If somebody asked me what is my favorite country in southern Europe, I wouldn’t be certain how to answer. Somehow, I love them all! Each country is different and has its own charm. Spain has a lot of character, Italy is romantic, and France is all about tasty food. I have visited all of them on separate occasions, but would love to take a combined trip someday.
The Bordeaux Region and the city of Bordeaux have earned the reputation for being one of the most beautiful destinations in France.
Known for its world-class wine, charming vineyards, dreamy villages and the city that has gone through a major transformation, Bordeaux stands proudly alongside Napa and Champagne regions.
First day in Nice was really wonderful. However, we decided to explore the area a bit more. This is also partly because we are not much of beach lovers, and Nice itself is mainly a beach holiday destination. Anyway, for the next few days our goal was to visit famous Eze Village with it’s cobblestone streets and lovely galleries, shops and cafes and famous Monaco with it’s luxury properties, supercars and yachts. Here is our guide to A Day Trip to Eze and Monaco from Nice by bus.
A Day Trip to Eze and Monaco from Nice by bus – Eze Village and Nitsche path
To reach the famous village, there are several possibilities. There are organized tours, which are a bit costly. Another option is to take a train, but that would mean either climbing the Nitsches path (4km uphill) or taking a local bus. We went for the third option – taking a bus directly to the village. The bus in question is number 82 and it is leaving from the bus stop Boyer located near Garibaldi square (which can be reached by tram). Here is it on the map:
In fact, we were not alone on this trip. Most passengers were heading to the village, as it is famous for it’s cute tiny streets filled with galleries. The place feels like it barely changed in the last couple of centuries. It still has the unique atmosphere of tiny, isolated world and exists on it’s own. You forget about the time and everything else.
Strolling through the village, depending on your shopping needs, will take between one to four hours. So what to do afterwards? If you are adventurous and enjoy long walks and hikes, Nitsche path is not to miss! Caution: not a great idea if you have problem with your knees, as it involves a lot of steep stairs! Otherwise amazing hike down the hill with great picture opportunities. make sure to bring some water and snacks. The hike will take, depending on you speed, from 1 to 2 hours. The sun is quite hot towards the end, so make sure to wear some sunscreen and a hat.
You will meet some fellow travelers on their way up – true heroes to my opinion!
Once all the way down, you can either take a bus or a train back to Nice. Please note that bus number 100 (from Monaco) will only take you to the port area. You will need to walk up the Rue Cassini to reach Garibaldi in order to have access to the tram.
Monaco from Nice
Visiting Monaco from Nice is really simple. There is a direct bus as well as train connection. Bus is cheaper – only 1,50€. Make sure to avoid peak hours, as that’s when a lot of local workers will be coming back to Nice after work. The bus can take you as far as Monte Carlo, which is where the king’s palace is located. It’s possible to walk through the whole Monaco – it’s really tiny. However, there is a local bus line and some people are riding their Bentley’s and Ferrari’s.
Once up the hill, make sure to check out the famous curve known from the Monaco Grand Prix Formula 1 – right in front of the Fairmont hotel. You can recognize the race track by the white and red stripes on the sides of the road.
If you are coin collector or considering to be one someday – I recommend checking out coin store for the Monaco coins. They are quite rare and are potentially a good investment. However, you might get lucky and get some local coins as a change.
Some things that I notices different about Monaco, compared to France:
– People are generally better dressed and seem to have more money
– There are many apartment blocks versus villas and private houses
– Less people on the streets (mostly tourists)
On the way back
Now here is a bit of a warning – if you get easily dizzy and seasick, please avoid the bus. The road from Monaco to Nice is a bit like a rollercoaster, and you might get sick from constant jumps (road blocks to slow down traffic). If you know this is not for you, better take the train. It’s also faster and not too expensive (3,90€). We made the mistake of taking the bus and ended up walking for an hour from Villefrancge on the motorway the remaining 6 km, since it was impossible to continue riding that bus. The view was amazing by the way, so it was a nice walk.
Read next – Paris attractions for first time visitors
You might also enjoy this amazing 10 Cheap (and free) Things to do in Nice by Andi on Adventure
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Our trip to Nice France couldn’t have started any better. After spending a night in Helsinki Airport, waiting long hours and having a sort of picnic on the airport bench, we were finally allowed to board the plane. So far so good, only three more hours and we’ll arrive in summer. Our airplane, however, had different plans. Soon after taking off, I realized we are not really moving anywhere, but rather circling around.
My doubts found confirmation when the captain spoke – “Sorry folks, our plane has warning sign on and we are contacting our maintenance department to check it out.” Oh well, how great could that be?
Long story short, it took 2 hours to “check it out” and land again in Helsinki for an actual technician to fix the bug. Apparently it was some sort of false alarm. We even made it to the Finnish News! 30 minutes later we took off again and three hours later landed successfully in Nice France. Bonjour France!
Arriving in Nice France
Out of the airport building, it struck us immediately with a 25 degree heat. Instead of heading for an airport shuttle (bus number 99, costing 6€) we made our way to a local bus stop right across the street for a bus number 23 (ticket 1,50€). This was the best bus to take if heading to the train station. It takes a bit longer, but is perfectly fine and air conditioned. During the ride we got a glance at promenade des Anglais, as the bus passed it for a little while before turning into the city.
We booked our hotel – Best Western Riviera – through expedia.com and found it fairly easily, as it is located on the same street with the train station. It was too early to check in, so we left our luggage and headed to the city center for a lunch. Eventually we found a busy street full of cafes and restaurants. As our first meal in Nice, we decided to try Italian pasta carbonara. It was really good!
Things to do in Nice France for first time visitors – The beach
After lunch we headed straight to the beach – couldn’t wait any longer to see the famous French Riviera and the famous blue water! This is how the beach in Nice France looks like. Just lovely! Although it might look easy, it’s actually quite hard to walk on those little stones – they are quite sharp! So I recommend swimming (snorkeling) shoes.
Center of Nice – to my opinion it’s Place Massena – is a starting point. Whether you are looking for some shopping on the main street, narrow streets of the old town or the promenade nightlife, this is a place you can start exploring from. The square is easy to recognize by the patterned floor. The trams also stop here, so it’s easy to reach the square.
Now you can decide whether you’d like to take a walk up the busy shopping street (you can find cheap magnets in a 2€ store), some cool shops and huge groceries store called Monoprix. Alternatively, you can relax on the square and watch the kids play at the fountains. The view over the mountains is stunning!
Another option is to head to the old town for some souvenirs and restaurants. I highly recommend trying out mussels with fries if you like seafood. They are served with different sauce and are super delicious! The price is between 10€ and 20€, sometimes there are lunch deals and you might get 3 course meal for the same price. Make sure to ask for tap water, unless you want to pay 4-5€ for one bottle. Glass of wine might be cheaper too.
Day slowly turned into night as we discovered ourselves on the promenade again, taking a lazy walk, then finding a nice spot on the beach and enjoying the breeze and salty night air. It’s quite romantic just to sit there and enjoy a bottle of wine, looking over the airport with planes landing and taking off every few minutes. A perfect way to end the day!
Read next – Eze Village and Monaco trips from Nice
Frequent travelers may hear this question a lot – What was the least safe country you have been to? Especially those who travel alone. What makes a country dangerous for a tourist? Surely some countries are portrayed as least safe countries, even violent against foreign visitors. In most cases they are not safe for their citizens either. As Tom Perko mentioned at his TED talk, the people are mostly friendly everywhere, but it’s the media that creates these images. Also there are rumors, that neighboring countries create about each other which in fact are not true at all. There are, however, real stories, when people end up in unpleasant situations and feel threatened.
Here is my own story:
For me, the least safe situation happened in Israel. And not just because of all the shotguns they were wearing around – that part was actually a bit comforting. The real reason was the constant thought of missiles flying around that could hit you any time. I know it doesn’t happen a lot, but the danger is always there. One funny moment – we were taking a bus back from Jerusalem to Eilat (southernmost point) and it was getting dark. I was sheepish, but i could swear i saw a tank by the road.. Maybe it was just my imagination though. On the way back, at the airport, I was questioned for about 30 minutes, all my bags were checked and they even wanted to inspect my camera for the pictures. One woman from our group had her passport stolen, so she didn’t have a proper document, just a paper from police. I heard she was questioned for 3 hours, including all kind of inspections (no comments). Even though Israel (and Eilat in particular) are wonderful destinations, their security level is crazy and a bit too much for an average traveler!
Brazil is considered one of the dangerous ones, especially the not-so-touristy parts of the cities. Due to high poverty and low living standards, the crime is a serious problem there. As a common advice, it is recommended not to go alone walking in the dark, wearing expensive clothes or having jewelry/electronics and money with you. Speaking in foreign language may also attract unnecessary attention.
Paris (France) has high crime rates, especially the areas away from tourist zones. You can, however, get robbed pretty much anywhere – even in a restaurant. Police seems to be unable to help a lot of times, not to mention they have hard time understanding English. Many people have an image of Paris being a “love capital of the World”, but the real picture is somewhat different. While it is a stunning, beautiful city in itself, the reality of street life may change your mind for worse.
During my latest travels in the USA, there was a scary moment, when me and a friend were walking on a dark street at night and a car stopped right next to us. Having heard so many horror stories, I really felt uneasy and tried to quicken our pace. Luckily they were only asking for a lighter. I have heard, however, enough stories with gun being pointed at people for no reason, road rages and danger of walking in unsafe neighborhood. What a shame for a country as powerful and wealthy as US to have such crime problems.
Surprisingly, Germany is climbing the ladder of unsafe destinations, particularly after recent events of mass rape in Cologne. I have spent 3 years in Germany during my studies and never have I felt threatened or unsafe. I have moved around Berlin by bike at 2 am and no problem what so ever. So the reason might be increasing immigration of young, poorly educated males who do not understand western life and standards.
Obviously there are more countries, some of which are at the state of (civil) war. Going to places like that involves a risk, no matter where you go. The map shows the most dangerous countries of the world (Relevant for 2016):
Although most large cities are generally safe, there are some tips to make it even more stress free.
- Travel light. Try to use just hand luggage – it will save you money on ticket (most airlines allow to take carry on for free). Bringing less personal items with you minimizes the risk of being spotted as a target. It is also more convenient to move around with a smaller bag – taking a bus, metro or even taxi.
- Avoid a lot of cash. Most big cities in developed countries are happy to accept credit card as a method of payment. Having too much cash attracts attention and your wallet may (depending on the currency) increase in size a lot. Try bringing just enough to get by. If necessary, you can always get some more from the ATM.
- Store you documents well. If possible, make some copies or take a picture of your passport with your smartphone. It is also a good idea to label your luggage with your name and address and use luggage locks.
- Download offline maps to navigate in case you get lost. One of the good ones is NavMii – it’s free and allows you to download the map of the area/city and even store addresses. Saving the address of the hotel may save you a lot of trouble.
- Beware of strangers, especially if traveling alone. Do not discuss your travel planes, invite them over to hotel room and don’t go with them if invited somewhere. When going out, avoid excessive drinking. Always be in control!
- Be careful with publishing your travel plans on Facebook, as some robberies are taking place when hosts are away.
- Do your homework – research about your destination. Make plans, where it is OK to go. Stay away from the not-so-great areas. Avoid walking alone at nights. If lost, pretend you know where you are going and stay on busy streets with traffic.
- Investing in travel insurance may be worth it, especially if you are traveling to developing countries. I recommend getting travel insurance, as well as accident cover.
- Try to look as a local as much as possible – that way you won’t be an obvious target. Try to blend in, wear local clothes if possible.
- Let your friends and family know where you are going. Checking in regularly will keep them from worrying and in case of emergency helps them find you sooner.
Share your scary travel memories in comments! What are your personal travel safety tips?