If you’re weighing up a trip to the sunny shores of France, you’re likely contemplating between the iconic Nice and the stunning Biarritz. But which city is for you? Nice or Biarritz? This blog post will cover each city’s unique charms and what they have to offer.
Here’s a brief guide to help you:
🏛 History Buffs: Nice’s rich blend of Italian and French history, as well as the fascinating Old Town (Vieux Nice), makes it the choice for this category. Biarritz’s aristocratic past is interesting, but Nice has more varied historical locations.
🏖 Beach Lovers: Biarritz’s rugged coastline and famous surfing locations win this round. Nice’s beaches are beautiful, but most people will prefer Biarritz’s sandy shores.
🥐 Foodies: The Basque cuisine wins here. Nice’s fresh Mediterranean cuisine like Ratatouille and Salade Niçoise are seriously good but the diverse Basque cuisine found in Biarritz is another level.
🌳 Nature Enthusiasts: Biarritz’s rugged shoreline makes it the perfect destination for nature lovers. Nice’s surroundings are beautiful but the wild Bay of Biscay win here.
🏢 Urban Explorers: Nice’s cosmopolitan charm, beautiful old town and great art scene make it a great destination for urban explorers. Biarritz is a lovely city but due to its size, it just can’t compete here.
🛍 Shopping Enthusiasts: Nice is renowned as being a destination for shopaholics, along with other cities along the French Riviera. Biarritz has got some good options but Nice’s has much more in terms of luxury boutiques and designer stores.
🍷 Wine Lovers: Although Biarritz is close to famous wine regions like Bordeaux and the Basque country, Nice wins this one by being situated in the Bellet region and being so close to Provence.
🎒 Backpackers: Biarritz, with its surf culture and relaxed atmosphere, might be more appealing to young backpackers. Although Nice does have budget options, Biarritz’s laid-back feel wins here.
👵 Over 60’s: Nice’s beautiful Promenade des Anglais, stunning architecture and luxurious feel are perfect for the over 60’s.
Which you choose all depends on your interest. If you’re interested in a laid-back holiday in a glamorous location on the French Riviera? Pick Nice. But if you fancy a rugged coastal destination in a culturally rich location, pick Biarritz.
If you’re still unsure, carry on reading to find out more about these two amazing cities and everything they have to offer.
Nice, the jewel of the French Riviera! If you’re the kind of person who loves to bask in the sun while enjoying breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea, then Nice is your dream come true. It’s a vibrant, colourful city where the beach meets the streets, and there’s always something to see or do. Plus, the Old Town is just amazing – it’s like stepping back in time. And let’s not forget the food, which is a heavenly mix of French and Italian flavours.
Often referred to as the ‘surfing capital of Europe’, Biarritz is a stunning seaside city located on France’s Basque coast. It’s a place where the glamour of the old world seamlessly blends with the laid-back vibes of a surf town. Known for its grand, Belle Époque architecture, pristine beaches, and world-class surfing conditions, Biarritz is truly an ocean lover’s paradise. Not to forget the city’s vibrant food scene that boasts a unique mix of traditional Basque specialities and innovative fusion cuisine. And if that wasn’t enough, the city also offers plenty of cultural attractions, including museums, art galleries, and historic sites. In short, Biarritz is a delightful mix of elegance, culture, and adventure – an ideal destination for any traveller!
While we’re comparing Nice and Biarritz in this post, we’ve also looked at how Nice stacks up against other cities like Montpellier, Marseille and Toulouse. We’ve linked to those articles below if you want to take a look!
Pros and Cons of Nice and Biarritz
- 🏛 Cultural Vibrancy: Nice’s rich history translates into a wealth of museums, art galleries, and historical sites to explore.
- ✈️ Accessibility: Nice’s well-connected airport makes it easier for international visitors to reach.
- 🍸 Nightlife: The nightlife scene in Nice, with its plethora of clubs, bars, and restaurants, is hard to match.
- 🥗 Gastronomy: With an impressive culinary scene, Nice is a foodie’s paradise, famous for its unique ‘Nicoise’ cuisine.
- 👫Crowded: As one of France’s most popular tourist destinations, Nice can get crowded, particularly during peak season.
- 💶 Costs: Nice, being part of the Côte d’Azur, can be pricier compared to other French cities.
- 🏖 Beaches: Biarritz is known for its beautiful sandy beaches – perfect for surfers and sun-seekers alike.
- 🧘♀️ Relaxing Atmosphere: Compared to Nice, Biarritz is often less crowded, offering a more relaxed and laid-back vibe.
- 🗻 Natural Beauty: In addition to its beaches, Biarritz is in close proximity to the Pyrenees mountains, ideal for hiking and nature lovers.
- 🦐 Unique Basque Culture: With its distinct Basque culture, Biarritz offers a unique cultural experience in terms of traditions, food, and language.
- ✈️ Accessibility: Biarritz’s airport has fewer connections, which might make travel planning a bit more challenging.
- 🌧 Weather: Unlike the Mediterranean climate of Nice, Biarritz on the Atlantic coast can be a bit more unpredictable, with chances of rain even during summer months.
Which City Has Better Food? Nice or Biarritz?
Foodies, this one’s for you! Comparing Nice and Biarritz is quite a challenge, as both cities have so much to offer in terms of cuisine.
Nice is the home of the famous Niçoise salad, but trust me, their culinary expertise extends far beyond that. With influences from Italy, Nice’s food scene is all about fresh produce and vibrant flavours. Be sure to try a socca, a delicious chickpea flatbread that’s popular amongst the locals.
Biarritz, on the other hand, brings a unique Basque twist to the table. You’ll find pintxos bars aplenty, offering a Basque version of tapas. And let’s not forget their fresh seafood! Biarritz’s close proximity to the sea guarantees dishes bursting with ocean freshness.
If you’re a food adventurer, you can’t go wrong with either city. Both Nice and Biarritz offer culinary journeys that’ll make your taste buds dance with joy. So, go with your gut (quite literally) on this one!
Which City is Better For Couples? Nice or Biarritz?
With its picturesque coastline and promenade Nice is a dream come true for a lot of couples. Walk hand in hand through the colourful streets of Old Town or enjoy a sunset dinner with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean. The sheer romantic ambience of Nice is sure to make your getaway an unforgettable one. Don’t forget to make your way to the top of Castle Hill to catch the sunset either! You can even get a lift to the top if you can’t be bothered with the hike.
Biarritz, meanwhile, exudes a laid-back charm that’s perfect for couples seeking a more relaxed vibe. Its beautiful beaches and rugged coastline are perfect for romantic walks or even a picnic. You could nip to the Halles de Biarritz market and get some amazing fresh product to nibble on whilst watching the waves crash against the rocks. Sounds amazing doesn’t it? And don’t forget the splendid seaside restaurants where you can enjoy a quiet, intimate meal.
In essence, if it’s a vibrant, lively city you’re after, Nice is your best bet. But for a chill, beachy retreat, Biarritz is unbeatable. Both cities are sure to sprinkle a dash of romance on your trip!
Which City is Better For Families? Nice or Biarritz?
Nice is a family-friendly haven with plenty to keep both the young and the young-at-heart entertained. From its beaches that are perfect for a day of swimming in the sea to a day trip to Marineland Antibes with its sea creature shows. Plus, the city’s compact size makes it easy to explore on foot. There’s also Parc Phœnix, if your kids love exotic animals this is definitely somewhere that should go on your list.
Biarritz, on the flip side, is the epitome of a seaside resort town, great for families who love outdoor activities. Surfing lessons, bike rides, and exploring the iconic lighthouse are all on the menu. The Biarritz Aquarium is also a firm favourite among families. Biarritz also has sandy beaches over Nice’s pebble beaches, so that might shift the balance if your kids love playing in the sand.
In short, if your family loves a mix of city and beach life, Nice is a solid choice. But, if it’s surf, sand, and laid-back vibes you’re after, Biarritz is the perfect playground.
Which City is Better For Partying? Nice or Biarritz?
Nice, with its glamorous nightclubs, chic beach parties, and lively bars, is certainly a contender. For those seeking an upscale night out, hit the clubs along the Promenade des Anglais. Just be prepared to splash some cash – the nightlife in Nice can be quite posh!
Biarritz, however, offers a more laid-back vibe with its beach bars and lively pubs. It might not have the glitz of Nice, but it compensates with its friendly atmosphere and fun-loving crowds. Plus, it’s easier on the wallet!
So, if you fancy glam nights with a side of champagne, Nice should be on your radar. But if you’re more into the casual, beach party scene, Biarritz might be the place for you!
Which City is Safer? Nice or Biarritz?
With its high tourist turnover, Nice has a visible police presence, particularly around the bustling Promenade des Anglais and Old Town. But as with any tourist hotspot, there’s always someone looking to spoil the fun. Keep an eye out for pickpockets, especially in crowded areas.
Biarritz, a smaller and less touristy city, generally has a safe and relaxed vibe. Most areas are safe to explore, both day and night. However, as the golden rule of travel dictates, always keep an eye on your belongings and avoid deserted areas after dark.
In the end, both cities have a strong safety record. It’s all about staying aware and taking those common-sense precautions, whichever city you choose.
How long to stay in Nice
Deciding on the perfect duration for a trip to Nice can be a bit difficult, given the city’s stunning beaches, rich history, and flourishing art scene. Ultimately, the length of your stay will hinge on your personal preferences and how leisurely you plan to explore.
If you’re all about soaking up the sunshine, meandering through the charming Old Town, and indulging in the Riviera’s culinary delights, a stay of 2 to 3 days should suffice. This provides enough time to bask on the beautiful beaches, get lost in the winding alleyways of Vieux Nice, and savour mouth-watering local dishes like ‘Socca’ or ‘Salade Niçoise’.
However, if you’re intent on immersing yourself in Nice’s rich cultural tapestry and history, think about extending your visit to 4 to 5 days. This way, you can explore the exquisite art at the Musée Matisse and Musée Marc Chagall, soak in the views from the Colline du Château, and visit the iconic Cours Saleya market, all without feeling rushed.
For those desiring a deeper dive into the Côte d’Azur lifestyle, spending a week in Nice can be a fantastic choice. This period will not only provide time to thoroughly explore the city’s attractions but also offer opportunities for leisurely strolls along the Promenade des Anglais, indulging in the café culture, and embarking on day trips to nearby gems like the glamorous Cannes or the independent microstate of Monaco. A week in Nice allows you to truly immerse yourself in the relaxed yet vibrant Riviera lifestyle.
How long to stay in Biarritz
Three to Four Days: A 3-4 day trip can cover the highlights of Biarritz. You’ll have enough time to stroll around the city centre, visit the prominent landmarks such as the Rocher de la Vierge and the Biarritz Lighthouse, and soak in the atmosphere of the Les Halles market. Of course, don’t forget to spend some quality time at the Grand Plage, the city’s famous beach. You may also squeeze in a visit to the Aquarium de Biarritz or the Asiatica Museum if you’re interested.
Five to Seven Days: If you’ve got a week in Biarritz, that’s even better! You can take your time exploring the city at a leisurely pace, trying out various water sports, or indulging in the renowned thalassotherapy for which Biarritz is famous. With a few extra days on your hands, consider making day trips to nearby locations like the charming town of Saint-Jean-de-Luz or even cross the border into Spain to explore San Sebastian.
Of course, the length of stay in Biarritz depends on what kind of trip you’re looking for. If you’re seeking a relaxed beach holiday with a sprinkling of city exploration, a longer stay would be suitable. However, if you’re on a whirlwind tour of France or trying to cover multiple cities, a shorter stay would work too. Regardless, Biarritz promises an amazing holiday!
Which City is More Budget-Friendly? Nice or Biarritz?
Nice, has a reputation for being pricey, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find good deals. Affordable accommodations can be found just a little off the city centre. When it comes to dining, Nice shines with its local markets and bistros that serve delicious, authentic food without the hefty price tag often associated with Riviera living.
Biarritz also has a reputation for being expensive (it’s been a holiday destination for Royalty since the 1800s). Although it’s smaller than Nice it offers a similar mix of options. Affordable accommodation options can be found, and its dining scene offers an excellent blend of mid-range to high-end choices. And don’t forget, Biarritz’s compact size allows you to save on transport costs, as most places are easily walkable!
All in all, while both cities offer a range of budget-friendly options, they each cater to different aspects of affordable travel. It really boils down to what type of budget-friendly experience you’re after!
How much is food and drink in Nice and Biarritz?
How much is it to stay in Nice or Biarritz?
|€150 – €500
|€200 – €600
|€70 – €150
|€80 – €200
|€40 – €70
|€50 – €80
|€20 – €40
|€20 – €40
When is the best time to visit Nice?
Spring: From April to June, Nice enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate with temperatures ranging from 15-20°C (59-68°F). The city sparkles with the vibrant colours of blooming flowers, making it an ideal time to visit parks like the Colline du Château. Outdoor events and festivals also start popping up, creating an energetic atmosphere.
Summer: July to August in Nice is truly summertime. The temperatures can go up to 30°C (86°F), offering perfect weather for beach activities and enjoying the stunning coastline. However, be prepared for the crowd as these are the peak tourist months, and prices for accommodation and other services may also be higher.
Autumn: In the months of September and October, the temperature stays around 20-25°C (68-77°F). The city is less crowded during this period, and the changing colours of foliage give the city a beautiful look, ideal for walks and bike rides along the Promenade des Anglais.
Winter: From November to March, temperatures in Nice can drop to around 10-15°C (50-59°F). While it’s not the ideal time for beach activities, it’s an excellent opportunity to explore Nice’s museums, like the Matisse Museum, and enjoy indoor events without the tourist rush.
When is the best time to visit Biarritz?
Spring (March to May) in Biarritz is an ideal time for surfers as the waves are just right and the weather is becoming warmer. It’s also less crowded, offering you an intimate experience with the city. This is a great time to learn surfing if you’re new to the sport as many surf schools open their doors for the season.
Summers (June to August) in Biarritz are vibrant and sunny, making it the perfect season for beach activities, from sunbathing to swimming. The city buzzes with tourists and locals alike, creating a lively atmosphere. Keep in mind, this is also peak tourist season, so be prepared for larger crowds and higher prices.
Autumn (September to November) brings a peaceful charm to Biarritz. The summer crowds thin, and the city regains its tranquillity. The weather remains pleasant, and the Atlantic Ocean is still warm enough for swimming and surfing. This season is also ideal for leisurely walks to appreciate the changing colours of nature.
Winter (December to February) in Biarritz is relatively mild and quieter, with fewer tourists. It’s the perfect time to explore the city’s museums, like the Biarritz History Museum or the Asiatica Museum, without the crowds. You could also take this time to enjoy the city’s renowned thalassotherapy centres for a relaxing spa experience.
Average Monthly Temperatures
|Nice High / Low (°C)
|Nice Rainy Days
|Biarritz High / Low (°C)
|Biarritz Rainy Days
|12° / 8°
|13° / 5°
|12° / 7°
|14° / 5°
|14° / 9°
|16° / 7°
|16° / 11°
|17° / 8°
|20° / 14°
|20° / 12°
|24° / 18°
|23° / 15°
|27° / 21°
|25° / 17°
|27° / 21°
|25° / 17°
|24° / 19°
|24° / 15°
|20° / 15°
|21° / 12°
|16° / 11°
|16° / 8°
|13° / 9°
|14° / 6°
Please note that the given data includes the average high and low temperatures in Celsius (°C) and the number of rainy days per month.
Getting around Nice:
Nice has a well-connected public transportation system, with trams and buses covering the city comprehensively. Tickets are interchangeable between buses and trams, making transfers easy. For those preferring a more active exploration, the city offers a bike-sharing scheme, Vélo Bleu, and plenty of bike lanes.
Walking is another excellent way to explore, especially in the Old Town and along the Promenade des Anglais. Taxis and Uber are also available, but keep an eye on fares during peak tourist seasons.
Getting around Biarritz:
Biarritz, being a compact town, offers multiple easy travel options. The local bus system, Chronoplus, provides regular services around town and to nearby areas.
For those wishing to venture further, car rentals are available, although parking can be tricky during peak season. Walking is a popular choice within the city due to the town’s small size, allowing you to reach most places on foot.
Bike rentals offer an active alternative for getting around, and of course, taxis and rideshare services like Uber are always at your disposal for convenient, direct transport. However, these might come with a higher cost compared to public transportation.
Top things to do in Nice
- Promenade des Anglais: Stroll along this famous seafront walkway, taking in the stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea and Nice’s elegant architecture. Don’t miss the iconic Hotel Negresco, an architectural marvel.
- Vieux Nice (Old Town): Lose yourself in the narrow, winding streets of Nice’s old town, filled with vibrant markets, charming shops, and delightful eateries. Check out the Cours Saleya Market for fresh produce and local specialities.
- Colline du Château (Castle Hill): While the castle itself no longer stands, this hill offers panoramic views of Nice and the surrounding coastline. It’s also home to a beautiful park, ideal for a picnic.
- Matisse Museum: Art enthusiasts must visit this museum, which houses an extensive collection of works by the French painter Henri Matisse, who lived and worked in Nice for many years.
- Take a day trip to Monaco: Only a short train ride away, this glamorous city-state offers a slice of luxury with its casinos, yacht-filled harbour, and the Royal Prince’s Palace.
Top things to do in Biarritz
- Biarritz’s Beaches: Famed for their beauty and surf-friendly waves, Biarritz’s beaches are the heart of the town. Grande Plage, the largest beach, offers plenty of room for sunbathing and swimming, while Côte des Basques is the surfers’ choice.
- Musée de la Mer: This sea museum offers insight into marine life with numerous aquariums housing everything from sharks to sea urchins. It’s an ideal destination for families and marine enthusiasts.
- Phare de Biarritz: The Biarritz Lighthouse stands tall on the town’s northern cliff. You can climb the 248 steps to the top for a panoramic view of Biarritz and its surrounding areas.
- Rocher de la Vierge: This iconic rock formation is accessed by a bridge and offers stunning views over Biarritz. Named for the statue of Virgin Mary placed on top of it, it’s a picturesque spot worth visiting.
- Les Halles de Biarritz: To taste the flavours of Biarritz, visit Les Halles, the town’s vibrant food market. Here, you’ll find a fantastic assortment of regional produce, cheeses, pastries, and seafood to savour.
How to spend three days in Nice
Day 1: Discovering the Charms of Nice
Start your day with a stroll along the famous Promenade des Anglais, enjoying the stunning views of the Mediterranean. Follow this with a visit to the iconic Hotel Negresco, an architectural gem with a fascinating history.
Head to the Old Town, Vieux Nice, for lunch. Lose yourself in the narrow, winding streets filled with vibrant markets and charming shops. Don’t miss the Cours Saleya Market for some local produce.
In the afternoon, visit the stunning Nice Cathedral with its richly decorated Baroque interior. Then, make your way up to Colline du Château, or Castle Hill. Even though the castle is no longer there, the hill offers breathtaking panoramic views of Nice and the coastline.
Day 2: Artistic Endeavors and a Monaco Adventure
Kick off your second day with a visit to the Matisse Museum, showcasing a vast collection of works by the famous artist Henri Matisse who lived in Nice.
In the afternoon, take a short train ride for a day trip to glamorous Monaco. Explore the Royal Prince’s Palace, the luxurious casinos, and the yacht-filled harbour. Back in Nice, enjoy dinner at a chic restaurant on the beach.
Day 3: Riviera Relaxation
Your last day in Nice is all about leisure. Spend the day on one of Nice’s beautiful pebble beaches, soaking up the sun and swimming in the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean. For lunch, try a beachside café for some fresh seafood.
In the evening, enjoy some shopping in the city’s chic boutiques and souvenir shops. End your Nice adventure with a delicious farewell dinner in one of the city’s gourmet restaurants, reminiscing about the highlights of your visit.
How to spend three days in Biarritz
Day 1: Embrace the Ocean’s Call
Begin your day with a leisurely stroll along the Grande Plage, Biarritz’s main beach, perhaps even braving a morning dip. Later, explore the marine life at the Musée de la Mer Aquarium, where the seal feeding sessions are a highlight. As the day mellows, find a cosy spot in the Old Port area to enjoy some local pintxos and a picturesque sunset.
Day 2: Ride the Waves and Revel in the Views
Kick off your second day by diving into Biarritz’s renowned surf culture with a lesson at a local surf school. In the afternoon, wind down with a scenic walk along Rocher de la Vierge, an iconic rock formation offering breathtaking views. Cap off your day with a fresh seafood dinner at the charming Port des Pêcheurs.
Day 3: Explore Local Flavors and Neighboring Charm
Start your final day early at Les Halles de Biarritz, sampling fresh local produce from the bustling market. Later, venture out on a short bus ride to the neighbouring town of Bayonne. Absorb its picturesque streets, try the famous Bayonne ham, and let the city’s Basque charm captivate you. Finish your trip back to Biarritz with a farewell drink overlooking the ocean.
Gareth is an avid city adventurer with a particular passion for finding amazing food! There’s quite literally nothing he doesn’t like. He spends most of his travelling time trying to find great restaurants and cafes to eat at. Alongside trying local street food which he loves! He’s done most of his travelling in Europe so far but would love to visit Japan and Mexico
When not travelling you can find Gareth boxing, running, or in the gym. He’s got a passion for exercise and loves physical challenges.
You can contact him at email@example.com