Which city is for you? Nice or Valencia
Nice or Valencia, both of these Mediterranean cities have so much to offer. Will it be Niçoise salad, Rose wine and the French Riviera that wins for you? Or will it be Paella, tapas and Moorish architecture that seals the deal? If you’re struggling to choose keep on reading, this blog should help!
Nice quite literally has it all – sun, sea, sand and history. It’s a great option for travellers that want the option to experience the culture of a city break and the relaxing vibes of a beach holiday.
Located on the eastern coast of Spain, Valencia is a world-class destination that offers everything you need for a good break. With food, architecture, beaches and the sun, this city has something for everyone.
Pros and Cons of Nice and Valencia
- Beautiful beaches – Nice has some of the most stunning beaches in France, with crystal clear waters and soft sandy shores.
- Cultural attractions – Nice is home to a number of museums and cultural attractions, including the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and the Chagall Museum.
- Picturesque Old Town – Nice’s Old Town is a charming and picturesque neighbourhood with colourful buildings, narrow streets, and plenty of restaurants and cafes.
- Proximity to the French Riviera – Nice is an ideal base for exploring the French Riviera, with easy access to other coastal towns like Antibes, Cannes, and Monaco.
- Great weather – Nice enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate with plenty of sunshine throughout the year.
- Affordable accommodation – Compared to Valencia, Nice offers more affordable accommodation options, making it a great budget-friendly destination.
- Vibrant nightlife – Nice has a lively nightlife scene with plenty of bars, nightclubs, and live music venues to choose from.
- Crowded in peak season – During the summer months, Nice can get very crowded with tourists, making it difficult to find a quiet spot on the beach or in the Old Town.
- Limited public transportation – While Nice does have a tram system, it can be limited in terms of coverage and frequency.
- Hilly terrain – Nice is a hilly city, which can make it challenging for those with mobility issues.
- Lack of parking – Finding parking in Nice can be challenging, particularly in the Old Town and other popular areas.
Best for: Nice is best for travellers looking for a beautiful beach destination with a mix of cultural attractions, nightlife, and affordable accommodation.
- Beaches and coastal activities – Valencia is located on the coast of Spain and offers plenty of beaches and outdoor activities like water sports, sailing, and cycling.
- Cultural attractions – Valencia is home to several museums and cultural attractions, including the City of Arts and Sciences and the Valencia Cathedral.
- Historic old town – Valencia’s Old Town is a charming and historic neighbourhood with beautiful buildings, narrow streets, and plenty of restaurants and cafes.
- Great food – Valencia is known for its paella and other delicious local cuisines, with plenty of restaurants and cafes to choose from.
- Parks and green spaces – Valencia has several parks and green spaces, including the Turia Gardens and the Albufera Natural Park.
- Affordable – Compared to Nice, Valencia offers more affordable accommodation options and is generally a more budget-friendly destination.
- Good public transportation – Valencia has a reliable and affordable public transportation system, including buses, trams, and a bike-sharing program.
- Hot summers – Valencia can get very hot in the summer months, with temperatures reaching over 35 degrees Celsius.
- Crowded during festivals – Valencia hosts several festivals throughout the year, including Las Fallas, which can be very crowded and noisy.
- Less picturesque beaches – While Valencia does have beaches, they may not be as picturesque as those in Nice or other coastal destinations in France.
- Less vibrant nightlife – Valencia’s nightlife scene is not as vibrant as in other Spanish cities like Barcelona or Madrid.
Best for: Valencia is best for travellers looking for a coastal city with a mix of cultural attractions, outdoor activities, and affordable accommodation. It’s a great choice for those who want to explore the Mediterranean coast of Spain and nearby cities like Barcelona and Alicante.
How long to stay in Nice
A trip to Nice needs to be at least three days. But you could easily spend a week or two here. There’s so much to do whether it be in Nice, or exploring the local area. Monaco and Cannes are a stone’s throw away. You could even get a ferry to Corsica for a few nights if you were feeling adventurous!
How long to stay in Valencia
Valencia is Spain’s third largest city so there’s plenty to see and do. We’d recommend staying for three to four days. You could easily stay for longer if you wanted to spend a few days lounging on the beach.
How much is food and drink in Nice and Valencia?
Nice and Valencia are known for their delicious cuisine and wine. Here are some estimated average prices for food and drink in both cities:
|Beer (0.5-liter draught)||€5-7||€2-4|
|Glass of wine||€4-6||€2-4|
|Cup of coffee||€2-4||€1.5-3|
|Meal (mid-range restaurant)||€30-50||€20-35|
How much is it to stay in Nice or Valencia?
The cost of accommodation in Nice and Valencia can vary depending on the location and the type of accommodation you choose. Here are some estimated average prices for accommodation:
|Accommodation Type||Nice (€/night)||Valencia (€/night)|
|Luxury Hotel||200 – 400||150 – 300|
|Mid-range Hotel||100 – 200||70 – 150|
|Budget Hotel||60 – 100||40 – 70|
|Hostel Bed||25 – 45||15 – 35|
When is the best time to visit Nice?
Nice is a very popular tourist destination all year round. When to visit depends on personal preference. Here are a few things to consider before booking your trip:
Weather: Nice has a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers. Plan your trip between June and September if you want to make the most of the hot weather. Winters are mild compared to a lot of places, you’ll rarely see it freezing here. Spring is probably the best all-around time to visit.
Crowds: Nice can get extremely busy during the summer months so visit during the off-season if you can be irritated by crowded places.
Events: There are several world-famous events held very close to Nice every year, like the Cannes Film Festival in May and the Monaco Grand Prix. If you want to experience something a bit different the Nice Carnival is a spectacular event. There are huge parades day and night, with floats, dancers and all sorts of fun!
When is the best time to visit Valencia?
Valencia is a year-round destination. The best all-round times to visit are spring and autumn when the temperatures are mild and the city is quieter. Here are a few things to consider before booking your trip to Valencia:
Weather: Valencia is quite far south in Spain and can get very hot in the summer. Temperatures are usually around 30°C in the summer month but they can get considerably higher. Spring and autumn are a lot more comfortable. Even winters aren’t cold here with average temperatures between 6°C – 16°C, maybe not shorts and t-shirt temperatures but much warmer than most places in Europe.
Festivals: Valencia is famous for its festivals, there’s always something going on. La Tomatina is probably the most famous, a huge tomato fight held in the streets of the nearby town of Buñol. Check the festival calendar before visiting. Las Fallas is a festival held in March that involves burning paper-mâché sculptures and lots of pyrotechnics!
Crowds: Valencia is a popular summer destination so June to August tends to be very busy. If you want to avoid the crowds, visit in spring or autumn.
Average Monthly Temperatures
|Month||Nice (°C / °F)||Valencia (°C / °F)||Nice Rainfall (mm)||Valencia Rainfall (mm)|
|January||9 (48)||12 (54)||69||37|
|February||9 (48)||12 (54)||44||36|
|March||11 (52)||14 (57)||39||33|
|April||13 (55)||16 (61)||69||38|
|May||16 (61)||19 (66)||47||39|
|June||20 (68)||23 (73)||37||22|
|July||23 (73)||26 (79)||12||8|
|August||23 (73)||26 (79)||44||20|
|September||20 (68)||23 (73)||73||70|
|October||16 (61)||19 (66)||132||77|
|November||12 (54)||15 (59)||106||47|
|December||10 (50)||12 (54)||92||48|
Getting around Nice:
Nice has plenty of public transport options like buses, trams and trains. The trams and buses cover most of the city and are both reliable.
But, on a nice day, you’d be better off walking everywhere. Just make sure you take some comfortable shoes. There really isn’t a better way to see a city as beautiful as Nice other than on foot.
Getting around Valencia:
Valencia has an extensive public transport system including buses, trams and a metro system. Valenbisi is bike-sharing system that is great if you want to explore the city on two wheels. Most of the city can be reached easily on food if you’d prefer to walk.
Top things to do in Nice
Promenade des Anglais: This beautiful promenade stretches for 7km along the Mediterranean coast and is probably the most famous attraction in the city. The views are spectacular, you could literally spend a full day just wandering around and enjoying the view.
Vieille Ville: There is plenty to see and do in Nice’s Old Town. Full of colourful buildings, cute streets and cafes. You could spend a full day just ambling around doing very little other than eating and drinking.
Musée Matisse: Devoted to the works of Henri Matisse, this museum is located in a beautiful 17th-century villa. The gardens are very impressive, its location on a hill also offers great views over the city. The art isn’t too bad either.
Castle Hill: A must-see when in Nice, Castle Hill offers panoramic views over Nice and the Mediterranean. You can walk to the top via the stairs. It’s a bit of a walk, so probably not a great idea with kids. There is also an elevator for those that don’t fancy the stairs.
Musée Marc Chagall: This museum houses the largest collection of works by the Russian-French artist Marc Chagall. Located in a beautiful garden, it also features works by other contemporary artists.
Place Masséna: This stunning central square is the perfect place to sit with a coffee or a cold glass of white wine and watch the world go by. The architecture is very impressive and looks especially good at night when it’s all lit up.
Jardin Albert 1er: The perfect place to relax and enjoy the sun, this beautiful park is located right in the heart of Nice next to the beach. Go in the evening and catch an amazing sunset, you won’t regret it!
Palais Lascaris: This beautiful 17th-century baroque palace is now a museum that showcases the history of Nice and its culture. It features stunning architecture and artwork.
Parc Phoenix: This stunning botanical garden holds over 2,500 plant species and a large lake. There are even different types of exotic animals like flamingos and alligators!
Cimiez Monastery: Located very close to the Musée Matisse, this monastery is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Make sure your phone is charged, you’ll want to take plenty of photos of its beautiful gardens and views over Nice.
Top things to do in Valencia
City of Arts and Sciences: This iconic complex is a must-visit attraction in Valencia. Featuring several museums including the largest aquarium in Europe, a planetarium, an IMAX cinema and an interactive science museum.
Mercado Central: This stunning Art Nouveau market is a foodie’s paradise, offering an array of fresh produce, seafood, meats, and more. There’s plenty of food and local specialities to try out. Make sure you take cash as not all the vendors accept cards.
La Lonja de la Seda: Originally a silk exchange, these Gothic-style buildings are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Entry to this beautiful building is completely free!
Bioparc Valencia: This zoo has a unique design that immerses visitors in the animals’ habitats. It’s home to a wide range of animals all of which look very happy! It doesn’t feel like your typical zoo, you’re a lot closer to the animals, which adds to the experience.
Plaza de la Virgen: Located in the heart of Valencia’s historic centre, this square is surrounded by stunning architecture and features a fountain in the centre.
Turia Gardens: One of the largest urban parks in Spain, the gardens were once the riverbed of the Turia River before it was diverted. There are still original bridges left which would have crossed the river.
El Carmen: Part of Valencia’s old town and one of the oldest areas of the city. This neighbourhood is perfect for wandering around and soaking up the local atmosphere.
Albufera Natural Park: One of Valencia’s secret gems, this nature reserve is located just outside of the city. Take a boat ride or hire some bikes and cycle around, you won’t regret it!
La Malvarrosa Beach: Valencia’s most famous beach stretches for 1km along the seafront. It’s very spacious and clean with plenty of restaurants and bars nearby.
Torres de Serranos: Once one of twelve gates that formed the city’s walls, these impressive gothic towers over great views of the city. The steps to the top are quite steep but it’s definitely worth going up!
How to spend three days in Nice
Morning: Grab a coffee and a pastry from a nearby coffee shop and head to Promenade des Anglais. Find a bench to sit on and relax whilst the city wakes up. There’s something really special about the sea breeze in the morning. Either spend the morning on the beach or have a chilled walk along the seafront.
Afternoon: Head over to the Vielle Ville, Nice’s Old Town. Make sure you start off at Cours Saleya, this market has an abundance of local produce for sale like fruit, flowers and spices. There are many little street food stalls too which are great for lunch. Spend the rest of the afternoon wandering around Vielle Velle’s cute little streets.
Evening: Have a relaxing evening at Place Masséna. Get some good Niçoise food and a few drinks and watch the world go by.
Morning: Get an early start and head to the Musée Matisse. A great museum dedicated to Henri Matisse, perfect for art lovers. The views from the museum are beautiful. All of his work isn’t housed here so don’t be disappointed if you don’t see everything you wanted.
Afternoon: Visit the Cimiez Monastery, a stone’s throw from Musée Matisse. The interior of this monastery is incredible and the gardens are even better! Before you head back to the centre of Nice, have a nosy at the Ancien Hôtel Régina. This is a very famous hotel from the 19th century and was built to meet the requirements of Queen Victoria who loved to visit the Côte d’Azur.
Evening: Make your way to the seafront to ascend Castle Hill. You can go up via the stairs or the lift. Maybe take a little picnic and some wine. The views over Nice and the Mediterranean are amazing!
Morning: Begin your day with a visit to the Palais Lascaris. A 17th-century palace that’s been turned into a museum. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful museums in Nice. Its collection is mostly focused on musical instruments but its baroque interior will have you in awe.
Afternoon: Spend your afternoon at the Musée National Marc Chagall. Dedicated to the artist Marc Chagall, it’s got an expensive collection of his works. Most of the collection is focused on his religious works, there are also some of his stained glass windows that are very beautiful.
Evening: Finish your trip to Nice with a visit to the Nice Observatory. It’s a little outside of the city centre, so you’d be better off getting the bus. It’s a working observatory so you can’t just wander in. There are regular tours, but they are only in French. The sunset from here is amazing, there are a couple of restaurants nearby so you can get a nice dinner and watch the sun go down.
How to spend three days in Valencia
Morning: Begin your day with a visit to the Central Market. One of the largest markets in Europe, there’s so much food on offer here, it’s crazy. Grab a coffee and a pasty at one of the cafes in the market and watch how busy it gets.
Afternoon: Take a walk around the historic centre of Valencia. Home to the city’s most iconic landmarks, including the Cathedral of Valencia and the Plaza de la Virgen. Stop off for a Valencian Paella at one of the many restaurants in the area.
Evening: Head to the City of Arts and Sciences, a modern complex featuring a huge aquarium, an opera house and an interactive science museum. Make sure to go up to the L’Umbracle terrace afterwards to see the sunset and views of the city.
Morning: Take a trip to Albufera Natural Park, which is located just outside Valencia. This beautiful wetland park is only a 40-minute bus ride away from the city centre. You can take a boat ride and explore the lagoon or hire a bike and ride along the edge of it.
Afternoon: Head back to the city to visit the Turia Gardens. Located on the former riverbed, these gardens are around 12km long! Take a picnic or grab some local street food to eat whilst relaxing.
Evening: Experience Valencia’s nightlife with a visit to the Ruzafa neighbourhood. This cool district is known for its trendy bars and restaurants. Spend the evening hopping from tapas bar to tapas bar, getting food and drinks at each one.
Morning: Spend the morning at Bioparc Valencia. This unique zoo tries to recreate natural habitats for the animals living there. The enclosures look very big and comfortable for the animals, it feels like you get a lot closer than you do in most zoos too.
Afternoon: Visit the Mercado de Colón, a grand former market that has been converted into a shopping and dining complex. It takes some inspiration from Gaudi’s building in Barcelona and is filled with amazing restaurants and stalls. Make sure to try some horchata de Valencia a traditional drink made from tiger nuts, it’s very cold and refreshing on a hot day!
Evening: End your trip with dinner overlooking Malvarrosa Beach. Known for its golden sand and clear waters, it’s the perfect spot for a romantic walk along the beach after a nice dinner.
Nice and Valencia Ratings
|Category||Nice Rating||Valencia Rating|
|Food and drink||9||9|
|Culture and history||9||9|