With 330 days of sunshine per year, there are a plethora of day trips to be had on the Riviera. Here is our top pick of magnificent places to see all year round.
1. Watch the sunset from the Colline du Château in Nice
Nice’s Colline du Château is the site on which a historic citadel used to dominate but was sadly destroyed by King Louis XIV in 1706. The park at the top of the hill boasts magnificent views of the entire town and the mesmerising Mediterranean Sea. Our top spot is the Tour Bellanda (signposted from the Old Town stairway) to witness the warm sun setting over the Promenade des Anglais.
Practical information: access on foot from the Old Town, rue des Ponchettes; or from Place Garibaldi. Lift access available from rue des Ponchettes, 06300 Nice. Opening hours: 8.30 am - 6 pm from 01/10 to 31/03 and 8.30 am - 8 pm from 01/04 to 30/09
2. Appreciate the stunning vistas from the Jardin Exotique in Èze Village
Situated at the peak of the charming, medieval village of Èze; the exotic gardens are an incredible viewpoint from which to admire the panoramic views of the coast. At an altitude of 429 metres above sea level, the site offers some of the best views on the Côte d’Azur. The gardens host a multitude of tropical plants from all around the world.
Practical information: Rue du Château, 06360 Eze. 7 days a week: November to March 8 am - 4.30 pm; April to June 9 am - 6.30 pm; July to September 9 am - 7.30 pm; October 9 am - 5.30 pm. Entry 6€ for an adult ticket, children under 12 get free entry.
3. Rendez-vous with the world’s elite in Monaco’s Casino Square
Monaco is a location like no other, where elegance and class line the pristine streets. The Casino Square is the place to see and the place to be seen; home to the 19th-century Casino de Monte-Carlo and the world-famous Café de Paris. Sip a drink on the terrace of the Café de Paris to admire the sports cars and the rich and famous walking by, or put on your best poker face in the Casino.
Practical information: Place du Casino, 98000 Monaco. The Casino is open every day from 2 pm. The Café de Paris is open daily from 8 am - 2 am.
4. Admire the natural beauty of the Îles de Lérins
The Îles de Lérins are a group of magnificent protected islands situated just off the coast of Cannes. The largest of the four, Île Sainte-Marguerite, is dominated by a royal fort and surrounded by beautiful beaches. The smaller Île Saint-Honorat has been inhabited uniquely by Cistercian monks since 410AD. The islands can be visited by boat all year round, just a 15-minute trip from Cannes. The waters off the islands’ coasts are an incredible turquoise colour and a paradise of marine life, perfect for a summer swim or a diving trip.
Practical information: Boat tickets can be purchased all year round either online or from boat companies in Cannes.
5. Explore your artistic side at the Picasso Museum in Antibes
Antibes’ Picasso Museum is a must-see for all art lovers. Idyllically situated on the seafront in a former château, the museum is where the 20th-century artist worked himself during his stay in the region. The museum boasts a stunning collection of many of his sketches, paintings, and sculptures and also features works by other modern artists. The museum’s terrace has a wonderful view and intriguing sculptures on display.
Practical information: Place Mariejol, 06600 Antibes. Open most days (excluding some bank holidays). September 16th to June 14th: 10 am - 1 pm then 2 pm - 6 pm; June 15th - September 15th: 10 am - 6 pm. Adult ticket 6€; students, seniors, large families, and teachers 3€ with necessary justification.
6. Take a coastal stroll around Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
The peninsula of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is a breathtaking natural paradise. It is classed among the world’s most desirable places to live. There are several routes possible to discover this spectacular ‘presque-île’ and experience the beauty of its abundant greenery, interesting wildlife, and crystal-clear waters. Our favourite is the 7km coastal path which winds all around the peninsula; offering awe-inspiring views, picnic spots, beautiful beaches, and a glimpse at some of the area’s most luxurious villas. Some walkers have even been lucky enough to spot dolphins swimming off the coast!
Practical information: Walks range from 30 minutes to 2 hours long. Parking can be found in St-Jean itself or in neighbouring Villefranche-sur-Mer and Beaulieu-sur-Mer.
7. Delve into the history of the coast at the Citadel of St Tropez
This 17th-century historical monument is an impressive architectural feat and a snapshot into the past. A pleasant walk up to the citadel is the ideal way to see the charming town; whose streets have been walked by many a star including Brigitte Bardot, Kate Mosse, and Giorgio Armani. The Modern Maritime Museum, situated within the citadel, provides an informative look at the history which shaped the town.
Practical information: Montée de la Citadelle, 83990 Saint-Tropez. 7 days a week; October to March 10 am - 5.30 pm, April to September 10 am - 6.30 pm. Entry 3€, free for children under 12.
8. Walk in the footsteps of the stars on the Boulevard de la Croisette in Cannes
This luxurious street lining the Mediterranean has been made famous by the world-renowned Cannes Film Festival whose red carpets roll out onto the Boulevard de la Croisette. This is the best place to see Cannes in all its glamorous glory, with three kilometres of sandy private beaches on one side; five-star hotels, casinos, and the world’s biggest luxury brands on the other.
Practical information: Boulevard de la Croisette, 06400 CANNES. Cannes is easily accessible via the motorway and public transport.
9. Discover the quaint art galleries of Saint-Paul-de-Vence
Quaint and quirky Saint-Paul-de-Vence is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful villages in Provence. The medieval village is built on ramparts at 180 metres above sea level and attracts art lovers from around the world. The village is home to a plethora of art galleries featuring artists and styles from many eras and places around the world.
Practical information: Easily accessible via the motorway and some public transport. Parking is available on the outskirts of the village.
10. Visit the perfume capital of the world, Grasse
Grasse is a lovely town nestled in the hills above the coastline. The Provençal landscapes which surround the town inspire the many fragrances produced in the town since the 18th century. There is no shortage of ways to discover this fascinating trade; the International Museum of Perfume is well worth a visit and the leading perfumeries offer guided tours and even masterclasses where you can create your own unique fragrance.
Practical information: International Perfume Museum 2 Boulevard du Jeu de Ballon, 06130 Grasse; Parfumerie Fragonard 20, bd Fragonard, 06130 Grasse; Galimard Perfumes 73 Route de Cannes, 06130 Grasse; Bastide des Arômes ZA de Festre Sud - 580 allée des Parfums, 06780 Saint-Cézaire-sur-Siagne; Molinard Perfumes 60 Boulevard Victor Hugo, 06130 Grasse.