via train = 13 minutes
Read more on what to see in Eze
The 5 day itinerary focuses on some of our favorite (and the most popular) destinations along the Côte d’Azur. We’ve left plenty of time to explore each destination while avoiding packing too much into one day. The exception is day #4 which could be split into multiple days if your schedule allows, perhaps taking in Cannes, Antibes and Grasse. Take advantage of the vast, affordable public transport to explore some of the best destinations on the Côte d’Azur!
*Travel time approximate.
What other ideas can you add to our Côte d’Azur itinerary? Leave a comment and let us know.
JUST A FEW QUESTIONS….
LOVING YOUR blog btw….xx
Can I ask about your thoughts on a visit to Saint Jean Cap Ferrat? and if so how would you include this onto the itinerary?
Also dining at Le plongeoir with a toddler? Noway?! worth while or overrated?
is le cafe du Jardin in Eze safe todo with a toddler? at ChateU DE LA CHEVRE.
Dana Zeliff says
St Jean Cap Ferrat is a great place to visit. We usually just take a nice walk around the coast. There are a few trails that take anywhere from 30 min – 2 hours. My personal preference is the longer walk, but it depends on your time. I’d add it in if visiting Villefranche or add to day 5 when visiting Eze.
Hmmm, Le plongeoir with a toddler 🙂 It’s literally over the water, so is your toddler going to sit for at a minimum of an hour though dining is usually much longer in France? While the food is good, the portions are small and not exactly toddler friendly. Personally, I’d just walk by as you wander around the coast.
The Jardin in Eze is gorgeous, but there are steep steps (with railings along all walkways) and cactus fairly close to the walkways. This will depend on your toddler. It’s not stroller friendly, but if your little one is good at not trying to touch everything (my niece’s current stage) you should be fine. Your child will probably enjoy looking at the water and see the various vibrant colors of the plants. There is a pic of the map here: https://www.thetalkingsuitcase.com/eze-france-travel-ideas/#jp-carousel-1028
Ellen Rome says
If you ha 11 days in and out of nice, how would you divide up your time? 3d in Antibes? Airbnb in Cannes or Jan les Pins? Get to St Tropez or not? Ideas welcome!
Dana Zeliff says
Personally, I would base most of my time out of Nice and take day trips to Juan-les-Pins, Antibes and Cannes. However, you can choose any of those villages as a base. St Tropez is pretty but you’re adding another beach town. With 11 days, you may want to consider adding in somewhere like Avignon or heading into Italy. It depends on your interests
Kelsey Nagel says
Gorgeous! At first I thought of Greece, but the areas are pretty similar, interesting how style blends together among neighboring countries. Would love to visit one day, looks like an amazing trip!
Very informative. I expected to see a tour of the Rothschild villa in St Jean Cap ferrat though.
Dana Zeliff says
A visit to Rothschild would be a great addition. There are so many things to do and see